Updated: 12.30pm Wednesday 26 July 2017 - Temporary relief for the Alpine glaciers
Snow has fallen across some higher parts of the Alps over the last few days, leading to a temporary improvement in snow conditions across the various summer ski areas.
Many of the Alpine glaciers have been left in a threadbare state after below average snowfalls last winter, followed by a very hot early summer.
The recent snow is great news for anyone lucky enough to be skiing in the Alps over the next couple of days. However, it will do little to improve the overall picture, with conditions expected to deteriorate again as temperatures rise this week.
Summer skiing in the Alps has come under serious pressure in recent years as resorts struggle to offer decent snow conditions, especially in late July and August. Lots of summer ski areas have closed over the last 20 years or so, including Val Thorens, Verbier, La Plagne and Alpe d’Huez.
Others which used to operate 365 days a year (such as Tignes) have now been forced to shorten their summer seasons and are generally un-skiable by late summer.
Today in the Alps will return in October 2017
Snow reports and forecasts will return in November 2017
Top 5 places to ski in the Alps in July
4 July 2017
Fraser Wilkin suggests 5 of the best places to ski in the Alps this July.
Updated: 11.45am Thursday 13 July 2017 - Glacier alert!
Concern is mounting over the state of the glaciers following another hot summer in the Alps.
Just nine days ago (4 July 2017) we suggested that some of Europe’s best known summer ski areas might struggle to last the pace this summer, but even we have been shocked by the rapid deterioration of many of the glaciers since then, not least the Grande Motte glacier above Tignes where snow cover is already looking decidedly threadbare.
Compare the image above with this one taken just 9 days earlier on 4 July 2017:
This follows a period of consistently high temperatures in the Alps which has seen the mercury rise to as high as 38°C in some of the lower valleys (such as those near Grenoble) with further hot weather forecast over the coming weeks.
Not all Alpine glaciers are in as bad a shape as Tignes just yet. Zermatt and Saas-Fee, for instance, are holding up a little better, at least on the upper parts of their glaciers, as are some eastern Alpine summer ski areas such as Hintertux. However, even these areas won’t be immune if the heat continues and it remains to be seen for how long they can offer an acceptable quality of skiing.
Updated: 11.45am Tuesday 4 July 2017 – Another hot summer in the Alps…
Some parts of the Alps saw fresh snow last week but, generally speaking, it has been a very warm late spring and early summer.
For now, most of the skiable glaciers are still in reasonable shape, but there is concern about whether certain summer ski areas can last the pace - especially those scheduled to remain open all summer - should temperatures continue above average throughout July and August.
The weather in the Alps is forecast to be hot over the next few days, with maximum temperatures close to 30°C in many of the lower valleys.
Updated: 3.30pm Friday 2 June 2017 - Summer is in control of the Alps
After a relatively cold and snowy early May, summer has well and truly established itself in the Alps, with temperatures in the lower valleys typically in the high twenties (occasionally nudging 30°C) over the last few days and a good scattering of heat-induced afternoon thunderstorms.
Needless to say, the snow-line has been racing up the mountain but it is still possible to ski on a number of glaciers this June, most of which are in Austria. For a list of all of the resorts which are open this month, see our blog on where to ski in the Alps in June.
Snow conditions are reasonable, given the time of year, with some fresh snow expected at high altitude this weekend and into the first part of next week.
Updated: 10.15am Tuesday 2 May 2017 – Fabulous snow conditions in the few Alpine resorts still open!
The Alpine season is all but finished, despite another big dump over the weekend and yet more snow in the forecast this week. Lift-served skiing options in the Alps are now mostly limited to the glacier resorts.
In France you can ski on both glacial and non-glacial terrain (11 runs total) above Val Claret in Tignes.
In Switzerland there are four options right now: Zermatt, Engelberg, Glacier 3000 (near Les Diablerets) and the mostly non-glacial slopes of the Corvatsch near St Moritz.
In Italy the best option this week is Val Senales, but you can also ski in a very limited capacity on the Presana glacier above Passo Tonale.
However, as usual at this time of year, Austria has the greatest number of options open, including Hintertux, Stubai, Kitzsteinhorn (Kaprun), Mölltal, Kaunertal, Pitztal and Dachstein.
All the above-mentioned resorts have excellent snow conditions thanks to the recent storms, with temperatures set to remain on the cool side this week.