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Sunniest ski resorts with good snow

 Poster: A snowHead
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Appreciate it's a very general Q, but can't find much on a search here or on Google easily - I do realise that if it's sunnier then snow conditions may be worse - I'm not entirely daft (yet!)

Which is sunnier, ie more likely to get a decent days skiing Austria, Northern Alps, Southern Alps or Dolomites

Also I was surprised to read recently that, in the Alps, in fact there are more sunny days in Dec, Jan & Feb than Mar & I have been able to find a little data to back this up, particularly for Jan & Feb, obviously Dec has very short days anyway

Main reason for asking is that I hate skiing in flat light when you can't see contours, it really spoils my holiday, so anything I can do to have a better chance of avoiding it the better
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Your challenge now is to define good snow. Snow that stays chalky on North facing slopes in winter may nevertheless be worse than the corny goodness of s good melt refreeze cycle.
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@Russbost,
If what you hate most is flat light, rather than attempting to work out if there is a bit more cloud in one place than another I would suggest finding resorts that have reasonable skiing above and below the tree line.
Being below the tree line doesn't guarantee good light (nor good snow) but in the vast majority of imperfect light conditions there is a huge improvement.
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Zermatt and Saas Fee, in the spring. Both are high, and snow-sure as a result, but also in a rather dry corner of the alps.
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@zikomo,
How much real life difference is there? The last time I was in Zermatt , the Matterhorn was only visible on one day of the week.
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Serre Chevalier - Good sunshine record AND good skiing below the tree line.
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@T Bar, A lot - you can look up the number of sunny days, it's quite a bit more than other parts of the alps.

What time of year were you there? I did say "spring" for a reason.
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@Russbost, from my very unscientific observations of skiing in France and Italy, the southern central alps tend to be a bit sunnier and calmer than over the main alpine ridge to the north and west. I was in Livigno this year when the North westerly storms were wreaking havoc in France and Switzerland, and we got 25cm of powder and sunshine with no lift closures. However, sometimes you miss out on the northerly snow altogether and it can be frustrating watching it dump a few Km north in the Arlberg while it's dry and clear in Livigno. The Lombardy resorts in Italy are a good mix of sun and snow in my experience,and the further south you go the sunnier/less snowy it seems to get. Livigno/Bormio/Madesimo might be worth looking at.
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zikomo wrote:
@T Bar, A lot - you can look up the number of sunny days, it's quite a bit more than other parts of the alps.

What time of year were you there? I did say "spring" for a reason.

First week of April
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@Russbost, ... in your post you acknowledge that this advice will be open to the normal vagaries of weather variation - the Valais (Rhône Valley) is amazingly sunny (Crans Montana has an average of over 300 days of sun) - the real trick (and lesser known gems) in the Valais are the North facing small resorts, where the snow stays great but the sunny days are present - Grimentz, Vercorin, Nax. Of course it’s been really claggy this year - a lot more clag days than usual - so the vagaries of the weather still apply. But the Valais is a good destination for sun+snow - take a car and you can chase around really easily - buy the Magic Pass and you get 30 resorts for the price of just over a normal week....
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@T Bar, Then you were very unlucky! I ski in that part of the world every spring and (with one exception) have experienced excellent weather. One week may not be the best basis for an opinion...!
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
@zikomo, ...but Tbars experience was real - it happens. I made elaborate plans to squeeze in a weekend at zermatt in June - dreadful weather in town (hanging Alpine drizzle, fog to 3000m+) - and we sure didn’t see the Matterhorn at any time - Good fun, and although we could only see 2m, we got burnt to bu””ery.
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zikomo wrote:
@T Bar, Then you were very unlucky! I ski in that part of the world every spring and (with one exception) have experienced excellent weather. One week may not be the best basis for an opinion...!

I like Zermatt and I'm not knocking it I have been seven weeks in total I think. I was just questioning how much sunnier it really was than elsewhere , most places I have been to have on average been sunny.
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Glenshee wink
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OTS wrote:
Glenshee wink


Great photo, im going tomorrow Very Happy
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 Poster: A snowHead
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skibedoo wrote:
Serre Chevalier - Good sunshine record AND good skiing below the tree line.


This area Serre Chevalier, Montgenevre, Puy St Vincent.

