The snowfall limit descents even further on Wednesday. A lot of fresh snow comes down above 500 meters in the mountains of the alpine north side. The amount is on average 20 to 50 cm, locally even 70 centimeters of fresh snow. During the night there is an acute frost hazard. On Friday local temperatures around minus 10 degrees are possible.
In the night on Wednesday even colder air reaches the alpine area, the snowfall limit settles down into the lowlands. During daytime the snowfall is growing even further with a low over Eastern Europe. By the end of the Thursday, about 10 to 40cm is expected on the lower slopes, and even more than 50 centimeters in locations above 800 m.
The weather in the Alps has been characterised by lot's of sunshine and unseasonably mild temperatures this week. Skiers have been enjoying spring-like skiing ahead of schedule. On Thursday afternoon temperatures in the Zillertal even hit 20 degrees Celcius.
Today, it will turn noticeably colder. The freezing level will descend rapidly from over 2000m down to below 1000m. More importantly, widespread snowfall is expected, and some of the higher resorts in the western part of the northern Alps could see 20-30cm by Friday evening. On the southern flank of the Alps it will become increasingly sunny as a result of northerly foehn wind.
Written by skiweather on Thursday February 23, 2017
snow, northern, alps
At the start of mid term snow conditions are generally good in the Alps for the vast majority of skiers who are happy to remain on-piste. Off the beaten track the situation is more complicated. There is some fresh snow across the far south-western Alps at altitude at the moment, otherwise the off-piste is quite mixed. It is unseasonably mild in the median altitude range. The snow cover is relatively thin and there are very weak layers deeper into the snow cover. Moreover, the mild weather, especially in the middle of the day, is turning the snow on south-facing slopes soggy in places. The freeze and thaw cycle is hurting the conditions on south-facing slopes, otherwise the mild weather is not affecting the slopes very much because the air is still very dry and temperature inversion is counter-acting at low altitude. But, there are still considerable dangers confirmed by a number of recent avalanche incidents.
Written by skiweather on Thursday February 16, 2017
Since the end of November, a record breaking period of calm and exceptionally dry weather has been in place in the french Alps. December 2016 was the driest December in well over 110 years. Apart from some ski resorts along the Italian border and in the Southern Alps, a substantial natural snow cover was nearly absent.
All of this is changing soon, and the forecasts indicate that the skiing conditions are heading into the right direction fast. The outlook is very positive for the french Alps and western Switzerland, at least untill the start of next week.
The Alps have been under the influence of a mild and slack air mass. Without some proper cold air in the mix to shake it all up there'll be no useful snowfall. Without a decent temperature gradient, weather simply won't happen. This is the -boring- picture of a classic anticyclone we have to live with well beyond New Year's day.
Once again, It has been another poor December for the Alps. The fourth in a row. Not only the temperature trend was similar to that of the previous year, but also the precipitation pattern shows some parallels to December 2015. On a brighter note, it was the second sunniest December on record.
A high pressure has nesttled itself in the heart of Europe for several weeks. On it's western flank very mild air has been spreading from the south across Iberia and western France. On it's eastern flank, cold northerly winds have brought sub-zero temperatures and some snow to Ukraine and Poland. In between, the high pressure has stifled the efforts of any weather system to bring significant snowfall. The air within an anticyclone is descending, which means that it is becoming warmer and drier
Clear skies and excellent snow in Obertauern
In the meantime, most of the Alps enjoyed abundant and prolongued sunshine and therefore there is a desperately shortage of natural snow. One exception is the eastern Austrian Alps where 15-35cm of fresh snow fell on the upper slopes earlier in the week. Ski resorts like Reiteralm, Schladming, Haus im Ennstal, Obertauern, Wagrain and Flachau were very lucky with a fresh snow cover. However, some low-altitude ski resorts in Salzburgerland and eastern Tirol got their Christmas party spoiled by sleet and drizzle.
The western southern Alps enjoyed substantial snow fall at the beginning of the week. The ski resorts in the border french-italian region and more noticeable the ski resorts in the Monte Rosa, Via Lattea, Aosta and Frejus region were the really lucky ones with 60 to 90cm -and locally even more!- of fresh powder snow. While the rest of the Alps endures a prolongued snow draught resorts like Sestriere, Montgenevre, Alagna, Cervinia, Champoluc, Gressoney, Pila and Isola 2000 enjoy superb snow conditions in the Alps this Christmas. They are all way above par. Excellent conditions can also be found in Tignes and Val d’Isere, where a dusting of fresh snow had refreshed slopes. The other premier European resorts will be offering their best skiing on slopes above mid station elevation with most pistes offering firm groomed snow or hard pack. Across most of the Alps natural snow cover is very poor for late December, with resorts heavily reliant on artificial snow, especially below 2200m.
At the moment a strong high pressure is still dominating the weather in the Alps, which results in abundant sunshine across the Alps. The system will retract far enough westwards to allow some weak fronts to clip the north-eastern Alps over the next few days. This could mean some very modest precipitation from december 24th well into to the 27th. Don't expect much. The snow line will go up and down and the precipitation will come down as snow, sleet and rain.
Written by skiweather on Friday December 23, 2016
Last night brought significant snowfall to the northwestern Alps. Sunday morning it continued to snow above 1500m in this part of the Alps and to a lesser degree above 1200m in the eastern Alps. The snowfall level is expected to drop to begin with, as a result of a cold front passing through, subsequently ascending again late afternoon as a result of a warm front moving west to east. Don't look like reaching Salzburgerland till overnight.
The past few days brought a massive amount of fresh snow to the western and northwestern Alps. The low temperatures enabled snow to settle deep down the valleys. Places like Chamonix, Courmayeur, Tignes, Crans Montana and Anzere made a late head-start and are back on, or above the long-term average for this time of the year. At the moment it is snowing again in these western Alps. Although the conditions are great, there is a high avalanche risk. Yesterday, three people were killed and three others seriously injured when an avalanche hit Les Deux Alpes.
It is going to get bitterly cold for a few days with the daytime freezing point down to 500m in France and 100m in Austria, fresh snow is likely to stick around for some time. Any additional snowfall will accumulate as light, dry powder.
Written by skiweather on Thursday January 14, 2016
stau, northern, alps
In November the weather in the Alps was relatively sunny and without a doubt extraordinarily mild, but the high-pressure influence and warm air are finally a thing of the past.
A dramatic change is expected at the beginning of the weekend. The wind will turn north-west and cold polar air will flow straight to the northern Alps.