Today in the Alps...
Updated: 9.30am Friday 15 November 2019 - Another big dump for the southern Alps!
As expected, in the last 24 hours a huge amount of snow has fallen again across the southern Alps, also spilling a little bit further north in places too.
Areas that have benefited most this time around are:
- the whole of the southern French Alps (e.g. Risoul, Isola 2000) but also Val d’Isère/Tignes, Val Cenis and Bonneval-sur-Arc a bit further north;
- most of the Italian Alps, but especially the central-western Italian Alps (e.g. Monte Rosa); and
- the central and southern Swiss Alps (e.g. Zermatt, Saas-Fee, Aletsch Arena, Andermatt).
Roughly 30-70cm of new snow has fallen in these regions in the last 24 hours, with over 1m in places in the high border regions to the east of Zermatt/Saas-Fee.
Today the heaviest of the snow has spread a little further east to the central and eastern Italian Alps (e.g. Livigno, Dolomites), the south-eastern Swiss Alps (e.g St Moritz) and the Austrian Alps, especially in the south (e.g. Nassfeld), all of which already saw a lot of snow earlier this week.
This latest storm has also produced some snow across the northern Alps (e.g. Portes du Soleil, Bernese Oberland) but generally in much more modest quantities than further south.
Over the weekend another less potent storm will hit the southern Alps, then next week it looks like the weather will turn mild but remain unsettled, with further heavy snow possible at times across the southern Alps. By contrast, a Foehn wind is likely to develop in the northern Alps, which means that some of their lower-lying snow will start to melt later in the week.
As for where this leaves us in terms of snow conditions in the Alps, check out our latest detailed snow report out later today…
Latest snow report
Who got the most snow in the Alps in 2018-19?
The 2018-19 Alpine season was very snowy in the north-eastern Alps, but closer to average elsewhere…
Who got the most snow in North America in 2018-19?
The 2018-19 North-American ski season saw close to or above average snowfall across most regions… ...
Snow forecasts will return in Autumn 2019
Updated: 9am Thursday 14 November 2019 - Yet more heavy snow for the southern Alps…
A huge amount of snow has fallen across some southern and eastern Alps since we last reported on Tuesday, with close to 1m in some of the higher resorts of the central and southern Austrian Alps (e.g. Stubai), and the Dolomites (e.g. Marmolada).
Today another weather front is approaching the Alps from the west, as a new storm is forming in the Gulf of Genoa which will deliver more heavy snow to the southern Alps later today and tomorrow.
This will firstly affect the western/north-western Italian Alps and some adjacent areas in France (e.g Bonneval sur Arc, Isola 2000) and Switzerland (e.g. Saas-Fee), before the north-eastern Italian Alps (e.g. Dolomites) and some adjacent areas in Austria (e.g. Obergurgl, Nassfeld) get in on the action again tomorrow.
The extreme western Alps (e.g. the Vercors, Chartreuse, also the western Jura) will also see heavy snow today, but the northern Alps (e.g. Chamonix and the Bernese Oberland through to the northern Tirol and Salzburgland) will generally miss out.
Overall, we can say that this is a very promising start to the season for the Alps, although it is only mid-November and certainly not everywhere has deep snow yet.
The areas that are doing particularly well at this stage (especially at altitude) are the central, central southern, eastern and south-eastern Alps, including resorts such as Andermatt, St Moritz, Livigno, Obergurgl, Obertauern, Madonna di Campiglio and Arabba, to name just a few.
If we were to single out one country, it would now be Austria where a huge amount of snow has fallen in the more central and southern regions (e.g. Stubai, Hintertux, Obergurgl, Nassfeld). However, even the northern Austrian Alps (e.g. Kaprun) have also seen significant snow.
Although parts of the north-western Alps (e.g. Portes du Soleil, Bernese Oberland) have missed out on the heaviest of the recent snow, there is still some snow here, especially higher up, just not as much as in most other parts of the Alps.