Isola 2000?

Pila
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Italian Dolomites for sun ...
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Pradollano, Sierra Nevada in Spain
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Alpe d’Huez has a reputation for being very sunny
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skibedoo wrote:
Serre Chevalier - Good sunshine record AND good skiing below the tree line.


+1.
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I suppose ideally you want a resort which isn't entirely north facing - or it's all going to be in shadow most of the day. Cervinia might fit the bill.
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@zikomo,
Quote:

you can look up the number of sunny days


Where? A brief look for Chamonix and the reporting weather station for the numbers was Sion (CH)... Shocked which is not very helpful!
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As others have said what you need is skiing at a range of altitudes with good tree lined skiing. Although even then it seems you are searching for the holy grail here. Mountain weather is naturally fickle at any time of the year.
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@under a new name, Saas Fee claims 300 days of sunshine a year, Zermatt will be similar.
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Quote:

Saas Fee claims 300 days of sunshine a year


yeah, right, whatever. Data, not marketing puff please...
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La Rosiere deepest snowpack in France I believe and south facing.
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
@under a new name, yep....data, not marketing hype is what’s needed. For the Valais, for Sion the Cantonal centre, which will have slightly less ‘sun hours’ than the altitude resorts, due to temperature inversions - that is, you can stand on the mountain in intense sun and look down at Sion under the cloud cover of the temperature inversion....and we often set off from the house at 1100m and find that the cloud tops out 100m up the hill...

https://www.worldweatheronline.com/sion-weather-averages/ch.

Last year, 124 days qualified as ‘sun days’ in Sion. Not a very representative year. Last summer was WET. Some VERY WET downhilling days in the Summer (we still haven’t got the mud out of our kit) and some FABULOUS sun days. Last Easter VERY sunny skiing for two weeks. And good snow at Grimentz - all day skiing, bit soupy by 4pm but a hoot of a time ...
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@valais2, and the source I found for Cham had Sion as the centre of record, which really won't be very accurate.
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@under a new name, ...using Sion for Cham is weird, you are absolutely right...Mt Blanc real microclimate as you and all climbers know (‘when the mountain wears a cap the weather will be c+ap...’) and there are weather stations all over the massif which will yield better data. There’s a big meteo station at Plaine Morte and on the ridge above Col du Pochet which both have good, accurate data for altitude in our neck of the woods.

http://meteonews.ch/en/Weather/G6933735/Pointe_de_la_Plaine_Mort
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Yeah, fully accept I am looking for the holy grail - I also want reasonably priced catered chalet accommodation which has rooms with baths rather than showers & is ski in/out or very close to it & preferably a huge ski area like Portes du Soleil or Espace Killy, you can throw in a hot tub too if you like! snowHead

I skied Puy St. Vincent some years back when my kids were small (great resort for kids!), but it's a very small ski area, Serre Chevalier also isn't all that big, only 157km according to Schrahe, but a definite possibility

I'll pass on Glenshee thanks, went to Aviemore when we first started skiing about 34 years ago & wasn't impressed

Appreciate what's said re tree lined, it does at least give you some datum to judge things by, but doesn't usually alter the fact that you can't see contours which is my problem - hence not very convinced by anything re Northern facing slopes as surely light is likely to be flatter on those than a South facing slope at any given time.

Went to Alp d'Huez at end Jan last year & had an amazing week, but there was b*gger all snow there at all just 2 weeks earlier ............Not a problem this year!

I note no one has mentioned Sauze, which I believe is another resort claiming 300 sunny days a year (could do with a Schrahe report on false sunny day claims!) I know they've invested heavily in snow making equipment, but is snow still highly variable there on the village runs even given snow making?

I see no one's saying much about Austria, so it would seem general consensus seems to be Southern Alps or Italy (I'm ignoring Switzerland it's so stupidly expensive!)

The obvious choice is to book last minute when you can see likely weather patterns, however given our fickle choices as listed above & the fact that we are a group of 6 that's not overly practical either - maybe I need to carry my own personal searchlight! Very Happy
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sierra nevada in Spain?
Ski in the morning, sunbath on the coast in the afternoon
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Russbost wrote:
Appreciate what's said re tree lined, it does at least give you some datum to judge things by, but doesn't usually alter the fact that you can't see contours which is my problem - hence not very convinced by anything re Northern facing slopes as surely light is likely to be flatter on those than a South facing slope at any given time.

