The view above Zermatt this morning...
Hello! We called it autumn snow last week, but it's looking a lot like winter in many mountains now! There have been some big snowfalls, and there are more in the forecast...
This Week's Snow Headlines
- More resorts open (and opening) in Canada, Finland, Italy, Switzerland, Norway and the USA for the 17-18 season.
- Big snowfalls in the Alps, down to 1000m altitude.
- Stubai reports 1 metre of snow in 48 hrs.
- Kicking Horse reports 92cm of snow in 48 hours.
- Six Canadian resort open/opening.
- Snow in the Dolomites and Pyrenees.
- At least a dozen ski areas open in US this weekend, the first country to reach double figures for 17-18.
- Passo Stelvio ends 2017 summer ski season with 70cm snowfall.
It has certainly felt a lot like (a good) winter over the past six days with some huge snowfalls recorded at a few resorts on each side of the Atlantic - and many other areas getting 20-60cm of snow too, with snowfall right down to resort level in many cases.
The ski season has got, or is about to get, going in a number of countries and regions including Canada and eastern North America and the number of areas planning to be open this weekend, more than 40, is about double the number that were open last weekend.
The snow has been widespread too with good snowfalls in the Dolomites, Pyrenees, Scandinavia and even a covering on Scottish hills. The good news is that so far at least temperatures are looking like they'll stay low in many areas with more snow in the forecast too.
It's early days still, of course, but keep your fingers crossed!
In the Forecast
Following on the heels of the snows of last weekend we have, yes, another round incoming.
The next week should see temperatures several degrees below seasonal averages (i.e. cold for November) across most of the European mountains.
From late Saturday, we expect some heavy snows for the central and western Alps (e.g. Chamonix, Zermatt and surrounds), to low altitudes at times.
Snows are likely to be a little less intense than those of last weekend, but should fall over a wider area as we move into next week.
The longer-term (7 days+) forecast is also looking promising at the moment but that's very uncertain at this point.
OPENING TIMES SUBJECT TO CHANGE!
We do need to emphasise this! 8)
We've been hearing that a few of the resorts planning to open this coming weekend, due to the snow last weekend, are now doubtful due to the forecast (snow and wind) - so do check locally, immediately before you travel!
Always check local conditions and resort opening times directly before travelling!
See when and where it's going to snow...
Re-publication :- our Snow Report Summary, being the text above this line, is free to re-publish, but must be clearly credited to www.J2ski.com with text including "J2Ski Snow Report" linked to this page - thank you.
Austria has seen some 'epic' snowfalls on its glacier slopes over the weekend leading to great pictures and video of resort staff diving in to deep powder snow. The biggest accumulations were up to a full metre but all eight open glaciers reported at least 60cm of snowfall, so it added up to 'a lot' wherever you looked.
More snow has been falling mid-week and it's expected to continue through the weekend and in to next week too.
No new Austrian areas have opened in November so far and it's another week or so until the next, Obergurgl, is
scheduled to, but Kitzbuhel, which opened last month using snow stored from last winter, reported 15cm of fresh snow on its old snow as the snowfall in the alps continued down to lower elevations on Sunday.
Lots of snow in France to the great excitement of the many ski areas readying to open there over the next 2-5 weeks, with Val Thorens first up.
For the coming week though Tignes remains the only open French ski area with a 10-30cm base on the glacier, although now with fresh snow cover.
Italy has seen big snowfalls in the past week. It's a little galling, perhaps, in the Dolomites where there has been precious little snow actually during the past three ski seasons, to be heavily dumped on in early November. On the other hand, if temperatures stay low, it's clearly good news for the start of the 17-18 ski season at the end of this month. In a further irony, one of the three Italian areas open at the weekend, Passo Stelvio, ended its 2017 season on Sunday with 70cm of fresh snowfall.
