Latest snow report
Updated: 3.45pm Monday 27 November 2017
Snow conditions in the Alps are generally very encouraging for late November. We say generally because there are a few exceptions where there is still very little snow, notably parts of the southern French Alps away from the Italian border and the Aosta valley/western Lombardy. For most of the Alps, however, there is now a good base at altitude, with significant snow in places lower down too, especially in Austria.
There is also wintry weather in the forecast, with cold temperatures and further snow in many places, especially in the northern Alps. All in all, we can say with some certainty that there is no danger of a repeat of what the Alps have endured early season over the last three years.
Across the pond snow conditions are mixed with the greatest depths still in the Pacific Northwest.
On average, Austria has the best snow conditions in the Alps with good cover to low levels in most areas. What’s more, it is due to stay cold with further snow at times this week, albeit in relatively modest quantities.
Ischgl (20/60cm) is currently leading the way - at least in terms of open terrain - with 171km of pistes served by 35 lifts. Obergurgl (66/181cm) is another good option with 99km of pistes, as are Obertauern (60/80cm) with 60km of pistes and Sölden (10/187cm) with 91km.
The action is not just confined to high altitude resorts, however, with plenty of lower areas also open including Kitzbühel (5/65cm) where 27 pistes are in operation.
The northern French Alps (roughly from Grenoble northwards) have a good base at altitude. The two highest profile resorts open on a daily basis are Val Thorens (65/80cm), where 34 runs are open, and Val d’Isère/Tignes (30/70cm) with a combined total of 57 runs now in operation.
Plenty more resorts are due to open this weekend, including Les 2 Alpes and Alpe d’Huez.
Further south there is still not very much snow though, with the exception of some resorts close to the Italian border such as Isola 2000 (40/50cm) where 24 runs are already open.
The forecast this week is a cold one with further snow at times, though mostly in the northern Alps.
Snow conditions in Italy are more variable than in elsewhere in the Alps.
The eastern Italian Alps are doing ok with a number of Dolomite resorts now partially open, most significant of these being Kronplatz (15/50cm) with 66km of prepared pistes. Over in the far south-west, little Prato Nevoso (60/100cm) has lots of snow and all of its eight lifts in operation.
In between, however, the Aosta valley and some parts of Lombardy are still short of snow. For instance, skiing in Cervinia (normally among the most reliable resorts for snow at this time of year) is still confined to the glacier. Courmayeur and the Monte Rosa region are also very short of snow.
The weather for the week ahead will at least be cold which should allow the snow cannons to operate. There may also be a little light snow, but probably nothing significant.
Snow conditions are generally good across Switzerland, with the exception of parts of the south (i.e. Ticino).
Engelberg (25/250cm) has particularly impressive depths for the time of year, with good skiing possible all the way from the glacier down to the resort. Another good option is St Moritz (10/50cm) with 66km of runs now available, despite more modest depths.
Further west, Zermatt (5/60cm) is the best option, also with 66km of pistes which now include Gornergrat and Sunnegga - not just the Klein Matterhorn.
The weather is expected to stay cold this week in Switzerland with further snow at times, especially in the north (e.g. Mürren, Engelberg).
Rest of Europe
Skiing in Scotland got underway this weekend, though not necessarily where you would expect. Lowther Hills in the Southern Upland fired up both its lifts thanks to recent snow, with a respectable depth of 25cm.
Several resorts are now open in the Pyrenees, including France’s Les Angles where nine runs are open and there is about 30cm of settled snow. Spain’s Baqueira Beret (20/50cm) has the greatest extent of terrain, however, with 49 runs now in operation.
Elsewhere in Europe, skiing is mostly confined to Scandinavia where dozens of resorts are now open, albeit on a limited basis. Finland’s Levi, for example, has six runs open an upper base of 50cm.
Snow conditions are rather mixed across the resorts of the western US.
Colorado hasn’t seen a great deal of snow in recent days but plenty of resorts are at least partially open on a mixture of natural and man-made snow.
Breckenridge and Aspen both have nine trails on offer, with respective upper bases 46cm and 64cm deep.
Further north the snow gets deeper, with 119cm up top in Jackson Hole where 33 runs are open, and 157cm at altitude in Mt Baker which has two runs available.
Whistler (128cm upper base) has seen a lot of early snow which has set up an excellent base for the season. It has turned milder of late but there is lots more snow forecast this week, especially at altitude, with colder temperature set to return by next weekend.
Snow has also been falling further inland in Lake Louise (87/120cm), where it is colder and conditions are excellent for late November.
Our next full snow report will be on Thursday 30 November 2017, but see Today in the Alps for daily updates