It’s been another dazzling spring day in the Alps. In fact, it’s been so dazzling, the talk is of summer – and no wonder with daytime temperatures touching +7C at the very top of the ski area in Alpe d’Huez today (3330m). At village level in Lech, the mercury hit +13C. On the streets of Morzine, at 1000m, it was +19C.
Spring-skiing tactics have been the order of the day. So too have high-altitude resorts, as the snow on lower slopes has been thinning rapidly in the warmth. In fact, many of the valley pistes in the lower ski resorts have now closed and the slopes are flushed with spring grass, rather than snow. But ‘twas ever thus at the end of the season. You need to be skiing well above 2000m to get the best from late March and April.
Generally, the deepest snow is in the western Alps at the moment, thanks to storms last weekend, and at the beginning of the month. Above Val d’Isere, for example, the snow is up to 200cm deep. Above Val Thorens, it’s 230cm deep. In Obergurgl in Austria, there’s up to 97cm of cover.
There’ll be a brief change in the weather this weekend, with a drop in temperature in the western Alps, and snow at altitude.
Here’s the snow forecast for April 1. There’s the chance Austria and Switzerland will see snow on Monday, too. Saturday and Sunday will be fairly cool with the daytime freezing point at 2000m in the French Alps. But it will warm up again quickly next week.
Finally, here’s a brief squizz at the webcams this afternoon, starting with Cervinia in Italy. The area of high altitude skiing it shares with its neighbour Zermatt is one of the most snowsure spots in the Alps at the back end of the season.
Meanwhile, pictured below is Val Thorens, in France: a great April-skiing destination.
And this is the Hintertux glacier, at the far end of the Zillertal this afternoon – another canny place to ski on a warm spring day.
March 31, 2017Nick Edwards
Here’s hoping for some late season snow for the Snowfinders’ end of season trip