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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 20 November 2014

latest Ski Club Snowcast

Summary

The winter season is underway for an ever-increasing number of resorts across both Europe and North America.

Fresh snow over the last week has enhanced conditions across the majority of European ski resorts. At those still preparing for the winter, the new snow has set a great base for the season ahead, especially in those areas which are also assisted by snowmaking. As a result some resorts are opening early this weekend, including La Clusaz, France and Wengen, Switzerland.

In France you can already ski at Tignes and Val Thorens opens for the season on Saturday 22nd November.

The majority of resorts currently open in Switzerland are for glacier skiing. There are a number of other resorts planning on opening for weekend skiing this Saturday in preparation for the full season.

Across the Atlantic in North America new snow has fallen this week on both the east and west coasts. With many resorts, including Stowe, Vail and Whistler opening this weekend, the variety of terrain available will increase significantly. New snow is also forecast, with Utah resorts such as Alta likely to have a powder-filled opening weekend.

Austria

After recent snow fall across Austria, Thursday 20th November brought lovely sunshine with the occasional light cloudy interval. The overall temperature in each of our featured resorts was sitting just above freezing at mid-mountain level. 

The Stubai Glacier (0/130cm) has alerted its snow sports enthusiasts with a 35cm powder alarm that fell on the 18th November and Thursday brought excellent weather with sunny skies and light clouds. A total of 20 lifts were in operation for the fresh pistes and fresh powder off piste. Overall, it was a great day to be up on the Stubai Glacier.

Obergurgl (16/90cm) recently opened for its full winter season and enjoyed sunny skies on Thursday with a total of 13 lifts turning. Good skiing can be enjoyed on the upper slopes of the Hochgurgl area however there is limited skiing on the lower resort runs.

With the weekend approaching, Austria is expecting lots of sunshine so suntan lotion is a must but do wrap up as it will still have a cold climate.

France

The fantastic amount of fresh snow recently has allowed resorts to work on the slopes and a number of resorts will open this weekend.

It is already possible to ski at Tignes (15/70cm), with excellent early season riding up on the Grande Motte glacier.

Val Thorens (30/60cm) will open for their full winter season this Saturday 22nd November and with 20cm of fresh snow falling into 18th November the riding will be excellent this opening day.

La Clusaz (0/100cm) will open for skiing on the Balme area for Saturday 22nd and Sunday 23rd November, with reportedly the best conditions high up at this time of year for 15 years.

Alpe d’Huez (10/150cm) will also open for skiing this weekend, along with parts of the Montgenevre skiing area (10/30cm) on the French side of the Milky Way ski domain.

Serre Chevalier plans to open for weekend skiing on 29th and 30th November, as a season pre-opener. They are saying this is the first time they’ve opened for a pre-opener in November.

Chatel plans to open for weekend skiing in the Pre-la-Joux area from 29th until they open daily on 13th December. Font Romeu, Les Deux Alpes and Val d’Isere all plan to offer skiing on 29th November, along with Bareges/La Mongie and Cauterets in the Pyrenees.

The forecast across the French resorts is for the bright weather of Thursday 20th to continue into Friday before clouds build, with a chance of rain and snow towards the end of the weekend.

Switzerland

Many of the Swiss resorts teams have been reporting light snowfall with the occasional large drop over the past two weeks so many resorts are really starting to take shape. Thursday 20th November saw plenty of sunshine and nice fresh temperatures across Switzerland.

Winter is starting to make its mark as lots of resorts are opening for weekend skiing this coming weekend. Grimentz, Flims/Laax, St Moritz, Verbier, Wengen and Zinal are all planning on offering skiing this weekend.

There are also resorts currently open for their full season but only up on the glaciers as they wait for more snow cover on their resort runs.

Zermatt (10/160cm) is offering glacial skiing and had a total of 22 lifts in operation on Thursday to coincide with the excellent sunshine. The resort team are also reporting powdery conditions off the piste but do take care as you leave the glacier as there may be rocky patches with lighter cover.

There’s good news for those planning on skiing Switzerland this weekend as lots of sunshine is being forecast so don’t forget to take sunglasses to enjoy the bright weather.

Italy

The sun has shone across the Italian Alps this week, enabling skiers to enjoy the new snow from last weekend.

Upper snow depths at the open resorts are well above average, setting a great base for the season to come and providing top conditions for some early season turns.

