Today in the Alps...
Updated: 9.15am Thursday 27 November 2014 – Little change
There’s not much change in the Alpine weather today. Generally speaking most places are dry but there areas of cloud around, thickest in the western Italian and southern French Alps with a little snow at altitude. The brightest weather is at altitude in the eastern Alps, which will suit Ischgl very well on its opening day.
Indeed, generally speaking, Austria seems to be the best place to ski today (and probably over the next two days) purely down to the better weather.
By contrast, showers will intensify in the south-western Alps on Friday and Saturday with some significant snow likely at altitude along the French/Italian and Swiss/Italian border, in resorts such as Sestriere, La Thuile, Zermatt, Cervinia, Saas-Fee and Monte Rosa. There is also a chance that some of this snow might spill over into the Val d’Isère/Tignes area (much needed in view of the opening of L’Espace Killy this weekend), but this is very uncertain right now.
What is certain is that it will turn colder as we move into December with a chance of more general snow (only a chance at this stage). At the very least though it will allow resorts to fire up their snow cannons. Watch this space...
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Updated: 9.30am Wednesday 26 November 2014 - Very mild but…
The Alps continue to be subjected to a very mild southerly airflow which is rapidly melting any remaining low-lying snow. No need to panic just yet though as colder weather will return next week. It is too early to say whether this change will bring significant snow, but at the very least it will allow the snow cannons to fire up as we head into December.
Wednesday will see further showers across the south-western Alps – mostly the southern French and western Italian Alps with a little snow above 2300m but generally not amounting to very much.
The northern French Alps may also see a few showers for a time, but most other areas will be dry (if rather cloudy) with the best of any brightness at altitude in the east.
It will continue to be very mild with maximum temperatures of +4°C or 5°C in Tignes (2100m), + 8°C in Zermatt (1620m) and +10°C in Kitzbühel (760m).
There continues to be plenty of decent skiing about at high altitude, mostly on the glaciers. Those resorts that do have some non-glacial terrain open though will find the snow increasingly heavy below 2500m.
In theory, the most extensive skiing over the next few days remains in the Zermatt/Cervinia area but, given the poor forecast in this part of the Alps, the Austrian glaciers (e.g. Kitzsteinhorn, Stubai, Sölden and Hintertux) may be a better bet. Ischgl opens its slopes for the first time tomorrow (Thursday) and may well offer the greatest extent of entirely non-glacial skiing in the Alps (currently in Obergurgl).
Updated: 9.40am Tuesday 25 November 2014 - Showers in the south-west, otherwise mostly dry
The Alps are under the influence of a mild southerly airflow which is bringing some showers (and a little snow at altitude) into the southern French and south-western Italian Alps. For most regions, however, it is another dry day with sunny spells.
So any meaningful snow will be very localised today – above about 2300-2500m and only in the far south-west. Elsewhere, the big story is how mild it is with maximum temperatures today expected to reach +8°C in Val d’Isère, +10°C in Lech and Zermatt and +12°C in Chamonix. Skiing conditions on the glaciers remain good but lower down a steady thaw is underway.
Find out more in our detailed forecast later today...
Updated: 9.15am Monday 24 November 2014 - Mostly dry, variable cloud
It’s another dry day in store for the Alps with variable cloud and very mild afternoon temperatures. As of tomorrow the weather will start to turn a little more unsettled in the south-west, but the widespread snowfall once forecast for the end of the week is off the agenda - for now.
Today (Monday) it will remain dry with some bright or sunny spells, but also large areas of cloud drifting around. It will be very mild though with freezing levels close to or even above 3000m. Tomorrow, one or two showers will arrive in the southern French and western Italian Alps (with a dusting of snow above 2000m) heralding a more unsettled week for the south-western Alps in general.
For more on snow conditions across the Alps see our detailed snow report later today...
Updated: 9.20am Sunday 23 November 2014 - Mostly dry, variable cloud
After yesterday’s sunshine it’s a cloudier picture for much of the western Alps, though still largely dry and relatively mild. The best of the sunshine today will be in the east.
At least 30 resorts are open for skiing across the Alps this weekend including Val Thorens in France, the biggest of the new openings yesterday (Saturday). The most extensive slopes, however, remain in Zermatt and Cervinia where nearly 100km of pistes are available with a vertical drop of some 1700m (all the way down to resort) on the Italian side.
Looking ahead and it will gradually turn more unsettled from the west over the next few days, but the widespread snow once forecast towards the end of the week is now looking less likely. Stay tuned...
Updated: 12.50pm Saturday 22 November 2014 - More openings, glorious weather
It’s another glorious day across much of the Alps although there are a few areas of cloud drifting around here and there. There are several new resort openings too, the biggest name of which is Val Thorens.
There isn’t a huge amount of snow in the French Tarentaise but plenty enough at altitude for a decent ski, and in Tignes they have (with artificial help) now opened the famous Double M run all the way down to Val Claret.
Zermatt/Cervinia continue (in our opinion) to offer the best conditions in the Alps with nearly 100km of pistes now open and skiing possible all the way to resort on the Italian side, and Furgg on the Swiss side.
Sölden and Obergurgl, both in the far south-west of Austria, are other good bets if it’s extent you are after, each with around 70km of pistes on offer. Elsewhere we reckon there are at least 30 resorts at least partially open for skiing this weekend, though most in a very limited capacity.
The weather is expected to remain largely quiet until the middle of next week. Thereafter it will turn increasingly unsettled with the prospect of some significant snow for many.
Updated: 9.20am Friday 21 November 2014 – Mostly fine
There are areas of cloud drifting around the Alps this morning but it is essentially dry with sunny spells, the best of these in the south. It will be mild too, with afternoon temperatures reaching +6°C in Lech and +11°C in Chamonix.
The best skiing in the Alps remains in Cervinia/Zermatt where more than 70km of pistes are open and there is close to 2m of settled snow up top. Tomorrow you will be able to ski all the way down to Cervinia allowing a whopping vertical of some 1700m.
Over in France, Tignes will also officially open its Double M run down to Val Claret (though plenty of people are already using it) thanks to a combination of natural and artificial snow. However, more snow is needed lower down – especially with the opening of L’Espace Killy (the whole Tignes/Val d’Isère area) imminent next weekend. Snow is indeed forecast later next week but again favouring the south at this stage. We will keep a close eye on this in the coming days.
Back to this weekend and we expect at least 30 Alpine resorts to be at least partially open thanks to the recent snowfalls. The weather is expected to remain dry and mild with sunny spells and patchy cloud.