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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.
An excellent start to the season was enjoyed in the Pyrenees over the weekend, thanks to upwards of 50cm of fresh snow at the tail end of last week. A massive 93km of slopes were open in the Grandvalira area in Andorra on Monday 30th Npvember and Baqueria-Beret in Spain had 100km of pistes open – the most in Europe on Monday.
The season is also underway in Scandinavia, although the available terrain remains relatively limited and much of the skiing is on artificial snow. With a cool and changeable week of weather in the forecast expect more lifts to open up and we head into December.
We are still waiting for the first Scottish resort to open for the 2015/2016 season, but with thanks to some very heavy snowfall over the weekend a decent base is building. Glencoe caught almost 30cm of snow in a three hour period on Sunday morning, 29th November, which is exceptionally heavy snowfall.
Meanwhile across in the USA the excellent start to the season in the Rockies continues, with our featured resorts in Colorado and Utah all reporting fresh snow in recent days. Pistes will be quieter during the week ahead as the Thanksgiving crowds dissipate, which should result in some fantastic skiing on empty slopes and under mostly sunny skies.
Canada has also seen a great start to the season, with most of our featured resorts now open for business. More snow is forecast for later in the week too, especially at Whistler and the other resorts of western British Columbia. This is great news ahead of the fast approaching Christmas holiday season.
Due to recent snowfall more terrain is becoming available as the weeks go by, with Kirchberg (5/47cm) greatly increasing its lift operations over the weekend.
In the Salzberg region, the resorts of Badgastein (30/40cm), Bad Hofgastein (30/40cm) and Bad Kleinkirchheim (10/20cm) were able to get the first lifts of the season turning rather unexpectedly over the weekend, although only in a very limited capacity.
Zell am See (0/30cm) is also open for snowsports, although skiing is limited to five of the upper slopes. The resort runs are currently closed.
The weather across the Austrian resorts is forecast to improve from the middle of this week with a sunny weekend on the cards for many. We can expect to see higher temperatures as a result, and the freezing level will fluctuate greatly from 2,000m to 3,000m.
Many resorts are planning to start their winter lift operations this coming weekend, including Alpbach, Axamer Lizum, Brand, Damuls/Mellau, Dorfgastein/Grossarl, Ellmau, Fieberbrunn, Finkenberg, Flachau, Fugen, Galter, Gargellen, Hopfgarten, Igls, Lech, Maria Alm, Mayrhofen, Saalbach, Scheffau, Seefeld, Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis, Silveretta Montafon, Soll, St Anton, St Christoph, Waidring, Warth-Schrocken, Westendorf, Wildschonau, Zell am Zillar and Zurs.
The pick of the conditions on Monday were at Val Thorens (90/120cm) in the Three Valleys, where 18 of the resort’s 31 lifts were spinning. Some great skiing was to be had in the Peclet sector in particular and the link into the Orelle Valley was also opened up over the weekend. Val d’Isere (30/60cm) and Tignes (30/100cm) were also offering some excellent early season skiing conditions, although high winds forced the highest lifts of the Grande Motte to close on Monday.
Some decent skiing was on offer in the Chamonix (35/150cm) Valley over the weekend, with the resort of Les Houches (35/50cm) also running a few lifts for an early preview. Conditions on the Grand Montets were reportedly excellent, with one Ski Club staff member who was out in resort reporting some great early-season snow conditions.
Lots of major resorts are looking to open on Saturday 5th November, with some good opening day conditions likely despite the sunny forecast for the week ahead. These resorts include Chamrousse, Courchevel, Isola 200, La Tania, Les Deux Alpes, Les Menuires, Megeve, Meribel, Pra Loup, Serre Chevalier and Villard-de-Lans. Please note that this list may change in the coming days.
Sadly high winds limited lift operations at the resorts that were looking to open the most terrain – Saas Fee (12/125cm) and Zermatt (10/152cm). These winds are set to die down however by the middle of the week, so expect many more lifts than the four lifts that were running at each on Monday.
