Today in the Alps...

Updated: 9.45am Thursday 29 January 2015 - Big storm underway!


We’ve been talking about it all week, but last night the “big storm” finally got underway and at 9am this morning there was already 20cm+ of new snow across many northern French and western Swiss resorts (e.g. 3 ValleysPortes du Soleil).

Méribel, France Heavy snowfall in progress in Méribel - Photo:

The snow will continue to fall for much of the day across the French Alps (except for the far south), most of the Swiss Alps (again except for some parts of the far south), parts of Austria (mostly the north and west) and the extreme north-west of Italy close to the French and Swiss borders.


Elsewhere, which basically means the southern Alps (including most of Italy) any precipitation will be patchier or non-existent.


The heaviest snowfalls will be in the north-western Alps, though even here it may become lighter for a time this afternoon before intensifying again this evening and overnight. The rain/snow limit will remain low in the internal valleys, but briefly reach 800-1000m in some exposed western areas today, falling to very low levels again tomorrow.


By dawn (Friday) we can expect snowfall totals above 1500m to have reached 50-70cm (locally more) across the northern French and far western Swiss Alps, including the likes of the 3 Valleys, Flaine, Chamonix, Portes du Soleil, Verbier and Villars. If we were to pick the real sweet spots we might gamble on Avoriaz, Flaine and the northern end of the Chamonix valley (Grand Montets, Le Tour, Vallorcine) for the highest totals of all.


The rest of Switzerland (away from the far south and south-east) might see more in the range of 25-50cm at similar altitudes (again locally a bit more).


In Austria, we expect closer to 10-40cm with the higher end of this range more likely in the far west (e.g. Lech). The far southern Alps, along with much of Italy, are only likely to see a few cm here and there, but there are two exceptions to this rule. Some resorts in the far north-west (e.g. La Thuile and Courmayeur) are likely to see significant snow. There is also a chance of heavy snow creeping into the eastern Dolomites later - something to keep an eye on. 

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Updated: 10.35am Wednesday 28 January 2015 - The calm before the storm!


There are still a few flurries across some northern and eastern parts of the Alps this morning, but for most regions it’s a dry day with bright or sunny spells. Tonight, however, the much anticipated “big storm” will move in from the north-west and influence the Alpine weather for many days to come.

Tignes, France Perfect weather in Tignes first this morning. But make the most of it - it will be very different tomorrow! - Photo:

Before we consider the impact of the coming storm, it is worth noting that some parts of the Alps have already had significant snowfalls over the last 24 to 48 hours, especially the north-eastern quarter of the Alps from the Bernese Oberland (e.g. Mürren) eastwards, through the likes of Engelberg, Flumserberg then across the border into the Vorarlberg, the Tirol (especially the north), the Salzburgerland, Upper Austrian and Styria. All these areas have seen 20-50cm of new snow, and very locally more.


Tonight the “main event” will hit the western Alps, with heavy snow for the northern French and Swiss Alps, spreading east into Austria later. This snow will continue for much of tomorrow, always heaviest in the north-western quarter of the Alps. The southern Alps (notably Italy) will see much lighter snowfall and some places may even miss out altogether.  On Friday and over the weekend it will stay cold with further snow at times, especially in the northern and western Alps but, as always in this kind of set up, expect a few surprises.


Between now and Sunday we can expect:

  • 60-120cm of new snow across the northern French Alps (Haute-Savoie, Savoie, Isère), with the more northerly resorts (such as Avoriaz and Flaine) most favoured
  • 40-90cm across Switzerland (away from the far south) with the far west most favoured (e.g. Morgins, Villars, Verbier)
  • 20-40cm across much of Austria (again away from the far south), perhaps 50cm+ in the far west (e.g. Lech)
  • 5-20cm generally across Italy, the extreme south of the French Alps (Alpe Maritimes), the extreme south of Switzerland (Ticino) and the extreme south of Austria (Carinthia)

The rain/snow limit may briefly reach 800-1100m in some exposed parts of the northern and western Alps tomorrow, but will generally be lower and descend to pretty much all levels by Friday and thereafter. It will therefore feel particularly cold over the weekend - turning even colder next week.


