Travel Latest snow report for skiers heading to the Alps,...

Latest snow report for skiers heading to the Alps, the US and Canada

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Ski resorts across the world are celebrating a strong start to the season as the winter’s first holidaymakers prepare to spend the festive period in the mountains.

In stark contrast to December 2022 – when experts were alarmed by the lack of snow lying on slopes in the Alps – snow depths have already reached over 3 metres in the Chamonix Valley and are looking equally as promising across the key European ski areas.

A year ago, across the Atlantic, resorts were battling to open as they were repeatedly buried by a succession of massive snow storms. This year, warm weather means Californian resorts are struggling to open. By contrast, conditions in the Rockies are starting to improve, after several feet of snowfall this month. 

It’s a mixed bag for Europe’s other ski regions. Scandinavia has seen very cold temperatures as daylight hours rapidly diminish. The Pyrenees have been struggling with record-high temperatures in December, but Spain’s Baqueira Beret has managed to open 60km of runs and Andorra’s Pas de la Casa has over 40km in operation. In Eastern Europe, Slovakia’s Jasna has more than half of its runs open and Bulgaria’s season starts at Bansko and Borovets this weekend. It’s looking promising in Scotland too, with centres aiming to open for Christmas week.

Looking East, Japan is having a similar start to North America – potentially also a victim of the El Niño weather pattern. Niseko has got snow lying several feet deep up top and about a quarter of its terrain is open so far. 

Use our tool below to find the latest conditions in your favourite resort and read the full forecast below.

Snow depths

France

“It’s like the good old days,” enthuses Nick Morgan who has run tour operator Le Ski in the French Alps for more than 40 years. He’s referring to the fact that the snow above 1,800m is already over 2 metres deep at many top French resorts – statistics rarely seen until at least mid-winter. The snowfall has continued down to valley floors too. Many French centres started their seasons early including Avoriaz, La Plagne, Tignes and Val Thorens. This week saw warmer temperatures and heavy rain – which forced the avalanche risk to increase in places – but snowfall returned by Wednesday.

The forecast

Temperatures continue to dip and widespread sunshine is forecast for the weekend. It will feel warmer, but stay dry to start the new week before temperatures fall again and snowfall returns.

Discover the best ski resorts in France with our guide


Austria

It’s been a dream start to the season in Austria with consistently low temperatures and regular snowfall at low altitudes. The European nation has been the global leader in opening ski areas early throughout autumn and for the amount of terrain currently open is the most anywhere. It’s the only major ski nation where, on average, each area has more than half of its slopes open already. Ischgl, with its cross-border area linked to Swiss Samnaun, has had the most terrain open this month, with 200km skiable. The larger Arlberg region, home to Lech and St Anton, is set to overtake soon.  

The forecast

It will be cold but sunny through the weekend, before turning spring-like but staying dry early next week before the temperature turns colder with snowfall returning midweek.

Discover the best ski resorts in Austria with our guide


Italy

Italy has shared in the early-season snow bounty with Livigno and Madonna di Campiglio opening early last month. The huge Dolomiti Superski region opened a week ago with 800km of its 1,200km of slopes open from day one. The base depths are not quite so spectacular on the eastern side of the country as on the west, but good enough.

The forecast

It will be sunny and dry through the weekend and into next week. Worrying double-digit temperatures are likely to be reached in the afternoons below 1,500m altitude.

Discover the best ski resorts in Italy with our guide


Switzerland

Swiss ski resorts have been posting big snowfalls to start the season, especially in the west of the country. Gstaad’s Glacier 3000 is already at a 2.2-metre base depth. Crans-Montana posted 1 metre in the resort and double that up top last weekend, however, snow depths at the resort have seen the biggest drop since then – reflecting recent warm, wet weather. Temperatures have now dropped and snowfall returned.

The forecast

Snowfall is clearing to give way to a sunny week ahead. Potentially rather warm temperatures early next week, but cooling as the week goes on.

Discover the best ski resorts in Switzerland with our guide


Canada

Canada’s ski season began in Banff over a month ago and has been slowly getting going ever since. The last week has brought powder to the Rockies, allowing waist-deep freeriding at Lake Louise, Fernie and others. Whistler Blackcomb is about 20 per cent open and needs more snow. Tremblant has the deepest cover in the East – but also needs much more.

The forecast

The forecast is for cloudy skies and cold temperatures across Canada’s ski slopes, rarely getting above freezing. Limited snow is forecast until later in the week.

Discover the best ski resorts in Canada with our guide


USA

The Rockies have the best snow in the US at present. Aspen, Steamboat, Vail and Winter Park have all reported several feet of snowfall this month so far. Jackson Hole has already passed the 100-inch (2.5 metres) seasonal-snowfall-to-date mark. Things are improving on the East Coast too with snowfall in Maine and Vermont, but unfortunately, California and the West continue to struggle. Heavenly has less than 10 per cent of its slopes open.

The forecast

It will be a sunny weekend across many US ski areas, with not much snow forecast next week in the West. The East should see snowfall return early in the week, but warmer temperatures could bring rain too.

Discover the best ski resorts in the US with our guide

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