Yes, the ski resorts always opened. Yes, you could always ski. But, fresh stuff? Thigh deep stuff? The stuff you saw on Instagram in October when all the tour operators told you to BOOK NOW! Over recent years that has been missing. It didn't always used to be this way, just 5 years ago, early and abundant snowfall used to be a standard part of any ski season – the alpine gift of pre-Christmas snowfall, quiet pistes and inexpensive ski holidays.
But for the last few years early snow has been elusive and ski resorts, at best, have been over enthusiastic in their reports of skiing condition. So what is the true status this year for those of you not yet out here?
This year is a welcome throwback to circa 2007 when early snowfall really meant good ski conditions. French ski resorts have looked picture perfect from the beginning of December and people have been skiing on and off piste, without having to photoshop out rocks and mud from their holiday snaps.
More snow is arriving this weekend and the temperatures out in the Alps are struggling to get above -5. As a resident out here, I can tell you, it is brutal, on a daily, unrelenting, basis.
The temperatures and the consistent snowfall has allowed a solid snow base, even down into resorts, that is creating an important foundation for the whole winter. The pistes really are open, several weeks before they were due to be, and the towns all have snow coverage.