An important final word on the avalanche situation, which is already dangerous in many areas especially on the northern side of the Alps - this will become far worse over the next few days. Extreme caution advised! 

Updated: 9.30am Tuesday 27 January 2015 – Yet more snow across northern Alps


There have been further snowfalls over the last 24 hours, again chiefly across the northern Alps where up to 30cm has fallen in some parts of Switzerland. This morning, most of the snow is now concentrated in Austria, where (away from the south) it will continue to snow for much of the day. 

Les Gets, France 10-20cm of new snow across the Portes du Soleil. This is Les Gets - Photo:

Except for the odd light flurry, most other parts of the Alps will be dry with the best of the sunshine in the southern French and western Italian Alps.


In terms of snowfall totals, over the last 24 hours there has been 20cm in the far northern French Alps (e.g. Avoriaz), a bit more than expected, and 2-12cm in the big Tarentaise resorts (e.g. 3 ValleysL’Espace Killy). Moving into Switzerland, the Bernese Oberland did particularly well with 24cm reported in Wengen and 29cm in Mürren. Indeed most of the northern Swiss Alps did well, with between 15-25cm generally and over 30cm locally in the north-east.


It is still snowing in Austria, particularly in the Vorarlberg, northern Tirol and Salzburgerland where storm totals are also expected to be in the 15-30cm range – Lech already reports 20cm. Once again the southern Alps have seen little if any snow.


As for the much anticipated “Big Storm”, this is due to get underway tomorrow night and influence the weather through the weekend and into next week. The fine detail is still changing but the heaviest falls are still likely to be across the northern French and western Swiss Alps. Stay tuned! 

Updated: 9.40am Monday 26 January 2015 - More snow pushing into the northern Alps


The next set of weather fronts are already knocking on the door of the northern Alps this morning. These will bring some snow to low levels across many northern French and Swiss resorts today, spreading further east into Austria tonight.

Val d'Isère, France Cloud thickening in Val d'Isère today, with some light snow possible later - Photo:

Accumulations are expected to be light to moderate with perhaps 5-15cm of snow across the northern French Alps by tomorrow morning (heaviest in the Haute-Savoie - e.g. Portes du Soleil, Grand Massif) and 15-30cm across the northern and eastern Swiss Alps (e.g. Engelberg, Laax). Parts of Austria (away from the south) will also eventually see moderate accumulations, with the snow lingering here for much of Tuesday. The southern Alps, notably Italy, will again miss the bulk of any snow on offer.


The “big storm” is then still very much on for later in the week. We have lost the really extreme snowfall totals predicted a few days ago, but rest assured it will still deliver widespread, significant snowfalls to many regions.


The action starts on Wednesday night, with snow likely to very low levels right through the weekend and into next week. The fine detail is constantly changing but at this stage the northern French and western Swiss Alps look like they might be in the jackpot zone, with the Italian Alps slightly less favoured - but there may be surprises. It will turn bitterly cold too, so all in all it’s a very wintry outlook. 

Updated: 8.45am Sunday 25 January 2015 - Further top-ups for northern Alps


As expected there has been further snow across the northern Alps, generally light, but with some moderate accumulations in parts of north-eastern Switzerland and Austria. Today, snow flurries will continue over these same north-eastern regions for a while (notably in Austria) before dying away later.

Klewenalp, Switzerland 20cm+ of snow in parts of the north-eastern Swiss Alps. This is Klewenalp - Photo:

In the last 24 hours we have seen 2-10cm of snow across the far northern French Alps and western Swiss Alps (e.g. Portes du Soleil, Verbier), 10-20cm in the central northern Swiss Alps (e.g. Engelberg) with up to 25cm locally in the north-eastern Swiss Alps (e.g. Unterwasser).


Today (Sunday) flurries will continue for a while in these same north-eastern regions, becoming increasingly confined to northern Austrian (north Tirol, Salzburgerland, Upper Austria) where 10-25cm (locally more) is also possible by the end of the day.


Further bits and pieces of snow are forecast early this week before the arrival of the much anticipated big storm on Wednesday night/Thursday which will last through the weekend. The really extreme snowfall totals predicted a couple of days ago have been toned down a little, but we are still expecting widespread, heavy and (in places) disruptive snowfall, especially (but not exclusively) in the northern Alps. Stay tuned! 

