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Today in the Alps - November 2021

 

Read about current weather and snow conditions in the Alps

Updated: 10am Thursday 11 November 2021 – Mostly fine in the Alps but further snow in places over the weekend…

 

It is still cloudy this morning in some of the south-western Alps, with a few showers or high-altitude flurries here and there. However, most regions will have a dry day, with some low cloud in places but plenty of sunshine at altitude, with freezing levels around or above 3000m.

Alpe d’Huez, France – Weather to ski – Today in the Alps, 11 November 2021 Some piste preparation underway in Alpe d’Huez but more snow is clearly needed before the start of the season, as it is in most resorts across the Alps – 11 November 2021 – Photo: alpedhuez.com

Significant snow has fallen above 2300-2500m in the far south-western Alps over the last 24 to 36 hours, notably in the Piedmont. This snow hasn’t been of much use to the ski resorts in this region, most of which sit below this altitude, although it has been benefited the higher sectors of some resorts (yet to open), including Sestriere, Prali and Isola 2000.

 

Further north, there were also a few centimetres of fresh snow on the Pisaillas glacier in Val d’Isère, but otherwise most of the Alps have been having a dry and relatively mild week so far.

 

After a mostly sunny Friday, the weather will turn more unsettled over the weekend as a cold front moves down from the north-west, at the same time as a new storm forms in the western Mediterranean.

 

This has the potential to bring further heavy snow to some south-western parts of Alps, especially the Piedmont (e.g. Sestriere, Prato Nevoso) and adjacent border areas from about Val d’Isère southwards (e.g. Val Cenis, Queyras, Isola 2000). We will bring you a more detailed weekend weather forecast tomorrow, but do check out our first detailed snow report for the Alps later today!

Updated: 11.50am Wednesday 10 November 2021 - Fresh snow at altitude in the far south-western Alps…

 

For most of the Alps, today will be another dry day, with sunny spells and freezing levels close to 3000m. Skies will be cloudier in the far south-west though, with some rain or snow in places.

Prali, Italy – Weather to ski – Today in the Alps, 10 November 2021 Fresh snow at altitude in Prali in the Italian Piedmont – 10 November 2021 – Photo: facebook.com/Prali

The focus of this precipitation will be the high border areas between the Italian and the southern French Alps, notably the eastern Mercantour, the Queyras and the southern Piedmont.

 

Some snow has already fallen here at high altitude in the last 12-24 hours, and more is expected above 2300m both today and for a time tomorrow. Due to the relatively high rain/snow line, this storm won’t be of much significance to most of the ski resorts in this area (e.g. Prato Nevoso, Isola 2000, Abriès), which do not extend much above this height, however, it may dump as much as 60cm in some high parts of the southern Piedmont (e.g. Monte Viso). It may also extend its influence far enough north to deliver a few centimetres of fresh snow at altitude on the Pisaillas glacier in Val d’Isère.

 

Looking a bit further ahead, most Alpine regions are forecast to be dry and mild for the rest of the week, apart from a few more showers in the far south-west on Thursday.

 

Later in the weekend the weather will then turn more unsettled again in the west, with the chance of rain or snow in places, though the details are still uncertain. Tune in tomorrow for a detailed weekend weather forecast for the Alps…

Updated: 10am Tuesday 9 November 2021 - A relatively quiet week in the Alps, but…

 

With high pressure in charge this week, the Alps are going through a relatively quiet period of weather, although it won’t be completely dry.

Stubai, Austria – Weather to ski – Today in the Alps, 9 November 2021 Great piste skiing on the Austrian glaciers this week, this is Stubai – 9 November 2021 – Photo: facebook.com/schifahren-stubaier.gletscher

Low pressure in the Mediterranean will be close enough for some precipitation to fall in the south-western Alps later today and on Wednesday, notably in the Alpes Maritimes (e.g. Isola 2000) and the southern Piedmont (e.g. Prato Nevoso), where 20cm or more could fall above 2200m. 

 

For most of the Alps though it will be dry and mild this week, with freezing levels close to or even above 3000m. There may be some showers over the weekend, though it is currently looking unlikely that these will bring any significant fresh snow. Later next week there is a chance of heavy and widespread snow from the north but, again, this is too far away to be getting excited just yet.

