Thursday, November 1, 2012

Where To Ski and Snowboard In November

After two months with less than two dozen ski areas open in the northern hemisphere, the past few days have seen the 2012-13 ski season really take off with the first non-glacier ski areas open following heavy snowfalls in the Alps and Northamerica. Over the next month hundreds of ski resorts will open for winter 2012-13.
Austria currently has seven glacier ski areas open. Good snowfalls in the country during October have kept conditions good. Among the winners are the Stubai glacier with 55 cm of fresh snow, snow up to 90cm deep and 41km of slopes open and Sölden which got another 15cm snow fall on Tuesday topping the total snow depth to 85cm.
The Pitztal glacier has received 60cm (two feet) of fresh snow over the past week and now has 174cm snow depth and 27km of slopes open.
Skiinfo reports that the Dachstein, Kaunertal, Kitzsteinhorn (above Kaprun), Molltal, and Tux glaciers are also open.
The ski season never ends at Zermatt (Switzerland), Europe’s highest ski centre, and Saas-Fee has also been open since July and will remain so to late spring 2013. Engelberg and Laax have recently opened their glacier ski areas, the latter at weekends only through November. The Diavolezza glacier near St Moritz is also reported to be operating.
Verbier announced it will open early on Friday November 2nd and Glacier 3000 between Gstaad and Les Diabletrets opens on Saturday, November 3rd.
Tignes, which has for the past month been the only ski area open in France, has been joined for one week only by Les Deux Alpes where the glacier is open until 4th November. It will then close for four weeks before the main season begins. Both glaciers are reported to be in good shape for snowsports with terrain parks in place and a freshen up of a few centimetres of new snow in recent days.
The Dolomiti Superski region in Italy has reported heavy snowfall with 50cm of snow in recent days. It’s a similar story in Madonna di Campiglio. However no reports of any early openings as yet and the main choice remains Cervinia, now open full time through to 5th May 2013 after weekend openings in October.
The snow is reported to be a metre deep and in good shape with 23km of runs open. Passo Stelvio and Val Senales are both also open for glacier skiing, the latter with a 30cm snowbase and five beginner and intermediate runs open.
More resorts are opening in Finland to join Ruka, which was the first top open, a fortnight ago. Levi, another of the country’s top resorts, has opened one run with a 20cm base of natural snowfall. It will host World Cup racing next weekend (9th November).
Scandinavia’s largest resort, Åre (Sweden), will open limited terrain this weekend on November 3rd thanks to the heavy snow in the region last weekend. It follows Vemdalen which opened for Halloween.
After resorts in California and Colorado opened last weekend, attention has switched to the East Coast of the USA thanks to Hurricane Sandy. This has brought several feet of unprecedented late October snowfall to many ski areas, but equally many areas have been damaged, remain without power, or say it’s the wrong kind of snow (heavy, wet stuff). Among ski areas opening early are Sugar Mountain and Cataloochee ski areas in North Carolina which opened for Halloween - their earliest ever openings. Both had around 30cm of snow.
In the west Boreal and Squaw Valley are open in California, Timberline in Oregon, and Keystone has joined Arapahoe Basin and Loveland in Colorado and Copper Mountain also aims to open this Friday, November 2nd – many other Western ski areas aim to open in the next week or so ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday period.
Two Alberta ski areas opening early last week. Mt Norquay at Banff and Nakiska in Alberta. Both reported great conditions with around a foot of snow on the ground.
Other ski areas in Alberta and BC (Canada) are reporting good conditions and the belief that 50cm bases they now have are ‘locked in’ for the start of winter now and wont thaw away until the spring. Lake Louise and Sunshine near Banff are due to open next, a week on Friday, on 9th November.

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