Winter is about to make a comeback. It may be hard to believe right now, whether you’re in the Alps or back home in Blighty: but come Monday we’ll all have our bobble hats back on.
We can thank a cold front rolling down from Scandinavia and western Russia for that. For a few days it looks set to stall over Germany and Scotland: and there’s still a chance that it may lose the battle it’s currently fighting with the warm air to the south. But the mid-range forecasts suggest it will eventually come out on top. Cold, powdery snow will fall again over the Alps, and in places it’ll be quite heavy. Early signals are suggesting Austria and the Italian Dolomites will see a proper dump.
The drop in temperatures is going to be startling too. French forecasting site Meteo Chamonix is talking about a ‘brutal’ return to winter: and there are signs it could stay cold for at least a week!
Needless to say, for proper Snowfiends, this is an exciting development – so keep your eyes on our Alpine snow forecast for updates.
In the meantime: snow in the south-west, and high temperatures
As you’ll have seen from Monday’s snow report, the week started in glorious form, but since then the weather has become rather bad-tempered. No-one likes a Foehn, the evil, warm, snow-munching wind that blows on the northern side of the Alps when it’s snowing in Italy, and yesterday’s episode was a classic – shutting lifts, further humidifying the cover on lower slopes and moving large quantities of snow about at altitude. As a result, the avalanche risk in both France and Austria is back up to 3/5 today – even though hardly any new snow has fallen.
Today, the wind’s dropped and there’s snow in the south-west; at altitude: lower down, it’s falling as rain. Elsewhere, skies are clearer. Temperatures are pretty mild everywhere: +7C in Meribel, +6C in Verbier, +8C in Lech – and in the sunshine they’ll be climbing even higher.
Here’s a quick sample of the day’s webcams and photos.
In Scandinavia, perfect winter conditions
Meanwhile, up in Are, Sweden, the wintry conditions have already returned, preceded by a decent dump of snow at the beginning of the week. Here’s a rather lovely video shot at the start of the week, in the local’s private powder stash at Tegefjall.
California gets a proper dump
Across the pond, smiles are wide in the Lake Tahoe ski resorts of California. Lovely little Kirkwood has had 38-42cm of fresh snow across its slopes in the last two days, while the tree-skiing mecca of Heavenly, nearby, reports 33cm.
There’s been fresh snow up in the Canadian Rockies, too – to add to the heavy falls we featured in Monday’s snow report. Fernie reports 16cm of fresh snow this morning, and there’s more in the forecast. It’s looking good for southern Colorado too. According to ace blogger Joel Gatz there’s heavy snow in the forecast for a select few resorts on Saturday and a few more on Sunday.
|France: the thaw is really getting hold of the snow on the lower slopes, helped by that nasty Foehn wind we described in the main report. At least the wind’s dropped today, and the skies are clearing. However, the forecast is for two quick rain/snow episodes before Sunday, which will thin the cover on the lower slopes. If you want soft, powdery snow, you’ll have to ski the very highest north-facing slopes. Thank goodness it’s going to cool down soon! In Val Thorens the snowpack is currently 155-330cm deep. In Flaine the snow’s 67-355cm deep.|
|Switzerland: conditions are much the same as they are in France. The skies are have been brightening, and it’s warm. The cover on the lower slopes is thinning rapidly, so aim high for the best snow. Currently, Engelberg has 80-480cm of settled snow on its pistes, and a temperature of +11C at village level. In Davos it’s +8C in town and the snow is 75-154cm deep.|
|Austria: It’s a spring day in the Austrian Alps. Stay high for the best snow, and be very careful off-piste as yesterday’s strong winds have sent the avalanche risk back up to 3/5. Currently, high-altitude Obergurgl has 95-230cm of snow, the Skiwelt 80-150cm and St Anton 70-220cm.|
|Italy: there’s been fresh snow in many western Italian resorts today, but it’s been accompanied by rain at village level in many places. The weather is uncharacteristically murky in the Dolomites, too. In the Dolomites, Canazei reports 45-170cm of settled cover. Above the Aosta Valley, Cervinia has 60-240cm of settled cover.|
|Andorra: it’s a sunny day in Andorra – but not as warm as it is in the Alps. Currently, the Grand Valira – Andorra’s biggest ski area – reports 140-250cm of snow on its slopes, and a top temperature of +4C at resort level.|
|Western USA: Conditions are very good in the Rockies right now, thanks to several recent top-ups of snow. They’ve just improved dramatically in California, too, thanks to the 30cm+ of fresh snow in many resorts in the last 48hrs. In Utah, Snowbird the snow report talks of 210cm, mid-mountain; in Jackson Hole in Wyoming that figure is 162cm, and in Breckenridge, Colorado 152cm. Meanwhile, above Lake Tahoe in California, Heavenly reports 106cm of settled snow.|
|Western Canada: There’s a lot of fresh snow around in the Canadian Rockies at the moment: Fernie reports a mid-mountain snowpack of 281cm of snow. Meanwhile, on the coast, Whistler reports 73cm of new snow on the upper slopes in the last seven days. The mid-mountain snow-pack is currently 255cm deep.|