A few of the big ski stations in France and Italy opened last weekend, and more are scheduled to start lifts spinning this weekend. In Japan, its still early days but there is some limited skiing available.
|Niseko 02.12.16 - www.grand-hirafu.jp|
Rain on the weekend hasn't helped get things ready, but for most of Japan its still early days. Hokkaido, however, has earlier starts and Niseko has got some lifts running and the season under way.
Elsewhere its still pretty grassy even on the peaks. Its snowing in Hokkaido today and, after the weekend, it looks like more on the way up there and maybe snow down in Niigata and Nagano as well.
Opening dates at my featured Japanese ski resorts:
Yuzawa (Kagura) - limited skiing at the top of Kagura
Niseko (Grand Hirafu) - OPEN - 45cm at base
Nozawa Onsen - part opening (Yamabiko) ASAP
Hakuba (Happo One) - 17th December (part opening ASAP)
Zao Onsen - early December
Myoko Kogen - mid-December
|Val d'Isere 28.11.16 - Val d'Isere Facebook|
Its only the first week of December and there is already a lot of skiing available at the higher stations in France. This despite not much snow falling in the last week.
Val Thorens has almost double the lifts and runs compared to last week and Val d'Isere has extensive terrain for skiing and riding. Isola 2000 and Serre Chevalier have lifts spinning for the first time this weekend.
However, there's not so much snow below 2000m, so Grand Tourmalet, for one, has put back its opening another week.
Opening dates at my featured French ski stations are:
Val Thorens - OPEN - 85cm@2300m, 25/30 lifts, 48/85 pistes
Val d'Isere - OPEN - 5cm@1850m, 44/77 lifts, 75/167 pistes
Chamonix (Grands Montets) - OPEN on the weekend - 30cm@1972m
Isola 2000 - 3rd December partial opening
Serre Chevalier - 7th December (with a pre-opening on 3rd December)
Grand Tourmalet - 10th December
Les Arcs - 10th December
Val d'Allos - 10th December
Super Besse - 10th December
|Madonna di Campiglio 30.11.16 - Madonna di Campiglio Facebook|
Some of the larger northern Italian ski resorts are already open for limited skiing.
In the Dolomites, Val Gardena and other Sella Ronda ski areas open this weekend.
Opening dates at my featured Italian ski stations:
Madonna di Campiglio - OPEN - 11 lifts, 10 runs
Madesimo - OPEN - 4 lifts, 7 runs
Monterosa - 3rd December
Val Gardena - 3rd December