Big snows launch northern hemisphere ski season

Sun Peaks in British Columbia on October 27. Photo Credit: Corey Wiwchar

Sun Peaks in British Columbia, Canada on October 27. Photo Credit: Corey Wiwchar

Big snow falls across Europe and North America have propelled several ski areas into early openings over the last two weeks, and many others are getting ready.

SOURCE: skiinfo.co.uk

THE ALPS:

In the Alps, many Austrian resorts and glaciers are open, including Kitzbuhel whose early opening SkiRebel.com reported on a few days ago. The heavy snowfall there last week has set up some great conditions with most areas reporting a three to five-foot base. The glacial areas are Dachstein, Hintertux, Molltal, Kitzsteinhorn (Kaprun), Pitztal, Solden, Stubai, and Tux.

In Switzerland, the latest ski area to open is Glacier 3000 above les Diablerets near Gstaad. The area joins the Engelberg, Saas Fee and Zermatt glaciers, which are all already open.

Exciting news from Italy, too, as Bormio has announced it will open this weekend and the country has reported some of the best new snow this week. Bormio will run a cable car and a high-speed chair serving 12.5 miles of slopes between 7,500 and 9,000 feet in altitude. It joins Cervinia, which will now be open daily after this weekend, and still-open summer ski areas Passo Stelvio and Val Senales.

In France, les 2 Alpes is open this week for its new festival week, but will close again on Monday for four weeks until opening for the winter on November 28. Tignes, the other French resort that has now been open for six weeks this season, is currently suffering from a snow shortage and needs more.

SCANDANAVIA:

In Northern Europe, there are more than a dozen ski areas currently open. Sweden currently has five ski areas: Funäsdalen, Kåbdalis, Tänndalen, Tärnaby and Hemavan. Tänndalen is the only area that is open daily so far. The country’s biggest resort, Sälen, is waiting for colder temperatures along with other resorts. Åre can produce a 50cm snow layer on its main downhill slope in just 150 hours. Sweden needs colder temps to open new areas and the weather forecast doesn’t look so promising for the rest of the week.

In Norway skiers have six different ski resorts to choose from this weekend. Gaustablikk and Bjorli opened on October 17th. A ski season that starts in mid October is early, even in cold Norway, and this means that the first winter ski resort opened before the last summer ski resort closed (Galdhøpiggen Summer ski resort closed on 25th October). Kvitfjell, Trysil, Hafjell, Geilo, Kongsberg and Uvdal all aim to open on November 7th.

Several areas are also open in Finland, including the first to open there, Ruka.

NORTH AMERICA:

The Rockies were hit with a big storm that might have brought more than two feet to some Colorado resorts.

In Western Canada the Canada Olympic Park near Calgary in Alberta is already open and resorts across Alberta and British Columbia have been reporting heavy snow falls ahead of planned opening dates in the next few weeks.

The first due to open is Mount Norquay at Banff, which plans to open on weekends from Halloween weekend, onwards. Other resorts in the region, including Nakiska and Marmot Basin, both of which have new quad chairlifts, as well as Sunshine mountain, will open within the next few weeks. Fernie and Marmot Basin have also reported big snowfalls.

In Eastern Canada SkiRebel.com reported previously that Mont Saint Sauveur in Quebec was the first to open, thanks in part to an expanded snowmaking system, but has since had to close again because of warmer weather.

South of the border resorts in Colorado and Utah are amongst those announcing fresh snow. In the case of Loveland, Colorado, which has already been open for three weeks, that means more new terrain has opened as a “Halloween treat” for its guests. Its neighbour, Keystone, will open at the end of next week.

Arapahoe Basin remains open although there’s no beginner terrain at the moment. Anothere two inches (5cm) of snow has fallen there is the past 24 hours and there’s an 18 inch (45cm) base mid mountain). Three runs including Ramrod are now open along! Visit the High Divide Terrain Park with 5 features.

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