Updated: 9.30am Saturday 24 January 2015 – Further snow for the northern (especially north-eastern) Alps later


There is a bit of a mix of weather across the Alps this morning. Most places are dry first thing, but scattered (mostly light) flurries are affecting the northern Austrian Alps - mostly in the northern Tirol and the Salzburgerland.

Tignes, France Gloriously sunny at altitude in Tignes this morning - Photo:

Elsewhere, there is a lot of low cloud around the northern Alps with the best of any sunshine at altitude or further south.


Later today, more general cloud will invade from the north-west with some light snow likely in the northern French and northern Swiss Alps, spreading further east into Austria tonight. Accumulations in France will be very modest – perhaps 2-5cm in the Haute-Savoie, and next to nothing in the more intra-Alpine valleys of the Savoie (e.g. Val d’Isère).


However, the snow will become more significant further east where it will linger for while tomorrow (notably in Austria). The eastern Swiss and Austrian Alps (excluding Osttirol and Carinthia) can therefore expect some moderate accumulations of snow (10-30cm locally more) by midday on Sunday. Note that the southern French Alps, the far south of Switzerland (Ticino), the far south of Austria (Carinthia) and most of Italy will stay dry.


In case you are wondering, the big storm we talked about yesterday is still very much on for later in the week, starting Thursday. Latest projections still show accumulations in the region of 1-2m across many northern Alpine resorts between Thursday and Sunday.


Such automated figures are of course a bit arbitrary this far out, but serious snow for most of the Alps is almost certain. Some southern parts may miss the really heavy falls but few resorts will miss out altogether. More on this tomorrow...  

Updated: 9am Friday 23 January 2015 - Potential massive snow event late next week


It’s not often we start “Today in the Alps” with a look at what might happen a week down the line! However, so exceptional are some of the charts on view for next Friday/Saturday that on this occasion we feel it is well warranted.

ECM pressure chart via Météociel - Saturday 31 January 2015 Trouble in the Alps late next week if this chart verifies, and it isn’t even the snowiest chart on offer! - Image:

It is still a long way off of course, but all the different weather models have been very consistent over the last few days in developing a vigorous area of low pressure to the east or north-east of the UK late next week. This will allow an unusually strong and highly unstable north-westerly airstream to engulf Western Europe and bring massive quantities of snow - to the northern half of the Alps in particular.


This is just the tail end of next week. Even before then there are several episodes of snow that will affect the Alps, starting this weekend when weather fronts will deliver moderate accumulations over some northern, and particularly north-eastern areas. Into the new week and it remains unsettled with further snow likely in places culminating in the increasingly stormy conditions we have mentioned above.


As we are keen to stress, there is still plenty of time for downgrades but the potential exists for 2m+ of new snow by the end of next weekend in some northern and especially north-western parts of the Alps. Anyone travelling to the Alps next weekend would be well advised to keep a close eye on our updates.


Back to today, and most places will be dry with variable cloud. However, some snow flurries are likely in the east, especially Austria and the far east of Switzerland, though generally speaking they won’t amount to very much. 

Updated: 9.25am Thursday 22 January 2015 – Fresh snow across southern Alps


Yesterday, most of the snow showers were concentrated on the southern side of the Alps while (under a slight Foehn effect) the northern half of the Alps remained mostly dry with sunny spells. 

Cervinia, Italy Fresh snow in Cervinia - Photo:

Most Italian resorts report between 10 and 20cm of new snow, with 30cm+ in a few favoured spots (e.g. Cervinia). There is also new snow in parts of the southern French Alps (e.g. Isola 2000) and the far south of Switzerland (Ticino and south-west Engadin).


Today further flurries are likely across the Italian Alps for a while, especially in the east, but most places will be dry with variable cloud and sunny spells.


The weather remains unsettled over the next few days with further bits and pieces of snow and the prospect of some much more serious dumps later next week. 

Updated: 9.20am Wednesday 21 January 2015 - Variable cloud, scattered flurries across southern Alps


Many places will have a dry day with variable cloud and occasional sunny spells. However, the southern Alps (Italy, the southern French Alps and the extreme south of Switzerland) will see some flurries, especially later in the day, with some slight to moderate accumulations here and there (especially in the south-west).

