So this happened; Les Contamines, France, today...
Snow arrives in the Alps, and lots more to come.
The mountains are waiting for us... be patient, stay safe and follow your local advice and rules on travel.
The Snow Headlines - 1st November
- Light snows fall across the Alps, with more forecast.
- Californian ski areas receive a metre of snowfall and several open early for season.
- Finnish, French, Swedish and US ski seasons are underway.
- Southern hemisphere's 2021 season ends.
- More than 20 areas are now open in the Alps.
- First of the Beijing 2022 Olympic venues open for the season.
- Canada's season starting November 5th.
The big snow news of the past month came in the last week of October with a huge snowfall in California where several resorts reported over 40 inches (a metre) of snow in less than 48 hours; leading several areas to open early for the season.
There's been less snowfall to report in the Alps, but there were light falls across a wide area today and a lot more is forecast later this week. More than 20 ski areas are now open in Europe, and numbers will grow rapidly this month.
Ski areas are open in Scandinavian in Norway, Sweden and Finland too; most thanks to snowfarming, but there have also been some decent snowfalls on top.
In Asia snow has been falling in Japan but there are no major resort openings planned until the end of November. Borders here also remain closed although there's some hope things will open up by the start of the season due to declining infection rates.
With the Beijing Olympics less than 100 days away now excitement is mounting in China and one of the snowsports venues, Wanlong,
has already opened for the season there with machine-made snow.
The final areas still open in the southern hemisphere, four New Zealand centres, ended their 2021 seasons in the penultimate week of October, so it's all done until 2022 there.
A lot of snow in the forecast for Europe and America!
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 has led the northern hemisphere's 2021-22 season opening with the most centres open over the past few months and eight glaciers open by mid-October (the Dachstein only for race teams training), at which point Italy and Switzerland had three open a piece and France none.
Kitzbuhel was the ninth area to open, using snow saved from last winter at the Resterhöhe area, for the final weekend of October – a few weeks later than recent years. It's the first non-glacier area in the Alps to open and Kitzbuhel hopes it'll be back to a 200 day season through to next May for the first time in three seasons after two virus curtailed winters.
What's open so far then? There has not been a lot of snow so far this autumn and snow cover on glaciers is thin. Hintertux and Solden both have the most terrain open with over 32km (20 miles) of runs each – actually the most open anywhere in the world as we start November.
You can also ski already at the Kitzsteinhorn above Kaprun, The Stubai near Innsbruck as well as the Pitztal, Kaunertal and Molltal glaciers. Obertauern and Obergurgl will be next to open in Austria in mid-November and a change in the weather with fresh snowfall is expected to start the month.
Tignes opened in mid-October, although like all European glaciers, it hasn't had much October snow - although snow fell today and more is due over the first week of November. A second French glacier area at Les 2 Alpes is currently open for the first week of the month only, before closing again.
Val Thorens is due to be the next French resort to open in less than three weeks on the 20th.
Italian glaciers are suffering the same issues as those in the rest of the Alps as we enter November – not much snowfall in October. But like the rest of the Alps snow is forecast for the first few days of November.
So far Cervinia is open, providing access to the slopes of the Klein Matterhorn above Zermatt - as is Val Senales and Sulden. Passo Stelvio, which had been open since last spring, closed for the season on the last day of October.
Most other Italian resorts are expected to start opening from the end of November.
The last weekend of October had been targeted by several areas including Laax for their season-opening but warm, dry weather last month led them to delay and Switzerland starts November with five areas open rather than the eight expected.
Andermatt did hold its nerve and opened it Gemsstock freeride mountain on the 30th although it was more hard-packed machine-made snow than the light powder for which the area is famed in mid-winter. It joins already open, but with similar limited terrain, at Engelberg, Diavolezza (Engadin/St Moritz), Saas-Fee and Zermatt.
Other areas like Crans Montana aim to open their glaciers as soon as possible and the snow forecast for the next few days should be a big help.
The only other ski areas open in Europe to start November outside the big four Alpine nations are up in Scandinavia. Here Norway's Galdhopiggen glacier, which opened back in spring, was closed in August/September by warm weather but has now re-opened, and says it plans to stay open until mid-November, a fortnight later than usual.
In Finland Levi and Ruka opened thanks to snow-farming in early October and have since seen their slopes covered in natural snowfall.
Sweden's Idre Fjäll and Kåbdalis have also opened a kilometre or so of runs each using snow-farming in recent days. Most Scandinavian ski areas will open later this month, some of the big names, including the biggest Are, targeting the 20th.
Most parts of Europe have reported snow cover on their mountains at some point this autumn but for many, it has been of the type that covers with a few inches for a while but then thaws away again. That said it is starting to build in some areas and most will aim to open in the Pyrenees, Dolomites and eastern European mountains in late November or the first half of December.
Western Canada has seen some decent pre-season snowfalls over the past few weeks and it looks promising for most ski areas there opening in the latter half of the month.
The ski season is due to start first in Alberta with Lake Louise targeting this Friday, November 5th and Calgary's closest area, Nakiska, the following day, Saturday 6th.
Sunshine, which has been posting increasingly snowy looking cam pictures, then follows on Thursday 11th.
The World Cup tour is due to return to Canada after missing North America last season due to the pandemic with the first Downhill of the Olympic season scheduled for the end of the month in Lake Louise.
The big news for the final week of October in the USA was one of the biggest October snowstorms for California ever recorded.
Ski areas around Tahoe area reported up to 42" (105cm) of snowfall accumulating at the top of their ski runs. That included areas that only weeks before had been battling huge forest fires after a hot, dry six months since the end of last season.
Palisades Tahoe (the ski area formerly known as Squaw Valley), along with a smaller resort, Boreal, and Mammoth Mountain to the south took the decision to open two weeks early, on the last Friday of the month in time for Halloween weekend so that skiers and boarders could enjoy the snow.
It joined the four high-altitude Colorado areas that were already open, Arapahoe Basin, Keystone, Loveland and (weekends-only) Wolf Creek.
There has been snowfall across the US in the last week of October with a decent dump (after a warm few days) covering the Rockies and the first significant snow in the East. Here, although there's yet to be any confirmed dates, it looks like the first areas in New England will open, thanks to their huge snowmaking arsenals, fairly imminently.
Most other US resorts will open in the latter half of November as they try to offer as much open terrain as possible for Thanksgiving weekend at the end of the month, a crucial holiday period to get some early revenue in.
We'll be re-starting our Weekly Reports in the next couple of weeks, so look out for the snow! It's coming...