Today in the Alps...

Updated: 10.30am Friday 3 December 2021 - New weather window between storms…

 

Some snow flurries will linger across the eastern Austrian Alps this morning, however, most of the Alps will enjoy a sunny day before the next set of weather fronts barrel in from the west later this evening and overnight. 

Les Gets, France – Weather to ski – Today in the Alps, 3 December 2021 Picture perfect in Les Gets today ahead of its unscheduled early opening this weekend – 3 December 2021 – Photo: lesgets.com

These new storms will bring significant snow to the north-western half of the Alps this weekend, with the northern French (e.g. 3 Valleys, Grand Massif, Portes du Soleil) and western Swiss Alps (e.g. Verbier) most favoured, with 30-50cm likely by the end of Sunday.

 

Snow conditions are now excellent for early December across many parts of the Alps, especially in the north-west where most of the recent snow has fallen, with in Les Gets (pictured) now due to open ahead of schedule this weekend. Even in areas that haven’t seen all that much snow in recent days (e.g. parts of the southern Alps), temperatures have generally still been cold enough to allow some serious snow-making to get underway.

 

For more details on the weather in the Alps check out our detailed Alpine forecast out later today. 

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Latest snow report

2 December 2021

Very promising early season snow condition in the Alps…

 

Latest snow forecast

3 December 2021

The weather remains unsettled in the Alps, with further snow for some over the next few days…

 

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Early season snow conditions in the Alps

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Updated: 10am Thursday 2 December 2021 – More snow for many parts of the Alps…

 

The weather in the Alps remains unsettled today with further flurries or longer spells of snow, heaviest in the north-western Alps where another 10-15cm of snow is expected by dawn tomorrow with a rain/snow limit initially around 800m falling to all levels overnight.

Châtel, France – Weather to ski – Today in the Alps, 2 December 2021 Heavy snow shower in Châtel this morning – 2 December 2021 – Photo: chatel.com

Areas that will see this snow in the north-west include the northern French Alps roughly north of Grenoble, most of the Swiss Alps away from the far south (e.g. Villars, Wengen, Crans Montana, Engelberg, Flims) and the far western Austrian Alps (Arlberg region).

 

Some eastern and south-eastern parts of the Alps (e.g. Obertauern, Nassfeld, Cortina) may also see 10-15cm of snow over the next 18 hours or so, however, other parts of the Alps will only see lighter and patchier snow (if any). Some southern areas, such as the far south of the French Alps (e.g. Isola 2000) and the southern Piedmont (e.g. Sestriere), will stay completely dry today.

 

Over the next few days, the weather in the Alps will remain unsettled, with further significant snow in places, especially in the north-west.

 

For more on snow conditions in the Alps, see our detailed country by country snow report updated today. 

Updated: 10.30am Wednesday 1 December 2021 – The Alps are currently in between storms…

 

No sooner has one storm cleared the north-eastern Alps, than another is fast approaching the north-west. This new storm will bring snow to the northern French and western Swiss Alps this afternoon, spreading further east into the eastern Swiss and Austrian Alps this evening and overnight.

St Anton, Austria – Weather to ski – Today in the Alps, 1 December 2021 Weather window between storms in St Anton today – 1 December 2021 – Photo: foto-webcam.eu

The rain/snow limit will start at around 1200-1500m before dropping below 1000m tonight. Thursday will then see further snow at times (to low levels), mostly across the northern half of the Alps. The southern Alps will see less snow during this period, with some places (particularly in the far south-west) staying dry.

 

After a temporary lull in proceedings on Friday, yet another storm will move in from the north-west on Friday night bringing further snow to many parts of the Alps over the weekend, heaviest in the north-west.

 

Between now and Sunday, the greatest snowfall accumulations will be in the northern French Alps (e.g. Avoriaz), where they could easily be in the region of 50-70cm. More generally across the north-western Alps (e.g. Val d’Isère, 3 Valleys, Verbier, Mürren, Engelberg, Laax and Lech) accumulations of around 30-50cm are more likely. Elsewhere in the Alps (i.e. in the south and east), we are expecting between 5cm and 30cm, with one or two southern resorts (e.g. Isola 2000, Prato Nevoso) probably missing out completely this time around.

