Cerro Catedral, Argentina, extending their season by one more week...
Snow in North America, and more for Scandinavia.
The Snow Headlines - October 12th
- 23-24 Season underway in Scandinavia.
- Final few ski centres still operating 2023 seasons in southern hemisphere.
- Heaviest pre-season snowfalls yet in Western US.
- Fresh snowfalls on slopes after Finnish resorts open using last winter's snow.
- Japan's 23-24 ski season gets underway.
- Third glacier area opens in Tirol, half of open areas are in Austrian region.
- First snows of the autumn/fall in Quebec and New York State.
- Argentina's Catedral extends season by a further week.
See where it's going to snow...
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Until the last 24 hours it had been a quieter week than last in the 23-24 winter build-up.
In North America, there had not been much fresh snowfall until Wednesday, when up to 6" was reported in Oregon with more forecast for the coming few days. The first snowfall was reported on the East Coast, in Quebec, Ontario and further south in New England as a cold front arrived from the Arctic. More snow is now in the forecast for the Rockies.
The start of winter, or even autumn temperatures, continues to be on hold in the Alps and there have been more delays to glacier openings. However, there is now a third Tirol glacier operating its ski runs, meaning half of the six open centres in the Alps are in the province. Here too the warm temperatures have finally dropped and there's snow forecast.
It's been a better week further north with lots of snowfall reported for Scandinavian ski areas and the first two areas opening for 23-24 in Finland.
The 2023 season continues to wind down in the southern hemisphere as springtime progresses, so much so that only two ski areas, both on one mountain on New Zealand's North Island, had been expected to be left open after the coming weekend.
The last few centres still going in Argentina and Chile had all said they'd close this weekend, until the biggest, Catedral, announced it would go another week to the 22nd too.
After the reports of record-warm September temperatures, we're unfortunately still awaiting a big change in conditions in the Alps. It's continued in the 20s Celsius in alpine valleys and well above freezing in the daytime on glaciers.
Despite this Austria's Kaunertal managed to open at the weekend, a week later than planned, while Solden, due to host the opening World Cup Alpine ski races of the season in just over a week's time, postponed again.
So there are now six glacier ski areas open, half of them in Tirol (the other two Hintertux and Pitztal). Austrian bases are very thin though (20-50cm) and most have just a few kilometres of slopes open.
Hintertux has opened its terrain park this week for autumn freestyle.
Elsewhere Passo Stelvio in Italy remains open and access to Zermatt's glacier from Cervinia on the Italian side is also believed to have re-opened, this time with no spring closure planned in 2024. Zermatt and neighbouring Saas Fee have better, metre-plus bases, reported, compared to their Austrian neighbours, and both have about 12km of slopes open.
This weekend should see temperatures drop and hopefully some snowfall up high.
The early autumn conditions are looking much more promising in Scandinavia than the Alps with fresh October snowfalls reported this week turning the slopes white at resorts like Hemsedal in Norway and giving another fresh covering at the country's Galdhopiggen summer glacier ski area which remains open to the start of November.
The fresh snowfall was particularly good news for Finland's Levi and Ruka resorts which began their seven-month 23-24 ski seasons on Friday last week using 'farmed' snow stockpiled from last winter and spread back out on the slopes. They then had fresh snowfall on top on Saturday morning with the surrounding land going from autumnal brown to white.
It had been a drier and warmer week in western North America until Wednesday when a cold front brought a drop in temperature and fresh snowfall across the region.
Mount Bachelor in Oregon reported a 6" accumulation by Wednesday evening.
There's also been some fresh snow reported in California, Utah, Colorado and other ski states as well as up in Alberta and BC in Canada.
There's now significant snowfall forecast for the US Rockies to end this week, potentially up to two feet on high slopes in Colorado, and there's good news from the East Coast where cold northerly winds have brought the first snow to higher slopes in Eastern Canada, including Quebec's Mont Tremblant, and further south in the US where a few centimetres dusted peaks at Whiteface mountain in New York state.
We're really into the final days of the season for most of the half-dozen ski areas still open in the southern hemisphere. Among those coming up to a final weekend are Chile's Antillanca and Argentina's Las Lenas.
Cerro Catedral near Bariloche, also the southern hemisphere's largest ski area, which was due to close this Sunday, announced it will now stay open another week to the 22nd. It's kept 30km of slopes open.
For New Zealand, it's the final weekend for Mt Hutt and Cardrona, although Mt Hutt now says it'll close two days earlier than planned, this Friday.
For most still-open areas temperatures have been staying low overnight, still getting down around freezing, there have even been snow showers reported (unlike Europe's Alps) but daytime highs, particularly on lower runs, have been +5C to +10C meaning the end is nigh.
The only two ski areas besides Catedral planning to stay open after this weekend are both in New Zealand, both on the North Island and both on the same Volcano, Ruapehu. Whakapapa is expecting to go one more week to Sunday 22nd then Turoa a couple of days later to the 24th, making it last to close in the southern hemisphere.