VT postpones opening weekend

18th November 2015, by Abi Butcher

The conditions in Val Thorens today: no skiing here!

The conditions in Val Thorens today: no skiing here!

The big storm forecast for the Alps, which might bring up to 1m of snow this weekend, has forced Val Thorens to postpone its opening.

The French ski resort was due to open its lifts for the season this Saturday, 21 November, but the unpredictable weather conditions have forced Val Thorens to postpone for a week.

In a statement, a spokesman for the resort said although it has snowed more than 50cm since September, the warm temperatures over the past three weeks have created an “unusual situation” and that delaying the opening by one week will allow the season to launch in better conditions.

But judging by the image (above) taken at 11am today from one of Val Thorens’ webcams — the conditions are more suited to sunbathing than skiing.

“The situation has been confounded with reports that heavy snowfall and storms are forecast at altitude for this coming Friday. The slope maintenance team require a minimum of four days to prepare the ski area and make it safe, despite the fact that there are currently twice as many personnel on the ground,” said the statement.

The forecast snow is also likely to jeopardize the additional entertainment Val Thorens had planned to offer and make access to the resort more complicated.

The resort spokesman added: “We are fully aware of how disappointed our skiing friends will be as a result of our decision. Any ski passes and accommodation bought in advance for the opening weekend will be refunded or transferred to the weekend of 28 November.”

Forecasters are still watching the weather patterns, but temperatures are likely to dip on Saturday with stormy weather coming in over the weekend.

WTSS’s snow guru Fraser Wilkin said this morning on Weather to Ski: “Snowfall quantities are always difficult to predict, but at high altitude, say above 2500m, 1m or more of snow is still on the cards by Sunday in some favoured north-western parts of the Alps (eg Tarentaise, Mt Blanc, western Valais). Most other parts of Switzerland, the western Austrian Alps (e.g. Ischgl) and the far north-western Italian Alps (eg Cervinia) should also do well but, with some exceptions, the southern Alps will see less snow, especially in the Dolomites.”

Tomorrow, we will publish our weekly snow report from Fraser. Stay tuned.

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