Today in the Alps - April 2019
Updated: 2.30pm Monday 15 April 2019 - Great skiing still at altitude in the Alps…
Weathertoski is currently in Tignes and skiing with Snoworks. The weather has been fine here today, even if a few ‘fair weather’ clouds have obscured the sun from time to time this afternoon. Temperatures were a little higher today than at the weekend but, with freezing levels still struggling to get much above 2000m, it continues to feel chilly at altitude.
A weather front is set to bring a little light snow above about 1600-1800m to the western Alps (chiefly France and western Switzerland) tomorrow, however, most regions will stay dry with the best of any sunshine in the eastern Alps. Wednesday and Thursday should then be mostly fine and relatively mild for all regions.
Snow conditions here in Tignes are very good for mid-April. On Saturday and Sunday the snow remained firm and grippy all day long on north-facing slopes, even those close to resort level. However, with rising temperatures, the freeze-thaw process is now accelerating again, though snow cover remains excellent and there might even be a little top-up on Tuesday.
On the whole, snow cover is generally better in the northern half of the Alps than in the south, where you now have to be very high for it to look anything like winter.
Updated: 5pm Friday 12 April 2019 - Chilly but turning warmer next week…
The weather in the Alps is relatively chilly for April and will turn colder still this weekend before temperatures rise again next week. There will be a few flurries here and there over the next few days, but significant widespread snow is not expected, and many places will stay dry.
Some resorts have now closed, but, thanks to the cool weather those still open are generally offering good snow conditions for the time of year. Snow cover is most complete in the central and northern Alps, but patchier in the southern Alps where you have to be very high (e.g. Cervinia) for it to still look anything like winter.
If you are still thinking about skiing in the Alps over the next week, you might want to consider the following resorts:
- France - Val d’Isère, Val Thorens, Arc 2000 and La Plagne.
- Switzerland - Zermatt, Saas-Fee, Verbier, Engelberg and Andermatt.
- Italy – Cervinia and Livigno.
- Austria - Obergurgl, Sölden and Ischgl
There are plenty of others of course but these resorts are as good as any.
As for the weather next week, Sunday will see the peak of the cold, and it will become steadily warmer as the week goes on, most noticeably in the west. Many places will be dry, but there could be dusting of high-altitude snow in places, especially in the first half of the week.
Updated: 11am Wednesday 10 April 2019 - Chilly for April…
The weather in the Alps is currently on the cool side for the time of year. There will be some flurries here and there over the next few days, especially in the eastern Alps, although widespread heavy snow is not expected.
Many places will start dry today, although there are already snow showers this morning across parts of Austria and eastern Switzerland (snow 1500-1700m), and scattered showers will also tend to pop up further west as the day goes on. However, any showers will always be more widespread across the eastern Alps where up to 5-10cm is possible at altitude in a few favoured locations. By contrast, some western parts of the Alps will stay completely dry all day.
The temperature will start to fall on Thursday, especially across the northern and eastern Alps where the rain/snow limit in any showers will fall to 1400m in places. Temperatures will fall even further towards the end of the week, with snow showers to below 1000m by Saturday.
Thanks to the relatively chilly weather, snow conditions remain pretty good for mid-April across the Alps, especially at altitude in the central/northern Alps where base depths are generally above average. Snow cover is much patchier in the southern Alps, although you can still some perfectly decent piste skiing here, especially higher up.
Updated: 10.15am Monday 8 April 2019 - Snow conditions remain generally impressive for April…
In the last 24 hours we have seen a few centimetres of snow here and there across the Alps. Most of yesterday’s snow fell in the west and was generally quite light, though the high border areas between France and Italy (e.g. Glacier du Pissailas, Val d’Isère) did see up to 45cm.
The western Alps will be brighter today, although the odd shower still can’t be ruled out, but the eastern Alps will be cloudier with a little light rain or snow (1400m) here and there. The rest of the week will be relatively cool (for April) with some sunny spells but also some bands of showers from time to time.
