Autumn has made a brief return to the Alps. A cold front is currently washing over the region, and snow is falling in parts of Switzerland and Austria.
Here’s how it looked in the Kaunertal Glacier ski area this morning, in the Austrian Tirol. It’s due to open for skiing on Saturday.
Meanwhile, pictured below is an insider’s view of the weather from the Pitztal Glacier nearby, which is already open for pre-season skiing.
And this is how it looked above Ischgl earlier today. Ischgl is due to open on November 22.
Please don’t imagine this is start of long, steady build-up to winter. September and October are never like that. The same goes for November. Temperatures yo-yo about all over the place, and so does the snow line.
Just to prove the point, the forecast is for a rapid return of the late-summer warmth that’s dominated the region for the last couple of weeks. By Wednesday, the daytime freezing point will be above 4000m. So this new snow will quickly melt, and even the high-altitude glacier-skiing areas will be affected.
If you’re keening for a few pre-season turns, I’d hold fire, and wait until mid-October at least. After a couple of promising snowstorms at the end of August/start of September the weather’s been unusually mild. The Tirolean resort of Sölden has postponed the opening of its glacier to skiers as a result, and there’s no sign of a decisive shift in weather patterns just yet, despite a slight cooling forecast for the weekend.
Meanwhile, in the Southern Hemisphere…
This was Treble Cone on the South Island of New Zealand last Tuesday – after a spring storm dumped 60cm of snow on the slopes. It was followed by a rapid rise in temperatures, and several big avalanches. But once the safety crews had done their work, there was some exciting skiing to be had. It was a great way to wave goodbye to the season. The resort closed on Sunday.
Elsewhere in NZ, the ski season still has a couple of weeks to run, and there’s more snow in the forecast for the next five days. In fact, The Remarkables reported a 5cm top-up this morning, and it’s been snowing in Mt Hutt too.
In Australia, Thredbo will be closing next weekend at the end of steady season of snow. As you’ll see from the video summary below, conditions have been mostly sunny over the last week. But there’s a chance of one final end-of-season snowstorm before the lifts stop spinning…