Last week the weather took a more autumnal turn in the Alps. There was a sprinkling of snow across some of the higher resorts last Thursday, and there was more snow at altitude over the weekend. In parts of the Tirol in Austria, it was still falling this morning.
Here’s how it looked in the village of Le Fornet, above Val d’Isere yesterday.
And this was the view towards Val Claret and the Grande Motte in Tignes on the same day.
Meanwhile, in the Tirol, the snow came on Saturday. On the Hintertux Glacier, where this shot was taken, it bumped up the settled snow depth by 10cm.
It was snowing in the Italian Dolomites on Saturday, too.
There’s still a little snow falling in Austria as I write. This was how the top lift station above the Pitztal Glacier looked earlier today.
The Pitztal opened for the autumn skiing season at the weekend, and will be grateful for the new snow after such a warm end to the summer.
Is this the start of a decisive shift in the weather? Well, the rest of the week is going to be cool-ish, thanks to light northerly breezes. The eastern Alps will be slightly cooler than the west, with the daytime freezing point hovering between the 2600 and 2800m mark. In the French Alps it’ll be around 3000m. A warm and sunny spell is then expected over the weekend – but I see that some mid-range forecasts are suggesting a cold snap at the end of the month. It’s much too soon to be sure of that; but that won’t stop us hoping, of course.
There’s been some fresh snow in the Rockies, too…
This was the high-altitude resort of Arapahoe Basin, Colorado, on Thursday last week.
And this was Loveland on the same day.
Both resorts like to get going early and A-Basin already has its snow cannons ready. The idea is to start making snow as soon as the temperature drops below -2C for a few hours, but realistically there’s not much chance of a concerted snow-making effort before early October.
And in the southern hemisphere?
Winter made a bit of a comeback in the Snowy Mountains of Australia last week.
This was Thredbo on Thursday.
And this was Perisher on Friday.
There could be more snow across the upper slopes in both resorts on Wednesday and Thursday, too, although it’s likely to be quite wet and heavy.
In New Zealand and the Andes, it’s been drier, and spring has a much firmer grip on conditions. In NZ, The Remarkables closes for the season on Sunday, followed by Coronet Peak and Treble Cone the following weekend.
|France: The summer ski season in the French Alps is now over. All eyes are now on Tignes, whose glacier should re-open again in October.|
|Switzerland: despite the very warm end to the summer, Zermatt is reporting that there’s plenty of snow on the glacier – up to 150cm, in fact. You can also ski on the glacier above Saas-Fee.|
|Austria: late-summer skiing is currently on offer on the Hintertux, Pitztal and Molltaler glaciers. On the Hintertux, the snow depth is up 10cm, in the wake of the recent snow, and stands 45cm, on-piste…|
|Italy: Cervinia has finished its summer season.|
|Andorra: no skiing is currently on offer in Andorra.|
|Western USA: snow-conditions permitting, September ski weekends are currently on offer at Timberline Lodge in Oregon. But with the snow cannons now in position in A-Basin, Colorado, thoughts are turning to the start of the “winter” season in the high-altitude resorts. Hopefully, within the next month at least a couple will be up and running.|
|Western Canada: the Horstman glacier on Blackcomb Mountain in Whistler is now closed.|
September 19, 2016Gordon Roberts
You are so predictable. We are here in France and saw a sprinkling on the various Alpine webcams and I said Welove2ski will be shouting about this. Why make so much fuss about it when a ,little sun will melt it this weekend. Every year it comes and goes through Autumn. Wait until we get a good dump then go to town.
September 20, 2016Sean Newsom
Wow. And there I was thinking a little bit of white would gladden the hearts of skiers, as we all sit around watching the summer fade, kicking our heels in anticipation of winter.
Obviously, this snow does not herald the start of the mainstream season: the headline is a bit of a clue about that. But there are glacier ski areas which are gearing up to open at the moment (the Pitztal opened on Friday), and anyone considering an autumn trip to, say, Tignes or the Hintertux will be pleased to know there’s been snow at altitude. The glaciers were looking very threadbare this time last week.
September 20, 2016Gordon Roberts
Good reply Sean, made me laugh. I do enjoy your website really. Gordon
September 20, 2016Sean Newsom
I’m glad you like the site, Gordon! And I will bear your comments in mind. I used to write “this doesn’t mean we can expect an early winter” in the autumn snow reports, and then stopped because it was getting repetitive. But as you say, September snow is no indication of what lies ahead.
Still, I felt my first genuine flicker of excitement at the approach of winter as I compiled this report. And it got me into the pool to work on my ski fitness at 6.30 this morning. So it’s not all bad…
September 21, 2016Kate Edwards (@Kate_Adelaide)
Well I thought it was a good feeling promoting article Sean! You never know we could have an early Winter – with the climates as they are no one can predict. Keep the pics coming – really getting me excited about the coming season!
September 21, 2016Sean Newsom
Glad to hear it Kate! After the last couple of seasons we deserve an early winter, though I don’t think that’s how it works! The last really good start to the Alpine winter was 2012, which was a cracker, and there were a few other great starts before that. Do you remember 2007?