Wintry blast in the Alps set to continue
The wintry blast in the Alps looks set to continue until around the middle of this week. Following massive snow storms, some are saying that it is the best start to winter in recent years. Over a metre has fallen in many resorts since Thursday when the dump began. Now, after a brief respite and some glorious weekend skiing in some areas, more snow is expected, along with strong winds and biting sub-zero temperatures.
The bad news is… avalanche risk is extremely high and there have already been some incidents in Tignes, Lech and Verbier in the past week alone.
The good news is… that most resorts have a excellent snow base now and many have opened early.
France currently leads the charts in snow-fall depth! Some of the deepest snow can be found in the Three Valleys, with over 200cm of snow in Val Thorens. The links to Méribel and Courchevel opened last Saturday (8 December). Flaine and Les Carroz in the Grand Massif opened for a taster weekend this weekend, thanks to excellent conditions; the resorts open officially on 15 December.
In Switzerland, Zermatt, Saas-Fee, St Moritz, Davos and Verbier are already open, with decent snow cover (around 130cm in Verbier, 110cm in St Moritz) and with more to come!
Resorts in the eastern Alps and some parts of Austria have not had as much snow as the western Alps, but that will change in the early part this week, with the promise of more fresh snow in the region. Lech already has around a metre of snow on its upper slopes, and Obergurgl is reporting between 50-150cm of snow on its pistes. St Anton, Ischgl and Obertauern are among the open resorts in Austria this week.
Italy has had less snow than the northern Alps, but nonetheless has had an excellent start to the season, and more sunshine! Resorts currently open include Madonna di Campiglio (130cm), Monterosa and Cervinia (160cm).
It’s not just the Alps that are enjoying the white stuff. The Pyrenees have also received a significant dump. In Andorra, both the Grandvalira and Vallnord ski areas are now open. There’s good cover in Scandinavia, but it’s very chilly and in Scotland the resorts are also opening.
Across the pond, western Canada’s has the best conditions at present, with plenty of fresh snow in the past few days. Whistler alone enjoyed over a ½ metres of new snow on its upper slopes last week alone.
California also had a decent dump in the Lake Tahoe resorts, with around a metre of fresh snow, as did Mammoth Mountain further south. Conditions are now improving in the Rockies, despite a slow start, with more snow expected in the next few days.
Some of the FSN team will be touring the French Alps next week and Austria the following – Christmas week! Click back soon for our latest reports.