Although temperatures have been warm in some of the world’s leading ski regions, there have also been several significant snowfalls throughout October and in many ways conditions are looking better at the start of November 2017 than they did a year ago.
In the last week of October there were some significant snowfalls in the alps, parts of the US (With more snow forecast there) as well as everywhere from Scandinavia to Japan and the Pyrenees to Turkey.
More than 25 ski areas are now own in Europe and North America with hundreds more set to open in the latter half of November, before thousands join them in early December. Snowmaking ahead of the season starting is underway on higher slopes in the Alps and North America.
It’s mostly glacier ski areas open still as we enter November in the Alps – there are nine resorts open in Austria, seven in Switzerland, three in Italy and one – Tignes – in France. Austria’s Kitzsteinhorn is pictured below. Davos and Laax in Switzerland are due to open next, on 4th November.
But from mid-November things will change when high altitude areas that don’t rely on glaciers so much – like Obergurgl and Val Thorens begin to open. It’s already snowing at Obertauern, below.
In fact one resort – KItzbuhel – without a glacier does already have a few runs open, although they were clever enough to stockpile snow last season so they could do that.
Elsewhere in Europe several areas are already open in Scandinavia – including Geilo in Norway and Ruka in Finland, both using the snow storage method. Many more ski areas in the region – which reported up to 40cm of fresh snowfall in the final week of October, will also open in November. Ruka too now has lots of fresh snow on top of the snow saved from last year. Here it is on Halloween
This time last year things were too warm in Western North America and only Arapahoe Basin in Colorado was open. Fast forward 12 months and autumn has been rather more normal with cold weather up high allowing resorts to run their snowmaking systems and another Colorado ski area, Loveland (below), like A Basin amongst the highest in the world, to open already. The first ski area to open in California, Mt Rose, is also operational and Timberline on Mt Hood in Oregon which operates on a permanent snowfield, has reopened too.
In terms of natural snowfall there have already been some good snowfalls across the West of the continent with another big dump forecast for the start of the month (a year ago, after that warm October, things turned very wintry from mid-November) . There was also a good snowfall in the Midwest and there’s been some snow in the East and snowmaking powered up at times but it has been warm too.
The start of November should see the US shoot to first place in terms of ski areas open with more high resorts in Colorado scheduled to open in the next few days amongst others. The first resorts in Canada to open for the season – traditionally in Alberta round Calgary and Banff, including Lake Louise, pictured last month, above, should also open in the first week of November too.