It's Snowing Again at Altitude in the Alps | Welove2ski
Snow Report

It’s Snowing Again at Altitude in the Alps

It's good news for the glaciers...

It’s been a busy few days of weather in the western half of the Alps. First we had snow at altitude, some of which was heavy. Saas-Fee in Switzerland was claiming 60cm of new snow at altitude yesterday morning, and published some stunning photos on Facebook.

It's Snowing Again at Altitude in the Alps | Welove2ski
Photo: Anders Robertsson/Saas-Fee/Facebook

Val d’Isere in France got lucky, too, and reckoned on 30cm of new snow. Pictured below was how the slopes beneath the Pisaillas glacier looked yesterday.

It's Snowing Again at Altitude in the Alps | Welove2ski
Photo: Val d’Isere/Facebook

Conditions were pretty good on the Pitztal glacier in the Austrian Tirol, too…

It's Snowing Again at Altitude in the Alps | Welove2ski
Photo: Tirolean Ski Association/Facebook

And this was how it was looking on the Grande Motte glacier above Tignes, when Emma Carrick-Anderson of Snoworks made her first turns of the autumn.

It's Snowing Again at Altitude in the Alps | Welove2ski
Photo: Snoworks/Facebook


Annoyingly, during the course of Monday, the weather warmed up sharply, and sent the snowline racing back uphill, there was rain too.

And now? Look what’s happening this afternoon on the Rocher de Bellevarde above Val d’Isere.

It's Snowing Again at Altitude in the Alps | Welove2ski

Snow is falling in Val Thorens, too…

It's Snowing Again at Altitude in the Alps | Welove2ski

Welove2ski’s own snow forecast for the Alps seems to be underplaying the likely accumulations from this bout of heavy rain/wet snow. Thing is, it’s likely to keep going overnight, while temperatures drop. According to French forecaster Meteo Chamonix, the freezing point could be down to 2300m tomorrow morning. The snow/rain is likely to spread east, into Switzerland and Austria too, and will settle down to 2500m for a time.

In other words, the glaciers are due another very welcome top-up of snow. They’ll need it. Conditions in the glacier ski areas have improved enormously since mid-September, but temperatures are likely to keep yo-yoing about for some time, and a good blanket of the white stuff to is the best insurance against whatever weather Mother Nature throws at them in the run-up to winter.

Pictured below is the scene earlier today on the Rettenbach glacier above Solden in Austria. This will be the setting for the first races of the World Cup season, on October 24, and 25, and the resort is very upbeat about conditions now. “The slopes are ready for the World Cup stars with 40 cm of snow,” is the comment that’s just been posted on Facebook. Let’s hope they stay that way!

It's Snowing Again at Altitude in the Alps | Welove2ski
Photo: Solden/Facebook



Meanwhile, in Colorado

There was a dusting of snow at the weekend in Loveland

It's Snowing Again at Altitude in the Alps | Welove2ski
Photo: Loveland/Facebook

…and Arapahoe Basin in Colorado.

It's Snowing Again at Altitude in the Alps | Welove2ski

Loveland and A-Basin are the two high-altitude ski areas in Colorado which are usually making snow in early October, as they race to be the first in the state to open. However, the autumn has been a mild one so far, and it’s too warm to run the snow cannons. There might be some high-altitude snow further west in California over the next few days – and snow in western Canada at the weekend, too – but in the American Rockies there’s no sign yet of a proper autumnal drop in temperature. Joel Gratz, Colorado’s Open Snow forecaster, is hoping for a change at the end of the month, which is late to say the least. But then, given the strength of El Nino in the Pacific, perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised…

If you’re wondering where to head for a pre-Christmas dose of snow, check out our guide to the best resorts for early-season skiing.



France flag France: the Grande Motte above Tignes has now reopened for autumn skiing, and given how grey and knackered it was looking in August, conditions have improved dramatically. Next up will be the glacier above Les Deux Alpes, which will open for a winter preview from October 24-November 1.
Switzerland flag Switzerland: currently Zermatt claims 149cm of snow at 2900m. Here, 11 lifts are currently open, serving 18 pistes. You can also ski on the glacier above Saas-Fee.
Austria flag Austria: five glaciers are currently open in Austria for skiing – the Hintertux, the Molltal, the Pitztal, the Stubai, and the Rettenbach, above Solden. The Hintertux has the most terrain on offer, with 18km of pistes. However, it’s worth noting that the Kitzsteinhorn, above Kaprun is still waiting for more snow and a drop in temperature before it announces its opening date.
Italy flag Italy: The glacier above Val Senales is now open. Cervinia will be opening again on October 17.
Andorra flag Andorra: Andorra’s ski resorts are closed.
Western USA flag Western USA: Timberline Lodge on Mount Hood in Oregon had to close its lifts on August 2 after a low snowfall and a hot summer (thanks to Martin Bell for the update!). Hopefully, the Colorado resorts of Loveland and Arapahoe Basin will shortly be starting their race to open, but it’s still too warm to get the snow cannons going.
Western Canada flag Western Canada: there was snow in the resorts of Banff-Lake Louise in mid-September, but it’s retreated back into the high mountains. If all’s well, the resorts there will be opening in early November.

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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