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J2Ski Snow Report - December 14th 2023

J2Ski Snow Report - December 14th 2023

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Started by Admin in Snow Forecasts and Snow Reports

J2Ski Snow Report - December 14th 2023

Admin posted 14-Dec

Kicking Horse, BC, kicked off their season in style last weekend.

It's rained a lot in the Alps, but snow has returned and conditions up high are excellent. Canada has seen some big snowfall, and snow varies in the US.

The Snow Headlines - December 14th
- Jackson Hole reports its first 100 inches of snowfall this season.
- Rain to about 2,000m temporarily spoils the mood in the Alps, before snow returns.
- Deepest reported snow in the world at 3.3 metres (11 feet) in Chamonix Valley.
- Bansko and Les Arcs mong the remaining big-name ski areas finally opening this weekend.
- Ischgl/Samnaun hold the top spot for most terrain open in the world.

Snow forecast for Europe and America, and incoming for Japan.

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.

World Overview
We seem to have a completely reversed situation to how things were in mid-December last year. On this date 12 months ago we were starting to get increasingly worried about the warm temperatures and lack of snow below 2,000m in the Alps, while on the US West coast ski areas were being repeatedly buried by successive huge snow storms.

This December started with excellent snow conditions in the Alps with 2-3m base depths up high and a decent covering down to the valley floor. Until the start of this week when several days of torrential rain began in the western Alps and temperatures rose. The good news is Wednesday saw temperatures dip, the snowline drop and the rain turn back to snow before too much damage was done.

Elsewhere in Europe, Scandinavia is very cold still and everywhere is open but no big snowfalls yet, although there's enough. The Pyrenees continue to battle to open slopes with temperatures a little on the warm side. Eastern European resorts are opening with fairly good early-season conditions and Scotland is staying cold but nowhere has opened yet.

In North America, things are improving in most areas, particularly the Rockies where there's been several feet of snowfall over the last seven days.

Austria has stayed ahead of Europe (and the world) in terms of the amount of terrain and number of areas open – many taking advantage of some of the best early December and November snowfalls in many years, which have continued through the last week bringing snow right down to the valley floor.

Ischgl, with its Silvretta area linked to Samnaun over the Swiss border, continues to post the most terrain open for a single area in the country, and the world, with 200km of slopes, but the Arlberg (Lech, St Anton etc.) are catching up fast with 80km and it looks like other bigger areas will finally overtake this coming weekend.

That'll be a sunny one, continuing so into next week.

It was a warm and wet start to the week in the French Alps, but Wednesday saw temperatures drop again and snowfall resume. It had been snow all along above 2000m or so meaning upper bases have kept building. Those with long experience of ski seasons old and new are describing the situation on the ground as "like the good old days" with ever-growing snow depths down to low elevations.

The last of the big ski areas that have not fully opened yet, including Paradiski (La Plagne/Les Arcs) will open this weekend.

Chamonix has the country (and world's) deepest reported snow depth of 3.3 metres, while Tignes and Val d'Isere as well as the 3 Valleys, each have over 100km of slopes each open so far and will open much more from this weekend.

The coming week is looking sunny, with temperatures rising a bit after the weekend.

Italy's big guns have started to launch their seasons over the past few days with the biggest of them all, Dolomiti Superski, kicking things off with 800km – two-thirds of their terrain – open from day one.

The country's biggest snowfall totals are on the western side but it's still lying 50-100cm deep in the Dolomites which is more than enough to open most of the groomed terrain there.

Val Gardena has the most terrain open in Italy at present, with 180km, and Madonna di Campiglio is not far behind with 150km.

The weather here has not included the dramatic rainfall of further west, but temperatures have been warmer and sunshine will continue next week - we could unfortunately see +10C and higher in valleys.

Swiss slopes are in good shape across most of the country following more snowfalls here too. But there has again been the rain, heabviest in the west.

Crans Montana had been posting a 1m snow depth at its base but that has dropped the 60cm (still good for early December!).

The largest area open so far is the cross-border Zermatt-Cervinia area, which has just passed half of its runs open at 175km.

Gstaad's local Glacier 3000 ski area has the country's deepest reported snow with 2.2m up high. The avalanche danger, which was widely level 4 and high a week ago has eased a little to more commonly 3 – (Considerable), or still high.

Sunny here also over the coming week and potentially warm early next week.

Ski areas in the Pyrenees are still battling to open much terrain unfortunately, with about 60% of centres yet to open and those that are open generally posting only 10-30cm bases and 10-30% of their slopes open.

Spain has seen record high December temperatures. Spain's Baqueira Beret is leading the way with about 65km of slopes open, with Andorra Grandvaliara (Soldeu, Pas de la Casa et al), next with 45km.

Following another sunny first half of the week, it is now turning cold and snowy so fingers crossed it's finally set in.

It's continued to be cold in the Scottish Highlands, albeit a few degrees warmer than it was at the end of November. But there's been more precipitation than there was then, falling as snow on higher slopes, which are beginning to fill in, although there's not yet enough for anywhere to open.

Glencoe has a sledging slope open thanks to its all-weather snowmaking machine and has its Access Chair running for ski tourers to get a lift up to any high-altitude snow patches. It's looking like Christmas week for most centres opening any ski slopes though.

Another very cold week in Scandinavia where temperatures have widely continued in the -10C to -20C range. Almost all ski areas in the region are open but we have not yet seen the heavy snowfalls and deep powder for which western Norway is famed, although it is still early. Resorts like Are, Hemsedal and Trysil now have 40-60% of their terrain open.

Eastern Europe
There's still nowhere open in Bulgaria but the country's leading resorts are expected to open this coming weekend and have been posting images of the snow cover looking pretty good ahead of the season start.

Resorts are open in most other countries including Poiana Brasov, Romania's best-known resort, Zakopane, Poland's equivalent and Spindleruv Mlyn in Czechia. Each is reporting 30-50% of their terrain open so far and pretty good, snowy early-season weather.

Slovakia's Jasna' continues to post the most terrain open in the region though, with around 25km of slopes.

North America
Canada's season has been picking up speed over the last week after its poor start in most areas in November.

Many ski areas in the west of the country have seen at least half a metre of fresh snowfall this week with resorts like Fernie, Panorama and Sunshine all posting pictures of skiers in waist-deep powder. There's perhaps still a bit of smoke and mirrors with base depths not yet huge and terrain open likewise, but it is much improved.

Similar story, though not yet quite so good, in the East, where most resorts are now open but with only 20-30cm bases and just 10-20% of their slopes open so far.

Snow conditions have continued to improve across most of the US with more snowfall in both East and West Coast ski slopes as successive storms hit.

But while the storms dumped several feet on the Rockies, resorts in California are still struggling to open much.

Almost all of the country's leading ski areas are now open for 23-24 though with a growing number – predominantly in the Utah Rockies and Alaska - passing the 1m (3 feet) snowfall depth mark, Alta posting the most in the country.

Unfortunately, more of a mixed bag in the East with the latest snow showers preceded by a temperature spike to double digits above freezing, which caused some issues after temperatures dropped away again to start this week.

There are indications of a very white Christmas - with a big snowfall - in the Alps, and we'll have more clarity on that next week.
The Admin Man

Edited 1 time. Last update at 14-Dec-2023