Today in the Alps...

Updated: 8.40am Saturday 18 November 2017 - More snow for some northern and eastern parts of the Alps tomorrow

 

Saturday will be mostly dry in the Alps with plenty of sunshine to start with, at least above any low valley fog/cloud. 

Biel-Kinzigag, Switzerland – Weather to ski – Today in the Alps, 18 November 2017 A beautiful morning across the eastern Swiss Alps but snow is expected here tomorrow. This is Biel-Kinzigag – 18 November 2017 – Photo: biel-kinzigag.ch

Snow will reach the northern Alps tonight and continue for much of Sunday, heaviest from the central-northern Swiss Alps (e.g. Engelberg) eastwards through into Austria (away from the far south).

 

In the northern French Alps (e.g. Portes du Soleil, Chamonix) we might not see more than a dusting from this latest storm. The same goes for the western Swiss Alps (e.g. Villars, Verbier). However from about Engelberg eastwards a moderate fall of snow (5-20cm) is expected across the likes of Braunwald, Flumserberg, Lech, Kaprun, Schladming and Obertauern (to name just a few), with a bit more here and there. It will also turn colder with any snow falling to relatively low levels (400-900m).

 

Next week will begin unsettled in the north-eastern Alps with further showers on Monday and Tuesday (mostly in Austria). However, the weather will settle down everywhere by mid-week. 

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Read our full review of the 2016-17 ski season and find out who got the most snow in the Alps

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Read our full review of the 2016-17 ski season and find out who got the most snow in North America

Updated: 12.40pm Friday 17 November 2017 - More snow on Sunday, mostly for the north-eastern Alps

 

The weather in the Alps is on the change again with more snow on its way on Sunday. However, it won’t be as widespread as last time with only the eastern Swiss and Austrian Alps (away from the far south) seeing any significant snow. 

Val Thorens, France – Weather to ski – Today in the Alps, 17 November 2017 Val Thorens is open to the public tomorrow! Here are the main lifts that will be operational – Photo: facebook.com/Valthorens.resort

In the meantime it’s another fine day across most of the Alps though there is some thicker cloud across some eastern areas, notably in the central and eastern Austrian Alps.

 

After a mostly dry day on Sunday, it will snow across some northern and eastern parts of the Alps later in the day and on Monday. The northern French and western Swiss Alps (e.g. Avoriaz, Verbier) will only see a dusting of snow.

 

Resorts in the central Swiss Alps (from about Engelberg) and eastwards through Austria (away from Carinthia and Osttirol) will see between 5cm and 30cm of new snow (locally more) with the greatest falls likely to the east of Innsbruck.

 

More and more ski resorts in the Alps are opening all the time with perhaps 40+ areas partially operational this weekend. The biggest opening is Val Thorens, where 70% of the lifts will be up and running on Saturday. It will join Obergurgl as the two most extensive areas of skiing currently available in the Alps.

 

Among the unscheduled openings this weekend are Champéry-Les Crosets in the Portes du Soleil and Grimentz in the Val d’Anniviers, but there are many more besides. 

Updated: 9.50am Wednesday 16 November 2017 - Fine today, but snow for some northern and eastern areas over the weekend

 

It’s another glorious day across most of the Alps, at least if you are above the stubborn low cloud/fog which is plaguing some of the valleys, especially in the north. It will also feel quite mild in the sunshine but, with humidity relatively low, any thawing will be limited. 

Hochkönig, Austria – Weather to ski – Today in the Alps, 16 November 2017 Snow cover to relatively low levels across much of Austria right now. This is Hochkönig – 16 November 2017 – Photo: hochkoenig.at

The next snow is still due at the weekend and will mostly affect the northern Alps, but won’t amount to much in the north-west (e.g. Portes du Soleil, Verbier). However, from about central-northern Swiss Alps eastwards (e.g. Engelberg) it will be more significant, especially in Austria where it will continue to snow into the first part of next week.

 

This means that resorts such as Lech, St Anton, Kitzbühel, Saalbach, Kaprun, Obertauern and Schladming (to name just a few) could see between 20cm and 40cm of new snow by the end of Monday. It will also turn colder which means that any snow will stick to relatively low levels. 

Updated: 8.10am Wednesday 15 November 2017 - More resorts open

 

Recent snowfall has prompted several resorts to consider an early opening, including Courchevel which made the snap decision to open a handful of runs today. 

