Today in the Alps...
Updated: 10am Tuesday 19 March 2019 – Sunny but still quite cold in the Alps…
It will be sunny today across the majority of the Alps, though there is still some cloud across the eastern Alps and even a few snow flurries in the eastern Austrian Alps (e.g. Salzburgland).
It is cold though with freezing levels not expected to rise above 1000-1500m, meaning that any softening of the snow will be much slower and more limited today than you would expect for mid-March. There is also still some powder around, the best of this being in the central-eastern Swiss Alps (e.g. Engelberg, Laax) which saw 30-50cm of new snow from the most recent storm.
The weather will remain fine for the rest of the week but rising temperatures mean that snow conditions will steadily become more spring-like.
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Updated: 8am Monday 18 March 2019 - Much colder in the Alps…
It is MUCH colder across the Alps today. While it is mostly sunny in the southern Alps, at least away from the border areas, there are still some snow showers in some northern and eastern parts of the Alps.
The colder weather is the result of a cold front that moved across the Alps yesterday evening and overnight, which brought a few centimetres of snow to many areas, although the south-western Alps stayed mostly dry.
Snow showers will linger for a while today across some eastern parts of the Alps, notably the southern Austrian Alps and the Dolomites, but will generally die out further west where skies will steadily brighten.
Tuesday will be mostly sunny but still quite cold, especially in the morning. The rest of the week will then remain sunny with steadily rising temperatures.
Snow conditions in the Alps are generally pretty good for late March. The northern Alps may have the deepest snow pack, but there is still plenty of good piste skiing available in the south, and even some fresh snow in places today, especially in the Dolomites.
Updated: 12.05pm Sunday 17 March 2019 - One more storm then a long spell of settled weather…
It’s another glorious morning across most of the Alps, though cloud will thicken in the west this afternoon, heralding the arrival of the next (moderately active storm) this evening.
The storm will move east across the Alps tonight, bringing a few centimetres of snow to many parts, first above 1600-1800m but to increasingly low levels later. Monday will be cooler with some snow showers lingering in the eastern Alps, but it will become increasingly sunny in the west.
The areas likely to miss out on the snow are the southern French Alps (e.g. Risoul, Isola 2000) and the south-western Italian Alps (e.g. Sestriere, Prato Nevoso). Most other parts of the Alps should see somewhere between a dusting and 30cm by the end of tomorrow, with the highest figures likely in the far south-east of Switzerland (e.g. St Moritz) and the eastern Italian Alps (e.g. Passo Tonale, Dolomites).
From Tuesday onwards we will see a return to much calmer sunnier weather right across the Alps, meaning that typically spring-like freeze-thaw conditions will also start developing.
Updated: 9.40am Friday 15 March 2019 - Lots of snow but sky-high avalanche danger across the northern Alps…
A LOT of snow has fallen across the northern Alps in the last 24 hours, with plenty more to come today. However, thanks to rising temperatures there is also some rain in the mix, especially in areas exposed to the west. Whatever the case, the avalanche danger is extremely high across the northern Alps today, with 5/5 in places (e.g. Avoriaz) and lots of closures.
In the last 24 hours, 20-60cm of new snow has fallen quite widely across the northern and north-western Alps, with close to 1m in some favourable spots. The areas that have seen the most snow are the northern French Alps (roughly north of Grenoble), the Swiss Alps (with the exception of some central-southern parts such as southern Ticino), the Vorarlberg and the western Tirol. With some exceptions in areas close to the border (e.g. La Thuile, Cervninia), the southern Alps have seen less snow with some places even remaining completely dry.
Back to today and a warmer segment of air is causing complications as the snow turns to rain in places. In this type of warm front situation the rain/snow limit is extremely variable as it often continues to snow in the deep “enclosed” valleys such as the Swiss “Valais” while nearby areas, that are higher but more exposed to the incoming milder air, see the snow quickly turning to rain. Areas most at risk from rain today are the exposed areas of the northern French Alps (e.g. Portes du Soleil) and the western Swiss Alps (e.g. Villars, Gstaad), where the rain/snow limit could rise to 1500-1800m later.
