There’s more autumn snow in the Alpine forecast. We should see a sprinkling in the east over the next two days, followed by moderate falls in Thursday – when the Italian Dolomites and central Austria are set to get 20-30cm. Then the action is expected to shift a little to the west. According to our snow forecast for the Alps, the Austrian Arlberg and eastern Switzerland should also see 20-30cm on Friday.
Before that, however, we need to sit out the kind of thaw that’s so common in Europe at this time of year. After last week’s snow, temperatures rose sharply at the weekend, and today, in the both the French and Austrian Alps, the freezing point is at 3000m. That’s right up a glacier level. As a result, the snowline has moved quick back uphill, and all but the highest ridges and peaks are snowless again.
Temperatures start to drop tomorrow, and by Thursday the freezing point will be down to 1700m. When the new snow comes it should settle at village level in some resorts.
The snow will be the perfect overture for the start of the World Cup ski racing season, which gets underway on the Rettenbach glacier above Solden in the Tirol on Saturday and Sunday. Currently, the forecast is for the skies to clear just in the nick of time, on Friday: which will give the course-preparation teams a chance to clear the course for Saturday.
Here’s how the finish area was looking on the Rettenbach earlier today.
Meanwhile, in the west, this was the view towards Val Claret in Tignes.
Of course, this being October, we need to control our excitement and not start banking on an early start to winter. Heavy snow at this time of year is no indication of what’s to come. After all, there were a couple of good-looking snowstorms in the Alps last October, and we all know what happened after that…
What’s more, some of the mid-range forecasts are predicting a sharp rise in temperatures early next week. So if you fancy a ski holiday before the Christmas, then check out our guide to early-season skiing and make sure there’s plenty of altitude in your plans: along with either a glacier or a good snow-making system.
If you’re lucky, you may get some of this (picture taken on the Hintertux glacier in the middle of last week):
Meanwhile, in North America…
In Colorado, snow-making in the two early-season resorts of Arapahoe Basin and Loveland pretty much ground to a halt last week because of mild weather. But a colder spell is on the cards over the next few days, so the cannons should be running again shortly – and as soon as there’s enough snow, skiing will begin.
Further north, Mother Nature’s been more obliging. This was Lake Louise in Banff National Park, Canada, yesterday afternoon, following heavy snow on Friday. Lake Louise is due to open on November 10.
And this was Jackson Hole, Wyoming this morning. Here, the lifts are due to start running on November 26.
|France: Snow fell to mid-mountain level in some French resorts last week – but an autumn thaw has sent it scurrying back uphill again. Still, the new snow has been much appreciated on the glacier above Tignes, which is already open for skiing. Next week, it’ll be joined by the glacier at Les Deux Alpes which will be open for a winter preview from October 22 and November 1.|
|Switzerland: the glaciers above Zermatt and Saas-Fee are both open. Thanks to the snow last week the cover on the Allalin glacier in Saas-Fee, is now up to 160cm deep. The glacier above Engelberg may open this weekend. A decision will be taken on October 18.|
|Austria: skiing is currently on offer on the Hintertux, Pitztal, Molltaler, Stubai, Kitzsteinhorn, Rettenbach and Kaunertal glaciers. All have benefitted from fresh snow, and there’s more to come at the end of the week. Currently, the cover on the Hintertux is up to 75cm deep.|
|Italy: The glacier above Val Senales is now open for skiing. Cervinia will open for skiing over the weekend of October 22-23, and for the season from October 29.|
|Andorra: no skiing is currently on offer in Andorra.|
|Western USA: In Colorado, the race between A-Basin and Loveland is now on, although mild weather has put a temporary stop to snow-making in both resorts. Cooler weather is expected midweek, which should get preparations back on track.|
|Western Canada:There’s no skiing on offer in the Canadian resorts at the moment, though there was quite heavy snow in Lake Louise last week. the Rocky-Mountain resort is hoping to open on November 10.|