Courchevel, France – Weather to ski – Today in the Alps, 15 November 2017 And they’re off! Courchevel makes the snap decision to open today thanks to recent snowfall – 15 November 2017 - Photo: courchevel.com

Courchevel’s decision to open was helped by the good forecast, with fine weather expected to last across the Alps until Friday. Over the weekend, a weak cold front will bring a little snow to the northern and north-eastern Alps (mostly in Switzerland and Austria), but not generally amounting to very much.

 

Right now at least 30 resorts are partially open across the Alps with the most extensive skiing still on the Austrian glaciers – especially Sölden, Stubai, Kitzsteinhorn and Hintertux. However, non-glacial Obergurgl opens tomorrow and could well eclipse all of the above, in terms of the extent of available terrain.

 

Note that the Pyrenees have also had snow, with Spain’s Baqueira Beret expected to open around 25km of runs on Saturday.

Updated: 9.40am Tuesday 14 November 2017 - Current storm cycle ends

 

The latest storm cycle is now over, and those lucky enough to be skiing in the Alps right now can enjoy potentially excellent early snow conditions, with 40-100cm of fresh snow at altitude across the northern Alps (e.g. Tignes, Engelberg, Lech).

Golm, Austria – Weather to ski – Today in the Alps, 14 November 2017 Lots of snow in the Austrian Vorarlberg. This is Golm – 14 November 2017 – Photo: golm.at

We say potentially as there are some caveats. Firstly, there have been some very high winds over the last few days which means that the snow has been deposited in an irregular fashion – some high slopes are scoured and the off-piste is often dangerous.

 

All the same, the overall situation is an encouraging one for mid-November with good snow cover above 2000m just about everywhere. Right now most areas also have snow to much lower altitudes, especially across the northern and north-eastern Alps. However, the next few days will be mostly fine and increasingly mild, meaning that some of the recent snow will melt as temperatures rise.

 

Towards the weekend the temperature will drop again with the arrival of a cold front from the north. This is likely to bring some more snow to the northern Alps, though not much for France and western Switzerland, but some moderate falls are possible for the central/eastern Swiss Alps (e.g. Mürren, Engelberg, Klosters) as well as much of Austria away from the far south. Watch this space…

 

In the meantime, there are at least 30 partially open ski areas across the Alps with the greatest extent of open slopes in Sölden (67km) and Hintertux (45km). However, this is likely to change with the opening of non-glacial Obergurgl on Thursday, with a potential 100km+ of pistes on offer. 

Updated: 9.40am Monday 13 November 2017 - Lots of new snow!

 

It has been an eventful weekend of weather in the Alps with rain, snow, violent winds and (eventually) a dramatic drop in temperature. 

Val Thorens, France – Weather to ski – Today in the Alps, 13 November 2017 Masses of new snow in Val Thorens – 13 November 2017 – Photo: facebook.com/3vallees.France

The main action kicked off on Saturday with the arrival of a warm front that delivered plenty snow (above 1800-2000m) but also a lot of rain lower down, especially across the north-western Alps (e.g. Portes du Soleil, Bernese Oberland).

 

Sunday started mild and showery before an active cold front delivered a more persistent spell of precipitation across many parts of the Alps (but always heaviest in the north) as well as a brutal drop in temperature, which meant that by Sunday evening it was snowing below 1000m in most places. 

Lech, Austria – Weather to ski – Today in the Alps, 13 November 2017 Still snowing today in Lech – 13 November 2017 – Photo: lech.com

This morning there are still plenty of snow showers (to low levels) across the northern Alps, especially in a line from the Haute-Savoie (e.g. Avoriaz), through the Bernese Oberland (e.g. Mürren), across the central and eastern Swiss Alps (e.g. Engelberg) and into Austria. These snow showers will very gradually ease with plenty of dry, fine and increasingly mild weather in prospect from tomorrow onwards.

 

In the last 48 hours we have seen between 30cm and 60cm of new snow above 2000m across a wide swathe of the northern Alps, with up to 100cm in a few favoured spots. With one or two exceptions, the southern Alps have seen less snow.