The heaviest precipitation today will fall in the central/eastern Swiss Alps and, especially, the Austrian Vorarlberg/Arlberg area (e.g. Lech, St Anton) where well over 1m of new snow is likely from this storm (above 1800m).
Saturday will be a better weather day across the Alps but, while the spring sunshine will make the powder look particularly appealing, be warned that the risk of avalanche is EXTREMELY HIGH across many northern parts of the Alps, with a risk factor of 4/5 or 5/5 in places.
A new storm will reach the Alps later in the weekend and early next week (again mostly affecting the north and west) before things settle down again mid-week.
Updated: 1.30pm Wednesday 13 March 2019 - More fresh snow in places…
After a largely fine day yesterday in the Alps, the weather has turned more unsettled again today, with further snow showers in places, heaviest and most frequent in the north-west. It will also be quite chilly with any snow falling to relatively low levels (600-900m).
Areas set to receive the heaviest showers are the northern French Alps (roughly north of Grenoble), the Swiss Alps (away from the far south) and the western Austrian Alps. The southern Alps will see fewer showers today, with many places staying dry and some even seeing quite a lot of sunshine.
Further storms will affect the Alps on Thursday and Friday with the heaviest precipitation again in the northern and western Alps. The rain/snow limit will be variable but will tend to rise on Friday with the threat of rain up to 1500m or even 2000m in places. The weather should improve on Saturday.
Snow conditions are still quite variable across the Alps. While conditions are generally good across the northern and especially north-western Alps where there is plenty of fresh snow (e.g. Avoriaz, Verbier, Mürren, Engelberg and Lech), they are rather more spring-like in some southern resorts where they haven’t seen much snow in recent days (e.g. Isola 2000, Sauze d’Oulx, Dolomites).
Updated: 12.30pm Tuesday 12 March 2019 - Better weather today, then stormy again for the rest of the week…
It’s a better weather day in the Alps today, after yesterday’s storm delivered strong winds and heavy snow showers to many northern parts of the Alps.
If you are out in the Alps skiing right now, make the most of any sunshine today. The next storm is already approaching from the west, with high cloud streaming back in towards the northern French and western Swiss Alps later in the day.
Between Wednesday and Friday we can expect significant snow at altitude across the western Alps (with less the further south and east you are) before the weather settles down again over the weekend.
By the end of the week we could see another 40-80cm of new snow (at altitude) across the northern French, Swiss and western Austrian Alps – though watch out for high winds and some rain lower down, especially on Thursday.
Some Italian resorts close to the border (e.g. La Thuile, Cervinia) will also see significant snow but the southern Alps will generally see less precipitation.
Updated: 10.50am Monday 11 March 2019 - Continuing very unsettled…
The weather in the Alps remains very unsettled. After a mild day yesterday, with lots of wind, rain and some high altitude snow across the northern Alps, it has now turned colder again. A strong north-westerly wind is also feeding in lots of snow showers mostly to the northern Alps, with a rain/snow limit as low as 500m. The best of any sunshine today will in the southern Alps, away from the high border areas.
Tuesday will be a better weather day in the Alps with plenty of sunshine for most, though cloud will increase again in the western Alps later. The next storm will arrive from the north-west on Tuesday night and Wednesday, bringing some significant snow to many parts of the Alps, especially (again) the north-west.
Snow conditions in the Alps are clearly still highly variable. Yesterday’s rain led to a notable deterioration in the snow quality across many northern parts of the Alps, at least lower down. Today is colder though, with snow to lower levels meaning that the situations is markedly better again. The next storm will also see snow falling to relatively low levels, so the overall outlook is quite promising, especially if you are planning to ski anywhere at a half-reasonable altitude.
The southern Alps (e.g. Milky Way, Dolomites) have missed the heaviest of the precipitation in recent days but, while there may have been less fresh snow, rain has also been less of an issue and lower humidity has allowed many resorts to continue to offer some perfectly decent skiing.
