Right on the heels of a stormy but fruitful year, the European ski season is primed for a snow packed winter with resorts throughout the region gearing up to welcome ski-enthusiasts.
As a result of Storm Ciaran and the ensuing storms across Western Europe, a cold front has ushered in a serious dump of snow, setting us up nicely for the coming winter season.
The start of November has seen plenty of snowfall across the Alps, from Avoriaz and Chamonix to Slovenia. Even the Pyrenees has seen a good dusting of snow, with 3rd of November seeing nearly 3 cms of snow falling across the Grandvalira ski resort.
Parts of Austria have also seen heavy snow, with Hintertux Glacier seeing 6.5 cms, and Solden seeing over 5 cms since November 1st. The forecast in the Tyrol is for heavy snow in the coming week.
But, the European ski season ahead is looking good with more snowfall expected even at lower levels. As we mentioned, at this time of year, the snow conditions remain quite ‘wintry’, which isn’t ideal for those bluebird poweder days.
However, those seeking an early season session on the slopes should be looking to either the Austrian glacier resorts of Hintertux, Solden or Stubai; or check out Zermatt in Switzerland which is currently open.
Val Thorens, the highest ski resort in Europe, has seen an exceptional layer of snow, with the opening date moved forward to November 18th 2023. And Chamonix is also open and ready to welcome skiers and snowboarders since the 18th November (weekends only until 2nd December), having seen consistent snowfall over the month.
If you’re itching to ride powder ASAP, then look towards Scandinavia and the Nordic resorts. Some Swedish and Norwegian resorts such as Hafjell and Kvitfjell in Norway; and Levi in Finland are already open for business, and have incredible powder conditions. However, the actual weather is still pretty wintry, meaning you most likely want to let the conditions settle a bit before you book your flight to Norway
Although fluctuating between 2000m and 3000m, resorts like Tignes and Les 2 Alpes have seen generous preciptation with significant snow cover above 3000m. A promising prospect indeed as the winter season fast approaches.
However, lower-lying snow is expected to melt due to a temporary Foehn wind – which is a warmer wind that often affects the lower ranges of mountains. But, don’t worry as cooler air is set to return from mid-week, with the likelihood of gathering momentum into a significant snowfall.
In summary, the European ski season is shaping up well, with some good early season snow coverage.
Header image credit: Val Thorens Webcams