Eyewear can help a little but ultimately it's down to your ability to ski blind and/or skiing to the conditions. Personally whilst the trees don't help with the contours for me they are a massive help overall.

Russbost wrote:
Went to Alp d'Huez at end Jan last year & had an amazing week, but there was b*gger all snow there at all just 2 weeks earlier ............Not a problem this year!

ADH is certainly a pleasant resort to ski in the sunshine and is 'open'. You're are pretty pooped when the weather closes though. Back to the Holy Grail issue.

Russbost wrote:
I note no one has mentioned Sauze, which I believe is another resort claiming 300 sunny days a year (could do with a Schrahe report on false sunny day claims!) I know they've invested heavily in snow making equipment, but is snow still highly variable there on the village runs even given snow making?

If you think Serre isn't a big ski area then I wouldn't imagine Sauze would do much for you either.

Russbost wrote:
I see no one's saying much about Austria, so it would seem general consensus seems to be Southern Alps or Italy (I'm ignoring Switzerland it's so stupidly expensive!)

I've done dribs and drabs in Austria over the years. Can't say as I've found it any different, plus or minus, in terms of weather/sun over France.

Russbost wrote:
The obvious choice is to book last minute when you can see likely weather patterns, however given our fickle choices as listed above & the fact that we are a group of 6 that's not overly practical either - maybe I need to carry my own personal searchlight! Very Happy

Yeah, I don't think that will work. I am going out this weekend. Light snow/cloud predicted over the weekend itself. Which could mean anything visibility wise and after that who knows. You got to have some snowy days to have the bluebird great skiing condition days. What's a man to do.
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@Russbost,
Quote:

Appreciate what's said re tree lined, it does at least give you some datum to judge things by, but doesn't usually alter the fact that you can't see contours which is my problem

Seeing contours is not an all or nothing phenomenon but I disagree that you can’t see the contours better in the trees. There are some conditions where the light is flat and you can't see the contours anywhere but much of the time being in the trees improves snow surface visualisation significantly. The light is less diffuse because you have cut out a lot of the side light and vision frequently improves in my experience.
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@Russbost, if you want a catered chalet then you are pretty much looking at France.
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If it’s sunny skiing you are after then other than Glenshee.......it’s the Dolomites.

It is the sunniest part of the Alps and since many resorts there rely on 100% snow making it is likely to be the most reliable for early season skiing. This year has demonstrated how sheltered it is from bad weather coming from the west or north. As far as I can tell no ski days have been lost this year in the Sella Ronda and the area has not been significantly affected by strong wind or rain. In terms of actually skiing (rather than depth of snow) it is very reliable.
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La Rosiere or AlPE'd'Huez - high, snowsure, south facing, big snow records.
Caveats: spring skiing - ice, slush in lower parts and La Roz gets windy sometimes
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Miami Beach - but its not the kind of snow you can ski on.
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"If you think Serre isn't a big ski area then I wouldn't imagine Sauze would do much for you either" - but you have the whole of Sestriere & Montgenevre as well as Sauze ............

As has been mentioned, chalets in Italy are few & far between, tho' we did stay at one in Arabba a couple of years ago, but Inghams have now removed from their brochure Puzzled Would happily go back to the Dolomites if we could find somewhere to stay that suited, would happily use a hotel rather than chalet if everything else fits ..............

La Rosiere, 2 of our group stayed at a couple of years back, they were disappointed in the ski area, said it was much better over at La Thuile, as was the weather, but I know the links quite often close due to winds- we're just a bunch of whingy old gits really aren't we?!! Twisted Evil

Don't think the Miami beach snow is what I'm looking for! Shocked
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I would humbly suggest that the bigger resorts in the central/western Pyrenees (plus Andorra, which despite being somewhat eastern also reliably manages to offer up the goods) offer an enviable mix of sunshine and good -often excellent - snow. Not this most unusual of seasons, mind... The Siberian conditions continue unabated, giving Easter a mere glance of contempt before trampling right on through.
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Hmm - don't think I'd fancy booking a long way ahead for the Pyrenees, snow is somewhat unpredictable
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