It’s been a pretty spectacular week for snowfall in Western Europe with very heavy snow in the Alps, Dolomites and Pyrenees. Many areas have had more than a metre of snowfall since this time last week, most at least 50cm.
More resorts have opened early including the first for 2019-20 in both the Dolomites and the Pyrenees, with an ever growing list of big name ski areas already open and quite a few more set to join them over the week ahead.
Over in North America the snowfall has not been quite so good in November so far as it was in October but there are now more areas open in the USA than any other countries as lots of centres have opening in the east and Midwest now it is cold enough for snowmaking guns to work.
Austria has had one of its snowiest November weeks in recent memory with some of the already-open glacier areas reporting as much as 1.2 metres of snowfall – and there’s much more still in the forecast over the weekend. Obergurgl and Schladming are the latest areas to open taking the number of centres open in to double figures here, the only country except the US with so many areas open so early in the season.
France has seen some big snowfalls this week again too, if not quite so much as Austria in the past few days, although here too there’s much more in the forecast. Tignes remains the only area open but after some big snowfalls in the French Pyrenees this week (more than in the Alps in fact), Porte Puymorens has announced it will open this weekend. Chamonix had said it would try to open this weekend but now appears to have decided not to. Next up is likely to be Val Thorens next week.
Italy’s season is looking increasingly good too. The biggest news of the week was Cortina (above) opening three weeks early last Sunday but there have been big snowfalls here too with 24 hour totals of 30-50cm midweek at areas including Livigno (also opened early) and recently opened Sulda. So we’re looking good here too with much more snow forecast as we run up to the start of the main season in a few weeks time.
The season got underway at Andermatt, Glacier 3000 (Gstaad) and Verbier last weekend, Crans Montana and Davos are due to open this coming weekend, by which point Switzerland too will have more than 10 areas open. There have been big snowfalls in Switzerland too and again here, much more forecast over the next few days – so it’s looking good for base building at areas not yet open, and powder for those that are, once the weather clears.
The ski season in the Pyrenees got underway on Wednesday with the alps 2500 region in Spain again the first in the area to open. Another Spanish area, Formigal, plans to open Saturday as does French are Porte Puymorens. The mountains have had good snowfalls too with most ski areas reporting at least 50cm of snow, some as much as 125cm. Here too the snow is forecast to keep falling this weekend.
Scandinavia’s ski season has started well also with cold temperatures and some fresh snow. About a dozen areas are open now in Finland, Norway and Sweden with some of the region’s biggest resorts including Are in Sweden and Hemsedal in Norway due to open this weekend.
Scotland is seeing a proper autumn for a change with low temperature and snow building on the mountain tops. It could all change overnight f course, but sop far things are looking promising and skiers have already been spotted hiking up Cairngorm to ski down on the thin cover. The lifts will hopefully start operating at Scottish centres in December.
The focus on Canadian skiing is Alberta where five resorts have now opened including the three centres around Banff and Marmot Basin up near Jasper. Upto 25cm of fresh snowfall was reported there earlier this week. The first area has also opened in Quebec in the east thanks to a temperature drop. Mont Saint-Sauveur is now open.
The US now has far more ski areas open than any other country, with the first areas opening in more than a dozen mostly Eastern and Midwest states in the past few days. Most have opened thanks to cold weather allowing snowmaking systems to build bases but there has also been lots of natural snow. Big name resorts opening last weekend included Breckenridge and Mammoth (pictured above) with more including Steamboat and Vail on the list of areas opening this weekend.