At the start of December 2011 it was looking like it was going to be a very bad ski season as hardly a snowflake had fallen and it had been fairly warm through out November. Without the cold weather at the beginning of the season and with the ground not being cold enough , when the snow did eventually come in the middle of December, there was little or no base for it to stick to. The French Alps had the mildest and driest autumn in close to 150 years.
But from when it started snowing just before Christmas it has not stopped across the Alps and the snow conditions are the best the ski resorts have had in two decades. Most ski resorts in northern France and Switzerland now have well over 2 metres of snow at the top of the mountain and in Austria at St Anton, there is close to 4 metres.
The South Alps have not had quite as much snow, and Italy also has not had as much, with the Dolomites suffering from poor snow.
Snow conditions are generally the best seen since 1989. In mid January a massive storm hit the Alps putting down several feet of snow in a matter of hours. Many higher resorts were cut off such as Val d'Isere, Val Thorens and Les Arcs. In some ski resorts bars were closed early and people were warned to stay inside because of the high avalanche risk. There were electric cuts and many trees were brought down by the weight of snow. Holidays makers trying to travel home were severely disrupted as transfer companies and coaches could not get to the resorts and the airports struggled to cope with the weather.
The rest of the month saw more snow fall, with several centimetres of fresh snow keeping conditions on the ski pistes excellent but making for some interesting and other airports as roads were covered in snow.
February saw temperatures drop to well below freezing bring burst pipes, frozen water and troubles with vehicles not starting. A bone numbing minus forty was recorded at the top of Les Arcs ski resort and temperatures have struggled to get higher than minus 20 in Courchevel and Meribel.
For those considering a ski holiday to the Alpes there is no better time to go and test the fabulous snow conditions. If you need Grenoble airport transfers then there are many companies offering these services.