5 December 2014 from Gareth in 'Mountain weather''

green slopes

The big question on everyone’s mind is will we have a white Christmas in the Alps this year? Will it snow in time for Christmas? So far this season, it’s bad news for those looking to ski before Christmas. Many ski resorts have delayed their opening dates because there is hardly any snow. Snowplaza stays in close contact throughout the ski season with the ski resorts in the Alps and we have received many messages in the last few days telling us that ski areas remain closed for the moment because the slopes are still completely green! Snow is forecast for the next few days so let’s hope there will be snow in time for a white Christmas.

Increasingly early resort opening dates

Each year, the winter season seems to start earlier and earlier with practically all ski resorts in the Alps open in time for a white Christmas. The use of snow cannons and some early snowfalls have made this possible in recent years. However, this year the weather conditions are very different. While in October there were heavy snowfalls in the Alps, the recent weeks have been very dry and mild meaning much of this precious snow has melted. The high temperatures have meant that use the snow cannons has not been possible and so most of the pistes have stayed green - even the black ones! This webcam image is from the Ski Zillertal 3000 area!


Zillertal's "green" slopes!

Green autumn, white winter?

Particularly in the Northern Alps, the situation is very bad. Not only in Austria but also in Switzerland and France, many ski resorts such as Chamonix and Meribel have put off their opening dates until fruther notice. Arosa in Switzerland had already opened its slopes for the weekend of 22/23 of November, but has had to close them again due to high temperatures and lack of snow. But it's not all doom and gloom. Surprisingly, high altitude ski resorts in the Southern Alps in France, such as Serre Chevalier and Montgenevre, have had a lot of snow.

Montgenevre snow

Snow in Montgenevre

In the Italian ski resort of Livigno winter arrived early, skiing conditions are exceptionally good and they are looking forward to a real white Christmas.

Snow Livigno

Snow in Livigno

White Christmas on a glacier!

If all else fails, you could spend a white Christmas skiing on one of the many glaciers in the Alps. The Austrian ski resort of Ischgl, which mainly has ski runs above 2,000 meters on its glacier, opened last week and already has 80 km of its slopes open and ski conditions are good. James Blunt was there to enjoy the snow for the Top of the Mountain opening concert! Other areas, where there is a little snow, such as St Anton am Arlberg and Schladming, will be opening this weekend. We’ll have to wait and see how many runs will be opened and what the snow conditions are really like!

James Blunt in Ischgl

James Blunt in Ischgl

Dreaming of a white Christmas

There will be snow of course! But the big question is how much? Although there is snow forecasted over the next few days and temperatures are dropping, will it be sufficient to guarantee a white Christmas for those who have booked ski holidays during the holiday period? We’ll keep you informed and let’s be positive and dream of a white Christmas in the Alps this winter!

Zell am See

Zell am See at Christmas

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Skiing was something that was sort of forced on me as a child. When my parents signed me up for the school ski trip when I was 11, I think I sulked for a whole month! However, I have no idea how to thank them as I haven’t looked back since!