Today in the Alps...

Updated: 12pm Friday 26 February 2021 - Turning slightly cooler, but with no significant snow on the horizon…

 

The weather in the Alps has turned a fraction cooler. Today will be mostly sunny again, though cloud will thicken in the north later, with a few light showers across the northern Alps tonight (snow lowering to 1000-1400m). High pressure will reassert itself over the weekend and into next week though, meaning plenty more fine and sunny weather across the Alps, albeit with lower temperatures than we have seen this week. 

Damüls, Austria – Weather to ski – Today in the Alps, 26 February 2021 Still plenty of snow in the Austrian Vorarlberg, but with visible signs of the current warm spell. This is Damüls – 26 February 2021 – Photo: damuels.at

The weather in the Alps has been exceptionally warm this week, with record February temperatures in a number of locations. Chamonix reached 20.1°C on Thursday, the first ever time a temperature has hit 20°C here in February. Bourg Saint Maurice reached 21.5°C, also a record for February.

 

Needless to say, snow conditions have become very spring-like, with plenty of afternoon slush around, especially lower down and/or on slopes heavily exposed to the sun. Snow cover is still generally ok, even lower down (on-piste at least) thanks to the bumper snowfalls earlier in the season.

 

However, thanks to the recent warm weather, the lower valleys are now showing plenty of greenery, with more snow and/or an extended spell of significantly colder weather needed soon to avoid problems at low altitude later in the season.

 

Note that lift-served publicly accessible skiing in the Alps is still confined to Austria and Switzerland. 

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Updated: 9am Wednesday 24 February 2021 - Still exceptionally mild in the Alps, but set to cool down on Friday…

 

The weather in the Alps has been exceptionally mild in recent days, with temperatures close to or even above 20°C in some of the lower valleys of the central and northern Alps. 

Zell-am-See, Austria – Weather to ski – Today in the Alps, 24 February 2021 Still plenty of snow on the pistes of Zell-am-See, but some greenery is also showing lower down – 24 February 2021 - Photo: foto-webcam.eu

This unusually warm spell of weather is due to a large area of high pressure that has been sitting to the east of the Alps, drawing up air from the south. Not only has this air mass been warm, but the Foehn has also been blowing across many central and northern parts of the Alps pushing temperatures even higher still.

 

It will be exceptionally mild in the Alps today and tomorrow, but it will turn noticeably cooler on Friday as the wind switches to a more easterly direction. There will also be some light showers across the northern fringes of the Alps with a dusting of snow to between 1400m and 1800m.

 

For anyone lucky enough to be skiing in the Alps this week, snow conditions have been decidedly spring-like with afternoon slush increasingly prevalent at low altitudes and/or on slopes heavily exposed to the sun.

 

Thanks to copious snowfall earlier in the season, there is still generally plenty of snow around, though some lower valleys are now looking much greener than they were just a couple of weeks ago. Note that publicly accessible lift-served skiing in the Alps remains limited to Switzerland and Austria. 

Updated: 2pm Saturday 20 February 2021 - Spring has sprung in the Alps!

 

The weather in the Alps will be mostly dry and very mild for at least a week. The Foehn will affect some central and northern parts of the Alps over the next couple of days, with maximum temperatures set to approach 20°C in some of the lower valleys. Apart from some cloud in the western Alps on Monday, it will be mostly dry and quite sunny at times. 

St Anton, Austria – Weather to ski – Today in the Alps, 20 February 2021 Sunny today in St Anton, with lots more warm and sunny weather expected for the rest of the week – 20 February 2021 – Photo: stantonamarlberg.com

From Tuesday onwards the Foehn will die away, leaving the whole of the Alps with an extended period of relatively calm, sunny and unseasonably warm weather.

 

As this current spell of mild weather began nearly a week ago, it has led to a steady thaw lower down. With freezing levels expected to remain close to or even above 3000m this week (not to mention the ever-strengthening sun), this thaw will accelerate further over the coming days.

 

If you are lucky enough to be able to ski in the Alps this week, there is still plenty of snow although you should expect spring-like conditions with increasingly pronounced freeze-thaw cycles at lower altitudes and/or in areas heavily exposed to the sun. If you are looking for your snow to remain firm and grippy all day long you should be looking to stick to north-facing terrain above 2000m, perhaps even as high as 2300m.

 

Note that the only publicly accessible lift-served skiing is still confined to Switzerland and Austria.