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If you’re heading to the slopes this Christmas, the good news is that most of the major ski resorts are now open and well-pisted in readiness for the festive arrivals.

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Snow Magazine snow reports in association with...


Significant snow recently covered most of the Alps and although a milder run-up to Christmas is now forecast, there should be more than enough to keep ski-hungry families happy.

Today (Friday), the latest storm will roll in from the west, bringing snow at altitude to the northern French, Swiss and eventually western Austrian Alps. The milder air flow will raise the freeze point to 2,000m or even higher in some north-western parts of the Alps, such as the Mont Blanc region and the Portes du Soleil, in France, and the Jungfrau region in Switzerland, with all these areas seeing a lot of new snow above 2,300m.

Into the weekend, the weather will remain rather unsettled across the northern fringes of the Alps with forecasts showing most of the snowfall gathering in Austria. So, as ever the seasonal advice is to head as high as you can, and enjoy some fresh powder on the uppermost slopes.


France snow report

Les Arcs (80/155cm) and La Plagne (70/150cm) have good snow on the upper slopes – the Aiguille Rouge especially  looks great! Christmas celebrations get into full swing this weekend, with the opening of Les Arcs’ Christmas Village and a torchlight descent on Christmas Eve. The resort is also celebrating its 50th anniversary this winter and those festivities get under way on Boxing Day.

Snow Magazine was in Val Thorens (135/150cm) a week ago, following a huge dump of snow, and the resort is looking good still, and links are open to the rest of the Three Valleys, too. Meribel (60/140cm) could do with a bit more in resort, but above Mottaret especially there is plenty of good skiing.

Val d’Isere (103/163cm) should see a dusting today, with quite a bit of sunshine over the Christmas period. And La Rosiere (75/160cm) has a whole new ski area to enjoy.

Avoriaz (95/140cm) is expecting nearly another half-metre today and tomorrow which should soften up its hard-packed slopes, while Chamonix (0/130cm) will see rain in the valley but heavy snow on the higher slopes over the next couple of days.


Austria snow report

Here, St Anton (45/130cm) is 95% open, with powder off piste. In the lower resorts rain at low levels and mist will take the gloss off but Christmas Eve should see fresh snow, certainly at altitude, in the likes of Soll (25/65cm), Kitzbuhel (56/57cm) which still has just over half its ski terrain open.

There’ll be a scattering of new snow – maybe up to 20cm – in Kaprun (0/135cm), while Solden (76/263cm) will add a bit to its magnificent early season upper slopes! Some 27 out of 31 lifts are turning. Ischgl (50/120cm), which opened a few weeks ago has around another 20cm of fresh snow forecast, but should also see some sun on Sunday, Christmas Day and Boxing Day. 

The Skicircus resorts such as Saalbach Hinterglemm (20/50cm), are getting some moderate – and welcome - snow (up to 30cm) the rest of this week, before the skies clear in time for Christmas.


Italy snow report

The next few days will be quieter on the south side of the Alps where Cervinia (50/80cm), for example, is expecting just under 10cm, but there could be double that around Courmayeur (50/80cm) today and tomorrow. 

Lower totals on the ground and out of the sky for the Dolomites, where winter hasn’t really got into full swing yet. Alta Badia has just 10/15cm though Arabba (50/80cm) is faring better. Plenty of sunshine about in the Dolomites, however, and the Sella Ronda is open both ways.


Switzerland snow report

Here too, the picture is mostly quite subdued, though the Jungfrau resorts such as Grindelwald (30/55cm) and Wengen (also 30/55cm) should see around 30cm of fresh snow at altitude  – before a sunny Christmas.

Best snow is still to be found on the upper slopes above Engelberg (10/204cm) and around Verbier (30/155cm). Gstaad (2/15cm) has had a very slow start, with only 30% of pistes open, but a significant fall today and tomorrow might pep it up a bit.

Zermatt (18/220cm) is skiing well at altitude with plenty of powder (but only just over half its terrain open) and it’s a similar story at Saas Fee (15/190cm). A serious cold snap would be very welcome all round in the Alps, but milder weather is the forecast for the next week at least.


Pyrenees snow report

Spring snow conditions in Andorra with Grandvalira (0/55cm) relying on its upper slopes and only mild weather and a lot of sunshine to come. Arcalis (25/55cm) has about 70% of its slopes open. Over on the Spanish side Baqueira Beret (25/55cm) has about a third of its terrain open. But it’s sunshine pretty much all the way in the Pyrenees this week.


Scandinavia snow report

It’s colder in Scandinavia, where Lillehammer in Norway, (35/50cm) is half-open, but reporting packed powder on the upper slopes. Meanwhile Voss (50/50cm) is hailing ‘great snow conditions’. And there’s about 10cm of new snow forecast here.


Canada snow report

This is the place to be for fresh powder. Whistler (208/208cm) has masses of it, with another half-metre predicted. What’s more it’s cold. Other side of the Rockies, Lake Louise (91/122cm) has hard-packed powder and Kicking Horse  (58/145cm) only has about a third of terrain open, but is reporting powder conditions, too. Out east it’s cold too, and there has been some fresh snow, to help out at Tremblant (30/30cm) and Mont Sainte-Anne (30/61cm). Christmas looks sunny, however.


US snow report

It’s been a decent start to winter in the States, with Aspen/Snowmass already at 60/107cm, and 287 out of 336 trails open. Light snow is forecast over Christmas here. 

In Wyoming, Jackson Hole (53/109cm) is about 50% open, skiing powder and expecting a healthy 30cm over Christmas. Out West, Mammoth in California (10/61cm) is a third open, with variable conditions and a lot of blue skies over the next week. North to Aleyska in Alaska (51/157cm), it’s colder and there’s powder on the peaks and about 10cm of new snow forecast.


Scotland snow report

Glencoe and the Lecht each have one lift turning, but precious little snow to write about, while Cairngorm, Glenshee and the Nevis Range are not yet open for snowsports.


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