Some south-western Italian resorts (e.g. Sestriere) are also still looking for their first killer dump of the season.
Updated: 11am Tuesday 12 November 2019 - Remaining very unsettled across the Alps with the heaviest snow in the south…
The weather situation in the Alps is extremely complicated, with several storms set to hit the Alps over the coming days. What we can say for sure is that the southern Alps will see the most snow, with some extreme snowfalls in places.
Right now, the main driver of the weather in the Alps is a huge area of low pressure in the Mediterranean which is throwing weather fronts up northwards across its eastern flanks.
Over the last 24 hours, these fronts have produced further snow across the central and eastern Italian Alps (e.g. Livigno, Madonna di Campiglio), the eastern swiss Alps (e.g. Davos, St Moritz) and much of Austria, especially in the south (e.g. Obergurgl, Nassfeld). By contrast, the north-western Alps (e.g. Portes du Soleil, Chamonix) have seen little if any snow since yesterday morning.
Nothing will change much today, with drier conditions continuing in the north-west but further snow set to fall in the southern and eastern Alps, although there will be huge contrasts in the rain/snow limit - currently around 1700m in parts of the Dolomites and eastern Austrian Alps, but well under 1000m in the western Austrian Alps.
For the rest of the week the southern Alps will continue to receive further heavy precipitation. At first the emphasis will again be in the south-east (e.g. Lombardy, Trentino, Engadin, Ostirol, SudTirol, Veneto), but then a new storm will develop in the Gulf of Genoa which will allow the western Italian Alps (e.g. Sestriere, Monte Rosa) and some adjacent areas across the border in both France and Switzerland (e.g. Val d’Isere, Saas-Fee) to get in on the action.
Updated: 11am Monday 11 November 2019 - Remaining cool with further snow, mostly across the southern Alps…
The weather in the Alps will remain rather cold and unsettled this week with further snow in places, mostly across the southern Alps.
The Alps are today sandwiched between a weak cold front moving down from the north-west and a and a more potent storm system anchored in the Mediterranean. The former will bring a dusting of new snow to the north-western foothills of the Alps (e.g. La Clusaz) tonight. The latter, however, will bring a bit more significant snow to some southern parts of the Alps, notably the central and eastern Italian Alps (e.g. Madesimo, Passo Tonale, Dolomites), with a rain/snow limit somewhere between 1000m and 1400m.
The weather in the alps will remain on the cold side for the rest of the week, with further snow at times across the southern Alps. Tomorrow the heaviest snow will fall in the Dolomites, with the south-western Alps (e.g. Piedmont) set to join in the action later in the week.
Although the northern Alps (e.g. Avoriaz, Engelberg, Lech) are unlikely to see any significant snow, it will still be cold, and many resorts have already fired up their snow cannons which will help to secure their base as the main season approaches.
There is already an encouraging amount of snow at altitude across most of the Alps. To find out more, check out our first main snow report of the season later today…
Updated: 9.30am Friday 8 November 2019 - Further snow in many parts of the Alps…
As expected, there has been further snow across many parts of the Alps over the last 24 hours. The heaviest snow has fallen in the southern and western Alps, while the north-eastern Alps (e.g. Salzburgland) have mostly missed out again.
This morning, it is still snowing across a good portion of the central and south-eastern Alps including most of Switzerland, the northern Piedmont (e.g. Alagna), Lombardy (e.g. Livigno), the Dolomites (e.g. Cortina) and the southern Austrian Alps (e.g. Nassfeld). By contrast, the snow has largely stopped in the western Alps.
Snowfall totals over the past 24 hours are typically in the region of 5-20cm above 1500m across a wide swathe of the French, Swiss, Italian and southern/western Austrian Alps, with more in places. However, some central-southern and south-eastern parts of the Alps (e.g. Andermatt, Livigno, St Moritz and the Dolomites) have already seen 30cm or more at altitude, with more snow set to fall here for much of today.
