After all the snow last week – when both the south-western Alps and Austria had significant top-ups – this week’s outlook is less exciting for snowfiends. Spring will maintain its grip across most of the region, and the high-altitude resorts will offer by far the best skiing conditions.
Tignes in France, pictured above, still has 59-168cm of settled snow on its pistes, Cervinia in Italy has 30-195cm, and the Hintertux in Austria reports up to 210cm of cover on its highest runs.
But even at altitude, you’ll need to take account of the daily freeze-thaw cycle and adopt spring-skiing tactics if you want to get the best out of the day. Hit each piste just as the top layer of snow begins to melt in the spring sunshine, and you’ll think you’re skiing on velvet. Get your timing wrong and you’ll be skittering about on ice, or wallowing in slush.
Courtesy of the tour operator Crystal, two of our editors, Peter and Felice Hardy, are in exactly the right place at the moment: Obergurgl. By lunchtime yesterday, the mercury had hit +18C at village level: but Felice reported good spring skiing this morning, and deliciously empty pistes above Hochgurgl. Perfect conditions, I’d say, for getting up onto your edges and carving some big, fast turns…
Tomorrow will bring rather different conditions in Austria – when a week cold front crosses the country. Sadly, it won’t bring significant quantities of new snow. But the daytime freezing point will drop significantly. It was up at 2700m today. Tomorrow, it will be at 1900m, and will bobble about between 2200m and 2600m for the rest of the week. Our snow forecast currently predicts light snow showers in Austria on both Tuesday and Thursday.
In France, it will be warmer and sunnier, with the daytime freezing point breaking the 3000m barrier on most days.
It’s too soon to be sure of the weather over the Easter weekend, but at the moment a cooler interlude on Sunday is possible – and it may be accompanied by snow. The western Alps will probably warm up again afterwards: but it could turn properly cold for a couple of days in Austria. Keep an eye on our snow forecast and snow report for updates. With any luck, the high-altitude resorts of Austria could be in for a couple of chilly powder days early next week.
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