Updated: 11.30am Thursday 7 March 2019 - Remaining very changeable…
The weather in the Alps remains very changeable, with a succession of Atlantic storms set to move from west to east over the coming days.
One such storm is moving east across the Alps today, bringing a light to moderate fall of snow to many parts. This will peak in intensity close to the Swiss-Italian border, from the Gotthard region, through the southern Engadin and towards the western Dolomites. The rain/snow limit has typically been between 1000m and 1500m. In the western Alps, by contrast, it was already starting to brighten up at the time of writing this morning.
Friday and Saturday will generally be better weather days, although some cloud and a few showers/flurries could still affect some northern fringes of the Alps. It will remain unsettled next week with further snow at times, perhaps becoming heavier and more widespread for a time mid-week.
Needless to say, snow conditions in the Alps are highly variable right now, but generally remain pretty good at altitude, especially where there has been fresh snow. Lower down, fluctuating temperatures (and in places some rain) have made for more variable snow quality at times.
Updated: 11am Wednesday 6 March 2019 - Windy!
The weather in the Alps remains in a mobile westerly pattern, with a succession of Atlantic storms set to hit the Alps over coming days.
It will be very windy in the Alps today, especially in central and northern valleys exposed to the Foehn. With winds expected to reach 150km/hr in places, there will also be numerous lift closures, especially (but not exclusively) at altitude. Although most places will be dry, the Foehn will be accompanied by the “Sud Satu” (or “southern blocking”), meaning that cloud will be piling up on the southern side of the Alps, especially in the south-west where some snow (1000-1500m) is expected later. The high border areas between Switzerland and Italy are most likely to see significant snow later today.
Later tonight and early tomorrow, the Foehn will ease as a cold front moves west to east across the Alps. This will bring some more widespread snow, first above 1300-1600m but to increasingly low levels later. Friday may see some early flurries in the eastern Alps before brighter weather spreads across all regions later. It will then remain unsettled with the chance of some widespread heavy snow to lower levels around the middle of next week.
Not surprisingly, snow conditions in the Alps are highly variable right now. Expect spring-like snow at low altitude in the very short term, especially in the central and northern Alps where the warm Foehn wind will be blowing. However, fresh snow will improve conditions in many areas over the next few days, at least higher up.
Updated: 12pm Tuesday 5 March 2019 - A very unsettled few days ahead…
It’s a better day in the Alps today, after yesterday’s storm delivered 5-20cm of snow at altitude to many northern and north-western parts.
Tomorrow, will also be mostly dry but cloud will increase in the south-west (southern French and western Italian Alps) later with a few flurries (1500-1700m) possible later. The key feature though will be the Foehn, which will become strong across the northern half of the Alps, especially later in the day.
Thursday will then see a more active storm crossing the Alps with some significant snowfall in places, especially in the west. It won’t be particular cold though, with rain also possible at lower altitudes, especially early on. The southern and far eastern Alps will miss the heaviest of any precipitation with some places remaining dry.
Snow cover remains pretty good for March across most parts of the Alps, especially in the north. However, snow quality will be highly variable over the next few days due to the changeable weather and fluctuating temperatures.
Updated: Monday 4 March 2019 - Changeable but generally quite mild weather this week…
A mobile westerly airflow will dominate the weather in the Alps this week, with several Atlantic storms crossing the region. Temperatures will fluctuate considerably, so while there may be some significant snow at altitude (especially in the western Alps), there will also be some rain at times lower down. The driest weather this week will be in the eastern and especially north-eastern Austrian Alps.
Back to this morning, and it is snowing above about 1200-1400m in the northern French and western Swiss Alps. This band of precipitation will move further east as the day goes on, reaching Austria later this afternoon and overnight but weakening as it does so. The rain/snow limit will lower to 700-1000m in the western Alps by this evening. Above 1600m we can expect between 5cm and 20cm of snow in the northern French and western Swiss Alps (e.g. Flaine, Verbier) by tonight.
Tuesday will be a better weather day all round. Many places will also stay dry on Wednesday, but a strong Foehn wind will develop across the northern half of the Alps where it will accelerate the thaw and disrupt some lift operations.