We can therefore expect storm totals in excess of 50cm in some favoured spots by the end of Friday, most likely in the central-southern Swiss Alps (e.g. Andermatt) and the eastern Dolomites (e.g. Cortina).
Over the weekend we will see a few further flurries here and there, heaviest in the far south-west (e.g. Isola 2000, Limone, Prato Nevoso) with most places expected to stay dry if rather cold. It will continue cold into next week too with the further chance of snow, notably from mid-week onwards and probably heaviest in the south-east (e.g. Dolomites).
Updated: 9.45am Thursday 7 November 2019 – The weather remains cool and changeable in the Alps…
The weather in the Alps will remain cool and changeable for the foreseeable future, with further snow forecast in some regions, heaviest in the south-eastern Alps (e.g. Dolomites) tomorrow.
Today we have a new storm approaching the Alps from the west. This will deliver some light to moderate falls of snow (typically 5-15cm above 1500m) across many parts of the Swiss, French and Italian Alps as the day goes on, with a rain/snow limit somewhere between 1000m and 1400m. The north-eastern Alps (e.g. Salzburgland) will again stay mostly dry.
Tomorrow we will see a significant intensification of snowfall across the central and eastern Alps (e.g. St Moritz, Obergurgl, Dolomites) where between 25-50cm of new snow is possible at altitude by Friday night.
After a relative lull in the weather on Saturday and first thing on Sunday, further snow will fall across some south-western parts of the Alps later in the weekend and on Monday, especially in areas close to the French/Italian border (from about Val d’Isère southwards). More widespread snow is then possible again in the Alps on Tuesday.
So, all in all the news is good as we draw nearer to the main winter season!
Updated: 11am Tuesday 5 November 2019 - Lots of snow at altitude...
As expected, lots of new snow has fallen across higher parts of the Alps over the last few days. The heaviest snow has fallen in the French Alps, where 30-60cm has been reported quite widely above 2500m, and well over 1m in some favoured spots such as in the Écrins region, just south of Les 2 Alpes.
Most other parts of the Alps have also seen some snow, though the north-east (e.g. Salzburgland) has generally seen less due to the Foehn. Today it is still snowing above 1600-2000m across some eastern parts of the Alps, notably southern Austria and the Dolomites. Further west, skies are brighter but further snow showers (1500m) are likely later in the day.
The weather will remain changeable and rather cool for the rest of the week, with the further chance of snow at times (and to relatively low levels), notably on Thursday/Friday, then again on Sunday/Monday.
So what does this all mean for the season ahead?
Well, still not much really as it is simply too early to guarantee that any warm spell won’t undo much of the early good work. That said, we are hopeful that a handful of high-altitude ski areas will now be able to hold on to their bases, especially in French resorts with plenty of skiing above 2400m (e.g. Tignes/Val d’Isère, Val Thorens and Les 2 Alpes).
With further top-ups likely, by this time next week these areas (and potentially others) should be more confident of a good start to the season.
Updated: 11.15am Monday 4 November 2019 - Turning increasingly wintry in the Alps…
As expected, many higher parts of the Alps saw some snow over the weekend, with the heaviest falls in the western Alps (France) and central Italian Alps (Lombardy, western Dolomites). The north-eastern Alps (e.g. Salzburgland) were protected by the Foehn and saw the least snow.
Today it is snowing again in many western and some southern parts of the Alps, with a rain/snow limit between 1600m and 2200m. Accumulations are now becoming significant above 2500m, with 40-50cm expected by tonight on the Grande Motte glacier above Tignes, and perhaps as much as 80cm on the glacier above Les 2 Alpes.
Tomorrow, the heaviest of the snow will move further east, with the southern Austrian and north-eastern Italian Alps (e.g. Dolomites) most likely to be favoured. The rest of the week will then remain unsettled and relatively cool, with further snow at times, mostly in the southern and western Alps.
The improving snow situation in the Alps is welcome news after a dry and very mild October. It still doesn’t mean very much in terms of how the main winter season will pan out, but it does mean that most of the glaciers will be in excellent shape.
