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Tuesday October 23, 2018 - Email this article to a friend

The first major storms have battered the Alps with up to 3m in places. Several resorts are already open with the glaciers in good shape. UPDATED




Snow is falling again and set to carry on into the early part of the week in places.

However it is also set to get mild and so much of the snow will melt and rain will affect many areas in the mountains.

More resorts are looking to see if they can open some slopes early following the decision of Verbier to open a small area last Friday, that we reported below.

It's thought to be the Swiss resort's earliest ever opening day.

Verbier, SwitzerlandVerbier, Switzerland













Looking good in Verbier on its opening weekendLooking good in Verbier on its opening weekend















So, where else is open?

In Switzerland Zermatt, Engelberg and Saas-Fee are open with Glacier 3000 looking at opening some slopes shortly.

The glacier area at St Moritz may also open soon.

In France Tignes is the only resort open.

We have had a nudge that Courchevel is looking at running a lift soon.

It won't be much but some ski turns will likely be made by the fortunate few.

Courchevel, Monday 5th NovemberCourchevel, Monday 5th November
















In Austria Hintertux, Soelden, Stubai, Pitztal, Moltaller and Kitzteinhorn are some of the glacier areas open.

Kitzbuehel opened its top ski area last month.

In Italy Cervina opened this weekend and joins Val Senales.

In Scadinavia the resorts of Kvitfjell and Beitostolen in Norway have opened, while in Finland Levi and Ruka are also open.


The are also plenty of people hiking up to ski if the lifts aren't yet running.

Here is Myrkdalen in Norway.

First turns in MyrkdalenFirst turns in Myrkdalen
















First turns in MyrkdalenFirst turns in Myrkdalen
















Even resorts in Portugal and Spain are opening ahead of schedule.


Portugal's only ski area, Serra da Estrela opened some slopes on Thursday while Massella in the Spanish Pyrenees is also open.

Here at PlanetSKI we will be updating this article so do check back for the latest.


Verbier in Switzerland has opened for November weekend skiing and snowboarding.

It fired up the lifts on Friday with skiing in Lac des Vauxs and down to Ruinettes.


There was cloud and some light snow flurries as the Swiss resort kicked off its winter after all the fresh snow at the end of October.

There were mainly locals on the slopes but people from further afield are expected over the weekend.

The resort often opens ahead of its scheduled date in early December, but as far as we can recall here at PlanetSKI this is the earliest opening.

It now plans to open every weekend throughout November.

Here is the opening moment:

Snow is expected mid next week in the Italian Alps and the Austrian Tirol.

While in the French resorts of Tignes and Val d'Isere, snow is falling again and getting heavier through to Wednesday.

So the resorts are posting the snow-progress and waiting patiently, as later this month we will see many more open.

Waiting, as well, to measure the snow that is forecast in the coming storm, following a lashing last week of the white stuff.

In the Aosta Valley it's looking serene and a lot like heaven...

2 metres on the ridge between Gressoney & Alagna2 metres of snow on the ridge between Gressoney & Alagna














The resorts of Zell am See - Kaprun in Austria are doing a good job of making it look like a white room with the use of a sepia filter.

But there's no denying the snow on the floor as the pistenbashers do their work...

Filter aside, it still looks pretty snowy on the KitzsteinhornFilter aside, it still looks pretty snowy on the Kitzsteinhorn














The Espace Killy could receive up to 30cm (or more according to some optimistic weather forecasts), and here's how the towns of the ski area are looking right now:

TignesTignes bringing in November




















Val d'IsereVal d'Isere















Livigno in Lombardy also has plenty on the floor, and just hanging out 'til the next drop, expected Wednesday.

Livigno, ItalyLivigno, Italy





















And here is what it looked like with preparations underway this week after 60cm of snow fell.


Verbier, SwitzerlandVerbier, Switzerland
















Verbier, SwitzerlandVerbier, Switzerland
















Elsewhere in the Alps it's none too shabby.

