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Published on Friday, December 14, 2018

Where you'll find the best skiing right now

A much-needed storm has delivered fresh snow to the Alps, resulting in substantially improved conditions across the Northern French Alps, much of Switzerland and many Austrian resorts. Although this snowfall was accompanied by severe weather conditions, these have passed for the most part, giving a great opportunity to enjoy the fresh snow. Although longer-termforecasts predicted a second storm, this has for the most part failed to materialise other than snowfall in the Northern French Alps.  Here's a country by country round up, courtesy of the Ski Club.


Resorts across Austria saw some of the most notable improvements in conditions resulting from the storm earlier this week. The Arlberg region, including the resorts of St Anton and Lech / Zurs, have been able to open the vast majority of their ski terrain. Other high altitude resorts, including those glaciers that were forced to temporarily close due to high winds, also re-opened.

These clear conditions are expected to continue over the coming week, except for a brief interlude on Sunday where cloud cover over much of the Alps may deliver some light snowfall, freshening up the pistes as more resorts open for the season. Expect temperatures to dip only slightly below freezing if at all. 


Fresh snowfall early in the week resulted in some fantastic skiing across resorts in the Northern French Alps that were open this week, principally the Three Valleys and the Espace Killy area. The links between the constituent resorts in both areas opened this week, allowing travel from Courchevel to Val Thorens and back. The snowfall also came down in both Alpe D'Huez and Les Deux Alpes, although in far more moderate quantities. There were snowy scenes across many nearby resorts, although for the most part these had not yet opened. 

Although another major storm had previously been forecast to arrive across much of the Alps today, but this has diminished in size. Several major ski areas will start their season, including Paradiski, Portes du Soleil, and the Chamonix Valley.  Expect Sunday to deliver up to 30cm of snow, while Tuesday should deliver the optimal conditionsweather-wise, with sunny skies and slightly more hospitable temperatures to explore the terrain. 



Expect to find well-groomed pistes, with natural snowfall frequently supplemented with artificial production thanks to the cold nights, while there will still be the potential for plenty of untracked off piste; although bear in mind early season conditions persist.

Some of the best skiing is in Verbier, Davos/Klosters (above) and Zermatt. 

This weekend will see more resorts opening, including the inaugural link between Andermatt and Serdun, alongside much of the terrain above Crans Montana, while resort runs in Engelberg will also be accessible as of Saturday.



This weekend will see a range of new terrain opening, including the international link between La Thuile and La Rosiere, alongside further lifts in Kronplatz and Courmayeur. Conditions are fantastic across much of the country, with low temperatures preserving the fresh snowfall.

However, resorts in the Dolomites and more southerly areas such as the Via Lattea are still waiting for a substantial storm to kick-start the season with some natural snowfall. 



Snow was falling over much of Andorra today with cloudy skies over the Vallnord regions, although the snowpack remained relatively thin. Soldeu was scheduled to open its lifts this weekend. 



There have only been marginal increases in the snowpack since the beginning of the season. Both Are (33cm) and Salen (38cm) are lagging behind previous seasons in terms of snowfall, with both currently only operating a fraction of their available downhill and cross country terrain. 



There remained only a small number of lifts open in Bansko, although more are forecast to start spinning this weekend. Much of Pamporovo sat in the cloud level, with some moderate snowfall earlier in the week resulting in it offering some of the better conditions in the region.  

Jansa took advantage of the cold weather to supplement its natural coverage with artificial production, while a bright clear day made the slopes look inviting. 



As forecast, heavy snowfall delivered upwards of 30cm across the Pacific North West, delivering upwards of 50cm to Whistler in just 24 hours, alongside a welcome improvement to the coverage over Mount Hood (84/180cm). Mid-week snowfall over Colorado also delivered fresh coverage to resorts, with Steamboat (50/104cm) and Telluride (60/97cm).

Both California and resorts across New England are experiencing a dry spell, though for the most part the existing coverage has allowed these resorts to already be offering the majority of their lift-accessibleterrain. Expect mild temperatures across the board, sitting around or above freezing in many resorts.   



After seeing an underwhelming pre-season, the snow came down heavily over Whistler Blackcomb throughout this week, growing the mid-mountainbase by more than a metre, with more snow expected over the course of the weekend. Other Resorts in British Columbia saw varied accumulations from the same storm, with Kicking Horse boasting an impressive 36cm within 48 hours, while Revelstoke saw 24cm of very dry powder. These smaller resorts across the Powder Triangle would be great choices to avoid the crowded slopes of Whistler while still taking advantage of the improved conditions. 

After a brief dry spell, winter has returned to Alberta, with both Sunshine Village and Lake Louise reporting moderate overnight snowfall. With both resorts operating their full complement of lifts and all terrain open, these would also be great opportunities for some weekend lines. 



Niseko has seen 103cm of snow over the past seven days. Each of the four constituent mountain areas wereat least partly operational, with Grand Hirafu boasting the largest snowpack.  

Hakuba, having previous not seen enough snowfall to open the mountain will finally be able to do so tomorrow, Saturday 15, with 12m on Friday to allow for some great first tracks of the season. 



Based on current weather forecasts for the next 9 days, the top three resorts for expected snowfall are:


1)    Whistler, Canada, 261cm

2)    Zermatt, USA, 141cm

3)    La Grave, France, 131cm




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