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Snow overview - our twice-weekly round up of the latest snow conditions in the mountains

Snow Overview

Our twice-weekly round up of the latest snow conditions in the mountains

Get the latest snow and weather conditions in all major ski areas updated on Monday and Thursday afternoons by the Ski Club's information department.

Thursday 26 November 2015


Things are shaping up extremely well in the Alps, particularly on the northern side and in France and Switzerland. Heavy snow fell again on Wednesday, dropping as much as 50cm of fresh snow in places and setting things up nicely for the opening weekend of many major resorts, including Chamonix, Ischgl, Val d’Isere and Wengen. A brief spell of sunny weather is forecast for Friday, before the clouds return at the weekend to drop as much as 25cm more fresh snow on the Alps.

Conditions are also looking good in the Pyrenees, following a big dump of snow on Wednesday night in particular. Lots of resorts look set to open for the season this weekend which is great news, including Baqueria-Beret, Cauterets, Pal/Arinsal and Soldeu.

Skiing is underway in Scandinavia, albeit with fairly limited openings at present. Cold and wintry weather is forecast for the weekend and into next week, so look out for more resort openings in the coming days.

In Scotland there have been several spells of heavy snow to lower levels this winter, but these have been interspersed by periods of mild and wet weather, washing away much of the snow. A base is slowly building but with a wild spell of stormy weather forecast (with rain falling as often as snow), the waiting game for snowsports to resume for the winter looks set to continue.

Meanwhile across in the USA, the excellent start to the season continues. More heavy snow fell this week, with California the biggest benefactor – where around 40cm has fallen in places. Yet more cold weather and snow is forecast for the Rockies over Thanksgiving weekend, enabling more terrain to open up as the resorts get busier and busier.

This weekend looks to be the perfect time to hit the Canadian mountains, with a prolonged spell of sunshine finally forecast after a very snowy November so far. Base depths are excellent for the time of year and there are still some powder stashes to be found at most of our featured resorts.


Thursday 26th November was a cold and snowy day across Austria, with fresh snow picked up at all of our featured resorts. Totals varied from 5cm further east, to up to 20cm close to the Swiss border. Lots of resorts are set to open up this weekend which is great news for those looking to grab some early-season turns.

As of Thursday however, the number of resorts open hit double figures for the first time this season. This was in part thanks to the opening of Ischgl (5/30cm) for the first time. A massive 27 lifts were turning to access 79km of groomed slopes, including almost all the way down to Ischgl town at 1,450m. Obertauern (30/50cm) also turned its lift for the first time this winter on Thursday, with 12 lifts operating to access a wide range of freshly prepared pistes. Both resorts enjoyed around 5cm of fresh snow for opening day too, providing a few powder turns for those in the know.

Despite the bad visibility and poor weather conditions, there was some great skiing to be found on the country’s glaciers thanks to the fresh snowfall. The biggest benefactor was the Hintertux Glacier (15/110cm) which picked up 15cm overnight, closely followed by the Pitztal (69/123cm) and Kaunertal (101/124cm) glaciers where around 10cm was recorded by 9am.

Thursday’s snow is set to clear through by Friday to leave a mostly sunny and cold day in the Austrian Alps. However if you’re looking for a prolonged period of sunny weather you’ll have to wait until Monday at the earliest as a further 10-25cm of new snow is forecast on Saturday and Sunday.

This fresh snow will be perfect for those resorts set to open up this weekend. Based on Thursday’s information (which is subject to change), the following resorts are looking to open up on Friday or Saturday: Badgastein, Bad Hofgastein, Flachau, Kuhtai, Schladming, Silvretta Montafon, Wagrain and Zauchensee.


Yet more heavy snow has fallen in France, with further snow showers piling into parts of the Alps on Thursday 26th November. More resorts are due to open this weekend, and with more snow in the forecast there should be some excellent early season conditions on offer!