The glacier resorts open include Zermatt and Saas-Fee in Switzerland, Hintertux, Stubai and Soelden in Austria, plus Tignes in France.

Cervinia in Italy is planning to open some lifts this weekend.

Courchevel, Les3Vallees, FranceCourchevel, Les3Vallees, France














"The first arrival of snow is like running downstairs on Christmas morning. Fingers crossed we are in for a good season!" said the operation manager for the UK tour operator Ski Amis, Jenni Martin, to PlanetSKI.

She lives in Les3Vallees in France.

See here for details of Ski Amis.

Our good friend Phil Smith from the ski instruction compnay, Snoworks, has posted this image from Tignes where the glacier is already open.

Tignes, FranceTignes, France
















And it's looking good in neighbouring Val D'Isere:

Val d'Isere, FranceVal d'Isere, France














Do check back later for more updates as winter gets ever closer...



And so we enter November.

The ski season is really here.

While we wait for the second hit of storms this week, let's take a look at places across the Alps and the snow resorts received.

Grandvalira, AndorraGrandvalira, Andorra




















It's a powder day in the Andorran Pyrenees

Pal Arinsal, AndorraPal Arinsal, Andorra
















At the start of this week Ischgl in the Tirol saw 40cm of snowfall, so now it's the piste preparations.

ischgl_500_02Ischgl prepares...
















Kaprun in Austria posted this scene of haunting beauty on the Kitzsteinhorn, yesterday at sundown on Halloween.

KitzsteinhornHalloween on the Kitzsteinhorn - Kaprun














Chamonix's steep peaks are looking spectacular dusted in white...

Aiguille du MidiAiguille du Midi




















First showshoe steps were taken in Chamonix yesterday:

















End of October snowfall End of October snowfall












It's the calm between the storms.

The weekend one continued into Monday and then eased off on Tuesday.

A new one has been coming in on Wednesday.

The first resorts are taking advantage and opening some slopes.

Verbier has just announced it will open some runs on Friday with 60cm of snow on the slopes.

"Thanks to the natural snow and man-made snow we can open our domain on Friday, November 2, under excellent conditions," said a statement from the resort.

"We will open the Attelas-Ruinettes sector as soon as the weather allows and our snow machines have created the necessary cover," it added.

Verbier, SwitzerlandVerbier, Switzerland
















Verbier, SwitzerlandVerbier, Switzerland
















Verbier, SwitzerlandVerbier, Switzerland
















The weather in the Alps has been hugely erratic with snow, rain, high winds and wildly fluctuating temperatures.

We have been following it in recent days and the full details with pictures and videos can be seen below in our rolling article.

The biggest falls seem to have been around the Swiss Italian border - the resorts of Zermatt, Saas-Fee, St Moritz and Cervinia.

Over 2m has fallen in places.

St Moritz, SwitzerlandSt Moritz, Switzerland













Saas-Fee, SwitzerlandSaas-Fee, Switzerland















The snow has seen an increase in interest in snowsports with more people booking their winter holidays.

It also comes off the back of the London Ski Show last week and recent press coverage.

"It is fabulous to see all the fresh snow in the mountains and it's getting us all very excited about the winter," said Simon McIntyre to PlanetSKI.

He is the general manger at Iglu Ski, the UK's largest ski agent.

"Bookings have gone very well this week after people saw the snow falling and of course the winter season of 2018/19 gets underway in just a few weeks time," Simon added.

If you are getting in the mood and want to see some of the early-bird offers from Iglu Ski then you may want to check out its offerings here.

So, what does the snow mean for the approaching season?

Firstly it is great to see to get us all in the mood for winter.

Secondly, and on a more practical note it is very good for the glacier areas that have had poor skiing this autum.

With more than 2m falling in places it will be a start to a base.

Thirdly, for most areas it will not have a lasting impact as the season is still well over a month away.

It may be the start of a prolonged cold spell that lasts well into November, or it may moslty melt and be washed away.

We simply can't forecast it at this stage.

It is quite neatly summed up at Zell am See and Kaprun in Austria.