 

All in all, from a purely snow perspective it looks like an excellent start to the Alpine season. Even in areas that haven’t seen a huge amount of natural snow (e.g. some southern parts of the French Alps away from the Italian border), temperatures are generally conducive to snow-making, and will continue to be so over the coming days.

Updated: 10am Tuesday 30 November 2021 – More snow for the Alps…

 

Snow showers will continue to low levels across some northern and north-eastern parts of the Alps today (e.g. Engelberg, Flims, Lech, Kaprun), where another 10-30cm is possible by tomorrow morning. 

Méribel, France – Weather to ski – Today in the Alps, 30 November 2021 Winter wonderland in Méribel following recent snowfall – 30 November 2021 – Photo: facebook.com/meribel3vallees

Elsewhere in the Alps it is drier and brighter, with the best of the sunshine in the south-west. The rest of the week then looks unsettled, with further weather fronts moving in from the north-west tomorrow followed by an unstable and cold northerly airstream on Thursday.

 

Friday may see a temporary improvement in the weather across the Alps before yet more storms move in from the north-west on Saturday.

 

The region that will therefore see the most snow over the next five days, with perhaps another 40-80cm quite widely and even more in places, is the north-western Alps – including:

  • the northern French Alps roughly north of Grenoble, including the 3 Valleys, the Grand Massif, the Chamonix valley and the Portes du Soleil;
  • most of the Swiss Alps apart from some southern regions like Ticino and the southern Engadin; and
  • the Vorarlberg (e.g. Lech) and western Tirol (e.g. St Anton).

Most southern Alpine regions including the Italian Alps (but excluding some resorts close to the border such as Courmayeur) will, however, see much more modest amounts of snow this week with some places even staying completely dry. 

Updated: 11am Monday 29 November 2021 – The Alps are in full winter mode!

 

As expected, lots of snow has fallen across the Alps over the weekend with plenty more in the forecast for this week.

Morzine, France – Weather to ski – Today in the Alps, 29 November 2021 Serious snow in Morzine over the weekend – 29 November 2021 – Photo: facebook.com/morzineavoriaz

With the wind in the north today, most of the snow showers will be in the northern Alps (e.g. Engelberg, Lech, Kaprun), where it will fall at all levels, however, flurries will tend to die away from the northern French Alps (e.g. 3 Valleys) as the day progresses. By contrast, the southern side of the Alps will remain dry, with the best of any sunshine being away from the high border areas.

 

The rest of the week then looks unsettled, with further snow at times, generally favouring the northern half of the Alps. After a very chilly start to the week, temperatures will rise briefly mid-week (but not excessively) before it turns very cold again later in the week.

 

Over the weekend, between 30-60cm of fresh snow has fallen across quite a wide swathe of the central and northern Alps, with even more in places, particularly in the foothills (e.g. Vercors, the Chartreuse near Grenoble, and parts of the Jura close to Geneva). On the whole, the southern Alps have seen much less snow, with some places (especially the far south-west, e.g. Isola 2000) missing out completely this time around.

 

What is notable about the current storm cycle is the very cold temperature (for November), with snow falling to low levels right across the Alps and even into some of the major cities (e.g. Grenoble). This means that even in areas that haven’t seen a huge amount of new snow in recent days (such as parts of the southern Alps, notably the southern French Alps) it has been cold enough for the snow cannons to operate at full capacity. So, all in all, from a purely snow-related perspective (and pandemic aside), it is looking like a very promising start to the season.

 

Note that the whole of the Pyrenees has also seen significant snow in recent days, with close to 1m over the weekend in some western resorts (e.g. Gourette), meaning that resorts in this region can also look forward to an excellent start to the season.

Updated: 9.50am Friday 26 November 2021 – Increasingly snowy in the Alps…

 

The weather in the Alps will be mostly cloudy today, with a scattering of snow flurries here and there, heaviest and most prolonged in the south-eastern Alps (e.g. Dolomites, Carinthia).

