Latest snow report
Updated: 7pm Monday 4 December 2017
Snow conditions remain excellent for early December across most of the Alps, thanks to the multiple snowfalls over the last few weeks, as well as relatively cold temperatures. Unlike in recent early seasons, any milder interludes have been short-lived.
The next few days will see the weather turn a little bit milder again, but winter will return with a vengeance by the end of the week.
Significant snowfalls have affected just about all parts of the Alps recently, some exceptions being parts of the southern French Alps and the Aosta valley (e.g. Cervinia, Champoluc). These areas have seen a little snow in recent days, and have plenty of artificial back-up, but generally speaking the snow cover remains thin.
If we were to pick the best of the four main Alpine countries for skiing right now it would be Austria, where snow conditions are universally favourable, both north, south, high and low. By contrast, Italy has the most variable snow conditions, though it is all relative, and even here the overall situation isn’t bad at all.
The Pyrenees also have good snow right now, but conditions across the pond are much more variable, with the western Canadian ski resorts currently retaining the upper hand.
Snow conditions in Austria are excellent for early December with a further top-up in progress across some northern and eastern parts of the Alps today.
St Anton (35/125cm) currently has 161km of pistes open, while lower-lying Kitzbühel (40/71cm) has 119km.
Further south, Nassfeld (25/110cm) may have only opened a dozen or so pistes but snow conditions are also excellent here for the time of year and more snow is forecast next weekend.
Snow conditions in the French Alps are generally good for early December, especially (but not exclusively) in the north.
The biggest draws remain Val d’Isère/Tignes (35/80cm) and Val Thorens (85/110cm) but a number of other resorts are now also open on a daily basis including Alpe d’Huez (40/50cm), Montgenèvre (50/80cm) and, in the far south, Isola 2000 (70/85cm).
Many more resorts will open this weekend, including Courchevel and Méribel, and snow conditions should be excellent as more heavy snow is forecast on Friday.
Snow conditions remain more mixed in Italy then elsewhere in the Alps though are still generally good. The very best snow is in the far south-west, where Prato Nevoso (100-180cm) saw another huge dump last week.
The Dolomites are also in good shape, despite more modest snow depths. The Alta Badia (30/60cm) now has 70 runs open, while Kronplatz (15/50cm) has 95 available.
The areas with the least snow in Italy remain the Aosta valley and western Lombardy, but even here there is plenty of good piste skiing on offer thanks to a mixture of some natural and plenty of artificial snow. Cervinia (10/135cm) now has around nine runs open, including one back to resort.
Further snow is in the forecast towards the back end of next week but not as much as expected on the northern side of the Alps.
Snow conditions remain excellent across most of the Swiss Alps right now.
Engelberg (40/305cm) still boasts the best overall snow figures in the Alps, with great cover all the way down to resort level.
Further south-east, St Moritz can offer a greater extent of pistes (over 100km) despite more modest depths. In the south-west, Zermatt now has 72km of runs available across its three main mountains.
All Swiss resorts can look forward to further snowfall later in the week.
Rest of Europe
There is also plenty of snow in the Pyrenees where several big name resorts are now open. Spain’s Baqueira Beret (65/110cm), where all 35 lifts are operational, remains the most enticing option. Andorra’s Grandvalira (35/70cm) is now also open, albeit on a more limited basis.
Four of Scotland’s five ski areas were open over the weekend. It has now turned milder here, which is affecting the snow quality, but winter will return with a vengeance later this week.
Across in Scandinavia lots of ski resorts are now at least partially open, with Norway’s Hemsedal (60cm upper base) among the better options.
Many Colorado ski resorts have seen a few centimetres of snow in the last day or two but this is not enough to really ignite what has been a relatively slow start to the season. Vail (48cm upper base), for example, is still heavily reliant on artificial snow with no major dump on the horizon.
Utah, which has also had a slow start to the season, has done a bit better from this recent storm, with around 30cm of new snow in Alta. However, more is needed if they are to get anything like fully open in the near future.
For better snow depths you need to head further north. Jackson Hole (Wyoming) has seen around 20cm of new snow and now has 140cm packed down at altitude.
Whistler (153cm upper base) has seen another 60cm of new snow at altitude this week but the weather has now settled down, and plenty of sunshine is expected over the next few days. It will also turn milder, especially at altitude, but this can’t detract from what has been a very good start to the season.
Further inland, good skiing can also be found in the Banff/Lake Louise area, where most lifts are now open and upper snow depths are around 131cm.
Our next full snow report will be on Thursday 7 December 2017, but see Today in the Alps for daily updates