SNOW IN THE ALPS!
18th December 2016
There’s been some significant snowfall, but it’s been very localised. Much of the Alps awaits a decent fall as Xmas and New Year approach, though conditions remain good at high altitude. UPDATED
The snow has been falling the hardest in the south western Alps including Serre Chevalier and Montgenèvre in France and Sestriere and Sauze d’Oulx in Italy.
But some of the best has been in the Italian resort of Prato Nevoso.
Never heard of it?
No neither have we, but this is what it currently looks like:
And it’s looking good in the Italian resort of Cervinia that you will probably have heard of:
One reader in Serre Chevalier, France, sent this:
“It’s not masses but there was no snow in the village at all yesterday so it’s a start!” skier, Simon Pack, said about the view on Tuesday morning.
And here’s what it looked like in Serre Chevalier.
Here’s a video of the snow falling over in Serre Chevalier on Monday.
Up on the glaciers it has been bitterly cold with temperatures falling to minus 20 with high winds in Zermatt according to one of our readers.
Another reader is in Les2Alpes where it was -16 degrees with winds at 22mph at 3,600m.
A team from PlanetSKI is currently in Verbier.
“Hats off to Televerbier as the lift company has done a fantastic job with the pistes and despite the lack of natural snow in recent weeks the pistes are in superb shape,” said the PlanetSKI editor, James Cove.
“However the problems will come next week if no fresh snow arrives as many more people will be out on the slopes. At the moment there are around 3,000 people in Verbier, but next week there will be three times that with up to 10,000 expected and it will be the same in other resorts. It is going to get busy!” James added.
People in the resort though are looking forward to the real stuff arriving.
Some snow fell in Courchevel and Méribel in Les3Vallées in France.
Fraser Wilkin from weathertoski.co.uk is currently in Courchevel 1850.
Fraser is an alpine weather expert and compiles our weekly PlanetSKI snow report and keeps us updated on conditions across the Alps throughout the winter.
Early on Tuesday morning he reported that it was cloudy but dry first thing with a temperature of about -2°C.
There has also been snow in St Foy near Val d’Isère in France, and in Verbier in Switzerland.
Here was the scene at Le Châble at 900m on Monday morning with the ski resort of Verbier up the mountain in the distance.
The pictures were taken as PlanetSKI arrived in the resort.
And here is what it looked like at the top of the resort on Monday.
It’s snowed at Arc 1950 too:
And here is Courchevel on Monday:
In many areas, however, it’s only been a dusting.
It still hasn’t snowed properly for more than a month in the low altitude resorts of the north-western Alps (Morzine, Megève, Villars).
Fraser Wilkin says the heaviest snow fell in the Italian Piedmont – Bardonecchia, Sestriere, Alagna – and parts of the Aosta Valley, for example Pila, as well as the far south-eastern French Alps (Isola 2000).
Between 50cm and 100cm fell widely in the Piedmont, with even more in areas such as Prato Nevosa.
“Today the last of the snow will gradually die away from these western Italian resorts but not before a few more centimetres have been added here and there,” Fraser said on Wednesday morning.
“For much of the rest of the Alps it’s a mostly sunny day in prospect. Indeed it should remain dry and mostly sunny (above any low-lying cloud/fog) until Sunday, at which point a weak weather front will introduce a little rain/light snow to some northern or north-eastern parts of the Alps, but nothing significant.”
“Looking a bit further ahead and the news isn’t great, with high pressure generally dominating the weather in the Alps for the foreseeable future.
“A blast of arctic air will come close to the eastern Alps next week but will probably end up hitting the Balkans, bringing lots of fresh snow to Bulgarian resorts.
“For the Alps, and the Pyrenees for that matter, there is very little if any new snow likely this side of the New Year.”
Here at PlanetSKI we will be continue to watch things closely with Fraser Wilkin’s help.
He complies our weekly snow report and is one of the most accurate and trusted sources we know.
By and large, despite the lack of snowfall in many areas, there is still some good piste skiing above the 2,000m mark but below that it remains poor.
Cold temperatures and snow making have saved the day, but resort runs are simply thin strips of artificial snow.
Even at the so-called, snow sure resorts, people have a walk to the pistes – that are all man-made.
But there remains good skiing at Hochsoelden – see here for our report as we visited last week.
Our Chief Reporter, Jane Peel, was in La Plagne in France at the weekend
“Fortunately the big snowfall in November provided a firm enough base which has remained above 2,000 metres,” she said, “and there is plenty of good skiing to be had, as long as you are happy to stick on the pistes.
“On Saturday morning we found the slopes to be in excellent condition with the best of the runs – perhaps not surprisingly – up around the 3,000 metre mark on the Bellecôte glacier.”
“Despite the firm base, however, the depth of snow is not that great, even up high,” Jane added, “and at the end of Saturday the runs back down to Plagne Centre were a little icy.
“Even so, the resort is still said to be in better shape than it was in the lead up to Christmas last year and the good news it’s pretty cold so snowmaking is possible.”
Some light snow was falling on Plagne 1800 as Jane left the resort on Monday morning.
Elsewhere we have heard from one of our readers in Les2Alpes in the southern French Alps.
Rod Frazer from the British Alpine Ski School, BASS.
And on Monday our editor, James Cove arrived in PlanetSKI’s home resort of Verbier for a few days.
Look out for his pre-Xmas reports.
In the meantime the place to head to seems to be the resorts of the southern Alps that are set for snow and everyone else will just have to keep the snow dances going.
For the last details PlanetSKI snow report then see here.
And if you want to turn green with envy then see what conditions are like over in North America in a separate story on PlanetSKI.
Father Xmas and his helpers headed to Whistler in Canada to make a few turns before their work begins later in the week.
See here for the main PlanetSKI news page with all the latest stories from the world of snowsports.
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