The Alpine glaciers are going to see fresh snow this weekend: and for a time it may settle lower down, too.
Our snow forecast page tells the story. Heavy rain will move in from the north-west this afternoon, accompanied by falling temperatures. As a result, the snowline will drop down the mountains on Friday – while the weather front moves east from France into Switzerland and Austria.
Come Saturday it looks as though the area just east of Innsbruck – including the Hintertux glacier – could see up to 30cm of snow. Temperatures are likely to drop further on Sunday – in fact, Meteo Chamonix reckons the freezing point in France could be down to 1800m – and there’s likely to a second, lighter, pulse of snow.
So as “winter” comes to a end on Sunday – with the closing of Val Thorens, Chamonix and Tignes – the glacier-skiing season is set for a strong start. Of course, there’s no telling yet how summer 2013 will unfold: and you may remember how grey and slushy the glaciers where looking by early August last year. But for now, there’s good skiing to be had up there. The glacier in Tignes (which will reopen to the public on July 6) currently has 275cm of cover, and Hintertux (open all summer) up to 305cm. That’s a lot of snow.
Here’s a quick sample of today’s webcams.
Meanwhile, over in Colorado, a meaty storm has swept from east to west across the Rockies. It’s brought heavy rain to the plains east of Denver, and a foot of snow overnight to Arapahoe Basin - which continues to have a memorable end to its season (remember the dump of April 22?). There, the lifts are due to keep spinning until June 2, and the latest snow report announces a settled snowpack of 172cm.
|France: the regular season is drawing to a close in France: Val Thorens, Chamonix and Tignes are all shutting down the lifts on May 12 (Sunday). It has – Christmas and January excepted – been a cracking season in France, long and snowy. Only sun-worshippers have a right to grumble, because we haven’t seen much in the way of long sunny spells. The glaciers above Tignes, Les Deux Alpes and Val d’Isere should all be opening for skiing in the summer.|
|Switzerland: There’s a little glacier skiing left for those who want it in Switzerland. Above Zermatt you can ski down to Trockener Steg, although the links over to Cervinia have now closed. There’s skiing on the small glacier at Diavolezza, near St Moritz, and the upper slopes of Engelberg will stay open to May 26.|
|Austria: Austria has now flipped to summer-skiing with all resorts now closed apart from the glaciers. These include the Hintertux, the Stubai glacier and the Kitzsteinhorn glacier. All will be hoping for a decent top-up this weekend (see main report).|
|Italy: the ski season is all but done in Italy – and we note that the glacier above Val Senales will not be opening for summer skiing this year. However, you can still ski on the Presena glacier above Passo Tonale.|
|Andorra: Andorra’s ski resorts are now closed for the summer.|
|Western USA: see our main report. In Colorado, Arapahoe Basin continues to have a storming end to the ski season. Snowbird in Utah and Mammoth in California are still spinning their lifts, too.|
|Western Canada: In the Canadian Rockies, Lake Louise has now closed for the summer, but neighbouring Sunshine Village will keep going until May 20. Above Whistler, Whistler Mountain is closed for skiing, but Blackcomb mountain will remain open until May 27.|