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THE STORM PASSES - James Cove, PlanetSKI Editor
Monday November 5, 2018 - Email this article to a friend

The weather is calming down this week with milder temperatures after the first big storms of the approaching winter. PlanetSKI reports.


The latest pictures we have come from Tignes in France where the glacier is open for skiing.

There are three lifts running serving two runs on the Grand Motte glacier.

Tignes, FranceTignes, France
















"Tignes has experienced a couple of heavy snowfalls recently producing excellent skiing conditions on the Glacier de la Grande Motte where we are currently running our Snoworks autumn ski courses," said PlanetSKI reader, Phil Smith, from Snoworks.

"More snow is needed to fully open all the lower lifts of the Espace Killy which is planned for 24th November.

"However if you are thinking of skiing in November or December then Tignes definitely has to be at the top of your list with guaranteed high altitude skiing."

See here for further details of the pre-season courses run by Snoworks.

Tignes, FranceTignes, France

And here is the situation from Les2Alpes earlier in November.


Elsewhere it is a mixed picture across the Alps with much of the recent snow having melted.

It is neatly summed up in Austria.

The image below shows the low-level resort of Zell am See by the lake and the high level glacier resort of Kaprun in the distance

Zell am See/Kaprun, AustriaZell am See/Kaprun, Austria

It was great to see all the snow falling earlier in the month and it led to the Swiss resort of Verbier opening a week or so ago on Friday 2nd November - its earliest ever winter opening.

It was only a small area, Lacs des Vaux and down to Ruinettes, but the resort now hopes to open every weekend in November before its full opening planned for early December.

Other resorts are looking at following suit if the snow remains.

We reported on all the snow action in a rolling blog last week and over the weekend here on PlanetSKI.

The resorts around the Swiss-Italian border, Zermatt, Saas-Fee and Cervinia, have seen the largest amounts of fresh snow and it will undoubtedly make a difference to the high-altitude glacier skiing.

But elsewhere it is not so straight forward with much of the recent snow likely to melt or be washed away by rain.

This week in the Alps it has been much milder.

"A lot has been made of the recent snowfall in the press over the last few days but the real picture in the Alps is not quite as rosy right now as some have painted," said the alpine weather expert, Fraser Wilkin, from

"While there is a lot of snow at high altitude in some central, southern and western parts of the Alps , the weather has been mild - very mild across the northern half of the Alps where the Foehn has also been blowing - and the percentage of Alpine ski resorts that have a meaningful base is still very small indeed," Fraser added.

And here at PlanetSKI we agree with Fraser whole-heartedly.

The top slopes of Val d'Isere look fabulous and the resort is planning to open on November 24th:

Val d'Isere, FranceVal d'Isere, France

But in town, at 1,850m, it is a different story with snow melting and little sign of winter.

However, don't get us wrong, it has been fabulous to see the snow.

2 metres on the ridge between Gressoney & Alagna2 metres of snow on the ridge between Gressoney & Alagna, Italy














Tignes, FranceTignes, France
















The snow has undoubtedly had an impact on people's perception of winter and has led to enquiries about ski holidays.

The agents and operators we have been speaking to are reporting a rise in bookings.

"As with recent years in Meribel, the first snow has come in mid-October, putting in the foundations for a fantastic base for the coming season," said the Sales and Customer Services Manager for Purple Ski, Hannah Crane-Buck.

"This has, of course, led to droves of Instagram posts of the gorgeous autumn colours emphasised by the perfect white snow.

"With more snow forecast for next week, and with 1900m and above still white from the last snowfall, we are hoping it sticks around for 1 more month and we get waist-deep powder for opening day again!" Hannah added.

The snow also comes off the back of a successful London Ski Show a couple of weeks ago.

The clocks going back also turns people's attention to the coming winter, and to skiing and snowboarding.

Then there were the colder temperatures and some snow in the UK.

All in all it has been a good start, but it will likely make little, if any, significant difference on the approaching winter.

It is not unusual to have snow at this time of year and it should be remembered that some of the classic winters have not seen heavy November snowfall.

What we probably need more than snow at the moment in the Alps is consistent cold temperatures that freeze the ground and preserve the snow.

So, which resorts are currently open?

In Switzerland Zermatt, Engelberg and Saas-Fee are open with Glacier 3000 looking at opening some slopes shortly.

The glacier area at St Moritz may also open soon.

In France Tignes is the only resort open.

We have had a nudge that Courchevel is looking at running a lift as soon as there is enough snow and the temperatures drop.

Courchevel, Monday 5th NovemberCourchevel, Monday 5th November
















In Austria Hintertux, Soelden, Stubai, Pitztal, Moltaller and Kitzteinhorn are some of the glacier areas open.

Kitzbuehel opened its top ski area last month.

In Italy Cervina has opened and joins Val Senales.

In Scadinavia the resorts of Kvitfjell and Beitostolen in Norway have opened, while in Finland Levi and Ruka are also open.

The are also plenty of people hiking up to ski if the lifts aren't yet running.

Here is Myrkdalen in Norway.

First turns in MyrkdalenFirst turns in Myrkdalen
















Resorts in Portugal and Spain have also opened ahead of schedule.

Portugal's only ski area, Serra da Estrela opened some slopes last Thursday while Massella in the Spanish Pyrenees is also open.

Here at PlanetSKI our senior news reporter, Katie Bamber, has cast her eyes across to North America.

See her report on conditons in Canada and the USA and details of resort openings:

Here at PlanetSKI we will be updating this article and keeping an eye on the weather in Europe as winter approaches so do check back for the latest.

And if you want to cast your eye over the Early Bird deals then look no further:  November Ski Deals

Spend Christmas in a winter wonderlandSpend Christmas in a winter wonderland













See here for the main PlanetSKI news page with all the latest stories from the mountains.

For the Spirit of the Mountains - PlanetSKI: Number One for ski news

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