Champéry/Champoussin, Switzerland Bright skies across the Portes du Soleil this morning. This is the Champéry / Champoussin area - Photo:

Just to recap, over the last 24 hours we have seen some fresh snow in places. This has been mainly in an arc from the western foothills of the Alps (e.g. Villard de Lans in the Vercors), through the southern French Alps (e.g. Orcières, Pra-Loup, Isola 2000) and back up into the western Italian Alps (e.g. Sestriere) all of which have seen between 10 and 25cm. 


Overall then conditions remain pretty good, even if snow depths are generally still below where they should be for mid-January. Further bits and pieces of snow are forecast over the next few days with the prospect of some really serious dumps towards the end of next week – something to keep an eye on... 

Updated: 9.20am Tuesday 20 January 2015 - More snow for parts of the western Alps


Some parts of the Alps have seen further overnight snow. This has mostly affected the western and north-western foothills, with 20cm+ in the Vercors (e.g. Villard de Lans) and 15cm in Morzine. It has snowed all the way down to the lowlands too, including in Geneva, Annecy and the outskirts of Grenoble.

Chartreuse mountains, France Fresh snow for the Chartreuse mountains (just north of Grenoble) this morning - Photo:

The more “internal” French resorts saw less snow however, with just 2cm in Chamonix and little or nothing in the Tarentaise (e.g. Val d’Isère). Some western Italian resorts (e.g. Courmayeur), as well as the far north-western Swiss Alps, also saw a few flurries but for most of the Alps it was a dry night. 


Today these same areas will see further (mostly light) flurries for a time, probably dying away later but with the potential to deposit a few more cm here and there. For most regions, however, it is another cold but dry day with variable cloud.


All in all, skiing conditions are good with light winds and relatively cold (but not frigid) temperatures across the board. The rest of the week continues in the same vein with further snow flurries in places. Find out more in our detailed forecast later today...  

Updated:  9.45am Monday 19 January 2015 – Cold, further flurries in parts of the west later


Sunday was generally acknowledged as the best skiing day of the season so far. It followed widespread snowfall on Friday night/Saturday which dumped 20-50cm across most of the Alps – up to 1m in some parts of Lombardy (Italy) and the far south-east of Switzerland.

Bad Kleinkirchheim, Austria The best weather is in the eastern Alps today. This is Bad Kleinkirchheim in southern Austria - Photo:

All this new snow means that conditions in the Alps are pretty good right now. That said, we are keen to point out that base depths are still below average nearly everywhere and that more snow is still needed if we are to be confident of riding any warm spells over the next few weeks – at least low down.


The good news is that this week will be cold, nothing exceptional but enough to preserve most of the newly fallen snow, even at lower altitudes. There will also be further flurries, starting in the western Alps later today with a few cm in places – chiefly in France. The best of the sunshine will be across the eastern Alps. 

Updated: 10.20am Sunday 18 January 2015 - After the snow, the sun


The remnants of yesterday’s storm are clearing the far eastern Alps this morning leaving a fine but cold day for most regions. Indeed, given all the recent snow, this could prove one of the best day’s skiing of the season - though extreme caution is advised off-piste where the avalanche danger is high. 

Avoriaz, France Fresh snow and blue skies for much of the Alps today. This is Avoriaz - Photo:

The greatest snowfall totals from this storm appear to have been in the far south-east of Switzerland, where some 90cm fell on the upper slopes of the Corvatsch (St Moritz) for example - over 1m even close to the Italian border. Central parts of Switzerland (e.g. Andermatt) as well as Lombardy (e.g. Madesimo) also did particularly well, with between 50 and 90cm of snow at altitude.


One relative disappointment was that parts of the Dolomites didn’t get more. Don’t get us wrong they still got a useful dump – over 50cm on the slopes of Arabba for instance – but 20-40cm was closer to the norm, a lot less than was originally forecast.


Another area that saw less than forecast was the French Tarentaise, particularly the upper valley where Val d’Isère saw barely 10cm at resort level, a bit more up top.


All in all though it’s a positive picture. Not only have conditions improved everywhere over the last couple of days, it is set to stay cold all week with further flurries in places. 

Updated: 9.30am Saturday 17 January 2015 - SNOW!


