Snow news - Summer 2022
Updated: 8.20am Friday 30 September 2022 - Up to 70cm of fresh snow at altitude in the north-western Alps!
A lot of snow has fallen across some parts of the Alps this week, especially at altitude in the north-west. After such a torrid summer, this is further good news for the glaciers, many having already seen at least a couple of moderate snowfalls this September.
The heaviest of this week’s snow has fallen at altitude in the northern French and Swiss Alps, with around 40cm on the Grande Motte glacier above Tignes, and as much as 70cm above 2800m on the Massif du Mont Blanc. Another storm is set to reach the north-western Alps tomorrow but, with much milder air in the mix, the rain/snow limit will climb back towards 3000m.
Several glacier ski areas are currently open in the Alps, including Austria’s Hintertux, Sölden and Stubai. The Kaunertal glacier is scheduled to join the action tomorrow (1 October).
In Switzerland, you can ski on the Klein Matterhorn glacier above Zermatt, with Saas-Fee (which would normally already be open at this time of year) scheduled to commence operations on 29 October.
In Italy, you can already ski in Val Senales and Passo Stelvio, but Cervinia is joining the action tomorrow (1 October) offering skiing on the glacier areas it shares with Switzerland’s Zermatt.
No skiing is currently possible in France, although Les 2 Alpes is currently planning to open for two weeks of pre-season glacier skiing on 22 October. In Tignes, although the Grande Motte glacier does have snow and is often open by early to mid-October, it was so badly damaged by this summer’s heatwaves that it may be forced to remain closed until the opening of the main season in late November. Stay tuned for updates!
Updated: 8.50am Monday 26 September 2022 - More high-altitude snow, more glacial openings!
Snow has again fallen across many higher parts of the Alps this weekend, with more to come to increasingly low altitudes this week! After a torrid summer, this is great news for the glaciers, with more and more opening for skiing, or at least planning to, over the coming days and weeks.
Right now, you can ski on the following five glacier areas in the Alps, albeit in a very limited capacity:
- Austria: Hintertux, Sölden
- Italy: Val Senales, Passo Stelvio
- Switzerland: Zermatt
The forecast this week is very promising with significant snow expected in the Alps – not just at high altitude, but to quite low levels too at times, especially in the north. Before anyone gets too excited this is still far too early for it to mean anything for the main winter season, but it will be a significant extra boost for the glaciers that are already open, and those planning to open soon.
Indeed, there could be between 50cm and 70cm of new snow at 3000m in the north-western Alps by next Saturday, including in areas not yet open such as the Grande Motte glacier above Tignes, Glacier 3000 near Les Diablerets, and the Titlis glacier above Engelberg. Watch this space!
Updated: 2pm Wednesday 21 September 2022 - More snow for the Alps?
After a relatively dry and initially quite cool start to the week, the weather in the Alps will turn more unsettled again by the weekend, with further high-altitude snow in places. This could be followed by more widespread snow to lower levels during the early to middle part of next week.
Last week’s wintry blast bought significant snow to some parts of the Alps, notably to the north-eastern Swiss, northern Austrian and Bavarian Alps where 40-50cm was reported in places (e.g. Kleinwalsertal). Although there was less snow further south and west, when combined with other small snowfalls over the last few week this was still enough for Zermatt to reopen its glacier after its unscheduled closure back in July due to lack of snow.
Right now, it is possible to ski on four Alpine glaciers - Hintertux, Zermatt, Val Senales and Passo Stelvio - with more openings expected in the coming days and weeks, including Sölden this weekend. As previously mentioned, next week may see some significant snow in the Alps. This would be great news for the alpine glaciers, all of which have lost a lot of volume during one of the hottest and driest summers on record.
Updated: 10.20am Friday 16 September 2022 - First significant high-altitude snow of the season…
After one of the hottest and driest summers the Alps have ever seen, the weather has now cooled down significantly in September, with the first vaguely significant snowfall of the 'season' on its way for some areas later today and on Saturday.
This wintry blast comes courtesy of a cold front that will drag polar air across the Alps later today and tomorrow. Between 15-30cm of new snow is expected above 2500m across some northern and north-eastern parts of the Alps, roughly from Engelberg eastwards, through the Austrian Arlberg and across other parts of Austria away from the south (e.g. Kaunertal, Pitztal, Stubai, Hintertux).
The snow will fall to as low as 1300-1500m in some of these regions for a time on Saturday, but any accumulations below 2000m will only be very temporary.
The further south and west you are in the Alps, the less precipitation there will be. The glaciers at Tignes, Les 2 Alpes, Zermatt, Saas-Fee and Passo Stelvio will see no more than a dusting on Saturday, for example.
Although this new snow will help with conditions on some of the glaciers (especially in Austria), you can actually only ski on two glaciers in the Alps right now, namely Hintertux - which has remained open all summer albeit with not very much snow – and Val Senales which opened recently in a very limited capacity, thanks to artificial help.
Updated: 12pm Saturday 10 September 2022 - Reflecting on a brutally hot summer season in the Alps…
Welcome to our first “Today in the Alps” of the season after our summer break. And what a summer it has been in the Alps - one of the hottest and driest on record.
While the summer heatwaves may have been good for visitor numbers in the Alps, it has been nothing short of disastrous for the glaciers, with only one summer ski area, at Hintertux, managing to stay open throughout. But even here it was more of gesture to preserve their “skiing 365 days a year” strapline, rather than an attempt to offer any serious skiing, with the glacier virtually threadbare by the beginning of August.
Elsewhere in the Alps, Zermatt, the only other Alpine resort to even attempt to offer skiing year-round was forced to suspend operations at the end of July. Tignes, Les 2 Alpes, Passo Stelvio and Saas-Fee were also forced into early closure, with Val d’Isère (France) and the Mölltal glacier in Austria not even bothering to open for summer skiing at all.
All in all, it was by far the worst season for summer skiing ever seen in the Alps, and with early closures now almost inevitable every year, it raises questions over how long summer skiing is going to continue to be viable.
Back to today, and the Hintertux glacier remains the only lift-served on-piste skiing option currently open in the Alps. Others glacier areas will attempt to open over the next few weeks but, while there has been a sprinkling of snow at high altitude in recent days, much more is needed to properly cover the ice.
Stay tuned for updates…