Blimey, Snowfiends, have you seen the snow forecast for the Alps for the coming week?
Snow is going to be falling somewhere in the mountains every day till Saturday at least. The heaviest falls are predicted for Thursday, with up to 30cm expected in the Austrian Tirol and in central Switzerland.
Meanwhile, in France, forecasting service Meteo Chamonix reckons the snow could be falling down to 1600m for a time on Thursday morning. That’s down to village level in many ski resorts.
Of course, now that September’s here, we shouldn’t be surprised to see the white stuff at altitude. In the same week last year, I was writing about a medium-sized autumnal dump in the Alps, with 20cm settling mid-mountain in Engelberg, Switzerland, and 25cm on the Hintertux. Snowy interludes are quite common in September, and once the wind changes direction the snowline will go scurrying back uphill again.
However, it’s worth pointing out that some of the seasonal forecasts are predicting a colder-than-average autumn. Follow the link to La Chaine Meteo in France, which is forecasting a chilly October and November, and says that, il semble que nous nous dirigions vers un nouvel hiver froid sur l’Europe – “it seems as though we are heading towards a cold winter in Europe”.
As La Chaine Meteo points out, long-term forecasting is in its infancy as a science, and predictions like this need to be treated with circumspection. They should be balanced against other forecasts, too – such as that from Meteo Suisse, which says there are no clear signals either way for a cold or a warm autumn. So, at this stage, you shouldn’t count on an early-and-snowy start to winter. If you’re planning a trip before Christmas, you need to take the usual precautions and aim high. Check out our guide to early season skiing for advice on that.
Nevertheless, the signs are promising. In the Alps, summer started very late and seems to be winding down already. Despite the long-term warming trend, summer in the Arctic was also cool this year, and some meteorologists think this will have an effect on the season ahead. So start work on your ski fitness, keep your eyes on our Snow Reports and Snow Forecasts, and get ready to move quickly if the Alps have an early season snow bonanza.