The next storm will then move in from the west, bringing significant precipitation to the western Alps on Thursday. The rain/snow limit may again start quite high, especially on the northern side of the Alps, before falling back towards 1000m later in the day. The north-eastern Austrian Alps (e.g. Schladming) will again see the least precipitation.
Updated: 9am Friday 1 March 2019 - Some snow in places, especially in the north-western Alps…
It’s a much cloudier day today in the northern and western Alps, with some snow (1000-1300m) at times, heaviest in the north-west roughly in an arc from Mont Blanc through the central and northern Swiss Alps and into western Austria. These regions could see 10-25cm of new snow above 1500m by the end of the day.
By contrast, the southern French Alps (roughly south of Les 2 Alpes), the Swiss canton of Ticino, the Austrian provinces of Osttirol and Carinthia and much of the Italian Alps will stay mostly dry.
After a relatively benign period of weather this weekend, further Atlantic storms will hit the Alps next week. These will be more potent in the west and will favour the northern French and Swiss Alps in terms of snow. That said, temperatures will be up and down, and some rain is likely at times lower down. With the exception of some areas near the border, the southern Alps will again miss the bulk of the precipitation.
So by the end of next week we could have a lot of new snow at altitude in areas such as Val d’Isère/Tignes, 3 Valleys, Chamonix, Flaine, Avoriaz, Verbier, Jungfrau region, Andermatt, Engelberg, Klosters, Laax and St Anton - but do note that it could be soggy at times lower down.
Updated: 11.20am Thursday 28 February 2019 - Turning more unsettled!
The weather in the Alps is on the change as a succession of storms move in off the Atlantic over the next few days. With alternating warm and cold air masses, the rain/snow limit will be up and down like a yo-yo, but towards the end of the week it is possible that we will see more sustained snowfall at lower levels.
Over the next week or so, the highest snowfalls totals will be at altitude in the north-western Alps – i.e. the northern French Alps (e.g. Chamonix, Flaine), the Swiss Alps away from the far south (e.g. Mürren, Engelberg, Klosters), and the western Austrian Alps (e.g. St Anton). The southern side of the Alps (e.g. Milky Way, Dolomites) will probably see less new snow.
This change in weather is a mixed blessing: on the one hand it will bring some much needed snow to many parts of the Alps but, on the other, some rain is also likely at times in the lower resorts of the northern and western Alps. There will still be some sunny periods over the next few days, but no more of the seemingly endless sunshine that many resorts experienced in February.
Back to today, and it is still sunny and warm across many parts of the Alps, although some high wispy clouds are already starting to appear in the far north-west. The first precipitation from this breakdown in the weather will hit the French Alps this evening, before moving further east into Switzerland and Austria overnight, bringing a little snow to above 1500m at first, then down to 900-1100m early tomorrow.
The weekend will then be relatively calm before the next, more active, storm reaches the western Alps on Sunday night/Monday. Stay tuned…
Updated: 1pm Wednesday 27 February 2019 - The weather in the Alps is about to change…
It’s another glorious day in the Alps with virtually wall to wall sunshine and freezing levels as high as 3700m in the west!
Needless to say, the thaw has accelerated in recent days – the temperature was 20°C in the shade in Bourg Saint Maurice yesterday – with spring-like snow conditions now quite prevalent, especially at lower altitudes.
So, while anyone in the Alps this week is likely to have encountered some afternoon slush (especially on low and/or south and west facing slopes), it is only February and the sun is not yet ruinously strong, and there is still plenty of good skiing to be enjoyed. Indeed many north-facing slopes are staying relatively firm and grippy all day long, especially above 2000m.
In fact, the weather in the Alps is about to change, with the first fronts arriving in the western Alps later on Thursday. This storm will mostly affect the north-western Alps, bringing a few centimetres of snow to resorts such as Avoriaz, Mürren, Engelberg and Lech on Thursday night/Friday morning. It will weaken as it moves east across Austria though, and most of the southern Alps will remain dry.
