Outrigger Hotels and Resorts

Published on Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Which resorts will have the best snow this Christmas?

After seemingly endless snowfall, snow cover remains exceptional across the northern French Alps, the northern and western Swiss Alps and western Austria. In the rest of Austria, south-east Switzerland and most of the Italian Alps, snow conditions are more "normal" but the skiing is still generally good for the time of year.

Shrocken, Austria


The resorts of the Vorarlberg (e.g. Lech-Zürs, Warth-Schröcken) have lots of new snow and are skiing superbly right now. Most lifts in Lech-Zürs are now open with settled snow depths of 95/150cm depending on altitude.  Conditions are also powdery in nearby St Anton (80/135cm) and Ischgl (40/100cm), the latter continuing to offer the greatest extent of connected skiing in Austria (204km).

Further east in Mayrhofen (45/75cm), there hasn't been as much snow, but at least temperatures have cooled off a little which has allowed the pistes to firm up again.


Over 1m of fresh snow has fallen above 1500m in the northern French Alps in the last 3-4 days and with the sun finally out it promises to be an epic powder day. Extreme caution is still advised, however, as the avalanche risk is very high. Val Thorens has 160cm of settled snow in resort and 240cm up top, Val d'Isère has 120/215cm. Lower lying resorts such as Les Gets are also in great shape with around 90cm in the village and nearly 2m up top!

Conditions are also good in the southern French Alps, despite having missed out on the heaviest of the recent snow.  Leading the way is Serre Chevalier (115/210cm) where a metre fell in a massive storm last week but Isola 2000 (120/175cm) near Nice, is also in great shape.

Livigno, in Italy


Generally speaking, the Italian Alps have not seen much fresh snow in the last couple of days.  One exception has been the western Aosta valley where Courmayeur (90/170cm) and La Thuile (60/200cm) can both offer powdery pistes.  Further east, snow depths are more modest but conditions in resorts such as Selva Val Gardena (20/70cm) are still perfectly reasonable for the time of year.



There is lots of fresh snow across the northern and western Swiss Alps and snow depths remain exceptional in resorts such as Verbier (95/215cm) which is arguably enjoying its greatest start to the season everr. Zermatt (80/190cm) and Crans Montana (60/200cm) are just two other resorts in prime condition right now, but the most impressive figures of all can be found in famously snowy Andermatt  (75/330cm).

Further east, there is not quite as much snow, particularly in the south-east, where St Moritz (15/110cm) is the only major Swiss resort now slightly below par for the time of year.

Rest of Europe

New snow has fallen in Hemsedal (Norway) where 32 pistes are open and settled snow depths are 65/75cm depending on altitude. In Sweden, however, more snow is still needed in Åre (32cm) despite some decent piste skiing (with a little artificial help).  There isn't much fresh snow in Andorra either but most lifts are open in Soldeu (40-80cm) and Arinsal (25/50cm) where on-piste, at least, conditions are still very good for the time of year. Bulgaria's season is also well under way with 25/75cm in Bansko and good conditions reported on the upper slopes. Skiing is also still possible in Scotland led by Cairngorm (35/75cm), though high winds may affect lift operations today.


Fresh snow has greatly improved conditions in Colorado in recent days where Winter Park now has 81cm mid-mountain. Jackson Hole (Wyoming) has also had fresh snow to add to its decent early start. Here the settled snow depths are 130/173cm depending on altitude. Further west, Mammoth (135/195cm) has had 50cm of new snow in the last 24hrs and continues to offer the greatest extent of terrain in the US. The deepest snow of all, however, is in the Pacific north-west where Mount Baker (Washington) has had about 1.5m of new snow since Sunday and the upper base is 408cm! We reckon that this is the deepest on-piste base in the world!


The excellent early season conditions continue in western Canada where it is forecast to snow all day in Whistler (172cm mid mountain) and prospects are excellent at all altitudes. Further east there is also lots of new snow in Fernie (184cm upper mountain base) and Revelstoke (167cm), and all resorts in both Alberta and British Columbia are in good shape.

For more information, go to weathertoski.co.uk


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