At Last - the Forecast in the Alps is Looking Up | Welove2ski
Snow Report

At Last – the Forecast in the Alps is Looking Up

Fingers crossed the mid-range weather forecast for the Alps holds good. Next week could see significant snowfall.

I thought I’d interrupt your bank holiday with a Snow Report update. Because – at last – the forecast for the Alps is looking up.

After a mild and largely snowless December, there’s a good chance the weather will start to change on January 1. Here’s our snow forecast for the day.

At Last - the Forecast in the Alps is Looking Up | Welove2ski
Welove2ski’s snow forecast for the Alps for January 1, 2016.

Yes, it’s only a dusting of 1-10cm, but if the mid-range weather models hold good, it’ll be just the start of a much colder and snowier spell. It’s too soon to be absolutely sure of this: but if you look at the models from the European Centre for Mid-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) and the Global Forecast System (GFS), you’ll find they’re both predicting a significant shift away from high-pressure and mild temperatures, which should last for several days.

Here’s the ECMWF map for Monday, January 4.

At Last - the Forecast in the Alps is Looking Up | Welove2ski
Image: ©

Currently these maps suggest all parts of the Alps should see some snow. It’s too soon to be sure of this of course, but by the middle of the week, the outlook should be clearer. If it’s still good, all those £300-400 ski holidays currently available for January 2/3 and January 9/10 departures will start being snapped up.

It will have to snow a lot to make up the shortfall of course, and I doubt there’ll be enough new snow to fill in all the high-altitude off-piste routes. But on piste at least there should be a big improvement in conditions on-piste.

Bear in mind, however, that the cold and snowy weather may not last. There is talk amongst meteorologists of the second half of the European winter being much colder than the first. But we have to balance against that the record-breaking weather in the Alps since the early summer. It’s been an extraordinarily warm year, and I’d still aim high in case there are more sharp thaws ahead (unless you can drop everything and go at the very last minute).

Here’s how it’s looking today in the middle Val Thorens in France. Even here, one of the most snowsure resorts in the Alps, you can see how thin the snow is off-piste on north-facing slopes. But at least they have more than half their pistes open.

At Last - the Forecast in the Alps is Looking Up | Welove2ski

Over in Val d’Isere the snow conditions remain some of the best in Europe. Below is a picture (courtesy of YSE Ski) taken at the bottom of La Daille, the resort’s lowest point, on what is probably the busiest day of the year, and the least snowy December 28 for 52 years!

Snow Report Dec 28, 2015 | Welove2ski

Meanwhile, pictured below is the scene near San Cassiano in the Dolomites, part of the Dolomiti Superski collective – which has managed to open over 700km of pistes, despite an almost complete lack of natural snow on the slopes.

At Last - the Forecast in the Alps is Looking Up | Welove2ski

Today should see the last of the really mild weather that’s dogged the Alps this month, with the freezing point likely to rise to an altitude of 3000m or more. In the short term, however, the onset of cooler weather won’t be welcomed by nervous skiers, as it will mean more pistes will stay hard-packed and icy during the skiing day. They’re likely to be busy too, with the arrival of New Year holidaymakers. If you’re out this week, please slow down, and pick an easier grade of piste than normal.

Fingers crossed next week’s forecast holds good…

About the author

Sean Newsom

As well as founding Welove2ski in June 2007, Sean has written about skiing and snowboarding in the British press for 28 years. For the last 20 of them, he’s also been the ski travel editor at The Sunday Times.


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  • cant wait to see some snow – off to samoens on thurs where they seem to have been doing well keeping the pistes open. they even helicoptered snow in to some key links. check out Facebook link for les carroz – page officielle for the video.

  • I have just returned from Ischgl where the pistes are in fine form with excellent snow cover and not as busy as usual. I would say probably the best in all the Alps at this time. Equally as good as Val d’Isere but then I am biased like the author of the piece above. By the way, tell Peter Hardy that the highest point in Ischgl is Greitspitze at 2872m and not Idalp 2320m as he reported in his Daily Telegraph piece before Christmas.

  • Let’s hope so 🙂 struggling in the south alps 🙁 not much open over the Christmas week but all credit to the team at Risoul / Vars la fort Blanche for what we did have .

  • In st anton and skied the north face of the Valluga today. Knee deep powder if you know where to look so sorry I don’t buy into the doom and gloom of no off piste. Sure lift served off piste is non existent however if your prepared to hire a guide, skin, boot pack what ever it takes there is powder out there. We counted in the region of 400 powder turns today with 50 minutes skinning!!!! Enjoy…….. We did.