Arabba, Italy – Weather to ski – Today in the Alps, 26 November 2021 Cloudy today with snow flurries in Arabba – 26 November 2021 – Photo: arabba.it

These areas will see around 10-15cm by tonight though, otherwise today’s snowfall will generally not amount to much. This morning the rain/snow limit will initially sit between 700m and 1000m, before descending as the day progresses. The best of any sunshine today will be in the southern French and south-western Italian Alps.

 

Snow will become heavier and more widespread over the weekend, with more details coming in our weather & snow forecast for the Alps later today. For the latest on snow conditions across the Alps and beyond, check out our weekly snow report, also updated later today. 

Updated: 10am Thursday 25 November 2021 - Winter incoming!

 

As expected, snow has fallen overnight in some south-western parts of the Alps, especially in the Alpes Maritimes (e.g. Auron, Isola 2000) which saw 10-20cm above 1500m, and the southern Piedmont (e.g. Limone, Prato Nevoso). 

Auron, France – Weather to ski – Today in the Alps, 25 November 2021 10-15cm of fresh snow in Auron in the Alpes Maritimes this morning – 25 November 2021 – Photo: auron.com

Over the course of the day, snow flurries will move steadily further north and east, reaching Austria tonight, however, any accumulations will be very modest. The rain/snow limit, initially around 1200-1500m, will fall to very low levels later today and overnight. Further light flurries are then expected in places tomorrow, with falls set to become heavier and more widespread across the Alps over the weekend.

 

This upcoming storm cycle is welcome news for the Alps, after a protracted spell of mild weather has left most non-glacial ski areas with little natural snow. There are some exceptions, such as Obergurgl in Austria (albeit temporarily closed due to Austria’s current lockdown) which has a good amount of natural snow, as do some resorts in the south-western Alps such as Montgenèvre (currently open at weekends).

 

However, most of the non-glacial areas that have opened to date (such as Val Thorens, Davos-Klosters and Schladming) have done so heavily reliant on artificial snow. 

 

Over in the Pyrenees, there has already been lots of snow in the east this week (e.g. Font Romeu, La Molina). This weekend the heaviest snow will transfer towards the western side of the chain (e.g. Gourette) where up to 1m of fresh snow is possible at altitude by the beginning of next week. All in all, it is an excellent start to the season for the Pyrenees.

Updated: 10.40am Wednesday 24 November 2021 - Becoming steadily wintrier over the next few days…

 

The weather in the Alps is turning more wintry, with significant snow forecast for most regions over the coming days.

Bergfex chart showing snowfall accumulations in the Alps between 24 and 29 November 2021 – Weather to ski – Today in the Alps, 24 November 2021 Significant accumulated snowfall is predicted across the Alps during the next six days, with the brightest colours (purple, yellow) suggesting 50-70cm or more is possible in places – Image: bergfex.com, 24 November 2021

Before we see any fresh snow though, much of the Alps will enjoy a sunny day today with freezing levels typically around 2000m. Later today cloud will increase in the far south-west, bringing a few centimetres of snow (1200m) overnight in the southern Piedmont (e.g. Limone) and across the border in the French Alpes Maritimes (e.g. Isola 2000).

 

On Thursday some mostly light snow showers will move north-eastwards across the Alps, first affecting the south-west (e.g Piedmont) before finally reaching the north-east (i.e. Austria) on Thursday night. The rain/snow limit will initially sit at around 1000-1300m before falling to low levels by Friday, especially in the western Alps.

 

On Friday, a new but still rather weak weather front will move slowly across the Alps, this time from north-west to south-east, bringing further mostly light flurries (to relatively low levels) to many regions.

 

Saturday and Sunday will then see more active weather fronts move in from the north-west, with more significant and widespread snow expected across the Alps. The rain/snow limit will briefly rise on Saturday before returning to very low levels across most of the Alps later in the weekend. The weather will then remain unsettled on Monday, with further snow in many areas.

