BEST EARLY SEASON SNOW EVER?
14th November 2016
With heavy snow falling across pretty much the whole of the Alps in the past couple of weeks some say it is the best ever start to winter. Well, is it?
The latest pictures we have received from the Alps were sent to us on Tuesday and show huge snow falls.
They come from the Chamonix Valley in France and were taken by PlanetSKI reader, Claire Burnet.
It looks more like the middle of winter than the middle of November.
So, is this the best November snowfall on record?
Yes and No.
In many resorts across the north west Alps it is the best for two decades according to the experts.
“Snow conditions in the Alps are exceptional for mid-November – you would have to go back to 1996 to find anything comparable in the north-western Alps – though there have been snowier Novembers in recent years in both the eastern and the southern Alps,” said the Alpine weather expert, Fraser Wilkin, from weathertoski.co.uk
The north west Alps contain some of the main skiing areas including Val d’Isere, Tignes, Arc1950, Val Thorens, Courchevel, Meribel, La Plagne, Verbier and the resorts of the Portes du Soleil.
Austria and some of the resorts in eastern Switzerland have done very well – but there have been better November snowfalls.
The new snow has seen many resorts opening early as we have reported in this news article on PlanetSKI that we updated over the weekend.
More are set to follow this coming weekend as Val Thorens opens for its 6-month season and the Italian resort of Cortina opens some slopes on Friday 18th November.
With the avalanche of photos and video on social media it is tempting to get carried away.
However in this case it is probably justified as the snow has not just fallen in areas or isolated pockets, it has pretty much fallen across the Alps.
And it has fallen at altitude and down in the valley.
Here is an image from The French village of Les Saisies taken at 1,650m.
Across the Alps and lower down it looks just as good.
“These are the best November snowfalls since 1996……It is amazing that we have had this level of snowfall so early in the winter, with the whole of the European Alps already covered by snow,” said the PlanetSKI editor, James Cove, to The Times newspaper on Saturday.
It is of course impossible to predict the weather but we can say with some certainty that a good base has been put down for the winter at 1,800m and above.
Below that altitude warm weather may affect things.
For anyone who wants to ski in December then as long as you head high there will be decent cover.
There can’t be a gaurantee of powder, but there can be a guarantee of snow.
And if you fancy heading out then see here for a selction of special offers in the PlanetSKI Deals & Discounts page where we have the latest from all the major UK tour operators and agents.
It is all a far cry from the last two years when much of December was very poor in many ski resorts.
Some resorts such as Megeve and Morzine in France couldn’t even open in 2014 on Christmas Day.
It was hardly better 12-months on.
Here at PlanetSKI we have reported extensively on the November snow and what it might mean.
If you want to take a look back at the stories on PlanetSKI over the last week or so then check out the links below – they track the snow as it fell, but also look at the impact on bookings, the avalanche danger off piste and some photo galleries from resorts with the most snow.
And a report on snow at the UK ski areas.
October 31st It’s going to snow
November 5th The storm starts
November 6th Before, during and after
November 7th, First big snowfall of winter continues
November 7th Ski Industry sighs with relief
November 7th Best snow pictures from France
November 9th More resorts open
November 9th Snow in UK ski resorts
November 10th Snow, snow & more snow
November 11th Caution is urged
November 11th How much snow has fallen
November 11th Courchevel in pictures
The forecast is for milder weather with no snow in the next few days, but the snow is set to return at the end of the week and into the weekend.
Our next major snow report will be out on Thursday. It is complied by Fraser Wilkin, so do check back for that.
See here for the main PlanetSKI news page with all the latest stories from the world of snowsports.
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