Many ski areas around the world are reporting great early season conditions with more big name resorts opened or opening in the next few days. Among them Breckenridge and Cortina have opened and Whistler in Canada will open six days early, on November 19. 60cm of snow is reported in the Pyrenees and in Niseko, Japan, they’re hiking up to enjoy the pre-season powder. In Scotland, Cairngorm mountain above Aviemore attracted more than 200 people to its opening day on Saturday.
More and more ski areas are opening in Austria which has received plenty of new snow in the past few days. The Kaunertal glacier reported 26 cm of new snow on Wednesday, bringing the overall snow depth on the glacier to 175cm with eight ski lifts are running. Sölden issued a powder alarm on Wednesday too with 25 cm of new snow of excellent quality.
After some unseasonably warm temperatures it’s been getting cooler and it’s currently snowing in the French Alps with falls of up to 45cm reported at Montgenevre in the past 24 hours. There’s been up to 40cm of fresh snow in the French Pyrenees (La Mongie, Barèges and Peyragudes) and up to 25cm in the Southern Alps (Orcières 1850). Tignes is still the only open area in France and received 15cm of fresh snow earlier this week increasing its base depth to 60cm with six pistes open totalling 14 km. This weekend will mark the opening of Val Thorens ski area which will host the first leg of Ski Force Winter Tour 2010 (a gathering of the biggest ski manufacturers where it will be possible to test for free new ski models .
Italy’s Presena Glacier reports the deepest snow depth in the world this week with 3.4 metres (more than 11 feet) of snow lying. Conditions are great at present at most of the open Italian resorts, including recently opened Cortina d’Ampezzo as well as Cervinia which have reported 50cm and 60cm of fresh snow in the past week respectively. However the biggest falls in the country have amounted to 80cm in the past week at Alagna and Val Senales.
It has been a snowy week in Switzerland which currently boasts four of the 10 deepest snow bases in the world for open ski areas. "It snowed constantly on Monday and Tuesday so slope conditions are outstanding now and currently the sun is shining", said Dieter Bogner of St. Moritz lift company.
There’s been more snow in the Pyrenees meaning resorts are expected to start opening in Andorra, France and Spain within the week. Formigal in Spain reported more snowfall on Tuesday night adding to base depths giving 20cm at 1,800m and 60cm at 2,200m. "We have started the snow cannons so we are further increasing the snow level at the slopes and with this great news we are ready to start the season on 27th November", said a resort statement.
Up to 30cm of new snow has fallen in Norway in the past week. Voss has the greatest snow depth in the country at the moment at 60cm, it received another 25cm this week.
More of Canada’s top resorts are opening with Whistler starting it first post-Olympic season on Friday, six days earlier than planned, ad Sun Peaks following on Saturday, reporting 40cm of new snow in the past week, 20cm in the past 24 hours. They join resorts including recently opened Mt Norquay at Banff, Lake Louise and Nakiska – which is currently claiming the biggest skiable vertical open in Alberta.
With Thanksgiving only a week away, more of the big name US resorts have begun opening, and the snow news is mostly good, with resorts in Colorado, California and Utah all reporting good conditions. New openings at the weekend for winter 2010-11 included Breckenridge, Mammoth and Snowbird and Vail is set to join them this weekend with nearly 90cm of new snow in the past week. "This opening scenario is probably better than we even dare to hope for and it doesn’t happen very often", said Chris Jarnot, chief operating officer of Vail Mountain. "We’ve been blessed with some of the best early-season snow we’ve ever had". All the new snow has meant conditions have been great at areas that are already open, like Copper Mountain, which declared yesterday a "powder day" (picture attached).