Today in the Alps...

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.

Val Thorens, France Looking pretty good on opening day in Val Thorens - Photo: valthorens.com

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. 

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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.

Gressoney, Monterosa Ski, Italy Masses of snow in the Monte Rosa region, which will partially open this weekend - Photo: monterosa-ski.com

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. 

Updated: 9.15am Thursday 20 November 2014 - All calm

 

For the first time in quite a while, it will be dry across the entire Alpine chain today. Cloud may plague some of the lowest valleys at times but, at altitude, it will be mostly sunny and very mild with freezing levels close to 3000m.

Sölden, Austria Gorgeous weather in Sölden today – which is expected to continue into the weekend - Photo: soelden.com

Not much change over the next few days either, which should make for some very pleasant skiing conditions in those resorts that are open. Talking of openings, a whole clutch of new resorts plan to spin their lifts for the first time this weekend including DavosMadonna di Campiglio

Obertauern and Montgenèvre, to name just a few. Find out more about what conditions they can expect in our detailed snow report later today... 

Updated: 9.25am Wednesday 19 November 2014 – Improving weather, fabulous skiing

 

There is still some cloud around across the eastern Alps this morning, notably in Austria where the odd shower (snow 1000m) is possible in the north. By contrast it is mostly sunny across the western Alps and this brighter weather will creep further east as the day progresses.

Gressoney, Monterosa Ski, Italy Dawn above Gressoney this morning - Photo: monterosa-ski.com

We are now entering a much quieter period of weather across the Alps with mild daytime temperatures and plenty of sunshine, but also some areas of cloud drifting around from time to time. This stable weather should last well into next week before it eventually becomes more unsettled again from the north-west. This morning the various weather models are hinting at some widespread snow towards the end of the month (possibly as early as the middle/end of next week) - so watch this space...

 

In the meantime there is going to be some fabulous skiing on offer with a whole string of new resort openings this weekend, including Val Thorens, Montgenèvre, Champoluc, Madonna di Campiglio, Livigno and Obertauern to name just a few!

 

For sheer extent of open terrain though, Zermatt/Cervinia, Sölden and Obergurgl are likely to be the front runners - all with over 60 or more km of pistes open. 

Updated: 9.15am Tuesday 18 November 2014 - Snow moves east

 

The southern and western Alps have seen the bulk of the snow in recent days. Today, this snow has moved further east with many Austrian resorts in-line for some moderate falls – at least at altitude.

Villgraten, Ost-Tirol, Austria Fresh snow for many Austrian resorts today. This is Villgraten in the Ost-Tirol - Photo: alfenalm.at

So expect 10-30cm at altitude across many Austrian resorts today (very locally a bit more) with a rain/snow limit between 1000 and 1400m.  Generally speaking it will be drier and brighter the further west you are in the Alps, though a few flurries may move back into the northern French and far western Swiss Alps later.

Zermatt, Switzerland Brighter skies for many western Alpine areas today. This is Zermatt - Photo: apartment-zermatt.ch

For a combination of weather and snow we expect the best skiing today to be in Zermatt/Cervinia and Saas-Fee. Indeed with 65km of pistes open, the Zermatt/Cervinia now offers the greatest extent of skiing in the Alps. Obergurgl and Sölden (when the weather clears) will also offer a similar extent of slopes, but weather conditions here are more challenging today.

 

Later in the week the weather will become drier, brighter and milder in all Alpine areas. See our updated forecast this afternoon for more details... 

Updated: 9.15am Monday 17 November 2014 - Further snow showers for many

 

More snow has fallen across the Alps this weekend with further flurries forecast today. The heaviest snow has again been in the south and west – the north-eastern Alps (including large parts of Austria) seeing little if any meaningful recent snow so far. It has turned colder with today’s rain/snow limit generally between 1000 and 1500m. 

Avoriaz, France Snow building nicely in Avoriaz - Photo: avoriaz.com

Overall then snow cover is excellent (exceptional in places) at altitude in the Italian Alps (e.g. Cervinia), the southern Swiss (e.g. Zermatt, Saas-Fee) and southern French Alps (e.g. Serre Chevalier, even if resorts here are yet to open). The snow is also building nicely across many other parts of the Alps, though there is plenty to do still below about 2000m. Most low Austrian resorts (e.g. Kitzbühel, Söll) continue to look very green. Some snow is expected here tomorrow (Tuesday) but much more is needed over the next few weeks.

 

Check out our detailed snow report later today... 

Updated: 9.40am Sunday 16 November 2014 - Fresh snow for many!

 

Many resorts are waking up to fresh snow this morning with western and southern areas in particular seeing the lion’s share again. By contrast, the far north-eastern Alps (which includes many of the lower Austrian resorts) have again missed out – though snow is expected here early next week.

Livigno, Italy Lots of fresh snow in the higher Italian resorts again. This is Livigno – Photo: snoweye.com

Yesterday’s snow was thanks to an active weather front that almost ground to a halt over the Alps and delivered snow (at altitude) in varying quantities to just about all French, Swiss and Italian resorts as well as parts of western and southern Austria.

 

The most snow (again) fell in the southern Alps with 40cm+ reported in some of the higher Italian resorts (e.g. Cervinia) as well as some parts of southern Switzerland (e.g. Saas-Fee). More generally we saw about 10-30cm above 2000m. The rain/snow level was initially quite high (2000m+) but fell to 1200m or so in the west later.

Tignes, France Welcome snow in Tignes but more is still needed lower down – Photo: tignes.net

Today, there are still scattered showers in the eastern Alps (snow above 1200-1800m). Further west there is a relative calm but further snow showers (1200m) are expected later in the day and overnight. Tomorrow more snow is forecast, again heaviest in the western and southern Alps but transferring further north-east (good news for Austria) on Tuesday.

 

Bit by bit then the situation (already excellent in some high southern resorts) is improving more generally across the Alps. Check out our full snow report tomorrow (Monday)...