What the….?? Have you seen the Alpine snow forecast for the next three days?
Here’s what it looks like for Friday, May 24.
And below is the snow forecast for Sunday, May 26. The colour orange in both these forecast means that up to 75cm of the white stuff is expected in places – first in the Italian Dolomites, and then in Switzerland. According to French forecasters Meteo Chamonix, the snow in France could fall down to 1000m on Friday, and 800m on Saturday. Those are midwinter snowfall levels.
If you think it all seems a bit far-fetched, check out the conditions at 2400 above the Swiss resort of Engelberg this evening.
And by the way, did you see what was going on in Scotland this morning?
If you’re wondering where spring went – then look east. The daytime temperature in Moscow is topping out at around 25C at the moment.
We can thank a misbehaving jet stream for our unseasonal weather: it’s tracking much further south than it should be. Meteorologists are linking it to the change in the Arctic climate, and blame it for the run of poor summers the UK has had since 2007.
In the Alps, its effects are less straightforward. Clearly, they’re suffering from the same effects at the moment, but we can’t take it for granted these conditions will continue. After all, while the UK endured damp, cool summers in 2011 and 2012, the weather in the Alps was hot.
Still, anybody near a glacier ski area where the lifts are still running (such as the Hintertux, Stubai, Kitzsteinhorn and Kaunertal glaciers in Austria, and Zermatt and Engelberg in Switzerland) should keep their eyes peeled for a break in the clouds, and grab their planks at the first opportunity. Powder turns await!
What’s more, given how much snow has fallen this month, there should still be great cover on the glaciers through the month of June.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the planet, the new ski season is approaching: and conditions in Australia, New Zealand and the Andes are promising to say the least. Check out the conditions last week in Perisher, New South Wales, below: 21 days before opening day.
Since then, the snow cannons have been running, and there’s still plenty of snow at the summit – as shown in this evening webcam shot today.
Meanwhile, Mount Hutt in New Zealand is in great shape too. The snow cannons were fired up for the first time earlier today, and as the day drew to a close fresh snow was falling. It looks as though much of the weekend over the South Island will be snowy, too.
In South America, the season usually gets going a little later in June – but there’s already been snow in the resorts, and big dump is expected early next week.
|France: the regular ski season is now done and dusted in France, although the glaciers above Tignes, Les Deux Alpes and Val d’Isere will 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. The upper slopes of Engelberg will stay open to May 26. Saas Fee’s glacier will be open from July 27.
|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.
|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: The last of the American resorts will be closing soon. Snowbird in Utah has announced it will close for skiing at the end of this weekend. Meanwhile, Arapahoe Basin in Colorado, is going to struggle to keep much terrain open beyond this weekend (which sees the resort’s annual Festival of Brewpubs). There, closing day is scheduled for June 2. Mammoth in California is also open, but may shut the mountain for skiing after May 26.
|Western Canada: In the Canadian Rockies, Lake Louise and its neighbour Sunshine Village are now closed for skiing. Above Whistler, Whistler Mountain is closed for skiing, but Blackcomb mountain will remain open until May 27.