Punters, seasonnaires and tour operators breathed a collective sigh of relief yesterday as heavy snow in the Alps put an end to the driest autumn the Alps have seen since 1864. Up until now, mountains were beautifully green with luscious vegetation and flowers, paradoxically the most disgusting sight a skier could see in early December.
The highest resorts, the liveliest resorts and the resorts with the best snowmaking facilities were the best prepared to deal with the snow drought as glaciers and holidaymakers spending money on alcohol saved the day. The problem with snowmaking is that conditions have to be -3C for the facility to work properly, not something you will find in resorts where a week ago picnics and T-shirts were the order of the day.
The Ski Club of Great Britain said skiers should look to glacier resorts to be guaranteed snow but there are some non-glacial locations across Europe where skiing is still possible.
A spokesman said: “Snow is forecast for this week. The heaviest snowfall is expected to fall at the western European resorts, but resorts in the east should receive fresh snow too.
“Around 40cm of new snow could fall over the next nine days in parts of France and Switzerland. The fresh snow should dramatically improve the overall snow cover across the Alps.
“Even without the fresh snow, many European resorts are hoping to open for the winter season this coming weekend thanks to the great efforts of grooming and snow making teams.”
The Espace Killy, Zermatt and Ischgl had already managed to open at the expected date, although even for an early season bargain, one would expect more than 20% of the slopes to be open. Serre Chevalier had the best of it in Central Europe and can now boast of over a metre of snow.
In terms of the fresh pow-pow that we are all hunting, the best place to be right now (assuming you don’t want to make the trip over the pond) is in Norway. Some smaller resorts have just received over 4.5 feet of new snow while the better-known resorts such as Voss and Hemsedal have just had over 3 feet.