Where to ski in November
The full start of winter is well on the way in most of the Northern Hemisphere’s main skiing regions. There has been heavy snow in early November, first in the Eastern, and then in the Western Alps bringing large accumulations to the Austrian and French ski areas. In many cases, the snow made it all the way down to valley level.
In North America, bigger-name resorts are starting to open. The U.S. is the first Northern Hemisphere country to report the number of open areas in double figures.
In South America where summer is in full swing, the first indoor ski centre was opened in Brazil.
It has been snowy in the Austrian Alps. The country’s eight glacier ski areas Pitztal, Kaunertal, Hintertux, Dachstein, Soelden, Stubai, Moelltal and Kitzsteinhorn are all open. The biggest snow falls were reported at Pitztal which has had nearly three metres of snow since it started its season in mid-September.
What’s different about this wave of snow is that it has made its way down to high valleys rather than staying just at glacier level. Obergurgl, the first area in the country without glacier skiing, is scheduled to open on 14th November.
Currently, Tignes is the only centre open in France until Val Thorens starts the charge for the main 2013/14 opening on 23rd November.
Three glacier areas are open in Italy. Val Senales, with a 2.6 metre base, is claiming the deepest snow in the world at present. Cervinia is now open full time after a weekend opening in October. The third option, the Presena Glacier above Passo Tonale has two intermediate grade runs open.
Switzerland has had perhaps a little less fresh snow than its neighbours but is still looking good for November. Four areas are currently open: Saas Fee, Diavolezza and Glacier 3000 in addition to year-round Zermatt which has a 1.9 metre base. As a fifth, Engelberg has a scheduled eleven-day maintenance closure running until 15th November.
Crans Montana and Davos are among the resorts planning to open soon.
After a warm spell in Norway, the snow has returned. Bases continue to slowly build across the region and more areas are opening. So far it’s mostly small Norwegian areas like Gol and Gala but Voss and Hemsedal are expected to open soon. In Finland, Ruka and Levi are also going strong and are expected to be joined by Pyha.
The snow has been falling in Canada. North America’s first East Coast resort to open for 2013/14, Mt Sainte Sauveur in Quebec, started turning its lifts in early November thanks to rapid snowmaking and in the West Nakiska and Mt Norquay (Banff) opened too thanks to a mix of around 50cm of fresh snow and snowmaking. At the weekend they were joined by some bigger hitters in Canadian skiing – Sunshine and Lake Louise, as well as Marmot Basin at Jasper to the north, taking the Alberta open areas count to five.
There has been more snowfall rolling around Western North America and some serious accumulations have been reported in Colorado. The list of resorts open in the famous ski state continues to grow with Breckenridge the latest to join. Mammoth has also opened in California joining Sugar Bowl and Boreal. Utah’s Solitude has opened along with Wild Mountain in Minnesota and Timberline in Oregon.
First Indoor Snow Centre opens
More than 20 years after the first indoor snow slope in the Americas was envisaged, an indoor snow centre has opened – in South America. The new Snowland (snowland.com.br) in Brazil incorporates an indoor ski slope, and offers more than 30 sliding activities including skiing, boarding, airboarding, tubing and sledging. There is also an indoor ice rink next to an indoor Alpine street complete with shops and restaurants. The complex is located in Gramado, in Brazil’s Serra Gaucha region.
Contributed by Patrick Thorne, TheSnowHunter.com