Many parts of the Alps are waking up to fresh snow this morning though, as usual, quantities are very unevenly distributed. As expected, the heaviest snow has been falling in the central Italian Alps (e.g. Madesimo, Livigno) and the far south-east of Switzerland – St Moritz, for example, has 45cm of fresh snow in the valley and 50-70cm up top!

Livigno, Italy Huge snow falls in Livigno (Lombardy) - Photo:

By contrast, snowfall in the big Tarentaise resorts in France has been a bit disappointing – just 6 or 7 cm at resort level and 25cm on the glacier in Val d’Isère, and 15cm in Méribel. The Haute-Savoie did better, with 25-30cm in Flaine and Avoriaz, as did the southern French Alps which reports 40cm quite widely at altitude.


As we have already seen, the heaviest snow in Switzerland was in the south-east with 40-70cm of new snow in the upper Engadin (i.e. St Moritz). Elsewhere in Switzerland there is 35cm at the mid-station above Engelberg, 30cm on First above Grindelwald, but only 15cm in Zermatt and 7-10cm in Verbier.


We are still waiting for figures in many Italian resorts, but we know that the most snow fell in central/eastern resorts. We think 50-70cm, perhaps more, might have fallen in upper Lombardy for example (e.g. Madesimo).


Parts of the Dolomites have also done very well with 40cm up top in Cortina and 60cm reported on the Marmolada glacier near Arabba. Further west, Cervinia reports 10-25cm of new snow depending on altitude, and there were decent falls further south in the Milky Way region too.


In Austria, the snow generally arrived a bit later and will continue for much of the day, so we will try and establish in what quantities later on. It does look, however, like the far south and west (Vorarlberg, southern Tirol and Carinthia) will be the most favoured regions.


As for the weather for the rest of the day, any snow will fizzle out across the western Alps where some places are already quite bright. Further east, particularly in Austria and the eastern Italian Alps, it may snow on and off for much of the day.


With drier conditions expected everywhere tomorrow, we should then have a better idea just how much snow has fallen overall.  

Updated: 9.40am Friday 16 January 2015 - Snow incoming!


The Alps are entering a very interesting period of weather, with snow (in varying degrees) for all areas over the next 24 to 36 hours. Indeed it is already snowing this morning over parts of the southern Alps and it is here that we will see the greatest accumulations from this current storm.

Madesimo, Italy Already snowing heavily in Madesimo (Lombardy) this morning, the region that we expect to see the most snow over the next 24 hours - Photo:

In the central and eastern Italian Alps (Lombardy, Dolomites) we are expecting 50-80cm of new snow at altitude in the next 36 hours – perhaps even 1m in some favoured spots, such as the upper slopes of Madesimo.


Other areas that are likely to do very well are the southern French Alps (e.g Isola 2000), the upper Aosta valley close to the Swiss border (e.g. Cervinia, Monte Rosa), the south-eastern Swiss Alps (e.g. Davos, St Moritz), the southern Austrian border (e.g. Obergurgl, Nassfeld) and perhaps also the Austrian Vorarlberg, especially the southern portion (e.g. Montafon). These areas all have the potential to see around 40-70cm at altitude.


Elsewhere in the Alps snowfalls will be more moderate (15-40cm), but nearly everywhere will have seen a useful fall by the end of Saturday, even it is clearly the southern Alps that will be most favoured. Note that we can’t possibly mention all resorts/areas and that the above figures/resorts are a guide only, in order to give a rough idea of where the greatest accumulations are expected.


A little word on rain/snow limits (which we much prefer to freezing levels in this situation) - this may start as high as 1600m in the north-western Alps today (e.g. Chamonix) but will be lower in the Italian Alps and fall below 1000m everywhere by Saturday. 

Updated: 9.25am Thursday 15 January 2015 - Mostly dry, variable cloud


Following yesterday’s snow (which mostly affected the northern Alps) it’s a dry day today, with variable cloud and relatively mild temperatures.

 Heiligenblut, Austria Variable cloud but mostly dry across the Alps today. This is Heiligenblut in Austria – Photo:

Over the last 36 hours or so we have seen between 10 and 20cm of snow above 1500m over many northern parts of the Alps – a bit more in places - which has freshened up the pistes in these regions.


