After a mostly fine and very mild weekend with record-breaking temperatures in some areas, the weather will turn more unsettled again next week with the increasing prospect of significant snow, especially towards the middle of next week. Monday the northeast of the Alps has a chance of a light rain or snow shower. The west and south remain dry and fairly sunny. Tuesday will be a transition day with a chance of some rain and snow from the west. On Tuesday night, cold polar air enters the Alps. We will go from spring to winter in less than 24 hours with a sharp drop in temperatures. This is accompanied by substantial snowfall in the West. The first snowfall will occur above 1300 m Tuesday afternoon then it will decrease to around 800 to 1000 m in the night from Tuesday to Wednesday. On Wednesday, we expect snowfall faround 700 m in the morning, then the snow limit should drop during the day, with a possible risk of snow into the valleys and plains in the afternoon and evening. According to the latest forecast models, this snowfall could give between 10 and 15 cm of snow from 700m Wednesday, 15 to 20 cm at 1000 m and 20 to 25 cm at 1500 m,

On Thursday, a new disturbance -a warm front- is expected above the Alps with the heaviest precipitation again due in the north-west. Snow falls at low altitude at first, increasing towards 1200 to 1500m in the night towards Friday. This snowfall could give 10 to 15 cm of additional snow above 1000 m and 15 to 20 cm above 1500m.

The French Alps in particular welcomes the largest amount of fresh snow. Here you may easily expect half a meter with peaks up to 70 cm until Thursday (e.g. La plagne, Les Deux Alpes). The Swiss and Austrian north and inner Alpines will see 20 to 35 cm. The snowfall boundary dives towards 500 meter.

The south side of the Alps may see some fresh sbow in the middle of the week. During the cold front, a small low-pressure area develops above northern Italy. This triggers a temporary east to southeast flow. As a result, it may also snow locally on the south side!

Later in the week the snow is not over yet. Disruptions are generally good for the Alps. Snow conditions will improve considerably.

Snow conditions in the Alps remain a bit mixed, generally with plenty of snow at altitude but much patchier cover low down. In the lower resorts of the Alps, especially in the north-west (e.g. Morzine, Megève, Gstaad and Adelboden), much more snow is needed, but they may get it later next week!

The northern Alps are in the midst of a wild week of weather. Monday, wind gusts reaching well in excess of 100mph across exposed parts of the Alps. The day started very mild, with rain to 2300m in the north-western Alps before colder air brought the snowline down to around 1300m at night. Tuesday, the wind remained strong, and there was widespread snow fall. Heavy in places like Tignes and Val Thorens.

Wednesday will see some residual showers or flurries across the eastern Austrian Alps, otherwise most other regions will be drier with some sunshine here and there.

Thursday will then see the next storm approach the Alps from the north-west, bringing further snow but also some low level rain for the northern French, Swiss and western Austrian Alps later in the day. Once again the snow will eventually settle down to 1000m, with 10-20cm the norm.

Of course, this is good news for piste-skiers in France, Switzerland and Austria in the run-up to February half-term, which kicks off on Saturday. Off-piste, however, conditions are going to be very variable, thanks to the spells of rain that preceded the current dump, as well as the sometimes storm-force winds that are scouring exposed slopes.

Expect the avalanche risk to be considerable for a time, too. Local avalanche-warning services are reporting layers of poorly-bonded wind-packed snow in the back-country.

The outlook, by the way, is for a big change on Friday. It’s expected that skies will clear, winds drop, and temperatures jump. That sounds lovely, but with the daytime freezing point at 2800m, it does also mean that the fresh snow will start to melt on lower slopes, and then refreeze overnight. 

As for snow conditions in the Alps, they generally remain good at altitude, where the wind has not made skiing impossible in places over the last day or two.

However, thanks to the relentlessly mild weather, the situation has become more complicated lower down. This is particularly true below about 1200m in the north-western Alps (e.g. Morzine) where there is little natural snow right now, which is unusual for the middle of February.