Early resort opening – the update

06 Dec 2017

It’s fair to say that it has been a truly magnificent start to winter. Here in the French Alps 3 out of the 5 Boutique ski resorts have opened early this year with resorts braced for more snow this weekend.

Here we get all the in-resort updates on where is open and where you can SKI THIS WEEKEND

Over recent years shouts of ‘early snowfall’ have been a regular feature of ski holiday sales, with October and November snow being heralded as an indicator of a bumper ski season ahead. It had everyone booking pre-Christmas ski breaks only to be disappointed by a December snow drought (that tended to last into the New Year).

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

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.



Morzine Avoraiz Ski Area New Lifts

ski this weekend

1. Avoriaz is open

We always speak of the ‘snow certainty’ of Avoriaz, and this year is another perfect example of just how reliable it is. It isn’t just that Avoriaz is open, it always opens earlier than almost every other French ski resort, it’s that it is open earlier, than its already, early, opening date. If you take a moment to do a quick google search you will see that in spite of the early snowfall this year in the Aps, few French resorts are actually able to capitalise and open early for their guests. Avoriaz is not one of those resorts.

2. Morzine & Les Gets – Opening 8/9 Dec

Morzine and Les Gets are also going to open early, with their first open weekend this coming weekend (8/9 Dec). They have been quick to follow in Avoriaz shoes, despite their lower altitude, and that’s a credit to the resorts themselves. A lot has been learned over the last two winters to ensure that Morzine-Les Gets ‘profit’ (as the French would say) as soon as temperatures drop and start the process of snow creation and piste maintenance almost immediately. Not that they’ve had a lot to do this winter because so far its just been falling from the sky.

3, Meribel – Opening 9 December

Meribel is all set to open this weekend with pistes already nicely groomed and pisted a full week ahead of opening day. We have seen a few members of the resort team up ‘testing’ the pistes and members of the public hiking up to get some pre-opening ski action. This weekend should be an amazing celebration of the opening of one of our all time favourite ski resorts.

4. Chamonix – Open 8/9 December

Chamonix had some partial opening during November and early December. Grands Montets and Les Houches opened last weekend, the ski areas of Brevent, Flegere and le Tour will open this coming weekend. There are many different ski areas, conditions and altitudes clustered together in this mecca of winter sports so its always good to do a thorough check of piste openings before venturing out. Although regardless there will definitely be something to wonderful ski!

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