Therefore the best skiing in the country on Monday was probably at Verbier (33/50cm), where 11 lifts were spinning to access some good conditions in the La Chaux and Attelas sector. It was also possible to return to the town at the end of the day on snow too thanks to great snowmaking conditions in the past week. Davos/Klosters (6/40cm) were also offering some decent early-season skiing and they had 13 lifts turning on Monday.
Many resorts opened for weekend skiing on Saturday 28th November, including Grindelwald (25/69cm), Murren (37/69cm) and Wengen (30/55cm) in the Jungfrau Region. Some great piste conditions for the time of year were reported which bodes well for the winter ahead. Another area to open up for a pre-season ski was the Val d’Anniviers and the linked resorts of Grimentz (20/70cm) and Zinal (20/70cm).
Sunshine and increasingly mild temperatures are forecast for the week ahead in the Swiss Alps. It should dip below zero overnight however, enabling snowmaking systems to fire through the early hours to further top up the coverage on many resorts’ most important runs.
Despite the lack of recent heavy snowfall the majority of Dolomiti Superski resorts, including Alta Badia, Campitello, Canazei and Selva Gardena, are planning to open for the winter season on 4th December. Cavalese (30/40cm), and Cortina (10/15cm), also part of the Dolomiti ski area, are now open for skiing thanks to the efforts of the snowmaking teams. There’s good skiing on the strips of white they’ve been able to make far, allowing visitors to ski on 16 runs at Cavalese and four at Cortina.
Kronplatz (8/15cm) is also now open, with artificial snow enhancing the cover and providing great skiing on the 38km of open runs.
Madesimo (0/20cm) is in a similar situation offering skiing only on manmade snow although the amount of skiing available is very limited.
Cervinia (20/145cm) was temporarily closed for skiing on Monday 30th November.
The large linked Milky Way ski area plans to open on 12th December.
The pick of the conditions on Monday 30th November were to be found in the Grandvalira region, with the linked resorts of Soldeu (20/50cm), Pas de la Casa (30/50cm) and El Tarter (20/50cm) offering 93km of groomed terrain following 50cm of new snow on Thursday 26th November. Arcalis (20/50cm) in the Vallnord area was also open on Monday, with six lifts spinning under sunny skies to access so very decent early-season conditions. Sunshine and increasingly mild temperatures are forecast for the week ahead.
Further inland in Norway the snowfall totals have been more modest, but cold temperatures have enabled Geilo (20/50cm), Hemsedal (15/25cm), Lillehammer (15/25cm) and Trysil (10/15cm) to open more slopes over the weekend. The snowpack is relatively thin but the snow conditions are good, with packed powder to be found on piste.
Across in Sweden, Are (7/17cm) is still waiting to open up for the season, although with fresh snow having fallen, more in the forecast and cold temperatures on Monday skiing looks set to kick off shortly. Salen (5/10cm) opened up at the end of last week and seven lifts were running on Monday, with 5cm of fresh snow resulting in some decent early-season skiing on the Tandadalen and Lindvallen hills.
Garmisch Partenkirchen (25/40cm) will open on the Zugspitze glacier for the winter season on 4th December, with the lower lying Classic ski area opening around the middle of December.
The Fellhorn area at Oberstdorf (10/80cm) is planning to open on 5th December, with the other parts of Oberstdorf opening between 12th and 19th December.
Utah also fared well over the weekend, with up to 10cm falling at all of our featured resorts. The best conditions are to be found at present at the linked resorts of Alta (56cm) and Snowbird (56cm), where seven lifts are turning across the area. Monday’s snow is set to clear through to leave a stunningly sunny week – perfect for enjoying the new snow.
The excellent start to the season in California continued over the weekend, with sunny skies providing excellent overhead conditions in which to enjoy the fresh snow that fell at the end of last week. Mammoth (61/122cm) has the deepest base depth in the country and with 15 lifts spinning, the variety of skiing on offer was great for the time of year on Monday. Another snowstorm is set to sweep in on Thursday, dropping a further 30cm of fresh snow on our resorts which should lead to even more lift openings in the coming days.