We are not expecting huge amounts of new snow over the next few days but many resorts will see at least a few centimetres over the next few days, at altitude at least. A more potent storm is possible next weekend but that is still a long way off - watch this space!
Snow conditions in the Alps are generally very good for early April. The benefit of fresh snow can be short lived at this time of year, at least lower down, but snow cover remains very good across most of the central/northern Alps. It is even exceptional in places, such as Engelberg where the base depth on the Titlis glacier is over 7m!
Updated: 10am Saturday 6 April 2019 – Another great skiing day in prospect for the Alps…
Yesterday was one of the best skiing days in the Alps this season, with lots of new snow and blue skies everywhere, apart from in the far east. Spring snow conditions have quickly returned to lower parts of the Alps, not surprising given the time of year, but conditions are still superb at altitude and should remain so over the weekend.
As for the weather today, it is again reasonably fine across most parts, though there is quite a lot of high cloud around (especially in the west) ahead of the next, albeit much weaker, storm currently approaching the Alps.
This new storm will give a few centimetres of snow here and there both tonight and early tomorrow across the French Alps, western Italian Alps, and southern and western Swiss Alps, before it moves on to Austria and the eastern Italian Alps on Monday and Tuesday. Wherever you are though, do not expect huge amounts of new snow.
Updated: 10am Thursday 4 April 2019 - Significant snow for many parts of the Alps…
The much anticipated storm has now hit the Alps, with many (but certainly not all) areas seeing significant snow. As forecast, the heaviest snow is falling close to the Swiss-Italian border, roughly to the east of Zermatt and as far north as Andermatt.
Indeed, since yesterday we have already seen snowfall totals of 80-100cm high above Zermatt-Cervinia, especially on the eastern side of the ski area and through the Monte Rosa Region. We have also seen 90cm reported close to Andermatt.
Across the western Alps more generally, there have been significant but not exceptional snowfalls in the last 24 hours – with, for example, 30cm up top in Flaine, and 45cm in the eastern Bernese Oberland and on the Titlis glacier above Engelberg.
The southern French Alps have also done pretty well with 20-50cm at altitude (with 80cm locally to the west of the Écrins) but snowfall totals in the mega resorts of the Tarentaise have so far been a bit disappointing. They will see a little more snow today, but snowfalls totals in the likes of Val d’Isère, Les Arcs and Méribel have so far been closer to 10-25cm.
It will continue to snow for a while today in the central and western Alps before it becomes drier in the far west later in the day. Meanwhile, the heaviest snow will continue to move slowly east through Switzerland and Italy, and eventually into Austria, with resorts such as Passo Tonale (western Dolomites) and Obergurgl (south-west Austria) also getting some big falls. The least snow will fall in the northern and north-eastern Austrian Alps (e.g. Salzburg area).
Updated: 10am Wednesday 3 April 2019 - Snow Sandwich!
The weather in the Alps is deteriorating, even though it will take until tonight or tomorrow for some areas protected by the Foehn to see the main band of precipitation.
It is already snowing (roughly above 1400m) this morning along the high border areas between Switzerland and Italy, as it has been for much of the night. Elsewhere in the Alps there is a scattering of showers, but many places are still dry, if rather cloudy, with the best of any sunshine in the north-eastern Austrian Alps. Thanks to the Foehn, there will also be some sunny spells this morning in the more internal valleys of the northern French and central/northern Swiss Alps.
Later today, something of a “Snow Sandwich” will develop across the Alps. The southerly airflow ahead of the main storm will continue to produce snow close to the border regions between Italy and Switzerland, with this area of precipitation tending to intensify and expand this evening and overnight. At the same time the main weather fronts to the west of the Alps will move slowly east, reaching the French and western Swiss Alps tonight, but earlier in the western foothills.
Everything is set to meet up tonight bringing heavy snow to the western Alps. This will move further east to reach the western Austrian Alps by Thursday morning. Later on Thursday/Thursday night the band of precipitation will finally cross most of Austria, although it will be weakening by then.
