You never know with spring in the mountains. One minute everyone’s in t-shirts, wondering if they shouldn’t break out the barbie. The next – whumpf. There’s a metre of fresh snow on the ground and the temperature at 2000m is -8C.
That’s how it’s been in parts of Austria, in the wake of the big April storm, which dropped 50-100cm of fresh snow between Sunday afternoon and Wednesday.
Here’s how it was looking thus morning above St Anton in the Arlberg, which got the lion’s share of the snow. On the Galzig the settled cover is now 250cm deep. Conditions should be good for Der Weisse Rausch ski race on Saturday: the last big event of the ski season, before the lifts shut on Sunday.
This is how it looked in Kuhtai yesterday (like St Anton, the season also ends here at the weekend).
This was the scene at Hintertux today, where the glacier is open for skiing all year. The settled snow cover is up to 210cm deep here.
Best of all is this slice of video, shot yesterday on the Kitzsteinhorn, above Kaprun.
There was snow in the eastern half of Switzerland too, with some resorts getting more than 50cm.
Today, despite the sunshine, the freezing point won’t get much higher than 900m, which is the kind of level you’d expect in January. It’s been cold in the rest of the Alps too. The French Alps missed out on the snow, but this morning in the resort of Val d’Isere it was cold enough to run the snow cannons at village level: it’s the first time Val has ever done this in the second half of April (the resort is due to shut on May 1).
More snow on the way?
We may not be done with the late-season snowstorms. There’s a little more snow coming to Austria on Saturday, when a weak cold front crosses the region. But it’s the mid-range forecast, for the second half of next week, which is really interesting. It’s too soon to be sure: but the weather could turn wintry across the whole of the northern Alps from Tuesday night, What’s more, it may stay cold until the end of the month. If you missed out on this week’s powder in Austria and you can travel next week, check out guide to the best resorts for spring skiing, and keep an eye on the weather forecast…