The non-glacier resort of Zell am See has mostly seen rain and the runs remain green.

The ski slopes are bare above the lakeside town.

Zell am See, AustriaZell am See, Austria













But in the distance on the top left is the glacier ski resort of Kaprun.

And at the top the snow has made a difference.

Kaprun, AustriaKaprun, Austria













Watch this space as we continue to update this article as the latest storm does its stuff...

Oh, and keep the snow dances going. Wink


We're updating this rolling blog with fresh pictures and news on the snow across the mountains: the Alps and the Pyrenees.

We start with videos of the snow in Tignes:

We have just received these images from our friends over at Courchevel in Les3Vallees to whet your appetite for the coming winter.

Courchevel, FranceCourchevel, France














Courchevel, FranceCourchevel, France














Courchevel, FranceCourchevel, France















And these have been sent to us by our reporter in the Swiss resort of Verbier, Catie Friend, showing snow on Savoleyres side all the way down to village level.

Verbier, SwitzerlandVerbier, Switzerland
















Verbier, SwitzerlandVerbier, Switzerland
















And the first snowmen are appearing too: Cool
ZZZZZZZ Welcome to winterWelcome to winter














And just in case you are wondering what it looks like elsewhere in Europe here is Peyragudes and Cauterets in the French Pyrenees and Levi in Finland:

Peyragudes, FrancePeyragudes, France













Cauterets, FranceCauterets, France
















Levi, FinlandLevi, Finland
















Do check back for an update later...


There has been up to 1m of snow already in some parts of the Alps with more coming down.

Many of the glacier resorts that are currenty open for autumn skiing and snowboarding are closed today due to high winds.

Zermatt and Saas-Fee in Switzerland are shut.

Monday has seen some of the heaviest of the snow and it's set to continue through the week.

The temperature is fluctuating across the Alps and so is the snowline with snow falling down to 1,200m in places but elsewhere it is over 2,500m.

"This is an extremely complex situation, with the battleground between cold arctic air from the north and warm Mediterranean air from the south situated right over the Alps. This will create huge variations in temperature and therefore rain/snow limits," said Fraser Wilkin from

"Resorts which will see huge snowfall totals at altitude include Zermatt, Saas-Fee, Andermatt, Cervinia and Monte Rosa - all of which could see 1-2 metres of new snow above 2500m (with more in places) between now and Tuesday," he added.

So far the most snow has fallen in the French Alps but there have been good falls further east too.

An arctic blast is coming down from the north and a wet weather system is coming up from the south - the two are colliding over the Alps.

This means snow in the AlpsThis means snow in the Alps












"We are on the eve of a very explosive weekend in the Alps. A low pressure area nestles exactly above the Alps and attracts both very cold air from the north and very warm air from the south. These air masses meet right above the Alps and it's going to be one hell of a show," said our friends over at WePowder as the storm approached.

We are looking at the snow country by country.


Here is St Anton:

The glacier resorts of Hintertux, Stubai and Pitztal in the Tirol have seen some of the best falls across the Alps.

Both have their glacier areas currently open.

Pitztal, AustriaPitztal, Austria




















Hintertux, AustriaHintertux, Austria
















Stubai, Tirol, AustriaStubai, Tirol, Austria












However the snow has its downsides.

The World Cup race in Soelden in the Tirol in Austria on Sunday was cancelled due to heavy snow and strong winds.

Sunday in SoeldenSunday in Soelden













See here for our report on the racing weekend:

Monday could see some of the heaviest falls.


Here is a selection of images of the snow across France.

It is looking good in Meribel in Les3Vallees.

Meribel, FranceMeribel, France















Higher up Les3Vallees is Val Thorens, the highest resort in the Alps, and where PlanetSKI will be skiing in late November as the resort opens.

Val Thorens, FranceVal Thorens, France















Val Thorens, FranceVal Thorens, France















Val Thorens, FranceVal Thorens, Franc














Val Thorens, FranceVal Thorens, France















It's looking good elsewhere in France too:

Valloire, FranceValloire, France















And it's not just the high-altitude resorts.