Excellent early season skiing is to be found at Cervinia (45/195cm), which had ten lifts operating and 15 runs open on Thursday 20th November. The fresh snow from the weekend has now settled and the glacier resorts of Passo Tonale (0/250cm) and Val Senales (10/225cm) were reporting good skiing at altitude.

Madesimo (20/230cm) is set to open for the season this weekend and numerous resorts, including Courmayeur, Cortina and Madonna de Campiglio are due to open next weekend.

Andorra

All of the Vallnord and Grandvalira resorts in Andorra are yet to open for the winter season.

Norway/Sweden

Lillehammer (30/30cm) remains our only featured resort to be open in Norway, with limited skiing available in the Kvitfjell and Skeikampen ski areas. Unfortunately warm temperatures have delayed the opening of Geilo and Oppdal, although cooler weather is forecast allowing for snowmaking guns to fire up.

Snowmaking is well underway in the Swedish resorts of Are and Salen in preparation for the upcoming season. Both are scheduled to open on Saturday 22nd November, although this looks unlikely at Salen due to the lack of snow cover. Are has been making a lot of snow so there is a greater chance of skiing at Are this weekend than at Salen.

Germany

All of our featured German resorts are yet to open for the winter season.

Bulgaria

All of our featured Bulgarian resorts are yet to open for the winter season.

Scotland

All of our featured Scottish resorts are yet to open for the winter season.

USA

The skiing is continuing to improve across the United States, with both east and west coast resorts receiving new snowfall this week. As a result more resorts have already opened and many more are due to open for the coming weekend.

More terrain has opened across Colorado following a week of excellent snowmaking conditions combined with last week’s heavy snowfall. Arapahoe Basin (46cm) has opened the Lenawee Face lift enabling top to bottom riding for the first time this season and Copper Mountain (66cm) had three lifts and four trails open on Thursday 20th November. Vail (46cm) will celebrate opening day on Friday 21st with live music and breakfast at the base of Gondola One and skiing across an impressive 540 acres.

Up to a foot of snow is forecast in Utah this weekend, providing Alta (38cm) with the chance of a powder-filled opening weekend. Mammoth Mountain (36/46cm) is currently our open resort in California, but is set to be joined this weekend by Heavenly (76cm).

On the east coast new snow has fallen this week and cold climates have resulted in good snowmaking conditions. On Thursday 20th November Killington (20/41cm) had three lifts open serving 16 runs, but this is set to increase over the weekend. More terrain is set to open at Sunday River (30cm) and both Stowe (15/61cm) and Smugglers’ Notch (45cm) are set to open for skiing on Saturday.

Canada

Conditions across Canada have carried on improving thanks to new snowfall and cold climates. Whistler Mountain (30cm) is opening early on Saturday 22nd November as is Sun Peaks (29cm).

In Alberta, Marmot Basin (32cm) had two lifts open on Thursday 20th November and plans to open the upper mountain for the weekend. Light snow is forecast to hit the Banff resorts (38/53cm), refreshing the pistes and improving what are already excellent early season conditions.

Over on the east coast, both Mont-Sainte-Anne (15/25cm) and Tremblant (50cm) are due to kick off their winter seasons this weekend. Both were reporting fresh snow on Thursday so conditions should be good for the first weekend of skiing.

European Weather Outlook

Europe had an excellent day for weather on Thursday 20th November with all of our featured resorts across the continent seeing mainly clear, sunny skies with the odd patch of thin cloud. There has been plenty of snow falling over the past week so conditions are looking fantastic on the higher resorts and glaciers.

If you are planning on a European skiing trip this weekend then you should be in luck as there is a lot of sunshine forecast for Saturday and parts of Sunday. On the whole it is generally quite cold as mid mountain temperatures are averaging a few degrees above freezing.

North American Weather Outlook

Cold and snowy weather is forecast for the weekend across western Canada and the resorts of Colorado and Utah and in the USA.

The most snow is due to fall in Utah, with resorts such as Alta forecast to receive over a foot of new snow by Monday 24th November. Slightly less snowfall is predicted in Colorado, although temperatures will struggle to get above -10C so snowmaking conditions should be fantastic. Similarly, up to 30cm could fall this weekend in Whistler and across other resorts in British Columbia.

Unfortunately warmer weather is forecast in California, but cooler night-time temperatures should allow for snow to be made.

On the east coast, cold weather and clear skies are forecast for the weekend ahead. Warmer conditions and possibly some drizzle are forecast to arrive on Sunday night so get out on Friday 21st and Saturday 22nd to make the most of the great early season base. 
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