 

This upcoming storm cycle is welcome news for the Alps, after a protracted spell of mild weather has left most non-glacial ski areas with little natural snow. There are some exceptions, such as Obergurgl in Austria (albeit temporarily closed due to Austria’s current lockdown), which has a good amount of natural snow, as do some resorts in the south-western Alps such as Montgenèvre (currently open at weekends).

 

However, most of the non-glacial areas that have opened to date (such as Val Thorens, Davos-Klosters and Schladming) have done so heavily reliant on artificial snow. 

 

Over in the Pyrenees, it is already snowing with plenty more in the forecast. The current storm is mostly favouring the eastern Pyrenees (e.g. Formigueres pictured) right now, but most other parts of the chain are expected to see significant snow over the coming days. 

Formiguères, France – Weather to ski – Today in the Alps, 24 November 2021 Snowing heavily today in Formiguères in the eastern French Pyrenees – 24 November 2021 – Photo: snoweye.com

Updated: 10.30am Tuesday 23 November 2021 - It’s turning increasingly wintry in the Alps…

 

The weather in the Alps is turning wintrier with significant snowfall likely for many regions by the weekend.

Madonna di Campiglio, Italy – Weather to ski – Today in the Alps, 23 November 2021 Snow cover in Madonna di Campiglio in the Brenta Dolomites is better than in most parts of the Alps, which will allow some slopes to open this weekend – 23 November 2021 – Photo: funiviecampiglio.it

Even before then some places will see a little snow this week. Today it will be the far south-west that will see a few flurries (1200-1400m), especially in the southern Piedmont (e.g. Prato Nevoso), though it won’t amount to much.

 

Tomorrow night will see more substantial snow in these same areas (10-15cm), with some falls also possible in some resorts in the far south of the French Alps, such as Isola 2000.

 

Elsewhere in the Alps, it should remain mostly dry until Thursday with some sunshine in places, especially at altitude, but also a lot of cloud, especially lower down.

 

On Thursday, flurries (to relatively low levels) may be possible further north and east. It will then turn increasingly unsettled on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, with many parts of the Alps seeing some snow at times. It will also turn colder, with snow falling to very low levels, even right down into the lowlands by the weekend.

 

This snow will be very welcome for most areas of the Alps as, although many resorts are now partially open, snow cover is for the most part still quite patchy below glacier level with most areas very much reliant on artificial help. 

Updated: 11.30am Friday 19 November 2021 - Quiet weather across the Alps today…

 

It’s a fine day today across most of the Alps, with some low cloud (although less than in recent days) and plenty of sunshine at altitude. It is mild too, with freezing levels above 3000m in most regions. 

Val Thorens, France – Weather to ski – Today in the Alps, 19 November 2021 Val Thorens opens tomorrow, although skiing will be mostly on artificial snow – 19 November 2021 – Photo: valthorens.com

The weather will also remain dry for most of the weekend, but weather fronts will encroach both from the north and the south late on Sunday, heralding the start of a more unsettled week in the Alps next week (see our detailed weather & snow forecast out later today).

 

This weekend, a handful of resorts will be opening for the first time this season, the biggest name being Val Thorens, which begins operations on Saturday. Natural snow cover is still very thin but some enjoyable piste skiing will be possible with the help of artificial snow. Further south, Montgenèvre will also open (at weekends only) and is currently in better shape thanks to the 40cm or so that fell here at altitude earlier in the week.

 

For more on snow conditions across the Alps please see yesterday’s detailed country by country snow report.

 

For more on the weather forecast for the Alps, our updated detailed snow forecast for the Alps will be out later today.

Updated: 10am Thursday 18 November 2021 - Obergurgl opens today!

 

High pressure is currently in charge in the Alps, meaning mostly dry weather over the next few days, with plenty of sunshine at altitude but also some cloud/fog trapped under temperature inversions lower down. 

