As the ski season starts to ramp up and my inbox is hit with newsletters trying to flog me the latest and hottest in fashion trends, the mind starts to wonder what kind of season we could be in for. Last year the season started well and quite a few European resorts opened the lifts early... prompting an early trip into the loft for my board and some last minute flights to Geneve. But what will this year have to offer?
Only a lucky few who live or work in a resort will get to pick which days they hit the mountain. I, like most, have to book my hols way in advance of the season starting and then just keep my fingers crossed for sunny skies and fresh powder. Many people will have already booked their 2009/2010 trip; others will still be deciding where to go... high in the Alps for guaranteed coverage? the picture-postcard villages of Austria, exploring the wilderness of the National Parks in Canada or even heli-skiing in the USA. Nevertheless, the anticipation will be starting to build... will you be bounding around in fresh powder or scratching your way down an icy piste knowing that if you catch an edge you're history!
Unfortunately, very few snow reports give you really good advanced forecasts. Some will quote complex metrological formulas such as the Madden-Julain Oscillation (no relation!), the current state of El Nino and La Nina, the water temperature of the Pacific or even recent solar activity. If that all makes sense to you, well done!. If it doesn't (it certainly doesn't to me), then where can you go for a straight-forward forecast?
Well, if you already know where you are going, your best bet is probably the destination website itself. Most have up-to-date weather conditions in pretty simple terms as well as webcams so you can see for yourself. My favourite one to keep track on is merinet, as it's somewhere I go each year.
Those are just the ones I've come across over the past few years... if you folks have any better suggestions, please share!