So this week the ski areas open, with fresh powder snow, are Cervina and Val Senales with a third area Sulda, also reported to have opened with a 30cm base. Two of Italy's top resorts – Bormio and Livigno – have also hinted they may open early. Bormio issued a snow report and image of groomed slopes reporting a 45cm base on Tuesday whilst Livigno said it had had 60cm of fresh snow and wondered if it should wait until its scheduled opening date of 1st December, seeking customer feedback on social media. Most recently, Passo Tonale has announced its Presena glacier ski slopes will open at the weekend.
Switzerland has seen more ski areas open over the past few weeks than any other country, and like the rest of the Alps there were big snowfalls here at the weekend, especially on higher slopes where up to 70cm was reported (at Glacier 3000). The snow fell down to resort level in many cases too though, and Zermatt is reporting 5cm at resort level now.
Davos and Laax were the latest to open last weekend, joining Engelberg, Saas Fee, Zermatt, the Diavolezza glacier near St Moritz and the aforementioned Glacier 3000 near Gstaad. Andermatt expects to open this weekend and Verbier has announced it's opening on Friday taking the Swiss areas-open-already total to nine – equal with Austria.
Davos opened the Parsenn cable car to access slope "No. 15 Totalp" last weekend and plans to again for a second "Pre-Season Opening" on 11/12 November with the official start of the season is on Friday, 17 November 2017, if the conditions are good.
Laax only opened on Saturday in the end as snow and strong winds closed it on Sunday and it says similar conditions this coming weekend means it has no plans to open.
No ski areas are anywhere near opening in Scotland but spirits were raised in the Highlands by the first white coat of the autumn on Scottish hills on Sunday. Temperatures have stayed low since and more snow is forecast at the weekend and in to next week.
It is still three weeks until the first ski areas in the Pyrenees are likely to open but most of the region received a good snowfall earlier this week and again in the last 24 hours so things are currently looking promising. Snowfall of up to 40cm has been reported so far.
No major ski centres are open yet however it has been reported that there has been freshg snow in Bulgaria and that the small Czech ski centre of Monínec was able to open one of its ski runs for the final weekend of October using its all-weather snowmaking system. It's the second year in a row that the centre, close to Prague, has recorded an October opening. The slope that's accessible is the 'Hotel slope' a gentle run for beginners and families served by a 170m long drag lift.
There's been a lot of fresh snow in Scandinavia too. A second ski area has opened in Finnish Lapland, Levi, ahead of staging World Cup races this weekend. It joins already open Ruka which has opened more terrain. In Norway Beitostolen has opened a gentle run and joins Geilo, which opened a run at the end of September. For Sweden the centres at Idre Fjäll and Kåbdalis have both opened a run a piece.
There have been some big snowfalls in Western Canada and temperatures have also been double digits below freezing so it's a good start to the season there. Kicking Horse, not yet open, reported 92cm (over three feet) of weekend snow.
Mt Norquay at Banff was first in the country to open for 17-18, last Friday. It was joined by fellow Banff resorts Lake Louise and sunshine opening early for the season over the past few days. Lake Louise has over a metre of snow lying and more than 40 runs open making it a contender for one of the most terrain open and best conditions in the world this week.
Nakiska also opened last weekend and Marmot Basin plans to open this coming weekend, as does Cypress Mountain, the first in BC.
The US looks set to overtake Austria this weekend as the country with the most ski areas open in the world. With the exception of a region in the Northwest of the country and California, there has not been as huge amount of snow here yet, but resorts are opening anyway, in most cases thanks to snowmaking, and the number of resorts in the US set to be open by Saturday should be in double figures – the first country to get in to double digits so far this season.
The East Coast should have at least five areas open – each with fairly marginal conditions and machine made snow on a couple of runs. Killington opened on Wednesday and it's due to be joined by fellow Vermont resorts Okemo and Mount Snow as well as Sunday River in Maine and Wildcat Mountain in New Hampshire at the weekend.
In Colorado, already open Arapahoe Basin and Loveland will be joined by Breckenridge, Copper and Keystone at the weekend.
And at Lake Tahoe – where there has been up to 40cm of fresh snow - already open Mt Rose in Nevada was joined yesterday by Boreal Mountain.
An 11th US area that opened last week is the little ski hill of Trollhaugen in Minnesota.