There’s a striking contrast in the Alpine weather today. It’s one that’s likely to continue for much of the week.
Pictured, below, is how it looked at lunchtime today in the the French resort of Val d’Isere. Here, the mild and sunny weather that set in around Christmas Day is still going strong.
With the cover up to 89cm deep on the lower runs, and 182cm deep higher up, there’s plenty of snow here. It’s the same in all the high-altitude resorts across the northern half of the Alps. However – thanks to the mild sunshine – the snow on the valley runs is hard-packed each morning, and the off-piste cover rutted and crispy, unless you’re skiing above 2700m on shady slopes.
Meanwhile, this is how it looked in Zermatt, Switzerland, where there’s about two metres of snow packed down on the higher slopes.
Pictured below are the Dolomites above the Italian resort of Canazei.
Here, as you can see, the sunshine’s more broken today, and the snow is generally thinner. Thanks to its world-class snow-making system, Canazei’s pistes are in good nick. But there’s been much less natural snowfall so far this season in the southern half of the Alps, so the off-piste cover is patchy.
Now look how it is in the Skiwelt, in the Austrian Tirol this afternoon…
And at Axamer Lizum, just south of Innsbruck…
In fact, Austria had snow yesterday, and after a short break tomorrow, it will get more on Wednesday and (to a lesser extent) on Thursday as well – accompanied by a significant drop in temperatures. The daytime high in Lech in the the Arlberg is likely to be -8C on Thursday.
Here’s Meteoblue’s forecast map for Austria on Wednesday.
Admittedly, there will be some snow in eastern Switzerland too, and temperatures generally will fall back, especially in the Italian Dolomites. But if you want a proper dose of winter, Austria is where it’s at right now.
Expect more widespread snow across the northern Alps on Saturday. However, high pressure is likely to reassert its grip on the region for a time next week.
Meanwhile, in North America…
This was Jackson Hole yesterday. The Wyoming resort has had 50cm of snow in the last two days, and 4.36m so far this winter.
In other words, the strong start to the ski season in the American Rockies continues. Whistler in Canada is doing well, too – with 4.9m so far this winter, and lots more in the forecast from Wednesday to Friday this week.