Feast your eyes on the white stuff, Snowfiends. Mother Nature has at last got her act together and sent us snow.
I’m Le Praz in Courchevel today – courtesy of upmarket chalet specialist Alp Leisure – and even at 1300m we had 30cm of snow overnight, on top of the 10-15cm that fell here on Saturday. Higher up, across the north-western Alps, there’s more like 40cm, and in places maybe half a metre. The mountains here are echoing to the sound of avalanche blasting and in many resorts lifts have been on hold, thanks to an avalanche risk of 4/5 – which pretty much rules out off-piste skiing for the moment (sadly, there was a fatal avalanche accident above Chamonix yesterday).
Here’s how it was looking in Le Praz earlier this morning…
Not bad, huh? There’s still a way to go before the snowpack gets to where it should be at this time of year. On steeper pistes, the new snow will no doubt be scraped away today to reveal the icy underlayer from last week, and the rockier off-piste runs will still throw up a few nasty surprises (in fact, more snow will be needed before some are skiable). But all the same, this is a vast improvement – and there’s more to come.
In fact, our snow forecast is predicting snow for the next five days. Admittedly, it’s going to get warmer again at the end of the week, and there will be rain in the lower resorts. But the mid-range weather models look promising for next week, and we could see another significant bout of snow (though it’s too soon to be certain).
Here’s our snow forecast for Wednesday, January 6.
And this is the forecast for January 8 – when temperatures will be milder than today.
As you’ll notice from all our weather maps, it’s the resorts of France and Switzerland that will get the lion’s share of snow this week. However, it has fallen in Italy and Austria too. In Austria, the Arlberg resorts did well from the snow overnight, and should get several top-ups over the course of the week.
Here, for example, is how it’s looking in Nasserein in St Anton this morning, with snow down to the valley floor.
And here’s how it is in Lech.
It’s snowing too in Ischgl – and in fact settling right down to village level. Thanks to its state-of-the-art snowmaking system Ischgl offered decent skiing right through the snow drought. But all the same, the softer, grippier natural cover will be very welcome.
There’s been snow too in the Dolomites – although it’s been much lighter than in the northwestern Alps. This is the Passo san Pellegrino, above the lovely town of Moena.
Meanwhile, here are few shots from the land of plenty, starting with Serre Chevalier…
And this is Verbier…
Fingers crossed winter has finally got its mojo back – but still, if you’re planning a trip in the near future, I’d aim high in case there are any more nasty thaws.
I’ll be back with a full snow report on Thursday.