It seemed like it would never happen: the snow is beginning to fall all over the Alps. And it's not just a sprinkling either, it's postively dumping it down paving the way for a good ski season all across Europe.
With October and November proving to be very different from the conditions we saw in 2010, the warm dry weather was more like Summer than late Autumn and there looked to be no hope of any ski season worth writing home about. But that's all changed now with a huge winter weather front blanketing the bare rocks of the Alps with France and Austria reporting a thick blanket of 10cm snow and 15cm in Switzerland. In higher places the forecast in the coming days is for up to a surprisingly deep 100cm of snow in the highest places, opening up a huge number of good long ski runs that have had to rely on snow cannon thus far.
So, higher resorts are going to be able to offer a good season on higher pistes from right now, but you may have to wait a little longer for deep off piste powder runs to materialise. Best advice right now is to head for resorts above 2000m for the best chance of good cover.
Good looking snowfalls making the coming weeks look promising for higher runs. Higher runs with snow cannon will be able to offer a good range of piste runs. At the moment, the best skiing is in Val d'Isere and its neighbour Tignes, because conditions were already reasonable on their glaciers and on the Solaise sector.
North and West areas will benefit from this week's timely snow dump, with the resort of Engelberg doing particularly well. Verbier's season should be back on track by the weekend too which gives hope to all the fashion-conscious city skiers hoping for a quick weekend. Zermatt isn;t looking as good for this forecast, but should stay okay as it has already seen some snowfall.
The Arlberg is looking like the best bet for this week's snow, but keep an eye on the snow that accumulates over the next four days in both St Anton and Lech, as they should both do well and might prove popular alternatives. They've had the snow cannon working overtime at Ischgl already so the on-piste skiing there is likely to be fair.
Italy looks set to miss most of the new snow, but the Aosta Valley should be the exception with decent snowfall expected in Cervinia and Courmayeur. Other than that skiers should expect snow cannon provided pistes only.
The Andorran resorts are not fairing well currently, despite snow cannon, so most are still closed
Offering a more expensive plane ticket but better conditions than we're currently seeing in the Alps, the USA might be the sensible alternative for guaranteed snow.
YOu can't go wrong with Canada's ski season right now, with good covering across most resorts. Whistler as always is offering some of the best skiing in the world