More active storms are forecast next week but any detail is still hard to pin down at this stage. Stay tuned…
Updated: 11.20am Tuesday 26 February 2019 - Remaining spring-like until late Thursday at least…
The weather in the Alps will remain largely warm and sunny until Thursday, when Atlantic fronts will start to move in from the west. So if you are skiing in the Alps this week you can look forward to two to three more exceptionally warm spring-like days with freezing levels as high as 3700m in the west.
Not surprisingly, afternoon slush is quite prevalent on low and/or south- and west-facing slopes. However, the snow is generally remaining quite firm on shadier slopes above 1800m or so.
The upcoming change in the weather will first become apparent when a band of precipitation hits the French Alps (mostly in the north) and Swiss Alps on Thursday evening/night. The rain/snow limit will initially be quite high but will descend to about 1000m by Friday morning. The precipitation will then move further east across must of Austria on Friday, dying out as it does.
Snowfall totals from this storm are not expected to be large, with somewhere between 5cm and 20cm across the northern French Alps (e.g. Avoriaz), and northern and western Swiss Alps (e.g. Mürren). There will be somewhat less in Austria and little or no rain/snow across most of the southern Alps (e.g. Italy).
After a mostly fine day on Saturday, further weather fronts will affect the north-western Alps on Sunday heralding a sustained period of unsettled weather. It does not look like it will be particularly cold though, with rain also a possibility at times lower down. Stay tuned…
Updated: 9.30am Monday 25 February 2019 - Still spring-like for most of the Alps!
A huge area of high pressure is still dominating the Alps, which means lots of sunshine for most regions both today and for much of this week. It is also warm, especially in the western Alps where freezing levels will hit 3500m for at least the next two to three days.
Early last week the thaw was quite slow despite the sunshine, with many pistes remaining firm and grippy, and any slush largely confined to lower south- and west-facing slopes.
The situation has now evolved though. With the sun climbing ever higher in the sky, freezing levels having become unusually high, and most regions not having seen any new snow for over two weeks, there has been a more significant deterioration in conditions in low resorts and/or those with lots of slopes exposed to the sun.
Although plenty of good skiing is still available, be prepared for conditions more akin to mid or late March, rather than late February. This means hard (or in places icy) slopes early on followed by a gradual softening of the snow with some slush later in the day on lower slopes, especially those facing south and west. Shadier slopes will remain firm for longer and, in many cases, north-facing slopes will continue to remain firm all day long, especially above 1800m. A good guide will help you find the slopes with the best snow quality depending on the time of day.
So how long will this spring-like weather last?
Most of the weather models show a slow trend towards cooler and more unsettled weather later in the week and over the weekend. However, we are not expecting any significant snow until early next week and, even then, it is too far ahead to be certain.
In the meantime, if you are out in the Alps this week enjoy the fine weather and make sure that you are well protected from the sun.
Updated: 9am Thursday 21 February 2019 - Still sunny and warming up again…
Weathertoski is in Les Arcs, where it has been sunny all week and will remain fine for the foreseeable future. Temperatures are also on the rise, with freezing levels expected to reach or surpass 3500m by the weekend.
Elsewhere in the Alps it’s a similar story, though it is cooler with more in the way of cloud across some parts of the eastern Alps, notably parts of the Salzburgland, Styria, Lower and Upper Austria.
Snow conditions in the Alps remain pretty good overall, although the continuing fine weather is starting to take its toll on some lower slopes, especially those exposed to the sun. Here in Les Arcs, for example, the low west-facing slopes just above Peisey-Vallandry are starting to get a little worn. The vast majority of the ski area is still in good condition, however, even if certain pistes are a little hard-packed or icy due to the sheer volume of half-term traffic.
Looking a bit further ahead, a sharp rise in freezing levels in the western Alps over the next few days will lead to increasingly spring-like snow conditions, especially in lower resorts and/or those with lots of south- and west-facing slopes. It is still February though, which means that shadier slopes (especially north-facing ones) will generally remain firm and grippy.
Updated: 10am Wednesday 20 February 2019 - Still sunny in the Alps…
Weathertoski is currently in Les Arcs where it has been gloriously sunny so far this week and the weather will remain fine for the foreseeable future.