Here's lowly Les Gets in the Portes du Soleil.

Les Gets, FranceLes Gets, France
















And here is what it looked like in Zermatt on Saturday - picture perfect:

Zermatt, SwitzerlandZermatt, Switzerland















Verbier, SwitzerlandVerbier, Switzerland
















Saas-Fee, SwitzerlandSaas-Fee, Switzerland














"The countdown to winter has begun with more snow in the forecast for the week ahead," said a statement from Sestriere.

Sestriere, Italy Sestriere, Italy
















Cervinia, ItalyCervinia, Italy




















Our good friend Warren Smith, from the Warren Smith Ski Academy, is cautiously optimistic too.

The Academy starts its autumn courses in Cervinia this coming weekend.


And lets not forget the other main mountain range in Europe with dozens and dozens of ski resorts:

Grau Roig, AndorraGrau Roig, Andorra
















Grau Roig, AndorraGrau Roig, Andorra



















Arcalis, AndorraArcalis, Andorra

















Do check back as we update this story across the day...


There  could be some sizeable snowfall following a drop in temperatures across Europe.

It is set to be the first decent snow of the approaching winter and has already started falling.

The largest falls will come on Sunday and into Monday.

Our main image comes from Val Thorens in Les3Vallees in France - the highest resort in the Alps.

And here is a video of the snow falling in the resort on Saturday morning:

"It is cold and snow is well on its way in the Belleville Valley! BRRRRrrrrrr," said one of our readers and regular contributors, Francesca Smith from Powder N Shine.  She is based just below Val Thorens in Reberty.

It is snowing elsewhere too.

Zermatt, SwitzerlandZermatt, Switzerland












Verbier, SwitzerlandVerbier, Switzerland













Tignes, FranceTignes, France
















Leogang, AustriaLeogang, Austria











The weather system is affecting most of Europe with snow fallling in Scotland too.

Here's Glencoe on Saturday morning:

There has also been some snow in the Pyrenees.

There were first signs of winter on Saturday morning at Les Angles in the French Pyrenees.

See the video below:


Andorra, the PyreneesAndorra, the Pyrenees













First winter flakes in Andorra:


It is too early to forecast exactly how much but it could be significant.

The key at this time of year is for the temperature to remain cold enough to freeze the ground.

The snow is obviously very welcome and great to see but whether it makes any difference for next season is another matter altogether as it may all melt.

It is though good for the glacier resorts that have poor conditions at the moment.

Here at PlanetSKI we are following the storm as the arctic blasts hits and we'll keep you posted across the weekend and next week.

Below is the 7-day forecast for La Plagne in France.

La Plagne, FranceLa Plagne, France















Essentially what is happening to the weather is an arctic blast is coming down from the north and a wet weather system is coming up from the south - the two are colliding over the Alps.

This means snow in the AlpsThis means snow in the Alps












"We are on the eve of a very explosive weekend in the Alps. A low pressure area nestles exactly above the Alps and attracts both very cold air from the north and very warm air from the south. These air masses meet right above the Alps and it's going to be one hell of a show," said our friends over at WePowder as the storm approached.

The temperature has already dropped enough for the cannons to be switched on in places.

The video below comes from the Kaunertal glacier area in Austria.

There are already a handful of resorts open in the Alps as we have reported here:

Tignes is one of the latest and the brown mountains in the background are set to turn white this weekend.

Tignes, FranceTignes, France















Hintertux in the Tirol currently has the most slopes open of any resort - 22km.

Hintertux glacierHintertux glacier


















This weekend also sees the traditional start of the FIS World Cup racing season as Soelden in the Tirol in Austria hosts the men's and women's giant slalom.

This is what is currently looks like:

Soelden, AustriaSoelden, Austria














And here's a preview of the racing:

Preparations have been going on across the autumn with snow stored and protected under covers:

September in SoeldenSeptember in Soelden












And now the curtain-raiser is almost upon us:

Coming this weekendComing this weekend









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