Sadly the same cannot be said for the east coast, with most of our featured resorts relying entirely on artificial snow following less than 10cm of natural snowfall this season so far. Despite the lack of the white stuff, all of our featured resorts (apart from Attitash) were offering skiing on Monday. Killington (31cm) was running the most lifts, with six lifts turning to access 21 trails as well as the Reason Terrain Park which was home to eight features on Monday. Sadly a sustained period of cold weather is not looking likely in the weather outlook, but two cold days on Thursday and Friday could result in some natural snowfall and at least suitable snowmaking temperatures.
In Alberta, more and more terrain is being made available to riders daily. Banff is operating at nearly full capacity, with Mount Norquay (89cm) able to open up the Mystic Lift and North American Chair over the weekend. Overall, there is great snow coverage in the area and still pockets of fresh snow to be found. This should be given a boost from the middle of the week when a snow storm is set to move in for the remainder of the week.
It is a similar story in much of British Colombia. Fantastic ski conditions were on offer in both Marmot Basin (68cm) and Revelstoke (112cm) as a result of a temperature inversion, whereby colder air stays in the valley and warmer air is pushed to higher altitudes. A series of weathers systems look likely to disrupt the recent period of settled weather, with on and off snow forecast from the middle of the week.
Over on the east coast Mont Sainte Anne (10cm) has closed temporarily and will look to get lifts turning again on Friday 4th December. Tremblant (10cm) was able to open up more terrain over the weekend thanks to its huge snow making push being made of late. Looking to the week ahead and a period of unsettled weather looks likely to move in, with the possibility of a small amount of snow later in the week. Temperatures should remain low which should see both resorts able to continue their snow making operations.
European Weather Outlook
A sunny and mild week is also expected in the Pyrenees, with temperatures of +7C forecast at mid-mountain level right through until early next week. The only blip looks to be on Friday when cooler air digs in, dropping the freezing level to below 2,000m and bringing some light snow showers to the mountains.
Similar weather is predicted for Bulgaria and much of the rest of Eastern Europe, although some light snow is forecast to start the week. Temperatures look set to remain slightly lower at mid-mountain than further west in the Alps and Pyrenees so snow preservation should be slightly better.
Another changeable week of weather is forecast for Scandinavia, with Monday’s cold temperatures and snow clearing through Norway to leave slightly milder and generally sunnier conditions. Some snow showers are however possible in particular on Tuesday in Sweden and Wednesday in Norway.
More wild wintry weather is forecast for Scotland as we head into the start of December. Another series of storms are set to sweep through the Highlands on Tuesday-Wednesday and Friday-Sunday, dropping snow at times, but also sadly spells of rain too. This however is good base-building weather however as the freeze-thaw cycles set up a firm base across the main slopes.
North American Weather Outlook
The snow of Monday 30th November looks set to clear through Colorado to leave behind sunny and very cold conditions (-10C at mid-mountain). Temperatures look set to rise slowly and peak at around 0C at mid-mountain by Thursday 3rd December, before a cold front arrives on Saturday 5th to bring colder temperatures and a few snow flurries. Utah, Wyoming and Montana can expect very similar weather which should result in some great overhead conditions to go with the excellent early-season snow.
Mostly sunny weather is forecast for California this week, with temperatures set to hover just below freezing all week. Unlike further east in the Rockies, a snowstorm is set to sweep in on Thursday – dropping as much as 30cm of fresh snow on our featured resorts, with Squaw Valley set to see the greatest snowfall totals.
Across on the east coast winter sadly remains somewhat on pause, with more mild and damp weather forecast for Tuesday and Wednesday 2nd. Colder air looks set to dig in from the north for a time on Thursday 3rd and Friday 5th December bringing some light snow showers, before the mild air returns in time for the weekend.