French ski resorts race to open

With fresh snow covering the Vosges, Jura and Northern Alpes, French ski resorts are racing to get their ski areas opened. Here is round-up of the current situation. The greatest quantities of snow, around 40cm fell in the pre-alpes and at mid altitudes – around 1500 to 2000m.

december snow
Early season snow is a bonus for ski tourers

At the summit of the slopes of la Plagne the situation is similar but with temperatures around -20C overnight a strong temperature gradient will be forming a dangerous layer of depth hoar (gobelet), something to watch out for later in the season unless there is a good bridging layer.

Val Thorens has 30-40cm of snow at 2300 meters. The resort is hoping to open a week earlier than planned on the 17th November. They had delayed the opening by a week due to poor early season conditions in the last few season. The Peclet funitel, the Cascades and Portette chair as well as the Retours drag will be in service.

Tignes has 30cm of fresh snow at 2100 meters and 40cm on the Grand Motte. The resort will open the Double M today which returns to the resort giving 1400 meters of vertical.

At Val d’Isère snowfall started on Tuesday at 9pm with temperatures around0 -10° there was around 30cm on Wednesday morning on the streets. The road from Bourg was icy and cars and delivery vans had to use chains.

In the Val d’Arly there was 20cm at Flumet and the Crest-Voland. Arêches has 18 cm at the bottom of the slopes at 1000 meters. Les Saisies had 30cm at 1650m Cross country skiing will open this weekend.

In the Maurienne Valloire also had 30cm of snow and there was 40 cm at la Toussuire. Bessans has 18cm which hopefully will provide a base for the opening of cross-country skiing on the 1st December. At le Grand Revard 15cm fell and they will open some cross country skiing this weekend see their website:

The 7 Laux has 35 cm of snow and the snow making is going full speed. They will decide how much downhill skiing to open this weekend on Friday at lunchtime. Out of the glacier domains they will be amongst the first French resort to open this season.

Flaine has 40-60cm of snow but not a soul was moving – you’d think they would have the piste bashers out preparing the base.

It is not all good news, the zero isotherm is expected to be at 3000 meters from Monday.

Posted by davidof on Thursday, 15 November, 2007 at 09:53 AM

Les Gets has annouced it will open the Chavannes pistes this weekend, Grand Bornand are talking about something too.

All the local businesses are talking about reduced bookings, this sort of early opening will be a welcome marketing boost.

Posted by endlessride on  Thursday, 15 November, 2007  at 10:53 AM

The figures are from yesterday. It is snowing at the moment in the Isere department. Someone from Snowheads ( has said there is 1m10 this morning in Val Thorens. Although you always have to take these kind of figures with a bit of a pinch of salt as Meteo France are reporting 40-50cm in the area. Sounds like a good area is opening up.

La Cluzas (HS) and l’Alpe d’Huez are also saying the will open. Val d’Isere are sticking to a 1st December opening for now.

In Switzerland Verbier and Zinal will open part of their areas.

Posted by davidof on  Thursday, 15 November, 2007  at 11:15 AM

Alpe d’Huez have also announced they will open for the weekend - DMC and a chairlift.

Posted by  on  Friday, 16 November, 2007  at 01:01 PM

Bareges and Luz Ardiden have announced that subject to weather reports being correct they will open for the 24th and 25th November and fully from the 1st December.

Fingers crossed that weather guys are correct - not that their record is that great.......

Posted by  on  Friday, 16 November, 2007  at 05:39 PM

Val Tho is claiming 80cm fresh over the week. Reservations area already 30% up on last year at the same period.

Posted by davidof on  Saturday, 17 November, 2007  at 08:27 PM
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