News Headlines     |     


Sunday December 9, 2018 - Email this article to a friend

The snow has eased off with temperatures falling & there's now some great skiing to be had. PlanetSKI reports from the Alps. UPDATED



After the ferocious weather of the past few days that we detail further down this rolling story, there are now bluebird powder conditions across many parts of the Alps.

The temperature has also dropped sharply and is -10C at 2,000m.

This will preserve much of what has fallen and allows the cannons to be switched on at lower altitudes.

Though the snow has fallen down to the valley floor in places.

Tirol, AustriaTirol, Austria













And it's looking good at altitude in the Tirol too:

Obergurgl, AustriaObergurgl, Austria













A raft of resorts are opening for the ski season this weekend and the fresh snow could hardly have been more timely.

Piste preparations in the TirolPiste preparations in the Tirol















PlanetSKI's chief reporter, Jane Peel is in Tignes in France.

"Now that's more like it Tignes. The sunshine after the storm," said Jane after the snow eased off.

Tignes, FranceTignes, France
















And here is what it is like up the mountain:

Tignes, FranceTignes, France
















PlanetSKI was also in the eye of the storm in Les3Vallees with huge snowfalls and high winds over the weekend.

And now this:

Reberty, Les Menuires, FranceReberty, Les Menuires, France












"It is just fabulous to see the sun after the storms of the past few days and waking up this morning and throwing open the curtain was a joy," said Francesca Smith from the chalet company, PowdernShine.

"Winter is well and truly underway and with more snow in the forecast the season is getting off to a great start. Wow what an incredible day. Truly powder and shine!"

Francesca SmithFrancesca Smith

















Tignes, Val Thorens, Chamonix, Avoriaz, Verbier, Crans Montana, Wengen/Mürren, Engelberg, Laax, Davos, St Anton/Lech and Saalbach have seen some of the best of the snow.

Some resorts close to the main Alpine ridge such as Zermatt and Cervinia have also seen significant fresh snow.

The southern Alps have generally seen less.

"Looking at the Alps as a whole, snow conditions are pretty good for mid-December, and excellent in some areas," said the alpine weather expert, Fraser Wilkin, from 

"The main caveat right now is that while it many snowy in the lower resorts of the northern Alps, there was no base to speak of before this latest storm below 2000m or so, which is an extra hazard for anyone thinking of going off piste."

See here for a related story on PlanetSKI:

It's looking rather good in the French resort of Les Carroz where PlanetSKI will be visiting in January:

Les Carroz, FranceLes Carroz, France




















And round the mountains people are out enjoying a powder day:

Snoworks in the powder in Val D'IsereSnoworks in the powder in Val D'Isere



















The snow has come just in time for those resorts opening this weekend.

Many were worried last week about the low level of snow cover.

"St. Gervais ski area opens on  December 15th and they are working hard to get it ready," said Derek Tate from the British Alpine Ski School, BASS.

St Gervais, FranceSt Gervais, France
















St Gervais, FranceSt Gervais, France
















Meanwhile let's not forget the Pyrenees.

Here's a short video from Andorra.

Do check back later today for updates...

See below for details of the storm as it struck....


It is the biggest storm of the winter with significant amounts of snow now falliing across large parts of the Alps.

However there have also been strong winds and many resorts have been pretty much closed.

PlanetSKI has been reporting from France in both Les3Vallees and Tignes over the past few days.

Read on below for the news and updates from our reporters.

First a quick look around the Alps.

St Anton, Austria where there was at least 30cm over the weekend:

Cervinia in the Aosta Valley, Italy had near to half-a-metre over the weekend:

Cervinia on Sunday 9th DecemberCervinia on Sunday 9th December














And just over the Italy-Switzerland border from Cervinia, the ski resort of Zermatt has done seriously well for snow as well.

Zermatt's Matterhorn ChaletsPhoto sent by Ed Mannix at Zermatt's Matterhorn Chalets - Skipedia
















Down the valley from Zermatt in the Valais canton, the winds pounded the slopes of Verbier.

Watch the video below posted by Warren Smith Academy, showing skiers in ski school being buffeted by the high winds at the top of the mountain.

The Les3Vallees ski area in France officially opened this weekend with Meribel, Courchevel, Les Menuires and others opening their slopes.

