There’s good news for skiers this winter as many of the European resorts have seen early falls of snow with some already operating a full range of pistes. Conditions are likely to improve further over the next few days with many of the top resorts predicting falls of up to 45cms, adding to a good base layer of snow that has fallen in the last ten days.
Saas Fee in Switzerland, one of Europe’s high altitude resorts, has a current snow depth of 210cms whilst Argentiere in France has 180cms.
Skiers have been taken by surprise by the early snow but few have been prepared to take a chance with early bookings based on the experience of previous years when in many resorts, even the Christmas ski season didn’t happen.
Many of Europe’s resorts are finding they have perfect pistes but with only local enthusiasts using the slopes, leading many to work with independent ski specialists to try to persuade those who can take a last minute trip to spend a long weekend or week at top resorts like La Plagne, Saas Fee and Rigi in Switzerland.
It’s not just in Europe where the snow has fallen early. The Cairngorm resort in Scotland has seen substantial good quality snow over the last week adding to snowfall that began in early October.
For UK skiers, a short flight or a maximum of ten hours’ drive from the south coast will see you enjoying vertical runs of 400ft with good powder over 700m.
Ptarmigan Bowl, Ciste Fairway and Ciste Bowl, often the first pistes to open each year, offer green runs and you can access them via the funicular railway or the T bars on Ptarmigan or Coire na Ciste. The resort is preparing itself for a bumper season with predictions made for a harsh winter but hopefully one where access to the resort will still be possible.
If you’re going to the Cairngorms anytime soon, you’ll need to wrap up warm as daytime temperatures no higher than -3C are the current norm with the wind chill taking the temperature down to -6C.
Low cost car hire is available from the major Scottish airports
and to ensure you’re fully prepared for the potentially poor driving conditions you’ll need to request snow chains or winter tyres when you book. Those with their own skis can pre-book a ski rack on their hire car.
If you find you’ve got a long weekend free soon, start looking at flights, car hire and accommodation and you may find you can squeeze in two ski trips this winter!