On Thursday the best skiing was to be found at Val Thorens (75/100cm) following 30cm of fresh snow. Powder conditions were reported across the mountain and with nine lifts and 17 runs open, the early season conditions were fantastic.

Unfortunately high winds limited lift operations in Tignes (30/100cm), but when the Grande Motte does reopen there will be 40cm of fresh snow to play in – albeit somewhat wind affected. The link to neighbouring Val d’Isere (30/100cm) is set to open at the weekend and some further snow showers expected there may be a fresh top up for opening weekend. Conditions in the Chamonix (35/150cm) valley should also be fantastic when the first lifts start turning on Saturday, thanks to 35cm of snow on Thursday and well over a metre in the past seven days.

Thursday’s snow is set to clear through for Friday, bringing a brief sunny weather window to the French Alps. Snow is set to return on Saturday and Sunday, although snowfall totals look set to be more modest than forecast earlier in the week, so look for between 10-20cm of fresh powder.

A few resorts have been mentioned already, but several ski areas are set to turn their lifts for the first time this season over the weekend. These may be subject to change, but as of Thursday morning these resorts are due to open: Alpe d’Huez, Argentiere, Cauterets, Chamonix, Les Houches, Montgenevre and Val d’Isere.


The snow continues to fall across much of Switzerland as another winter storm swept over the Swiss Alps on Thursday 26th November. Gstaad (0/110cm) and Les Diablerets (50/110cm) both saw snowfall of around 50cm overnight, with more snow reported to fall throughout the day. Powder conditions were on offer in both resorts, however, poor visibility due to low lying cloud limited the number of lifts operating on Thursday.

The snow is likely to continue across many resorts over the weekend. This will give way to period of settled weather next week, with temperatures set to rise above freezing for the first time in a week. Low temperatures in the evening should see that the snow hangs around for a little while yet, as well as providing good snowmaking conditions.

On the back of the recent snowfall we will see many resorts opening over the coming weekend. This includes Andermatt, Arosa, Davos, Grindelwald, Lenzerheide, Leysin/Les Mosses, Murren, Samnaun, Verbier and Wengen. All resort opening date are were correct as of Thursday 26th November and are subject to change at any time.


Temperatures remain low across many resorts in Italy on Thursday 26th November, a trend that looks likely to continue over the coming weekend.

Conditions remain excellent in Cervinia (20/145cm) thanks to 35cm that fell over the weekend. Four lifts were running on Thursday, with work commencing to open up more terrain in the near future. It was cloudy in resort on Thursday, with the possibility of a light dusting of snow to refresh the pistes. It was very much a similar story in Val Senales (5/85cm), where piste conditions remain good thanks to recent snowfall.  Snow flurries can be expected in both resorts over the weekend, though this will give way to a period of settled weather next week, with high temperatures forecast.

This weekend is set to bring about a flurry of resort openings across Italy. These include Alagna, Cavalese, Champoluc, Cortina, Gressoney-La-Trinite, Kronplatz, Livigno, Madesimo, Madonna di CAmpiglio, Santa Caterina and Sestriere. These opening dates were correct as of Thursday 26th November and are subject to change at any time.


The snow continued to fall in Andorra on Thursday 26th November.

Around 5-15cm fell over the country, with base depths seeing an increase as a result. Another 10cm is forecast to fall over the course of Thursday. There will be light flurries in some resorts over the weekend but it will be an overall sunny and cold opening weekend for most resorts. A period of settled weather is moving in for next week, with high temperatures forecast. With this in mind be sure to get out this weekend for the best of the conditions before the fresh snow begins to melt away.


Still just the one run is available in Geilo (20/30cm) on Thursday 26th November. Conditions in resort remain very much as they have been in recent weeks, with cold temperatures ensuring that the small amount of snow that has fallen has stuck around. Snow making still persists so with any luck more terrain will be open to riders in the near future. Both Hemsedal (5/20cm) and Lillehammer (10/30cm) managed to get lifts turning for the first time during the week, although only a one lift in either resort was operating. Good snow making weather has ensured that Trysil will also be opening on Friday. More resorts than runs currently available in Norway, but at least they are moving in the right direction.

