After last week’s blazing sunshine, the weather in the Alps is going to be cloudier this week, and – at times – wetter. But it’ll still be very mild, at least until Thursday, which means there’ll be the occasional period of rain, even at 3000m.
After that, we’re expecting a couple of days of cooler weather, when the daytime freezing point will sink back below the 3000m mark. In Austria, it may get as low as 2300m before rising again at the weekend.
Despite the sudden onset of what feels like summer, there’s still an awful lot of snow in the high Alps. This picture from Radio Val d’Isere sums the situation up nicely. On several of the higher pistes, the cover is still three metres deep.
According to John Yates-Smith of YSE, there’s so much snow that the road up to the Col de l’Iseran probably won’t open in time for glacier skiing in early June. “So the plan at the moment is for the French teams to practise on the OK, at the top of Bellevarde,” he says. Once the snowploughs have cut through the huge drifts, the action will then switch to the Pissaillas glacier.
That said, we’ve still got another week of “winter” to run in Val d’Isere, which closes on May 1. Its sister resort Tignes keeps going until May 6 and Val Thorens until May 10. High-altitude Cervinia stops full-time operations on May 6, but will open at the weekends until May 27.
Even then there will still be skiing available – thanks to the glaciers. In the Tirol, for example, the Stubai stays opens until June 3, while both the Hintertux and Zermatt glaciers are open all year. Several areas, such as Tignes and Les Deux Alpes, reopen for summer skiing as well.
Here’s how it looked on the Hintertux glacier earlier today. On its highest pistes, the cover is up to 390cm deep.
So there’s still plenty of skiing for those who want it – even if the mild weather makes spring-skiing tactics essential. But there’s no denying thoughts in the Alps are turning to summer sports. In fact, parts of Dolomiti Paganella Bike Park in Trentino, Italy have already started opening at the weekends…