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Heavy Snow in the Alps & Pyrenees

Up to 1m has fallen in places with more coming. It has been a very welcome snowstorm and has set up many resorts with some opening early. As December starts it is just what we’ve all been hoping for with snow in the Alps & the Pyrenees. UPDATED

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We start our updated snow report from Andorra in the Pyrenees where good snow has fallen across the whole mountain range.

Ordino Arcalis in Andorra opened around a third of its slopes on Wednesday 1st December.

The larger area of Grandvalira and other parts of the Vallnord are starting their season on Friday 3rd with Grandvalira expecting 136km of skiable terrain to be open.

“Grandvalira is now open with wonderful skiing throughout all the sectors,” said Duncan Gilroy from the specialist ski operator to Andorra,  Absolutely Snow.

Andorra opens. Image c/o Andorra Travel Service.

Andorra opens. Image c/o Andorra Travel Service.

Andorra opens. Image c/o Andorra Travel Service.

Andorra opens. Image c/o Andorra Travel Service.

Andorra opens. Image c/o Andorra Travel Service.

Andorra opens. Image c/o Andorra Travel Service.

Andorra has also just announced all its Covid-19 measures including the need for a health pass and mandatory mask wearing in place.

See here for our full report:

Covid Pass Checks in Andorra. Image c/o Andorra Travel Services

Covid Pass Checks in Andorra. Image c/o Andorra Travel Services

In the Alps Ischgl in Austria opened some lifts on Friday, 3rd December, for locals only.

Ischgl – image c/o Silvretta.at

Ischgl – photo c/o silvretta.at

There’s been a lot of snow ahead of the opening, as there has in Kitzsteinhorn, also in Austria.

One of the few ski resorts still open, it has seen more than half a metre fall.

Austria remains under lockdown until December 12th, but ski resorts are allowed to open under the rules as skiing is classed as ‘outdoor recreation’ and permitted.

Most resorts have chosen to remain shut.

There has been a lull after the snow earlier in the week, but a new storm is hitting on Thursday.

After that clears on Friday more snow is in the forecast for the weekend.

“Between now and Sunday, the greatest snowfall accumulations will be in the northern French Alps (e.g. Avoriaz), where they could easily be in the region of 50-70cm,” said Fraser Wilkin from weathertoski.co.uk on Wednesday 1st December.

“More generally across the north-western Alps (e.g. Val d’Isère, 3 Valleys, Verbier, Mürren, Engelberg, Laax and Lech) accumulations of around 30-50cm are more likely.

“Elsewhere in the Alps (i.e. in the south and east), we are expecting between 5cm and 30cm, with one or two southern resorts (e.g. Isola 2000, Prato Nevoso) probably missing out completely this time around.”

Check out all the latest on weathertoski.co.uk

The snow is very, very welcome after what has been a pretty average start to winter.

Not any more.

This should set things up rather nicely for the start of the season that is just around the corner.

“With all the bad news flying around about the omicron variant of Covid-19 at the moment, and more general worries about the season, this is exactly the tonic we want to hear and enjoy reporting on,” said PlanetSKI’s editor, James Cove.

This was the scene in Val d’Isere in the French Alps on Thursday morning as the link with Tignes opened up.

❄️ 25 cm relevés en station ce matin, et ouverture de la liaison avec Tignes ! La journée commence bien… ⛷️

Posted by Val d'Isère on Thursday, 2 December 2021

One of our reporters, Tord Nilson, has been in Val d’Isere after skiing in Tignes earlier in the week.

“Much less people than Tignes and the slopes have been excellently pisted – also great to see lots of British people out enjoying the snow,” said Tord.

“The morning started with bluebird.”

Val d'Isere, France. Image c/o Tord Nilson.

Val d’Isere, France. Image c/o Tord Nilson.

“Temperatures have gone up to around -3 and this afternoon it was hammering down with snow  which exactly what is needed,” added Tord.

Val d'Isere, France. Image c/o Tord Nilson.

Val d’Isere, France. Image c/o Tord Nilson.

Val d'Isere, France. Image c/o Tord Nilson.

Val d’Isere, France. Image c/o Tord Nilson.

Val d'Isere, France. Image c/o Tord Nilson.

Val d’Isere, France. Image c/o Tord Nilson.

He reported on the conditions in Tignes on Monday.

“It’s been snowing all day with super flat light and very windy up top so only a handful of lifts open,” said Tord on Monday at the height of the storm.

“It’s very cold too, about -8 at midday.”

Tignes. Image c/o Tord Nilson

Tignes. Image c/o Tord Nilson

And Tord has been out with a powder hound.

Skiing gets underway in dozens of French ski resorts this weekend.

The French resorts say they are are uniting to celebrate the relaunch of the mountain season this winter.

The latest we have is from the Isere region of France where Les2Alpes is already open.

PlanetSKI chief reporter, Jane Peel, is in the resort in a couple of weeks.

Meanwhile our editor, James Cove, will shortly be doing what he loves best.

A road trip visiting smaller resorts that he has barely heard of, let alone skied in.

He will be based in Grenoble in the Isere region from December 18th visiting Chamrousse, Les 7 Laux and Villard de Lans.

“Isère resorts are opening this weekend because the snow has been dumping,” said a statement from the region’s tourist office.

These are the resorts that will be open:

  • Les 7 Laux
  • Chamrousse
  • Villard de Lans
  • Oz en Oisans
  • L’Alpe d’Huez
  • Les 2 Alpes
Villard de Lans. Image c/o Isere regional tourist office.

Villard de Lans. Image c/o Isere regional tourist office.

There will be a torchlight descent in each resort on December 4th with ESF instructors.

Torch light decent in Alpe d'Huez. Image © Laurent Salino

Torch light decent in Alpe d’Huez. Image © Laurent Salino

A PlanetSKI reporting team will be in Les Menuires in 10-days or so and it is beginning to look rather tasty.

We were in neighbouring Val Thorens recently for its opening weekend.

Conditions were not quite ideal, but our roving reporter, Chris Moran, had a fabulous time back on skis.

Now look at it:

We have been reporting on the snow falling over the past few days:

And here on PlanetSKI lets not forget the Pyrenees where snow conditions are just as good.

We’ll be bringing you more from the Pyrenees later.

It is a ski area and mountain range often overlooked.

Big mistake.

Do check back as we update this report over the coming days as more snow falls.

It is finally looking like a pretty decent start to the season.

PlanetSKI Snow Report © PlanetSKI

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