In Sweden, Salen is working hard to get lifts moving on Friday, the first of our featured Swedish resorts to do so. Rain looks likely to put a dampener on opening day celebrations, with light showers forecast throughout the day. Saturday looks likely to offer the best days riding, with clear skies and sunshine forecast, before snow showers move in on Sunday.


There is currently no skiing available in Germany, although the Zugspitze Glacier above Garmisch is set to open up at the end November.


None of our featured Bulgarian resorts are open at present, with skiing expected to begin in the middle of December.


Rain was falling across much of Scotland on Thursday 26th November. High precipitation is forecast into much of next week, although fluctuations in temperature will see a mixture of both rain and snow. Upwards of 20cm could be seen across the Highlands in the period from Friday to Saturday, continuing what has been a good start to the season so far. None of our featured resorts are open yet, but Cairngorm, The Lecht and Glenshee are ready to go as soon as snow conditions allow.


The great early-season conditions continue across the USA, with most resorts open in time for the ever-popular Thanksgiving Holidays.

Every one of our featured resorts in Colorado was open for the season on Thursday (the first time that this has been the case the season). For the best snow hit Arapahoe Basin (66cm) and Loveland (74cm) as the extra altitude has preserved the snow the best during the past week as temperatures rose slightly above average. That being said, a few centimetres of fresh snow were picked up on Thursday morning at many of our featured resorts, including Vail (56cm) where over 1250 acres of skiing was open. Nearby Winter Park (56cm) took the claim of having the most lifts open at seventeen, including the earliest ever opening of Mary Jane Mountain.

Across in Utah, Thursday’s snow was somewhat heavier and the linked resorts of Alta (56cm) and Snowbird (56cm) were the big winners having picked up 15cm of fresh snow. Snowbasin (51cm) and Solitude (56cm) also saw a decent fall of 10cm overnight, so expect a few decent powder stashes across the mountain on Thanksgiving Day.

Further north in the states of Wyoming and Montana, both of the major resorts opened up for the first time this season on Thursday. Big Sky (46/66cm) opened to 8cm of fresh snow and was spinning 4 lifts on the main mountain, providing access to some great groomed terrain and some nice off-piste powder stashes. Jackson Hole (45/71cm) also opened to fresh snow on Thursday to kick off its 50th season and with as much as 40cm of new snow forecast over the next five days things are looking great for the winter ahead!

Thursday was an amazing early-season powder day in California, with skiers and boarders able to enjoy up to 40cm of fresh powder at some resorts. One of these was Mammoth (56/107cm), which also had 15 lifts running – so there should be an excellent variety of fresh tracks on offer! Squaw Valley (61/71cm) did not miss out either, picking up 25cm on Wednesday, whilst nearby Heavenly (61cm) was also able to claim a Thanksgiving powder day following 20cm of new snow.

Most of our featured east coast resorts were open on Thursday to coincide with a spike in visitor numbers over the Thanksgiving holidays. Almost all of the snow on the ground was artificial and limited terrain was on offer at most resorts. For the best skiing head to Killington (10/31cm) where seven lifts were turning, or to Sunday River (30cm) where five lifts were spinning to access 13 groomed trails. Cold conditions are forecast for the weekend which is great news as snowmaking systems should be able to fire once again following a mild Thursday and Friday. 


The sun was shining and the skies were clear across much of Canada on Thursday 26th November. Conditions in many resorts remain excellent thanks to the large amount of early season snowfall across the west coast.

Alberta is still the place to be if you are looking for some pre-Christmas powder turns, with Banff enjoying a fantastic start to the season. Lake Louise (104cm) welcomes the Men’s World Cup this coming weekend so be sure to stop by to watch the action if you fortunate enough to be enjoying some early season skiing in the area. The weather is set to be sunny over the weekend, with temperatures to remain above freezing during the day.