 

So what, in this situation, do we mean by the northern Alps? Roughly speaking we define the northern Alps as anywhere north of Grenoble in France, most of Switzerland away from the far south (especially away from Ticino) and most of Austria away from Carinthia and Osttirol. Italy is mostly exempt, with the exception of some border areas, particularly in the far north-west (e.g. Courmayeur).

Tignes, France – Weather to ski – Today in the Alps, 13 November 2017 Lots of new snow on the Grand Motte glacier above Tignes! – 13 November 2017 – Photo: @TignesOfficiel

Resorts (albeit not necessarily open yet) that have done particularly well from this latest storm include Tignes, Val Thorens, Verbier, Engelberg, Davos and Lech, but there are many more besides.

 

We will bring you more on snow conditions in the Alps and beyond in our detailed snow report later today…

Updated: 9.30am Saturday 11 November 2017 - Lots of snow at altitude in the northern Alps this weekend

 

There will be a lot of snow at altitude across the northern Alps (particularly the north-western Alps) this weekend but also some rain lower down.

Met Office chart showing the arrival of a cold front on Sunday 12 November 2017 – Weather to ski – Today in the Alps, 11 November 2017 Arrival of the cold front on Sunday 12 November, which will lower the rain/snow limit very quickly – Image: metoffice.gov.uk

This morning rain has already reached the Jura and the northern foothills of the Alps, with some snow above 1500m-1700m. The rain will slowly spread to other northern parts of the Alps as the day progresses, intensifying this evening and overnight.

 

So what, in this situation, do we mean by the northern Alps? Roughly speaking we define the northern Alps as anywhere north of Grenoble in France, most of Switzerland away from the far south (especially away from Ticino) and most of Austria away from Carinthia and Osttirol. Italy is mostly exempt, with the exception of some border areas, partic ularly in the far north-west (e.g. Courmayeur).

 

The rain/snow limit will rise overnight to between 1700m and 2000m, highest in the far north-western Alps (e.g. Portes du Soleil), and will remain quite high for a while on Sunday before falling dramatically later in the day with the arrival of the cold front. By Sunday night it should be snowing across the northern Alps to below 1000m, and as low as 400-600m in places on Monday.

 

Between now and Monday we can expect 60-90cm (locally 100cm) of new snow above 2200m in some favoured parts of the north-western Alps, such as the Massif du Mont Blanc, the Bernese Oberland, Engelberg and far as the Arlberg (e.g. Lech).

 

More generally speaking we can expect 20-60cm of new snow above 2200m. The southern Alps will see less snow with some places missing out altogether though, as always, there will be the odd exception. We are, for example, expecting a lot of snow at altitude in the north-western Aosta region (e.g. Courmayeur).

 

Right now, weather permitting, it is possible to ski in about 30 resorts across the Alps with lots more due to open in the few days. Perhaps the most significant imminent non-glacial opening will be that of Obergurgl on Thursday 16 November. 

Updated: 11am Friday 10 November 2017 - Next major storm incoming

 

Yesterday saw further snow in the far south-western Alps (e.g. Isola 2000, Prato Nevoso, Limone). Otherwise, except for the odd flurry here and there, most places were dry with lots of valley cloud but plenty of sunshine at altitude. 

Bergfex chart showing expected snowfall totals in the Alps between 10 and 13 November 2017 – Weather to ski – Today in the Alps, 10 November 2017 Expected snowfall totals in the Alps (cm) between now and Monday 13 November – Image: bergfex.com

All eyes are now on the weekend when a new storm will deliver significant snow (and for a time some rain) mostly to the northern half of the Alps. The first weather front will be a warm one which will raise the rain/snow limit to between 1600m and 2000m for a time on Saturday (highest close to the northern foothills of the Alps). On Sunday, however, a cold front will help lower this limit back down to 1500m, then eventually to under 1000m.

 

Snow showers will continue to low levels across the northern Alps into the early part of next week before high pressure starts to reassert itself from the west.

 

So what, in this situation, do we mean by the northern Alps? Roughly speaking we define the northern Alps as anywhere north of Grenoble in France, most of Switzerland away from the far south (especially away from Ticino) and most of Austria away from Carinthia and Osttirol. Italy is mostly exempt, with the exception of some border areas, particularly in the far north-west (e.g. Courmayeur).