The rain/snow limit will be highly variable during this storm. In the western Alps it will typically start today at around 1300-1600m but will lower dramatically tonight, dropping to 500-700m tomorrow. Further east, the rain/snow limit will start at around 1400-2000m tonight, but will take longer to lower, eventually lowering to around 1000m on Thursday night.
The greatest snowfall totals from this storm will be close the Swiss-Italian border, roughly to the east of Zermatt (including resorts such as Saas-Fee, Cervinia, the Monte Rosa Region, the Aletsch Arena and the smaller resorts of Ticino). By the end of Thursday some of these areas could see over 1m of new snow at altitude, with 1.5m in places, though it should be stressed that there won’t be anything like this amount at resort level.
The central and south-eastern Swiss Alps (e.g. Andermatt, St Moritz) will also do very well, as will Italian resorts a little further east, such as Passo Tonale and the far south-west of Austria (e.g. Obergurgl). These areas could see 50-80cm of new snow at altitude by Thursday night.
More generally, the western Alps (including most other parts of the French and Swiss Alps) will see 20-60cm of new snow by Thursday night/Friday morning, as will the Dolomites. The far south-western Italian Alps (e.g. Sestriere) and the northern/eastern Austrian Alps (e.g. Kitzbühel) will see some snow but miss out on the heaviest precipitation.
Updated: 9.30am Tuesday 2 April 2019 - Storm incoming!
The weather in the Alps is on the change as a major storm moves in from the west. While it has been a complicated one to forecast, it does look like delivering some useful snow to many parts of the Alps (15-50cm at altitude) with some particularly big falls (1m+ in places) close to the Swiss-Italian border (roughly to the east of Zermatt and as far north as Andermatt).
Back to today and there is still plenty of sun in the central and eastern Alps. By contrast, cloud is already streaming into the western and south-western Alps where a few showers (snow 1600-200m) are likely later. Many places will stay dry though.
On Wednesday there will be a more marked deterioration of the weather in the southern and western Alps, although some valleys will be protected by the Foehn and will stay dry for a good part of the day, as will much of Austria. The rain/snow limit will start at around 1300-1800m (highest in the east), lowering from the west as the day progresses. The heaviest snow will fall in the central-southern Swiss Alps later (e.g. Aletsch Arena) and more generally in areas close to the Swiss-Italian border to the east of Zermatt.
Thursday will see snow for many early in the day, even to quite low levels (400-1000m) before it dies away in the western Alps. Further east it will snow for much of the day, heaviest close to south-western Austrian-Italian border (e.g. Obergurgl, Passo Tonale) but with a higher rain/snow limit generally between 1000m and 1500m, possibly lower during the most intense precipitation. The weather will be much better across most of the Alps on Friday, though there will still be some areas of cloud around.
Throughout this period the area least likely to see any significant snow is the far north-eastern Alps (i.e. Salzburg and east).
Updated: 12pm Monday 1 April 2019 - Significant snow for many later this week...
It’s another mostly fine day for the Alps today, even if there will be some areas of high cloud turning the sunshine hazy in places, especially later in the day. It will also be reasonably mild, though not excessively warm, with freezing levels typically around 2500m.
Last Friday we talked about a major change in the weather being on the cards, with a possible return to winter mid-week. While this change is still going to happen, it now looks like it will be the southern Alps that will see the most snow.
The change in the weather will start to be felt tomorrow with more in the way of cloud and some showers in the French, western Swiss and western Italian Alps later in the day, with a rain/snow limit between 1500m and 2000m.
More widespread precipitation is expected across the Alps on Wednesday and Thursday, heaviest close to the Swiss-Italian and Italian-Austrian border regions. The rain/snow limit will be highly variable depending on location but will tend to lower across the board, and many places will see snow to below 1000m on Thursday.
Snowfall totals from this upcoming storm will also be highly variable, but over 1m of new snow is possible by Friday at altitude close to the Swiss-Italian border (i.e. roughly east of Zermatt and as far north as the Loetschberg tunnel and Andermatt).
Many other parts of the Alps will also see some significant snow, though 15-50cm is the more likely range. The north-eastern Alps (e.g. Salzburg, Lower and Upper Austria, Styria) will see the least.