Issued: 9 October 2019
By Patrick “Snowhunter” Thorne
Our latest roundup of snow conditions around the world. Each section that follows below goes into detail country by country. Clicking the map thumbnail will take you to our dynamic snow forecast map for the latest detail (where you can also overlay live weather & reported conditions). Weather outlooks for Europe and North America can be found at the end of this roundup.
Winter in the Northern Hemisphere is marching ever closer and almost all the signs are pretty good at present. There have been several more snowfalls in the Alps over the past week with the snowline creeping lower. The first non-glacier ski area has opened for the season up in Scandinavia (using snow stored from the previous winter then spread back out on the slopes) and in North America there has been first snowfalls on the eastern side of the continent and temperatures dropping low enough for resorts to fire up their snow-making arsenals in the hope of claiming the prestigious “First in the country to open” title, possibly later this week and almost certainly in the next few weeks.
The forecast for the week ahead also looks promising with more snowfalls expected in the Alps and in western North America with at least three more ski areas in three European countries set to start their 18-19 seasons at the weekend. South of the Equator, it’s a different story as the 2019 season enters its final week for all but one ski area. The number of areas still open is down to single figures; about half of these are in New Zealand. It is warming up as spring takes hold with temperatures increasingly reaching double figures above zero Celcius in the daytime and any precipitation is more likely to fall as rain than snow now. Temperatures are still dipping to sub-zero overnight, however, and there is plenty of snow lying metres deep at most of the resorts that are still open.
Australia / New Zealand / Argentina / Chile / South Africa / Lesotho / Austria / France / Switzerland / Italy / Andorra / Norway/Sweden / Germany / Bulgaria / Japan / Scotland / USA / Canada / South America Weather Outlook / Southern Hemisphere / Europe Weather Outlook / North America Weather Outlook
All eight Austrian glacier ski areas are due to be open from this coming weekend with the Kitzsteinhorn above Kaprun the final
The mountains in France (as with the rest of the Alps) received a good fresh covering of snow on Wednesday/Thursday last week and it has been snowing again since, leading some to speculation that Tignes, which was due to open for the season on 28th September but has so far delayed doing so as it says snow cover is not adequate yet on the glacier, may open this coming weekend. However, at the time of writing there is no official announcement from the resort that confirm this.
The era of ‘just’
There was some fresh snow on Italian peaks too earlier this week but for now it’s the same two areas open: Passo Stelvio (5/190cm), which has 6km of runs open and is in the final month of its nearly six month summer season and Val Senales (0/15cm) which has 3km of runs open. The next ski area to open in Italy is likely to be Cervinia, towards the end of this month.
There are currently no ski areas open in the Iberian peninsular and resorts in the region don’t normally open until the very end of November, at the earliest. That said, a late October snowfall last year did lead to at least one area opening early at the very end of October, so you never know.
The ski season got underway in Ruka (0/50cm), Lapland, last Friday at
There’s nowhere currently open in Germany where most of the country’s ski areas traditionally open for the season in December. The Zugspitze Glacier, which operates the country’s highest lifts and usually has its longest season, expects to start its 2019-20 season in mid-November.
Eastern Europe has already seen some snowfall on higher slopes in the Tatra Mountains but the region’s ski areas do not usually open before November, at the earliest, with most not doing so until well into December.
There are no ski areas currently open in Asia. Resorts in Japan tend to start operations in the latter half of November or later.
There are no ski areas currently open in Scotland and there has not yet been any snow seen on the country’s mountain tops. It is not impossible that one of the country’s ski
The race to be the first to open ion the USA is hotting up with Arapahoe Basin and Keystone, in Colorado, apparently seen as the key players; both in full snow-making mode each night. It has been a little warmer the past few days but colder temperatures and natural snowfall are expected towards the end of this week so it’s not impossible that a ski area in Colorado will open next weekend, although none are saying that at the time of compilation of this report. However, the snow-making guns have now also been fired up in the east where ski areas win the first to open race some years, with Killington announcing they’re in the game too. In other snow news ski areas in the US Midwest, where snow-making is also a big thing, reported their first natural snowfalls of the autumn in the middle of last week.
The focus for snow news in Canada has switched a little this week with news of the first snow on higher slopes in eastern Quebec, where some resorts are reported to have already started snow-making. This is a good sign for the ski area that often manages to be the first to open in Canada in mid-late October each autumn, Mont Saint Sauveur. Otherwise, the first
Most of Australia’s still-open ski areas called it a day
Yet another week of wintery weather with ice storms and snowfalls reported up to the weekend, although it has calmed down a little over the past few days. There are still half a dozen ski areas open in new Zealand, the most of any country in the Southern Hemisphere, and the number looks set to drop to one after the weekend. There was more heavy snowfall in the middle of last week with Mt Hutt reporting a 15cm âunexpected powder dayâ and most other Kiwi areas also reporting a good dump. Turoa (94/316cm) looks set to be the last area open in the Southern Hemisphere next week with its current season-end date as October 20th.
Almost all ski areas are now closed in the Andes with Cerro Castor in southern Argentina one of the most recent to end their 2019 ski season describing it as having been ‘epic’. Whilst the northern and western Andes had a very poor snow season, further south and east conditions were much better. The only large ski area known to be still operational, until the coming weekend at least, is Cerro Catedral (35/90cm) near Bariloche in Argentina. There’s no fresh snow here and temperatures are generally in the +5 to +10 bracket from top to bottom of the mountain so a thaw is underway but so far not too severe.
Australia will see mostly above-freezing temperatures again, reaching double digits at times, and with precipitation mostly falling as rain. That said, overnight temps should stay sub-zero and at that
It has been a mixture of sunshine and snow up high and rain below around 1500m in Europe over the past week and a similar pattern looks to be the norm for the Alps over the week ahead, at least up to the weekend, with possible further 5-20cm accumulations likely above 2000
After a warmer spell in much of North America over the past few days, following the heavy snowfall and low temperatures in the northwest at the very end of September, temperatures are set to dip again in the latter half of this week with moderate snowfalls expected even down in the valleys in states like Colorado and Montana.