 

In the meantime, there is lots of good skiing to be had for those lucky enough to be out in the Alps. Most of it is on the glaciers (e.g. Tignes, Zermatt, Saas-Fee, Hintertux, Stubai, Kaprun) but some non-glacial terrain is also open, even if in many cases it is still only at weekends (e.g. Davos/Klosters). 

Updated: 10am Friday 5 November 2021 - Skies are clearing – so what now for the Alps?

 

The latest storm cycle is now over, having dumped 70cm or more of fresh snow across some southern/south-eastern parts of the Alps. So what's next for the Alps, and what does this all mean for the coming season?

Zermatt, Switzerland – Weather to ski – Today in the Alps, 5 November 2021 Sun and fresh snow in Zermatt today – 5 November 2021 – Photo: zermatt.ch

Firstly, it is important to remember that we are only at the beginning of November and that lots can happen between now and “winter proper”, which for most resorts means the middle of December onwards.

 

All parts of the Alps have seen a nice covering of snow this week, at altitude at least, but no significant snow is now forecast for at least a week, or probably longer.

 

High pressure will generally be in charge, meaning lots of dry weather and plenty of sunshine at altitude, with some low-level cloud in places, although there is a chance of a few showers or flurries early next week in the far eastern Alps, and maybe also the southern Piedmont. Nights will be cold (and very cold over the next couple of days), but the general trend will be for temperatures to increase, especially at altitude.

 

So what does this mean for the snow? The good news is that with relatively low humidity over the coming days (more specifically low dew points) there won’t be any sudden thaw. The sun is now quite low in the sky meaning that any significant snow will hang on for a while, even in the lower valleys, so long as it is mostly in the shade.

 

However, snow will melt easily on steep south-facing slopes almost perpendicular to the low sun. At this time of year, there would only be a sudden and general thaw if the weather were to become windier and more humid.

 

So, at high altitude, where there has been significant snowfall, there is every chance that we now have a base, especially on north-facing slopes, and the glaciers are clearly now in excellent nick.

 

One entirely non-glacial resort that would be a good bet early in the season is Obergurgl, which is due to open in less than a fortnight’s time. Two other Austria resorts to consider for an early season holiday are Ischgl (opening 25 November) and Sölden (already open). The glaciers would also good options, though Hintertux and Kaprun are the only two with obvious village bases. Don’t forget that all of these resorts also have artificial snow-making (to a lesser or greater extent), which will be able to ramped up over the next few days thanks to the colder temperatures.

 

There has also been significant snow in many Italian resorts, including Cervinia which will soon be open down to mid-mountain. Cover is still a bit thin lower down, but the base should now be secure above 2500m. Other Italian resorts to consider for an early season break are Livigno (scheduled to open on 28 November) and Passo Tonale (opening tomorrow - 6 November), both of which have sufficient altitude and snow for their bases to see it through until “winter proper”.

 

The Dolomites have also seen quite a bit of snow which, combined with their world-leading snow-making capability, should mean they have no problem in opening as planned later in November/early December. 

Bardonecchia, Italy – Weather to ski – Today in the Alps, 5 November 2021 Significant snowfall in Bardonecchia in the Italian Piedmont – 5 November 2021 – Photo: facebook.com/Bardonecchiaski

In Switzerland, Zermatt and Saas-Fee are nearly always the best early season bets, which continues to be the case this year. Both resorts are already open and have seen significant snow this week.  Other Swiss resorts that traditionally do well and are true to form right now include Andermatt (already open at weekends), Engelberg (already open), Davos/Klosters (already open), Arosa (opening tomorrow - 6 November) and St Moritz (the Diavolezza area is already open on certain days).

 

French resorts have also seen snow this week, although (with some exceptions) generally not as much as further east. Les 2 Alpes has fared best out of the bigger high resorts, with enough snow on the upper half of the mountain to at least see it through to the start of its main season at the end of this month. It is currently open for glacier skiing, but this closes again on Sunday.

