Latest snow report
Updated: 3pm Monday 28 November 2016
Snow conditions in the Alps remain highly variable. At high altitude in the west, and particularly south-west, they are generally excellent thanks to last week’s big storms.
If we were to pick four of the best bets in the Alps right now it would be Tignes, Val d’Isère, Val Thorens and Cervinia. However, further north and east, and more generally below 1800-2000m, snow cover is patchier or in some cases non-existent. In short, lots more snow is needed in the Alps over the next three weeks before the majority of resorts can feel secure about the festive season.
With regards to the forecast this week there is both good and bad news. The bad news is that there is no widespread new snow forecast in the foreseeable future. However, the good news is that it will be relatively cold which means that snow-making should be at full capacity in many areas. The eastern Austrian Alps may also get a useful top-up later in the week.
Meanwhile, after a very dry mid start to the month, things are now looking up across the pond with significant snow in many areas.
There was a dusting of snow in some Austrian resorts over the weekend, but not enough to make much difference, and you still have to aim high to find decent snow cover.
Not surprisingly, resorts with glaciers are among the best options right now, including Sölden (10-125cm) where 83 runs (144km) are now open, and Hintertux (25/105cm) with 50km of pistes.
Of the entirely non-glacial resorts, Ischgl (0/40cm) offers an impressive 117km of runs, the most in Austria for the time being. There are several other options though, including Obertauern (30/60cm) with around 70km of runs and Obergurgl (0/35cm), where 17 lifts are now open despite the modest snow cover.
Thanks to last week’s massive storm, Val d’Isère (5/155cm) and Tignes (50/130cm) offer some of best snow conditions in the world right now, despite the fact that at resort level (in Val) there is still very little snow. Of L’Espace Killy’s 167 runs, 61 are now open.
Elsewhere in France, Val Thorens (85/150cm) is the other top option with 43 of 85 runs now open. Below 1800-2000m, however, snow cover is much patchier (or non-existent), which means that many low resorts still have it all to do in the run up to Christmas.
Cervinia (35/160cm) remains the best bet in Italy this week, with masses of snow thanks to last week’s storms. 160km of runs are currently open, if you include the links to Zermatt.
Further east, Kronplatz (20/40cm) is another great option, with 54 runs open on a mixture of natural and man-made snow. A handful of other runs are also open across the Super-Dolomiti area, including in Cortina (0/25cm), albeit on a very limited basis.
Zermatt (0/110cm) is still the best option in Switzerland with plenty of snow at altitude and 160km of its 360km of pistes (including Cervinia) open, though it is still not possible to ski back to resort.
Saas-Fee (20/120cm), Grimentz (20/50cm), St Moritz (5/50cm) and Engelberg (0/20cm) are some of just a number of more limited options, open thanks to their high altitude slopes. Generally speaking, however, snow cover is still patchy or non-existent at low altitudes.
Rest of Europe
Andorra’s Pas de la Casa (5/35cm) opened this weekend and offers decent piste skiing despite its modest snow depths. Spain’s Baqueira Beret (5/25cm) has also managed to open a few runs but, generally speaking, the Pyrenees could do with more snow, especially lower down.
Elsewhere in Europe, most of the non-Alpine openings are in Scandinavia. Hemsedal (50cm upper base) is a decent option in Norway. In Sweden you can ski in Åre (45cm upper base) albeit still on a very limited basis. There are also several resorts open in Finland, including Levi (40cm upper base) where there is a little fresh snow.
In Scotland, some skiing was possible in Cairngorm on Friday but since then the snow cover has deteriorated again.
Conditions have been improving in many western US resorts thanks to new snow. In Utah, Snowbird (76cm upper base) has done particularly well, with 50cm of new snow in the last 24 hours, and seven trails now open.
It has also been snowing in Colorado, where Breckenridge (45cm upper base) has seen 23cm of new snow and also has seven trails open. It is also very cold, and will remain so for some time to come.
Whistler (196cm upper base) has seen over 2m of new snow at altitude in the last week and is in superb shape right now, even if the number of open slopes remains limited.
Further east, the snow is not quite as good in the Banff/Lake Louise area (80cm upper base) but there is more open, with 74 trails at Sunshine Village alone.
Next full snow report will be on Thursday 1 December 2016,
but see Today in the Alps for regular updates