It is shaping up to be a very snowy Christmas Day in Europe with almost half a metre expected at some Swiss resorts including Saas Fee and Zermatt. After a sunny start to the week, France is expecting moderate snowfall over Christmas and Alpe d'Huez and Les Deuz Alpes are predicting around 60cm over the next nine days. Less snow is expected in Austria, but resorts will receive much-needed top ups over the Christmas period with the most snow falling at some resorts on Boxing Day. It is a similar story in other European countries, but Italy is expecting plenty of Christmas powder. Livigno could have the best conditions with 30cm set to hit the resort on Wednesday 25th December.
After a fantastic start to the season most resorts in the USA will enjoy bright and sunny weather on Christmas Day, which should hold out right until the new year. The only light snowfall is predicted to fall in the east with Killington and Mount Snow expecting dustings on Boxing Day. Canada will be slightly snowier with British Columbian resorts preparing for consistent light snowfall over the Christmas period. Most resorts however will see clearer skies take over as January approaches, making for excellent skiing on good snow packed around.
There has been no notable new snow over the weekend in Austrian resorts but there are still excellent on-piste conditions available. Sunny weather returned to many resorts on Monday 23rd December including St Anton (20/60cm), Lech (45/45cm) and Zurs (45/45cm) and the pistes at all three resorts are in great condition. Austria has had less new snow than neighbouring countries recently, so the off-piste is mostly hard-packed and is still to be avoided. However, moderate snowfall is expected at some resorts on Christmas Day and Boxing Day.
Many French resorts enjoyed excellent skiing in deep powder this weekend, after good snowfall improved conditions last week. Alpe d'Huez (42/160cm) and Les Deuz Alpes (15/180cm) enjoyed some of the best conditions with over 20cm of new snow on Friday 20th December. The top up was much needed and some patchy pistes are now well covered. The sun returned to most resorts on Monday 23rd December but more snow is expected on Christmas Day and Boxing Day across the Alps. Many resorts have now opened up more terrain in preparation for the busy holiday season.
On the whole it was a beautiful day in Switzerland on Monday 23rd December. A handful of resorts received some much welcome snow on Friday 20th December including Les Desirables (10/240cm) and Nendaz (10/85cm) with 20cm and 5cm respectively. Numerous resorts have increased the amount of open lifts for the Christmas crowds and made new skiable terrain available. Swiss resorts should enjoy a nice gift of fresh snow on Christmas day, with Saas Fee (20/201cm) forecast for a massive 46cm.
Predominantly sunny weather blessed skiers enjoying the firmly packed on-piste skiing conditions that dominated skiing in Italy on Monday 23rd December. There is variable and patchy snow in most locations away from the groomed runs, although with a good amount of fresh snow forecast over Christmas and New Year this could all change. Courmayeur (20/50cm), in the Aosta Valley, was one of the hotspots in Italy for skiing on Monday, with great snow on the groomed runs and some soft snow to enjoy off piste.
The sun is back out in Andorran resorts which are all offering good skiing on piste to kick off Christmas week. All 15 lifts are now open at Arcalis (40/110cm) in the Vallnord region in time for the holiday crowds and just three remain shut at Pal/Arinsal (50/80cm). There is good snow coverage in Grandvalira at Pas de la Casa (90/170cm) and Soldeu (90/160cm) although the best skiing can still be found on piste. All four resorts are expecting cloudier weather for Christmas day and could receive some new snow.
Fresh snow has fallen over the weekend at all of our featured Norwegian and Swedish resorts and the skiing conditions on Monday 23rd December were very good as a result of the new snow. The skiing was further enhanced by sunny spells breaking through the patchy cloud cover. Are (49/57cm) reported the greatest snowfall of these two countries on Sunday 22nd December, with 12cm landing. Oppdal (15/30cm) in Norway sat in second place with 10cm falling on Sunday.
German skiing destinations are now open for the season. The skiing across the resorts is on packed snow cover on piste, with variable and patchy snow cover away from the groomed runs. It was mostly sunny on Monday 23rd December although low, dense cloud cover did limit visibility at Feldberg (15/20cm) where patchy snow cover affects some of the pistes. The higher slopes, such as on the Zugspitze at Garmisch (65/130cm), have great snow cover on the groomed runs, so if you want to hone your carving and piste skiing technique then heading high can work well. Clouds are forecast to move in on Christmas Day and Boxing Day at the German resorts, with a chance of fresh snow.
Bulgarian resorts enjoyed a light dusting of snow on Friday 20th December but conditions are still mostly hard-packed on piste. Pamporovo (30/70cm) received 5cm on Friday and there was good, fast skiing on well-groomed runs and sunny skies on offer on Monday 23rd December. Conditions are similar at Borovets (70/80cm) and Bansko (30/50cm) where the best skiing can be found on piste as, apart from trace snowfall on Friday, there has been no recent new snow.
Windy and snowy weather has enhanced the snow cover at all five Scottish ski areas but none were open for skiing on Monday 23rd December. Cairngorm plans to open for snowsports on Boxing Day, with strong winds affecting lift operations before then. The conditions here, as at other Scottish resorts, has really improved with the recent wintry weather, so when they do open there should be some good skiing on offer.
There was heavy snowfall on the west coast of America this weekend and plenty of resorts enjoyed powder skiing on Sunday 22nd December and Monday 23rd December. Steamboat (127/152cm) enjoyed 38cm of its famous powder on Sunday which made for excellent skiing the following day. Elsewhere in Colorado, Vail (97/97cm) woke up to 24cm of fresh snow on Sunday. There was also heavy snowfall this weekend at Big Sky (71/106cm) which provided skiers and snowboarders with 33cm of fresh snow on Sunday. Jackson Hole (100/127cm) has good conditions across the resort with 18cm of new snow topping up the off-piste powder on Sunday. After a good month of snow fall temperatures have increased on the east coast meaning the best conditions at Killington (30/61cm) and Smugglers' Notch (30/61cm) can be found on the upper slopes.
There were more brilliant conditions on the east coast of Canada this weekend with good snowfall at Tremblant (80/100cm), Blue Mountain (75/75cm) and Mont Sainte-Anne (75/110cm). Tremblant has enjoyed an excellent start to the season and there was powder skiing on offer on Sunday 22nd December with 28cm of fresh snow. There was 12cm at Blue Mountain on Sunday and Mont Sainte-Anne has enjoyed over 30cm in the last week with 7cm falling on Sunday. There is still consistent snowfall further west with most of our featured resorts receiving light dustings over the weekend. There are excellent on-piste conditions at Whistler (92/92cm), Kicking Horse (105/105cm) and Revelstoke (112/112cm). There are also some pockets of fresh powder to be found off piste thanks to good recent snowfall.