 

Another of the bigger high French resorts, Tignes, is currently open daily and has superb snow conditions on its glacier. However, despite the Val d’Isère/Tignes area having snow at all levels, more would be needed for the area to have a bumper start to its main season, which officially begins on 27 November. Val Thorens is set to open a little earlier than this on 20 November, likely with a mixture of natural and artificial snow – pretty much what you would expect at that time of year.

 

So, all in all, November has got off to an encouraging start, with plenty of snow at altitude, especially in the southern and eastern Alps. However, for most resorts (as you would expect at this time of year) it is still far too early to be drawing any conclusions as to how the “main season” will play out, especially as we are now expecting a lengthy spell of relatively settled weather. 

Updated: 10am Thursday 4 November 2021 - Up to 70cm of fresh snow in the Alps!

 

Significant snow has fallen across most parts of the Alps in the last few days during two separate storms, the second of which peaked last night. 

Zermatt, Switzerland – Weather to ski – Today in the Alps, 4 November 2021 The sun is out again in Zermatt where significant fresh snow has fallen at altitude this week – 4 November 2021 – Photo: zermatt.ch

In just the last 24 hours, between 20cm and 50cm of snow has fallen at altitude across a wide swathe of the Alps, with up to 70cm in places in the southern Alps. The heaviest snow has fallen in the southern Swiss Alps (e.g. Zermatt, Andermatt, Saas-Fee, St Moritz), in the central and eastern Italian Alps (e.g. Livigno, Passo Tonale, Dolomites) and in the higher Austrian resorts, such as Obergurgl and on the glaciers in Hintertux and Stubai.

 

Thanks to falling temperatures, the snow has settled to relatively low levels for November, as low as 600m in some northern parts of the Alps (e.g. Salzburgland). 

Cervinia, Italy – Weather to ski – Today in the Alps, 4 November 2021 Looking good in Cervinia. This is Plan Maison (2500m) – 4 November 2021 – Photo: cervinia.it

Thanks to falling temperatures, the snow has settled to relatively low levels for November, as low as 600m in some northern parts of the Alps (e.g. Salzburgland).

 

Flurries will continue to relatively low levels (700-1000m) today across the north-eastern half of the Alps, particularly in Austria, while the weather will remain mostly fine and sunny in the south-western half of the Alps. The forecast is also looking pretty good for the weekend across the Alps, with dry weather for most, with some areas of cloud but also plenty of sunshine. 

Val Thorens, France – Weather to ski – Today in the Alps, 4 November 2021 Wintry scenes in Val Thorens – 4 November 2021 – Photo: facebook.com/ValThorens.resort

Weather-permitting, resorts currently open for skiing include:

  • France – Tignes and Les 2 Alpes, the latter closing again on 7 November.
  • Austria – Hintertux, Pitztal, Kaunertal, Sölden, Stubai, Kitzsteinhorn (Kaprun) and Mölltal.
  • Switzerland – Zermatt, Saas-Fee, Engelberg and the Diavolezza glacier near St Moritz (on Wednesdays and weekends only), Andermatt (weekends only) and Glacier 3000.
  • Italy - Val Senales, Sulden am Ortler and Cervinia.

Updated: 10am Wednesday 3 November 2021 – Second storm underway!

 

The second storm of the week is already underway in the southern and western Alps, with rain and snow set to spread further north and east later today, before it finally reaches the north-eastern Austrian Alps overnight. 

Les Gets, France – Weather to ski – Today in the Alps, 3 November 2021 It’s snowing heavily at resort level in Les Gets this morning – 3 November 2021 – Photo: lesgets.com

This morning, snow has already fallen to as low as 1000-1200m across some western parts of the Alps (e.g. Les Gets, pictured) with snow possible to 800m in places across the western Alps later today. The rain/snow limit will be higher further east, at least to start with, before also descending towards 1000m later in the day or overnight.

 

Thursday will see skies begin to brighten across the south-western Alps, though most areas will still be cloudy with flurries to relatively low levels. Friday and Saturday should see a more general improvement in the weather, with excellent snow conditions expected in the small (but increasing) number of open ski areas across the Alps.