However it is only on a handful of the runs that people can ski as the wind is ferocious.

The the vast majority of the 600 kms in the area is shut.

PlanetSKI has been in Reberty in Les Menuires with PowderNShine.

We have blogged about the opening day of Les Menuires, Saturday, here:
This was the view of our chalet balcony on Monday morning after overnight snow:

Chalet Bramble, Les MenuiresChalet Bramble, Les Menuires














Chalet Bramble, Les MenuiresChalet Bramble, Les Menuires














However look beyond the balcony and one can see what the wind has done by blowing much of the snow away on the slopes.

Chalet Bramble, Les MenuiresChalet Bramble, Les Menuires














And here is Tignes on Monday morning where almost all the lifts remained shut for the whole day.

Just two main chairlifts were open in the resort and two short ones serving beginner areas.

See our report as we went out in Tignes:
So, what about the snow?

And as promised I ventured out to the slopes in the afternoon. Wink



Some other hardly souls (idiots) were out braving the conditions.

Les Menuires, Les3ValleesLes Menuires, Les3Vallees














Les Menuires, Les3ValleesLes Menuires, Les3Vallees














Elsewhere a number of gondolas on the Wimbachexpress lift in Kaltenbach in the Zillertal in Austria, crashed into each other in the strong storm on Sunday.

No-one was in the gondolas as the lift had been closed earlier due to the storm.

Good call.

The 10-seater gondola had only this year replaced a 4-seater chairlift.

An investigation is underway.

Hochzillertal lift, KaltenbachWimbachexpress lift, Kaltenbach













On Sunday evening PlanetSKI's chief reporter, Jane Peel, arrived in Tignes in France which has also been hit by the storm.

Here's her drive into the resort:

"It rained heavily all the way from Geneva until we got well up the mountain with the rain turning to light snow at Sainte-Foy," she said as she arrived shortly before 5.30pm local time.

"The picture after that was very different with snow blanketing the road for the rest of the journey up to Tignes 2100.

"The resort has been pretty much on lockdown today with high winds and almost all the lifts shut."

And to say it was a bit windy as Jane ventured out into the resort tonight is a bit of an understatement:

Here is what it looked like in Tignes earlier on Sunday:

Tignes, FranceTignes, France



















In the meantime we hear there are good falls coming at Flaine, Avoriaz, Verbier, Mürren, Engelberg, Laax and Lech.

Here was the scene in Verbier.

Verbier, SwitzerlandVerbier, Switzerland
















"A little blustery at Dahu..." said the instructor and good friend of ours at PlanetSKI, Guy Ordway.

He runs the Element ski school in the resort.

Other resorts doing well are Zermatt, Saas-Fee, Cervinia and Courmayeur.

"On Monday, the winds will switch more into the north which will favour the northern Swiss and Austrian Alps in terms of snow," said the alpine weather expert, Fraser Wilkin, from on

Sunday evening.

These resorts include Wengen, Mürren, Engelberg, Klosters, Lech, St Anton, Kitzbühel, Schladming.

"It will also turn colder with any snow increasingly falling into the lowest valleys."

"We are still expecting snowfall totals from this storm cycle to be between 40cm and 70cm above 1800m in many northern parts of the Alps, with 1m or more in places."

"The weather will temporarily improve mid-week before further snow arrives from the west on Thursday."

See here for Fraser's last full weather report that he posted for PlanetSKI last Thurday.

As always his predictions have so far been accurate:

So, how welcome is all the new, and forecast, snow?

Very, for people that run businesses in the Alps:

As always on PlanetSKI do check back for the latest updates on the weather...

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

Related Articles

PLANETSKI GOES GREEN (Saturday September 21, 2019)
AUSTRIA GLACIER RESORTS OPEN... THEN SHUT (Wednesday September 18, 2019)
FIRST SNOW FALLS IN USA (Wednesday September 18, 2019)
SEASON EXTENDED IN OZ SKI RESORTS (Monday September 16, 2019)
SNOW FALLS IN EUROPE (Thursday September 12, 2019)
THE SNOW IN PHOTOS (Thursday September 12, 2019)

With thanks to our main sponsors...

Platinum partners

Bronze partners