The next major snowfall is expected on Friday/Saturday but will this time favour the southern Alps - especially the central and eastern Italian Alps (e.g. Madesimo, Passo Tonale, Arabba), the south-eastern Swiss Alps (e.g. St Moritz) and the southern Austrian Alps (e.g. Nassfeld). All these areas have the potential to see 50-80cm of new snow by the end of Saturday.


Most other parts of the Alps will also see some useful snow, but the fine detail is constantly changing so stay tuned for further updates tomorrow. 

Updated: 9.15am Wednesday 14 January 2015 - A little snow for the northern Alps


As expected a weather front deposited a little snow across the northern Alps last night – chiefly in the north-west, with 9cm recorded at resort level in Val d’Isère this morning, 10cm in Avoriaz and a dusting to around 1400m.

Val d’Isère, France 9cm of new snow in Val d’Isère last night, with a little more possible today - Photo:

Today snow showers will continue across the northern French and Swiss Alps for a time (with further light accumulations in places) and spread further east into Austria. The rain/snow level will also lower to between 800 and 1100m. Apart from the odd flurry, the southern Alps will stay mostly dry with variable cloud.


Over the weekend we will start to see much colder air arrive across the Alps, which could stay for much of next week. There will also be further snow, heaviest in the southern Alps this time round. However, all areas are likely to see new snow to increasingly low levels over the next few days. 

Updated: 9.45am Tuesday 13 January 2015 - Return to winter within sight


It’s a dry bright start just about everywhere, and it will remain sunny all day across the eastern half of the Alps. Further west, cloud will increase later heralding the arrival of a little snow (above 1000-1300m) tonight.

Mölltal glacier, Austria Wall to wall sunshine for Austria today. This is the Mölltal glacier in Carinthia - Photo:

Tomorrow this snow (900-1100m) will continue across the northern half of the Alps for a time, giving 5-15cm above 1500m in places. After a drier, milder Thursday more widespread snow (heaviest in the south this time) is likely later on Friday and over the weekend.


Quantities of snow in the northern Alps may not be as great as once hoped, but this does signal a change in pattern to colder weather with further opportunities for snow for everyone next week. More details in our full forecast updated later today... 

Updated: 8.30am Monday 12 January 2015 - Drier and milder


Except for a few early snow flurries in the eastern Austrian Alps, it’s a generally dry day today. After a cold start, temperatures will recover too, becoming quite mild later in the west.

Val d'Isère, France A fine morning in Val d’Isère, and increasingly mild at altitude - Photo:

Sunday’s storm delivered less snow than expected, especially in the northern French Alps where there was typically just 5-10cm above 2000m. Snowfalls were a little more substantial in eastern Switzerland and Austria with 15-30cm at altitude (35cm in Unterwasser, north-eastern Swiss Alps) and a dusting to very low levels later in the day. The southern Alps again missed most of the precipitation.


Yesterday’s cold front also lowered temperatures, but not for long, as freezing levels are expected to reach 2700m again in the western Alps this afternoon. The next few days will remain relatively mild with a little rain/snow in places mid-week. Then things get really interesting, with widespread heavy snowfall to increasingly low levels towards the weekend. Stay tuned!   

Updated: 9.15am Sunday 11 January 2015 - Colder, snow for some


The promised cold front has arrived, with a mixture of rain and snow across the northern Alps this morning.  The rain/snow limit right now is typically between 1300 and 1600m (lower close to the northern foothills), but this will drop more generally towards and under 1000m as the day progresses. 

Avoriaz, France Heavy snow in Avoriaz this morning - Photo:

Above 1500m, we can expect 5 to 20cm of new snow across the northern French Alps (with more in the Haute Savoie than in the Savoie), and 15 to 30cm across Switzerland and Austria (locally more) away from the far south.


However, except for some areas close to borders (e.g. Courmayeur), Italy will only see a few showers/flurries with many places staying dry. The same applies for the southern third of the French Alps, and parts of southern Switzerland (e.g. Ticino) and southern Austria (e.g Carinthia).


High winds are also a factor at altitude today which means closures and/or challenging conditions in many places.


