A heavy snowstorm has rolled in over the French Alps today dumping 20 to 40 cm of powder.

Temperatures all over France have plummeted this week thanks to a high pressure zone that descended from Scandinavia, Greenland, and the north Atlantic. This led to record cold temperatures in some cities, such as Orléans, where the thermometer hit -14°C.

By 12 p.m today, 30 to 50 cm had already fallen on several ski resorts. [R2307R, Combloux], [R2533R, Savoie-Grand Revard], and [R1685R, Montgenèvre] all reported 50 cm of fresh powder. [R2440R, La Clusaz], [R2652R, Alpe du Grand Serre], and [R2330R, Puy St. Vincent] reported 40 cm. 56 resorts in all have set off powder alarms, including [R585R, Châtel], [R591R, Vars], [R1791R, Le Grand Bornand], and Saint Véran, and Les 7 Laux.

This fresh layer of snow means that several stations are opening this weekend, even though the official opening wasn't for another week or so. In the Alps, [R600R, Tignes], [R593R, Les 2 Alpes], La Clusaz, [R592R, Alpe d'Huez], and [R1954R, Aillons-Margériaz] will all be open this weekend.

Total snow cover measures 200cm in the Gondrans sector of Montgenèvre, 150 cm in [R586R, Isola 2000] and the Vars snowpark, and 125 cm in the centre of Les 2 Alpes.

Many cross-country destinations, such as les Saisies, [R2350R, Autrans], [R2601R, Bessans], and Le Revard are also opening portions of their trails.

The cold weather is expected to continue in France through the weekend, with below-zero temperatures through Saturday.