Once again, the snow forecast for the Alps was spot on. The Alps have had another dose of September snow: and it’s much more widespread than last week’s. It’s even been snowing in the Italian Dolomites, which is unusual so early in the autumn.
Most of the snow fell last night – but as I write, it’s still coming down in some places, notably in the northern resorts of Switzerland and in western Austria. It’s due to peter out this afternoon; before a band of warmer, rainier weather moves in tonight.
We’re not talking about significant dumps. Zermatt has reported 20cm of fresh snow up high this morning, but most places in Switzerland and Austria reckon they’ve had 5-10cm (and in the French Alps there’s only been a dusting). Nevertheless, the reappearance of the white stuff is great news for the autumn glacier-skiing season, which is gathering momentum now. The Pitztal glacier in the Austrian Tirol opened its pistes on Saturday, and the Stubai glacier gets going on Friday (September 20). Meanwhile, in Engelberg, Switzerland, there’ll be glacier skiing from October 5, and the Grande Motte glacier above Tignes in France will be open from October 12. On the Hintertux glacier (which is open for piste-skiing all year) the best early-season terrain park – Betterpark Hintertux – is due to open soon, maybe even this weekend.
Are we looking at the start of a cold and snowy autumn? Well, as I’ve noted in recent snow reports, some forecasters are predicting just that. For example, La Chaine Meteo in France is forecasting a cool 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”.
But in the immediate future it looks as though warmer weather will return, and may persist until the beginning of October. So unless there’s a glacier in your early season skiing plans, don’t book your pre-Christmas trip just yet.
Here’s a quick canter through the cams to show you how widespread the snow is this morning.