 

Another 10-30cm of snow is expected to fall quite widely at altitude over the next 24 hours, with 40cm or more in a few favoured spots, especially in the southern Alps and close to the main Alpine Ridge (including the likes of Zermatt/Cervinia, Saas-Fee, Andermatt, St Moritz, Livigno, Passo Tonale and the Dolomites).

 

Weather-permitting, resorts currently open for skiing include:

  • France – Tignes and Les 2 Alpes, the latter closing again on 7 November.
  • Austria – Hintertux, Pitztal, Kaunertal, Sölden, Stubai, Kitzsteinhorn (Kaprun) and Mölltal.
  • Switzerland – Zermatt, Saas-Fee, Engelberg and the Diavolezza glacier near St Moritz (on Wednesdays and weekends only), Andermatt (weekends only) and Glacier 3000.
  • Italy - Val Senales, Sulden am Ortler and Cervinia.

Updated: 12pm Tuesday 2 November 2021 - Second snowstorm incoming!

 

The weather in the Alps remains unsettled with a new storm expected to drop significant quantities of snow across a wide swathe of the Alps on Wednesday and Thursday. Friday will then see the weather settle down with some exceptional snow conditions for anyone lucky enough to be in the Alps this weekend. 

Lech, Austria – Weather to ski – Today in the Alps, 2 November 2021 New snow has transformed Lech into a winter wonderland, for now at least! – 2 November 2021 – Photo: facebook.com/lech-zuers

In the last 36 hours, between 10cm and 40cm of new snow has fallen above 2500m across the Alps, with 40cm on the glaciers of Hintertux and Mölltal, and snow falling to as low as 1200m in places. Tomorrow and Thursday we can expect another 15-50cm, with the highest snowfall figures likely to be in the central and eastern/south-eastern Alps in resorts such as St Moritz, Livigno, Passo Tonale, Sölden, Obergurgl, Stubai, Hintertux and Mölltal. This time the rain/snow limit will drop to below 1000m, first in the western Alps, then across most other parts of the Alps late on Thursday.

 

With the weather clearing up on Friday, snow conditions in the Alps will be fabulous across all open areas this weekend. Resorts currently open for skiing include:

  • France – Tignes and Les 2 Alpes, the latter closing again on 7 November. 
  • Austria – Hintertux, Pitztal, Kaunertal, Sölden, Stubai, Kitzsteinhorn (Kaprun) and Mölltal.
  • Switzerland – Zermatt, Saas-Fee, Engelberg and the Diavolezza glacier near St Moritz (on Wednesdays and weekends only), Andermatt (weekends only) and Glacier 3000.
  • Italy - Val Senales, Sulden am Ortler (non-glacial) and Cervinia.

We will bring you updates on the rapidly improving snow conditions in the Alps (and their bearing on the start of the season) as the week goes on…

Updated: 11am Monday 1 November 2021 - Significant snowfall at altitude in the Alps…

 

As expected, the weather in the Alps has become much more unsettled, with significant snowfall forecast over the next few days, particularly mid-week, mostly at altitude but also to relatively low elevations in places. 

Val d’Isère, France – Weather to ski – Today in the Alps, 1 November 2021 It’s looking more like winter up top in Val d’Isère this morning – 1 November 2021 – Photo: valdisere.com

Indeed, some snow has already fallen over the weekend, particularly in the southern French and western Italian Alps where it settled to as low as 1500m for a short time in one or two places. Further north and east, the weather was drier and warmer due to the Foehn.

 

Today an active weather front is moving from west to east across the Alps, meaning that most places will see at least a few centimetres of snow at altitude, with considerably more in places. The heaviest snow is set to fall later on today and overnight in the central-southern and south-eastern Alps (Passo Tonale, Mölltal glacier and the Dolomites), which will likely see 30cm of snow above 2500m by tomorrow morning.

 

The rain/snow level is currently highly variable. Snow is already falling below 2000m in some western parts of the Alps but further east the rain/snow limit will generally be higher, although it will lower across the board as the day goes on.

 

After a relative reprieve in the weather tomorrow, a new storm is set to bring further significant snow to the Alps on Wednesday and Thursday, with the heaviest falls in the west where snow may settle to relatively low altitudes for a time.