Obergurgl, Austria – Weather to ski – Today in the Alps, 18 November 2021 Excellent early season snow coverage in Obergurgl which opened for the season today – 18 November 2021 - Photo: obergurgl.com

Early next week, low pressure in the Mediterranean will bring a little snow (1300-1500m) to some southern parts of the Alps, before a more pronounced return to winter looks likely later in the week, with an increasing chance of widespread significant snow. It is still far too early to go into any details on this potentially major wintry onslaught, but we will be discussing it further in our detailed forecast tomorrow.

 

In the meantime, today sees the start of skiing in Obergurgl, the first major entirely non-glacial resort to open a substantial number of runs (85km) this season. Snow conditions are very good for November thanks to heavy snowfalls last week backed up comprehensive artificial snow coverage.

 

Another major resort about to open is Val Thorens on 20 November. Although it has less natural snow than Obergurgl, some enjoyable piste skiing is still likely thanks to the snow cannons, not to mention some excellent work by the pisteurs. 

Updated: 1pm Wednesday 17 November 2021 – Calm but often quite cloudy today in the Alps…

 

The weather in the Alps has now settled down but there is a lot of cloud around today, with both low-level stratus and some higher-level cloud meaning that you would have to be lucky to see any extended periods of bright sunshine. Most places will be dry, though the odd shower or flurry (1800m) can’t be ruled out here and there, most likely in the western Italian Alps. 

Warth-Schröcken, Austria – Weather to ski – Today in the Alps, 17 November 2021 Calm but often quite cloudy weather today in the Alps. This is the Warth-Schröcken ski area – 17 November 2021 – Photo: foto-webcam.eu

The weather will remain relatively calm over the next few days with variable cloud cover and the best of any sunshine at altitude. Overall, there should be plenty of good skiing to be had in the increasing number of resorts across the Alps that are open or opening, albeit partially.

 

New openings this weekend include France’s Val Thorens (20 November). Snow cover here is still meagre but some good piste skiing will be possible on (mostly) artificial snow. Another opening just announced for this weekend is Montgenèvre. Snow conditions here are more favourable thanks to the 40cm or so that fell earlier this week.

 

In Austria, Obergurgl will the first entirely non-glacial resort to open a significant amount of terrain tomorrow (18 November). Snow conditions are expected to be good for November with significant natural snow as well as comprehensive artificial back-up. 

 

A handful of other, mostly minor resorts will also open this weekend, with many more (including Val d’Isère and Ischgl) opening the weekend after.

We will have more details on snow conditions in the Alps in our full snow report tomorrow… 

Updated: 10.30am Tuesday 16 November 2021 - More than 1m of fresh snow in some south-western parts of the Alps…

 

Skies have now cleared following the latest ‘Retour d’Est’, revealing huge snowfalls across some south-western parts of the Alps. 

Prali, Italy – Weather to ski – Today in the Alps, 16 November 2021 1m of fresh snow at altitude in Prali in the Italian Piedmont – 16 November 2021 – Photo: facebook.com/Praliski

Areas hardest hit include the Italian Piedmont, (e.g. Prali, Sestriere), the Queyras (e.g. Ristolas, Abriès, St Veran), the upper Maurienne (e.g. Bonneval sur Arc) and the far south-east of the upper Tarentaise (specifically the Pisaillas glacier in Val d’Isère).

 

These regions have all seen at least 80cm of fresh snow at altitude over the last 24 to 36 hours, with as much as 110-120cm reported in the Haut-Guil valley in the Queyras on the French-Italian border. 

Val d’Isère, France – Weather to ski – Today in the Alps, 16 November 2021 Plenty of new snow across Val d’Isère, with up to 80cm on the Pisaillas glacier, but considerably less here on the Bellevarde sector – 16 November 2021 – Photo: valdisere.com

Other ski areas that did well, albeit with less exceptional snow quantities, are Isola 2000, Montgenèvre, Bardonecchia, Cervinia, Zermatt, Saas-Fee and the Monte Rosa region.

 

However, most of the Alps did not see any snow from this latest storm and will have to wait for at least five or six days before they see their next top-up. 

Updated: 11am Monday 15 November 2021 – Close to 1m of fresh snow for some lucky parts of the Alps!