It is much the same across British Columbia. The sunshine and higher temperatures that are in store for the weekend will offer the perfect conditions to get out and enjoy the fantastic early season snowfall. Kicking Horse (30/60cm) is looking to get lifts turning for the first time this season, with nearly all of the mid-lower mountain terrain open to riders this coming weekend. This is the first time they will be opening early in their history – a testament to just what a good start to the season it has been.

On the east coast, Tremblant (10cm) is set to get the first lifts of the season turning on Thursday, with Mont Sainte Anne (10cm) not far behind with a projected opening of this weekend. The surface on offer will be largely artificial having not had any significant snowfall in the last few weeks. However, some light flurries are expected over the weekend which will do much to increase the coverage and base depths in the area. Temperatures will remain low which will see both resorts able to continue their round the clock snow making ability.

European Weather Outlook

Thursday’s snow is set to clear through the Alps from the west, lingering longest in the Austrian Alps, where a further 10cm is possible during the day. A mostly sunny Friday is then forecast, accompanied by temperatures well below freezing at all levels. Another snow front is then set to move into the Alps on Saturday, although it is looking likely to be less potent than initially expected. Snowfall totals are therefore likely to be much more modest, with between 10-25cm forecast for most resorts in the Alps. Sunshine and settled weather finally looks to be returning in time for the new week, with sunny skies and milder temperatures (above freezing at most levels during the day) expected. Little snowmelt is likely however owing to cold overnight temperatures, short days and weak sunshine.

Very similar weather is forecast for the Pyrenees, although less snow is forecast to fall over the weekend, with only 10cm likely at our featured resorts. Slightly higher temperatures are also forecast next week, with daytime peaks of around 7C expected at mid-mountain level.

Heavy snow is forecast for Bulgaria on Friday, dropping as much as 30cm on our featured resorts. More settled weather is then expected next week, with a slow rise in temperature looking likely as the week progresses.

Once Friday’s warm spell passes through, a very wintry spell of weather is predicted for Scandinavia over the weekend and into the start of next week. Heavy snow is set to track through Norway and Sweden on Sunday/Monday, bringing at least 20cm of new snow to our featured resorts, with as much as 50cm possible at Voss on the west coast.

Very unsettled and stormy weather is forecast for Scotland over the weekend and into next week, with high winds forecast to accompany spells of heavy rain and heavy snow. Hopefully after the snow falls (most likely on Friday and Saturday), the rain will not wash away all of the fresh accumulations and a decent base will begin to build.

North American Weather Outlook

A gloriously sunny weekend is forecast across western Canada, with steadily rising temperatures also expected. This should provide perfect conditions for the opening downhill World Cup races of the season from Lake Louise in Alberta. A weather front is set to arrive on Friday, initially dropping snow on Whistler (where almost a metre of snow is possible) before moving inland to drop around 10-25cm of fresh snow on our other featured resorts.

Very cold and snowy weather is expected in the Rocky Mountains, where temperatures look set to dip below -10C for many over the weekend. Snow showers are possible on most days, bringing up to 20cm of fresh snow to Colorado, 10cm to Utah and Montana, whilst Jackson Hole in Wyoming may pick up as much as 40cm over the weekend.

California is also set to see a spell of cold, wintry weather over the weekend, but less snow is forecast than further east in the Rockies. Around 5-10cm of new snow is possible on Monday, but before that a very cold (-10C at mid-mountain) and very sunny weekend is forecast which should provide the perfect conditions in which to enjoy the week’s fresh snow.

Cooler weather is also forecast for the east coast resorts in both the USA and in Canada, but only once the mild air in place on Thursday is displaced during Friday night. Some light snow may fall in Quebec, Canada, but further south in Vermont, Main and New Hampshire, little fresh snow is expected. The good news is that temperatures are set to remain well below freezing at night which should allow snow machines to fire. 
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