This afternoon it will turn drier from the north-west, with Austria holding on to any snow the longest. It remains unsettled over the next few days with the increasing likelihood of some heavier more widespread snowfalls towards the end of next week. 

Updated: 9am Saturday 10 January 2015 - Exceptionally mild today, snow for some tomorrow


As expected, it has turned exceptionally mild today (Saturday) thanks to a warm front that brought rain (as high as 2400m) to the northern half of the Alps last night.

Morzine, France Rain-ravaged slopes of Pleney above Morzine – Photo:

This morning the last showers from this front are moving away from the eastern Austrian Alps leaving most places dry, but exceptionally mild with freezing levels close to 3000m! Not surprisingly, snow conditions are rather challenging today with the added hazard of high winds at altitude. That said, many Italian resorts have avoided the worst of the rain, despite it still being unseasonably mild.


It’s not all doom and gloom, however. Tonight a cold front will arrive from the north with a spell of rain, turning increasingly to snow (especially tomorrow) even to quite low altitudes. Snowfall totals are hard to predict (and very dependent on altitude) but between 15 and 50cm of new snow is expected at/above 1500m across a wide swathe of the northern Alps by the end of Sunday, by which time it could be white to 800m or lower.


Except for some areas close to the borders, the southern Alps (mostly Italy but also the southern French Alps and the far south of Austria) will see less precipitation, with some places staying dry.  

Updated: 9.15am Friday 9 January 2015 - Good news, bad news


The Alpine weather is all over the place right now with a mixture of rain, snow, wind and some sun over the next few days, depending on your exact location. Looking a bit further ahead and there are signs that a much more favourable pattern change is on the cards for later next week – i.e. colder temperatures and heavier, more widespread snow. Nothing is set in stone yet but this is certainly something to watch.    

Avoriaz, France A mild couple of days coming up for Avoriaz, but some snow is expected on Sunday - Photo:

Back to the here and now and there was a dusting of snow across some northern parts of the Alps last night, especially in Switzerland (e.g. Bernese Oberland), but nothing to get excited about.


Today most places are starting the day dry, but cloud will again thicken up across the northern Alps with some rain or snow later in the day. It will turn mild with the rain/snow limit rising from 1500m or so towards or above 2000m tonight, though a little lower in Austria. Accumulations of snow will be mostly modest – next to nothing in the French Alps, a few cm at altitude for parts of the Swiss and Austrian Alps.


Saturday will then see this mild spell at its peak with freezing levels close to 3000m in places – not quite as extreme perhaps as forecast a couple days ago, but hardly ideal. Mercifully, except for a few early showers, most places should stay dry during daylight hours but rain will reach the northern Alps in the evening, continuing overnight and into Sunday. The rain/snow limit will start high but lower rapidly to reach quite low levels on Sunday - which means significant snowfall in places. Find out more in our detailed forecast later today…

Updated: 9.25am Thursday 8 January 2015 – Mostly dry, some showers for the north this evening


Most of the Alps will have another dry day with variable cloud and sunny spells. However, cloud will thicken up in the north-west later bringing some light rain or snow (above 1000-1500m) to the northern Alps this evening and overnight. Any accumulations will be extremely modest – typically 2-5cm above 1500m, with some places (including most of the southern Alps) staying completely dry.

Tignes, France Lovely morning in Tignes Les Brevières, but cloud will thicken later this afternoon - Photo:

Tomorrow (Friday) will again start mostly dry, but further rain/snow will reach the northern half of the Alps later in the day. This time the rain/snow limit will rise from 1500m to 2000m in the western Alps (France and most of Switzerland), staying a bit lower in Austria.


Saturday will be exceptionally mild with freezing levels close to 3000m in places. With a bit of luck most places will stay dry during the day but rain will again reach the northern Alps later in the day, turning increasingly to snow on Saturday night and Sunday morning as colder air digs in from the north. It will become windy over the weekend, very windy on Sunday.



Very roughly speaking our meteorological definition of the northern Alps is as follows:

  • Most of the Austrian Alps, except Carinthia and Osttirol
  • Most of Switzerland, except the central southern portion in a triangle between Zermatt, Andermatt and St Moritz
  • The northern French Alps north of Grenoble

This is meant as a rough guide only and boundaries often overlap/change according to the particular weather patterns.