 

One of this autumn’s biggest snowstorms is currently in progress in the Alps, though unfortunately it is only benefiting certain parts of the south-western Alps.

Bardonecchia, Italy – Weather to ski – Today in the Alps, 15 November 2021 Winter has returned to Bardonecchia – 15 November 2021 – Photo: facebook.com/bardonecchia

This type of weather pattern is known as the 'Retour d’Est' (return from the east), a phenomenon occurring when an area of low pressure is stationary in the Gulf of Genoa. As storms rotate counter-clockwise, moisture-laden winds off the Mediterranean move across the Po valley from south-east to north-west before slamming straight (perpendicularly) into the high mountains of the Italian Piedmont. The orographic (or forcing) effect of the mountains causes the air to rise very suddenly, leading to rapid condensation and heavy precipitation on the Italian side of the Alps.

 

Some of this heavy precipitation (rain or snow) spills over into France, but a true Retour d’Est will rarely make it very far over the border. So, while Val d’Isère can see a lot of snowfall from a Retour d’Est (as can Tignes, to a lesser extent), Les Arcs or La Plagne may see next to nothing from the same storm. 

Prali, Italy – Weather to ski – Today in the Alps, 15 November 2021 Heavy snow in progress in Prali, not far from Sestriere – 15 November 2021 – Photo: facebook.com/praliski

So, looking at what is happening today, it is indeed snowing this morning in both Val d’Isère and Tignes, where 5-10cm of snow is expected close to resort level but possibly as much as 50cm or even more up on Val d’Isère’s Pisaillas glacier. Other French ski areas that will see significant snow from the current storm include Bonneval-sur-Arc, Val Cenis and the Queyras area, all of which could see 40-80cm at altitude. Montgenèvre and Isola 2000 will also benefit, but to a lesser extent, possibly seeing around 15-30cm at altitude.

 

On the Italian side of the Alps, resorts that should do well include Prato Nevoso, Limone, Bardonecchia, Sestriere and Prali, all of which should see 40-80cm at altitude. The north-eastern Piedmont (e.g. Alagna) should also see significant snow, with more moderate falls expected in the rest of the Monte Rosa region (e.g. Champoluc). Further west, Cervinia (and Zermatt and Saas-Fee, just over the Swiss border) will also see some snow.

 

The rest of the Alps will not see any benefit from this “Retour d’Est”, although most areas did at least see a little snow from storms late last week, especially in the Austrian and eastern Italian Alps (e.g. Dolomites). The north-western Alps (e.g. Portes du Soleil, Chamonix, Villars, Gstaad), however, have seen very little (if any) snow over the last week. 

Updated: 8am Friday 12 November 2021 - Dry today, snow for some this weekend…

 

Today will be a dry day in the Alps, with plenty of sunshine (especially at altitude) and very mild temperatures. Saturday will also start fine for most regions, but a cold front will cross the Alps later in the day and overnight bringing a little snow for some.

Grossglockner, Austria – Weather to ski – Today in the Alps, 12 November 2021 Blues skies across much of the Alps today. This is the Grossglockner, Austria’s highest mountain (3798m) – 12 November 2021 – Photo: foto-webcam.eu

The cold front will be weak in the western Alps, delivering just a dusting of snow to some north-western areas, including Chamonix and the Portes du Soleil. The front will be a little stronger further east, where there could be between 5cm and 20cm of fresh snow on Saturday night in the likes of Davos, St Anton and Obergurgl.

 

Later in the weekend the cold front will reach, interact with and help deepen an area of low pressure over the Mediterranean, meaning that many southern parts of the Alps will also see some snow. The heaviest of this will fall later in the weekend in the high border areas between the Italian Piedmont and the French Alps from about (and including) Val d’Isère southwards, where resorts including Val d’Isère, Val Cenis, Sestriere, Prali, Prato Nevoso, Queyras and Isola 2000 could see 20-40cm of new snow at altitude by Monday.

 

For more on snow conditions in general across the Alps please see yesterday’s detailed snow report

 

Please also tune in later today for this weekend’s weather and snow forecast for the Alps…