Despite not much snow falling in the last week, Pre-Christmas skiers can get their fix at a good choice of resorts across the Alps.
An increasing number of ski resorts are declaring themselves open for the season. So far partial ski openings are the norm with many lower slopes still closed and snow machines running round the clock. The best natural snow conditions with the highest number of open slopes can be found in the Northern French Alps.
Early skiers have been enjoying the good weather this week, with beautiful clear sunny skies.
FRANCE: The huge powder dumps at the end of November, particularly in the Northern French Alps, gave resorts a great snow base and many have since been topping this up with snow canons, particularly on lower slopes. A dusting of snow fell this week too, freshening up the conditions. (see Gallery: Powder in French Alps Nov. 26, 2015).
Some of the best snow conditions in the French Alps can be found in the Espace Killy, where more than half the lifts and slopes in the huge 300km ski area are open: Tignes (28-80cm) and Val d’Isere (30-60cm).
Other resorts with good skiing conditions are Val Thorens (50-90cm), Chamonix (15-150cm) Alpe d’Huez (28-60cm), Les 2 Alpes (5-60cm).
A huge number of ski resorts are scheduled to open this weekend: Megeve, Serre Chevalier, Morzine, Avoriaz, La Plagne and Les Arcs. See our full list of projected openings for France.
AUSTRIA: While Austria didn’t see the metre-deep dumps that France did late November, healthy snowfalls were still recorded last month and another 10cm was widely reported across the Austrian Alps this week.
All the major Austrian resorts are already open. The best snow conditions in Austria can be found at the glacier resorts, including Solden (5-139cm), Kaprun (0-80cm) and Pitztal (8-123cm). Non-glacial resorts with the best conditions are Lech-Zuers (0-40cm), Ski Welt (10-30cm) and Ski Amade (30-50cm).
SWITZERLAND: The Swiss resorts haven’t seen as much snow as the neighbouring Alps so skiing is more limited, but most have snow canons running. Some of the best skiing conditions can be found at Zermatt (4-125cm), Skiarena Andermatt-Sedrun (3-120cm), Saas Fee (12-120cm), Adelboden (4-45cm) and Engelberg (35-155cm).
ITALY: Italy too has had little natural snow, but there are a higher number of resorts open than in Switzlerland. As you’d expect the best skiing conditions can be found at high altitude: Cervinia-Breuil (20-125cm), Val Senales (5-85cm), and Val di Fassa (20-40cm). The Milky Way ski area has not yet opened due to lack of snow.