The Remarkables, NZ, have built up their snow park following a recent storm...
J2Ski's Where To Ski or Snowboard In October 2018
Our last monthly round-up (before our weekly reports resume) tells of snow on the peaks in Europe and some of New Zealand's ski areas extending their seasons.
October 1st Snow Headlines
- First non-glacier ski area in Europe set to open for 18-19 season on October 5th.
- Snowmaking underway in Colorado
- 2018 ski season in the Andes ends early at many areas.
- Kitzbuhel due to begin planned 200 day ski season on October 13th.
- Tignes delays planned opening for 18-19 season whilst glacier awaits more snow.
- Perisher, Coronet Peak and The Remarkables extend seasons.
- Californian resort names October opening date.
- Solden to host world cup opener later this month.
- Les 2 Alpes to open for one week from the last weekend of October.
The snow has started falling (at altitude) across the northern hemisphere with the first falls reported in the Alps, Western North America, Scandinavia, Eastern Europe, Japan and even Scotland. That said, despite early snowfalls high in the Alps, many of the glaciers are needing more snow after a long hot summer and Tignes decided to postpone its planned end-of-September opening. Another glacier area, the Kauntertal, did manage to open, but still only 4 of Austria's 8 glacier areas are open for the start of October when normally it would be 6 or 7.
Things should return to normal over the next few weekends though and the first non-glacier areas at Ruka and Kitzbuhel will also open using snow 'farmed' and saved from last season.
The season is winding down in the Southern Hemisphere with most ski areas in South America, some in Australia and New Zealand and both in Southern Africa all closed now. However it is still snowing in Australia, New Zealand and the Andes so there's been fresh snow for most of those still open. Most of them will be closed by the end of the first Sunday in October, and almost all by the end of the following weekend. A few (likely including the centres on Mt Ruapehu, New Zealand) will stay open later though and potentially in to November, as they start this month with 3m+ bases.
In the Alpine Forecast
The continued mild weather in The Alps will take a break this week, with temperatures dipping well below seasonal averages for a few days and bringing snow down to quite low levels across a wide area.
It's unlikely to last long but will bring some wintry vistas to our favourite webcams until the end of the week at least.
Only a handful of resorts are open, so check local conditions and opening times directly before travelling!
See When and Where it's going to Snow...
Re-publication :- our Snow Report Summary, being the text above this line, is free to re-publish, but must be clearly credited to www.J2ski.com with text including "J2Ski Snow Report" linked to this page - thank you.
Austria's eight glaciers are usually all open by the end of September but, despite some decent snowfalls in late August and early September, plus some smaller falls more recently, this year they're not quite ready.
September started with the year-round Hintertux and 10-month-season Molltal glaciers open and they were joined by Pitztal and Kaunertal later in the month. However the Molltal glacier was forced to close "Whilst waiting fresh snow" in mid-September and Dachstein, Solden and the Stubai have delayed opening whilst the Kitzsteinhorn says it will open the first weekend in October.
Most Austrian resorts have 'opening' gear test/Octoberfest type festivals planned the second weekend of the month (13/14th) so it's expected the remaining three will be open then, especially as Solden is due to host world Cup races at the end of October, the first of 18-19. Kitzbuhel also plans to open a small area that same weekend, using snow stored from last season, in an increasingly popular PR move back for it's third year.
Tignes was expected to open the 2018-19 ski season for France on the last weekend of September but announced that it did not have any snow cover on the glacier, and has delayed opening until there is some fresh snow.
Next up is due to be Les 2 Alpes for its traditional autumn week from the 26th October but that was cancelled last year for lack of snow and they also need more fresh white stuff in the next four weeks.
Italy's autumn collection of open ski areas will begin to grow – from 2 to 3 - when Cervinia re-opens this month, initially for the weekend of 20-21st October and then daily from the following weekend. The two currently open resorts are Val Senales (Schnalstal) which opened last month and Passo Stelvio which has been open since May and usually closes its season towards the end of October or in early November so we are most likely in to the last month there. Both reported fresh snow in September
The same two Swiss areas that were open through August and September look likely to be the only two resorts open through October too. Year-round Zermatt, now with its recently re-opened Klein Matterhorn gondola and a reported 3m (10 foot) base as well as neighbour Saas Fee (180cm base) are the two glacier areas currently open. Both have had occasional fresh snowfalls up high in the past month.
The country's other glacier areas don't look like opening until November at present. The exception may be the Diavolezza glacier near St Moritz in the Engadin Valley which has set a tentative opening date of 20th October.
There's almost always a ski area running its lifts somewhere in Scandinavia, the main season is long here and the rest of the year there are glacier areas open.
In past autumns the summer ski area openings have crossed with early opening of resorts starting their seasons in late September thanks to snow farming. However as we start October that does not appear to be the case, so far as we can tell. The summer ski areas closed early, the last, Fonna, a month early in August, after a long warm summer, and Geilo, which used to open with snow farming in late September, has decided not to this winter, for economic reasons.
So it looks like there's a short gap at present with northerly Ruka in Lapland due to open first, on the first Friday of the month (5th), again thanks to snow farming, spreading the snow on the slopes from last season and topping up with snowmaking when cold enough. It has been snowing too in the region however with several coverings reported through the latter half of September.
The start of winter appears to be imminent in North America. Arapahoe Basin in Colorado started their earliest snowmaking in a decade in mid-September and Loveland have also got their cannons fired up.
Meanwhile, in California, Mount Rose at Lake Tahoe has named October 26th as their opening day – conditions permitting. Most ski areas in the west of the continent have also been posting increasingly snowy looking images on their social media channels as the early autumn snowfalls begin at altitude. So one of the three areas mentioned above may open the 18-19 season in the next few weeks and possibly all three will be open by the end of the month.
Other likely October openers include the snowfield on Mt Hood in Oregon at Timberline and possibly (based on its record for previous autumns) Killington in Vermont for first in the East.
Aussie ski areas have had a great winter but are winding down at the start of October with several having closed on September 30th and pretty much all announcing they'll call it a day on the season by next Sunday, October 7th.
Kiwi ski centres look likely to be the ones to see out the 2018 southern hemisphere's ski season. Coronet Peak on the South Island has announced a one week extension to its season to October 7th after it says has been one of its best seasons. Neighbour The Remarkables has gone for a two week extension to the 14th.
Base depths at Mt Ruapehu on the North Island have been the deepest south of the equator all season and remain at over 3m/10 feet as we enter October, meaning there's a chance they could open in to 'Snowvember' if the centre's operators decide that's worth doing. In any case they're likely to be the last open - until the 21st or 28th October. The rest of the country's ski areas will begin closing on the 7th and 14th of the month.
Almost all South American ski areas were reported closed for the 2018 season as of 30th September. The big resorts including Portillo in Chile and Las Lenas in Argentina all closed earlier than planned in September following a dry and warm winter in the Andes - although ironically there were some big snowfalls in late September after they'd closed.
That said, Valle Nevado announced, after first saying it would close on the 23rd September, that the ski slopes (if not the resort) would stay open a further fortnight to October 7th after fresh snowfall there.
We'll be resuming our weekly reports in a couple of weeks time... Meanwhile, enjoy the webcams this week...