The only discernible difference today is that we have lost the very deep blue skies of recent days and it is slightly more hazy. It will feel warm again in the afternoon sun but temperatures are not excessively high, with freezing levels expected to be close to 2200m.
It’s also most sunny again today elsewhere in the Alps, though the eastern Austrian Alps may see more in the way of cloud at times. Looking a bit further ahead, temperatures are set to rise again in most regions, especially in the western Alps where freezing levels could hit 3500m or more by Saturday. It will be cooler in the far eastern Alps, with the risk of the odd shower or flurry in the eastern Austrian Alps (e.g. Obertauern), especially on Friday.
As for snow conditions, they remain pretty good across most of the Alps, although the sheer volume of half-term traffic is inevitably taking its toll, especially on-piste.
Here in Les Arcs, for example, some of the pistes have become very scraped and even a bit icy, especially the busier runs back into resort. The best snow quality is in the shady north-facing bowls above Arc 2000 where the snow is generally more forgiving.
Updated: 9.30am Tuesday 19 February 2019 - Still sunny, temporarily cooler…
Weathertoski is in Les Arcs this week, where the weather has been sunny and is likely to remain so all week long!
It is a fraction cooler today in the northern French Alps, with freezing levels expected to be closer to 2000m (as opposed to 2500m yesterday), though anyone skiing in the sunshine this afternoon is unlikely to notice!
Snow conditions in Les Arcs are generally excellent, although some of the busier pistes are inevitably becoming a bit icy thanks to the sheer volume of half-term traffic on them. On the whole the snow is remaining firm, with only some low south- and west-facing pistes turning a little slushy later in the day.
Looking more generally at the weather across the Alps today, it’s another sunny one for most, even if a few high clouds are likely to appear in some northern parts later in the day.
This sunny theme will continue for most of the week, but it may turn cloudier at times in the far eastern Austrian Alps on Thursday and Friday. Freezing levels will remain between 1200m and 2000m in the eastern Austrian Alps but will rise to 3000m or higher further west – even as high as 3700m in the French Alps by the end of the week!
Updated: 9.50am Monday 18 February 2019 – Wall to wall sunshine…
Weathertoski is currently in Les Arcs, where the sun is shining and freezing levels will level out at around 2600m today. Indeed, there hasn’t been a cloud in the sky since we left Calais early on Friday morning.
This glorious weather is not just confined to France - it is sunny right across the Alps today, and the weather will remain fine for most Alpine resorts all week long. There will be more in the way of cloud across the eastern Austrian Alps from mid-week onwards, with even the odd shower or flurry, but the vast majority of the Alps will have a glorious week of weather.
Snow conditions are also generally good across the Alps, although there isn’t much obvious powder left. For that you will probably need a relatively high resort, a good guide, and be prepared to trek! However, there is plenty of good piste skiing with good snow right across the Alps.
It may feel quite spring-like in the sunshine, but it is too early in the year for slush to be a major problem. There will be a bit later in the day on some south- and west-facing slopes but the snow is generally still firm, even at very low altitude on north-facing slopes.
Updated: 9am Thursday 14 February 2019 - Sun, sun, sun!
A huge area of high pressure is dominating the weather in the Alps right now, meaning lots of sunshine in all areas over the coming days. In fact there will be virtually unbroken sunshine over many parts of the Alps all next week!
Yesterday we mentioned the possibility of a minor “disturbance” approaching the western Alps on Monday night or Tuesday. However, the latest weather models show that this is now much less likely and we are fairly confident that it will remain fine right across the Alps throughout the main half term week.
It will also feel pleasantly warm on the slopes, especially this weekend and later next week, although it will turn fractionally cooler early next week. This mild sunny weather won’t adversely affect the snow though as the air is very dry and, as it is only mid-February, the sun is not yet ruinously strong.
There may be a bit of afternoon slush on some very low south- and west-facing slopes but, generally speaking, the quality of the snow should be quite good – even if the pistes may become a bit hard-packed due to the sheer volume of traffic on them.