Promising early conditions in the Alps

15th November 2013, by Fraser Wilkin

Obergurgl opened for skiing today (Thursday). This was the scene in the Hochgurgl sector.

Obergurgl opened for skiing today (Thursday). This was the scene in the Hochgurgl sector.

Latest snow report from Weather to Ski. Updated: 5.30pm Thursday 14 November 2013

Early season conditions look promising in the Alps, with good snow cover at altitude in most regions. Major exceptions to this rule include the far southern French Alps, and parts of the south-western Italian Alps. However, this situation should soon be rectified as the southern Alps look likely to be favoured by the latest storm, due tonight and tomorrow (Friday).

A more prolonged and intense wintry spell seems likely next week.


There’s plenty of snow up high in Austria, especially on the glaciers, where conditions have been excellent all autumn. Lower down there is still little if any base to speak of, but it’s early days and there is nothing unusual about that. Obergurgl is the first entirely non-glacial resort to open its area today. It’s still looking a bit thin at resort level, but there are 13 lifts running and a 55cm base up top. Otherwise, the pick of the skiing is at Hintertux (37km pistes, 155cm snow), Stubai (16 pistes, 110cm snow) and Sölden (37km, 120cm snow). Sölden also plans to open its first non-glacial terrain tomorrow (Friday). Light snowfall is forecast to relatively low levels tonight and tomorrow with a more pronounced return to winter next week.


Tignes (7 lifts, 200cm snow) is still the only resort in France to open daily. However, thanks to the recent snowfall, it will be joined by Alpe d’Huez (50cm snow) for an unscheduled two day opening this weekend. On the whole, snow depths are above average for the time of year, particularly in the northern Alps. More snow is forecast tonight and tomorrow, generally in moderate quantities, but with a chance of some heavier falls close to the Italian border. A more significant return to winter is on the cards next week.


Generally speaking, Italian resorts missed the heaviest of last weekend’s snow but should do better this time around with significant falls in many resorts on Friday. That said, skiing is still confined to the glaciers at Val Senales (7 pistes, 260cm snow), Presana (1 piste, 100cm snow) and Cervinia (110cm snow). Here most of the action is still on the Swiss side but it is possible to ski down to Cime Bianche Laghi with further openings on the Italian side planned for this weekend.


Like elsewhere in the Alps there is plenty of snow at altitude and excellent skiing on the glaciers in Switzerland. The best resorts right now are still Zermatt (13 lifts, 205cm snow) and Saas-Fee (5 pistes, 220cm snow). However Verbier has also opened two non-glacial runs (weekends only). Other options include the one run on the Diavolezza glacier near St Moritz and Glacier 3000 near Gstaad (9 pistes, 150cm snow). Widespread if mostly light to moderate snow is expected across the Swiss resorts in the next 36 hours with some heavier falls possible close to the Italian border.

Rest of Europe

A handful of resorts are now open in Scandinavia including Levi (Finland) which has 5 lifts running and about 20cm of settled snow. Elsewhere, Cairngorm in Scotland also managed some very limited skiing last weekend. The resort is now closed but may open again this weekend (decision pending at the time of writing).


Autumn snowfalls have allowed more and more resorts to open including Breckenridge (5 lifts, 46cm snow up top) and Copper Mountain (4 lifts, 48cm snow). Aspen has also recently announced that it will open this weekend and daily from 23 November. The forecast is promising too, with widespread snow expected to low levels across many western US resorts over the next few days.


A number of resorts are also open in western Canada including Banff/Lake Louise (2 lifts, 40cm snow up top) and Whistler is expected to follow suit this Saturday.

Snow report courtesy of Weather to Ski

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