It has been a cold week in many ski regions around the world but not as snowy as last week at most.

However ski areas in the Pyrenees, Dolomites, Scandinavia and the Alps have welcomed cold days with clear skies on several occasions over the past week for perfect days and, in some cases, off piste. The snow has kept on falling at some resorts: Verbier reports another 60cm in the past few days, and Les 2 Alpes and Grindelwald got another 50cm.

Western Canada continues to report some of the biggest snowfalls and, after several weeks of this, the deepest snow bases (although several ski areas in the French and Swiss Alps can currently give them a run for their money), but conditions are good in California to the south and Colorado and Utah resorts have had healthy snowfalls in the past few days.

To see the latest "Where is the snow" pictures, go to our Recent Snowfall Gallery


After heavy snowfall last week (up to 110cm in some places), 50 ski resorts were able to start their 2012/13 season with excellent conditions last weekend. Snow accumulations measured in the French Alps are already substantial even at low altitudes.

In the Northern Alps, snow average at top of the ski areas already exceeds one metre with an average of 118cm of snow on upper slopes, 75cm on lower slopes. In the ranking of the snowiest resorts, there is Alpe d'Huez (260cm), Meribel (200cm), Les 2 Alpes (180cm) and Val d'Isère (150 cm).

In the Southern Alps the snow also fell in great quantities last Thursday and Friday. These falls have provided up to 60cm of fresh snow, precipitating the partial opening of a dozen ski resorts. The average snowdepth in this area is now more than satisfactory with about 65cm reported on upper slopes. Serre Chevalier has the best snow conditions in the area, with 180cm on upper slopes, while Montgenèvre has 125cm.


It has been another snowy week in much of Austria. Many resorts got more than half a metre of snow in the last three days, including Saalbach Hinterglemm with 60cm, St. Johann in Tyrol with 80cm, Lech Zuers with 61cm, the Zillertal Arena with 50cm, and the Skiwelt Wilder Kaiser 65cm.

More than 100 resorts are now open in Austria and all can offer very good ski conditions thanks to the healthy snowfalls so far this December.

The best snow depth is at Kaprun on the Kitzsteinhorn glacier with 180cm (that’s six feet), closely followed by Obergurgl-Hochgurgl with 175cm and Solden with 167cm.

More snow is expected in Austria over the next 24 hours but this will ease off towards the end of the week.


Most major resorts in Italy are reporting good piste conditions and regular snowfalls. Cervinia has some of the deepest snow in the country at 2.5m on upper slopes, but many other resorts in the Italian Alps are well endowed with the white stuff too: Livigno has 25-154cm; Sestriere has 80-140cm; and Courmayeur 60-130cm.

More than half of the terrain in the giant Dolomiti Superski area (1200km of piste) is now open. Val Gardena opened last Thursday, Dec. 6 and its famous Sella Ronda circuit was available on opening day. The resort reported 10cm of new snow in resort and approximately 50cm of fresh snow in the mountains above.


Major Swiss resorts are reporting very good snow depths thanks to the November and early December storms, with some resorts already reporting more than two metres of snow depth on upper runs including Andermatt (280cm), Engelberg (250cm), Saas Fee (235cm) and Glacier 3000 (205cm).

Switzerland has not seen quite the huge falls of the previous week, but still some healthy accumulations of fresh snow. In the last three days: Davos Klosters has received another 27cm of snow; Wengen 47cm of fresh snow; and Verbier – which is having its best start to the season for several years – another 26cm.


There’s not been much fresh snow in Andorra but the skies are blue and, with temperatures a little below freezing, snowmaking has been keeping the slopes in good shape. Andorra's Grandvalira has 40-80cm. In Spain, Baqueira Beret reports that 39,800 skiers and boarders enjoyed its slopes over the major holiday period last weekend in the country. Snow depths here are 90-110cm and 120km of piste is open (about 80 percent).


All major resorts are open in Norway with perfect conditions in the interior, and good early season conditions on the coast after major snow production. Hemsedal and Trysil have great mid-winter quality pistes already. There’s been some fresh and very dry snow in the cold weather in Hemsedal, Voss and Geilo. which will continue at least through this weekend. Since last week Tryvann and other resorts around the capital, Oslo have been open and more snow is forecast for Norwegian resorts this week.

In Sweden all major resorts are also open including a powder opening at Kungsberget close to capital Stockholm last weekend. It’s a similar picture in Finland where there’s been snow falling constantly for the past 72 hours at most resorts and conditions are excellent at the main ski areas in Lapland.

Eastern Europe

The season is now underway in Eastern Europe. It’s very cold in Bulgarian ski areas with temperatures dipping as low as -20. Bansko has 40cm of snow on upper slopes with another 20cm expected in the next week and good weather for snowmaking. In Slovenia Kranjska Gora is also open with a little less snow and reliant on snowmaking. There’s 30cm on upper runs with another 10cm expected by the end of the week.


Low temperatures and fresh snow in Scotland allowed four of the country’s five ski areas to open at the weekend with Glencoe and Nevis Range joining Cairngorm and The Lecht.  Only Glenshee says it needs more snow while Nevis Range is currently only open at weekends.  Temperatures warmed slightly at the start of the week but have dipped again now and it is looking a promising start to the Scottish ski season, especially with the crucial Christmas and New Year holiday periods only two weeks away.

North America

The incredible early-season snowfall has slowed a little at Whistler (155cm base) in recent days but we’re expecting it to kick off again by Thursday with another 60cm by the end of Sunday. The snow’s not quite so heavy further east, but conditions are good in the rest of BC and into Alberta where Marmot Basin has a 68cm base and we believe there’ll be another 10cm to freshen up the slopes over the next few days.

In the US, the snow that blessed Californian resorts last week has reached the Rockies to the clear relief of resorts in Colorado and Utah. 

“We are all smiles in Aspen/Snowmass today as Mother Nature just delivered 15 inches (40cm) of fresh powder overnight and more snow is on the way this week!” said a resort spokesperson.

Aspen’s slopes now have 51-66cm of snow cover, most of it fresh, and we expect another 15cm will fall by the end of the weekend.

The snow remains deeper further west with resorts in California able to open more terrain, Mammoth now has a healthy 178cm base on upper slopes – that’s less than an inch shy of six feet.

Over on the east coast conditions remain challenging. Sunday River up in Maine, one of the most northerly resorts, does now have temperatures just below freezing. Snow depth is 30cm at best and about a quarter of the terrain is open.

The Week Ahead

A snow front moving east across the Alps should will bring serious snow dumps on many resorts over the latter half of this week, such as Courmayeur which should receive around 50cm by the end of Sunday. 

More major ski resorts will fully open this weekend including Les Arcs, La Plagne, Flaine, Avoriaz and Châtel, some of which were previously only running at weekends. Morzine and Les Gets will also open their connecting ski area a week earlier than planned due to the great conditions.

It’s generally colder than it has been in much of North America and conditions are gradually improving in the Rockies and New England and it's generally good on the west coast. This trend should gradually continue over the coming days with better snowmaking conditions in the east and more snow in the Rockies.

To see the latest "Where is the snow" pictures, go to our Recent Snowfall Gallery

The next "Where is the snow in Europe and North America?" report will be published Wednesday,  Dec. 19, 2012.