Hintertux, Austria – Weather to ski – Today in the Alps, 10 November 2017 Fabulous snow conditions on the Hintertux glacier right now – 10 November 2017 – Photo: facebook.com/Hintertux.Glacier

Over the next few days we are expecting 20-50cm above 1800m across a wide swathe of the northern Alps, with 60cm+ in a few favoured locations including high up in the Mont Blanc region and perhaps in the Bernese Oberland (e.g. Mürren), Engelberg, and Lech/St Anton.

 

Right now it is possible to ski in about 30 resorts across the Alps, with lots more due to open in the next couple of days. Some of the best options are Hintertux, Stubai, Sölden, Engelberg and Zermatt, but there are some entirely non-glacial areas operating too (e.g. Davos, Sulden am Ortler). 

Updated: 10am Thursday 9 November 2017 - Further significant snow this weekend, mostly in the northern Alps

 

The weather in the Alps is fairly calm today with plenty of sunshine at altitude but also a lot of low cloud in the valleys.

Tux valley, Austria – Weather to ski – Today in the Alps, 9 November 2017 Lots of valley cloud in the Alps today. This is the Tux valley in Austria – 9 November 2017 – Photo: foto-webcam.eu

After another mostly dry day tomorrow, active weather fronts will then arrive from the north-west over the weekend. The first front will be a warm one, sending the rain/snow limit towards 1800m in places before a cold front crosses the Alps on Sunday, returning the snow level to 1000m or lower.

 

Monday will then be very cold, with further snow showers across the northern Alps, especially in the north-east.

 

By the northern Alps, we mean the French Alps north of Grenoble, most of the Swiss Alps expect the far south (Ticino in particular belongs to the southern Alps, meteorologically speaking) and most of Austria (except Carinthia and Osttirol). Italy is normally considered as the southern Alps though some border regions, especially the far north west (e.g. Courmayeur), can tap into “northerly” set-ups to some extent.

 

So between Saturday and Monday we can expect 15-40cm of new snow above 1800m across a wide swathe of the northern Alps, with 50cm+ in a few favoured areas such as the Arlberg (e.g. Lech). The southern Alps will only see a “bits and pieces” of snow here and there with some places missing out altogether.

 

More details on Friday…

Updated: 9.35am Wednesday 8 November 2017 - Remaining cool, more significant snow in places this weekend

 

It’s a rather cool and cloudy picture this morning in the western Alps, with some light flurries (800-1200m) here and there though not amounting to very much. In the eastern Alps (i.e. Austria) there will be some good sunny breaks. 

Arabba, Italy – Weather to ski – Today in the Alps, 8 November 2017 Excellent early snow cover in the Dolomites, unlike in recent years. This is Arabba – 8 November 2017 – Photo: dolomitisuperski.com

Although most of the Alps now have a decent covering of snow at altitude, there were two main sweet spots from the recent storm. The first was in the southern Austrian Alps, south of Innsbruck, where the likes of Hintertux and Stubai saw between 80cm and 100cm of fresh snow at around 3000m. This particularly snowy zone also extends over the border into parts of the Dolomites.

 

The second was in the southern Piedmont in the south-western Italian Alps, south of the Milky Way, where resorts such as Prato Nevoso also saw around 100cm of new snow, even as low as 1800m.

Leogang, Austria – Weather to ski – Today in the Alps, 8 November 2017 Looking wintry in the Ski Circus area. This is Leogang – 8 November 2017 – Photo: saalbach.com

Generally speaking though, the Alps have seen somewhere between 10cm and 50cm of new snow above 2000m, with the French and far north-western Italian Alps (e.g. Courmayeur) seeing the least.

 

Although some of the lower lying snow is already starting to disappear, it is important to note that unlike last year there is no extended period of warm weather on the near horizon, which means that at altitude at least there is a better chance that some, if not most, of this snow will stick around.

 

Obergurgl and Ischgl, for example, are two entirely non-glacial resorts that are now pretty much set for the early part of the season. 

Lienz, Austria – Weather to ski – Today in the Alps, 8 November 2017 Snow even down to valley level in the southern Austrian Alps. This is Lienz – 8 November 2017 – Photo: foto-webcam.eu

Over the next few days there will be a few light flurries here and there, but the next significant snow is due in the northern Alps this weekend, especially later on Sunday and Monday. Areas that are likely to be benefit include Avoriaz, Mürren, Engelberg and Lech.