There is also hope that something of a base will now be put down above 2500m or so in resorts such as Tignes/Val d’Isère, Val Thorens, Les 2 Alpes, Cervinia, Verbier, Zermatt and St Moritz, given that the weather is forecast to stay relatively cool over the coming days, with the possibility of further snow, especially later in the week and into next week when some bigger storms are possible. Watch this space…
Updated: 12pm Friday 1 November 2019 - Significant snow coming for some parts of the Alps…
The weather in the Alps is becoming interesting, with a protracted storm cycle set to bring significant snow to some areas over the coming days, especially in higher parts of the western Alps.
Over the next two to three days, the wind will predominately come from the west or south-west, creating a Foehn effect on the north-eastern side of the Alps. This will lead to very mild and mostly dry weather in the Austrian Alps (though still with a few showers here and there), but quite a lot of precipitation for the French Alps (e.g. Tignes, Les 2 Alpes), the western Swiss Alps (e.g. Verbier) and western and central parts of the Italian Alps (e.g. Passo Tonale). The rain/snow limit will initially sit well above 2000m but will drop steadily next week.
More generally, there is still lots of uncertainty as to how the weather in the Alps will pan out next week, as it will depend on the exact position of the jet stream, which will be meandering very close to or over the Alps.
One thing that is for certain is that the weather will remain unsettled, with current models still favouring the western Alps in terms of snowfall. The western Alps will also see the coldest temperatures, with snow possible to 1500m (or even lower) at times. Stay tuned!
Updated: 9am Wednesday 30 October 2019 - Turning very unsettled, with significant snow at altitude in the western Alps this weekend…
The weather in the Alps is about to turn very unsettled as a succession of increasingly potent storms arrives from the west over the coming days. Although it won’t turn particularly cold, there is expected to be some significant snow at the weekend, at high altitude at least.
The first major storm in this cycle will arrive later on Friday heralding a very unsettled weekend for the Alps, with high winds, heavy rain and some heavy snow at altitude.
The heaviest snow will fall in the western Alps where the glaciers at both Tignes and Les Alpes, for example, could see 30-40cm of new snow by the end of Sunday. The rain/snow limit will generally be between 2200m and 2600m, and perhaps a bit lower in places later in the weekend and during the first part of next week.
Next week, the weather in the Alps will remain unsettled but it is still uncertain as to where and to what levels the heaviest snow might fall. Initial thoughts are that it will again be the western Alps that are most favoured but the situation is evolving and likely to change. Stay tuned…
Updated: 10.30am Tuesday 15 October 2019 - New storm hits the Alps…
After a mostly fine and very warm spell of weather over the past few days, a new storm is now affecting the western Alps today with lots of rain, high altitude snow and even some thunderstorms.
The general rain/snow limit today will start high (2600-2900m) but will lower steadily, reaching 1700-2000m in places by the end of the day. The high border areas between Italy/France and Italy/Switzerland (e.g. Zermatt, Saas-Fee) will see the most of today’s snow, with 30-40cm possible at 3000m. The Grande Motte glacier above Tignes (not yet open) will also see a decent top-up, with around 15-20cm.
The further north and east in the Alps you go the less potent this storm will be. The Austrian glaciers, for example, will see a little snow later today and tonight but not as much as further west.
Wednesday and Thursday will be drier, then further weather fronts will arrive later in the week and over the weekend, with more (high altitude) snow in many places.
Weather-permitting, glacier skiing is currently possible in the following resorts:
- Austria – Hintertux, Sölden, Stubai, Kaprun, Mölltal, Kaunertal and Pitztal
- Switzerland – Zermatt, Saas-Fee and Engelberg
- Italy – Passo Stelvio and Val Senales
Updated: 12pm Wednesday 9 October 2019 - More snow for the glaciers…
It’s snowing higher up in the Alps again today, which is great news for the glaciers, most of which are already in pretty good shape for early October.
