Hold onto to your bobble hats, snowfields. And your umbrellas. We’ve got a busy week of weather ahead, and the news is not all good.
There’s going to be lots of precipitation in the Alps over the next five days: but below about 2000m, it’s going to be falling as rain for much of the time.
However, the mid-range forecast is more promising. The weather fronts will keep piling in: but by Saturday temperatures will have dropped significantly. So the lower resorts should get a covering of snow, and the chance to run their snow cannons. They’ll be very grateful, because down at 1000m the slopes are a still a vivid green.
Here’s the current prognosis for Saturday from the European Centre for Mid-Range Weather Forecasts. What’s particularly encouraging is that the maps for the following three or four days are showing a consolidation of this area of cold air.
Right now, of course, the conditions in the high-altitude resorts are good for the time of year. Even here, at village level, there could be the odd spell of rain before the weekend chill arrives: but higher up – especially above 2500m – you should get some powder, as well as plenty of top-quality carving (when you’re not skiing in a whiteout).
Here’s how it looked earlier today on the Bellevarde, above Val d’Isere – at an altitude of 2689m. The resort reports nearly 80cm of settle snow on the highest pistes.
And this was Ischgl in the Austrian Tirol at the same time. Here, there’s about 50cm of cover at 2300m.
Finally, this was the scene, mid-mountain in Cervinia, where the snow is 30cm deep at 2000m and over two metres deep at the top (3500m).
The best days for visibility should be Wednesday and Friday.
France, Switzerland and Austria can all expect to see this mix of rain and snow, with temperatures lower in the east than the west. In France, for example, the daytime freezing point isn’t expected to drop much below 2500m until Friday. In Austria, it’ll bobble between 1600m and 2300m.
The resorts of Italy will have a drier week.
So, the advice for anyone planning to ski in the near future is to aim high as high as you can. Mind you, that always the advice at this time of year.
Meanwhile, in the American Rockies…
The American Rockies are having a strong start to the winter, with repeated doses of snow. In Jackson Hole, Wyoming, they’ve had nearly three metres of snow already this season, and report a settled base of 117cm at the top. Breckenridge in Colorado is also looking good, with a settled base of 97cm.