The heaviest of the precipitation this afternoon will fall in the northern French and Swiss Alps (e.g. Tignes, Zermatt), and then in the Austrian Alps tonight (e.g. Sölden, Stubai). The rain/snow limit will initially be between around 2500m and 2800m but will fall to around 2000m later.
By tomorrow we can expect between 5cm and 20cm of new snow at 3000m, with a dusting to 2000m here and there. Later in the week it will turn warmer again, meaning that any of the new snow will quickly disappear below glacier level.
Updated: 9.20am Monday 7 October 2019 - Snow in the Alps!
Many higher parts of the Alps are waking up to a new covering of snow this morning thanks to the cold front that moved across the region yesterday.
It is still far too early for this snow to have any bearing on how the main ski season might pan out –as most of it will melt in the next few days – but it is very welcome news for the glaciers, some of which are already in operation while others are looking to open just as soon as conditions permit.
One such glacier is the Grande Motte above Tignes which had to postpone its scheduled 28 September opening due to a lack of snow, but now looks in much better shape thanks to 10-15cm of new snow yesterday alone.
On the whole, Austria is still the best bet when it comes to skiing options early this October with skiing possible in Hintertux (by far the best option right now), Sölden, Stubai, Pitztal, Kaunertal and (from next weekend) Kaprun.
In Switzerland you can currently ski in Saas-Fee and Zermatt, with more openings coming soon, including Engelberg this weekend. In Italy you can ski in Passo Stelvio and Val Senales.
France currently has no lift-served skiing open, although Tignes may make an announcement soon. Watch this space!
As for the weather forecast in the Alps, there will be a bit more high altitude snow on Wednesday before it turns warmer and sunnier everywhere later in the week.
Updated: 1pm Friday 4 October 2019 – Snow conditions on the glaciers are gradually improving
Last month’s weather was relatively ‘normal’ in the Alps, with spells of warm sunshine interspersed with cooler, more unsettled interludes which brought a little high-altitude snow here and there. The most significant snow fell in the eastern Alps (i.e. Austria) where the glaciers are now in reasonable shape. Further west, snowfall may have been lighter and more sporadic so far this Autumn but the situation here is also steadily improving…
Here is a rundown of snow conditions in the Alps right now…
As in most years, Austria is the best bet for skiing in the Alps in early October, with 4 glaciers already open and more to follow soon.
Hintertux currently offers the best snow conditions and greatest extent of skiing in the Alps with 20km of pistes and 45cm of settled snow on the glacier.
Sölden has 4km of pistes currently in operation with more planned this weekend. Snow depths on the glacier currently stand at 63cm.
The Stubai glacier has 2 runs open today and is reporting a snow base of 25cm.
The Pitztal glacier also has 2 runs open today with a snow base of 30cm.
The Kaunertal glacier has 4 runs open today and is reporting a snow base of 20cm.
The Kitzsteinhorn glacier above Kaprun plans to open on 12 October 2019.
The French Alps currently have no lift-served skiing available, as the planned opening of the Grande Motte glacier above Tignes (on 28 September 2019) had to be postponed due to a lack of snow. Light snowfalls have improved the situation in recent days but at the time of writing there is still no word on when the glacier will re-open.
Les 2 Alpes hopes to open its glacier from 26 October to 3 November 2019 for half-term but has been unable to do so in the last two seasons due to a lack of snow. Watch this space! Otherwise no other French ski resort has any plans to open until the “main” season which, snow permitting, will kick off with the opening of Val Thorens on 23 November 2019.
Italy currently has two glacier options open.
Passo Stelvio near Bormio has the deepest snow base in the Alps (190cm) and can offer 6km of pistes, while Val Senales has 2km on a much more modest 15cm!
Switzerland has two good glacier options right now, with more openings coming soon. Saas-Fee and Zermatt can both offer around 18km of runs (weather permitting) with upper bases of around 50cm.
Engelberg plans to start operations on its Titlis glacier on 12 October 2019, but this has yet to be 100% confirmed.