MILD & VERY WINDY IN THE ALPS
10th December 2019 | James Cove, PlanetSKI Editor
Last modified on December 27th, 2019
After the recent wild weather things are stabilising as Xmas approaches. PlanetSKI reports from the Alps. UPDATED
Tuesday 17th December
It remains mild across the Alps with some change coming at the weekend.
A Foehn wind is coming in from the south, bringing warmer temperatures.
It is windy in places.
“Winds gusting to over 200km/hr in the Swiss canton of Schwyz, and temperatures in some of the Foehn affected valleys surpassing 20°C!” said the alpine weather expert, Fraser Wilkin from weathertoski.co.uk, on Tuesday.
“The next two to three days will see relatively little change in the weather pattern, with the Foehn continuing to blow across the northern half of the Alps and further precipitation falling across some southern parts.”
See here for his daily alpine weather reports.
It may look benign but listen to the wind in Salzburgerland in Austria.
PlanetSKI is in the little-known resort of Zauchensee:
Meanwhile one of readers, Vanessa Fisher, is across the Alps in Les Menuires in Les3Vallees in France where the wind is also affecting things with some lift closures.
“Pre-season snowfall has been pretty good in Les3Valleys and this early season pre-Christmas week started off gloriously under sunshine,” she said.
“All the pistes around Les Menuires are in great shape. Still some runs and lifts to open up fully, all due this coming weekend in time for Christmas skiing.”
“Today’s weather was a complete contrast, grey skies and mild at 12 degrees at 1030am.”
“More like spring that December with much softer snow on the slopes; I managed to rent a pair of Rossignol Sky 7s from Intersport similar to the ones I own and they have been ideal for the snow conditions.”
“High winds closed the links to Val Thorens and the light was tricky at times but we managed to get over to Meribel and down to Saint Martin de Belleville where it is much more sheltered.
“The high winds are blowing any decent off piste snow away but still great fun cruising around the whole area.”
Monday 16th December
PlanetSKI is currently in Salzburgerland in Austria.
“Things have warmed up here with temperatures at +6C over the weekend,” says our editor, James Cove, from Salzburgerland.
“There is a decent covering here in the Ski Amade region, but some more snow would now be welcome. Elsewhere in the Alps there remains very good cover for the time of year.”
“However we are in for a prolonged warm spell with little snow in the forecast and the lower slopes are likely to suffer.
“The resort has been able to make snow ahead of the warm spell.
And people are out enjoying some pre-Xmas turns.
With decent snow down to resort level.
See here for the updated report from James:
Elsewhere in the Alps we have heard from Val Thorens, in France.
Regular reader, Michael Pettifer from MPI Brokers, is in the resort for Visions in Education and ESI Meribel’s First Snow School Championships – another school ski race event in its first year.
“Ski conditions here are excellent, sunny and cold after Saturday’s rain,” said Michael this morning.
“The pistes are hard packed but in good condition with off piste wind crust. Most popular off piste areas are skied out, other areas are chopped up and crusty following high winds over the last few days.”
“The biggest danger is being run into as the pistes are very crowded.”
Saturday 14th December
The continuing storm has resulted in the men’s slalom World Cup race in Val d’Isere being cancelled.
It was delayed several times before finally being called off.
Strong winds that had closed the entire resort for the morning were to blame.
However, a few hours after it was cancelled, the organising committee decided to re-instate the slalom to the programme tomorrow.
It will give GB’s Dave Ryding the opportunity to pick up his first World Cup points of the season after failing to finish the second run in his first race in Levi.
The men’s giant slalom, which was planned for Sunday, will now be rescheduled.
Friday 13th December
We’re in Tignes and this was the scene first thing this morning in the resort.
We are leaving the resort to head back to the UK and chains are needed on the way down the mountain.
With the authorities out checking that people have snow chains and/or winter tyres before they head up the mountain.
Elsewhere the latest images we have come from Les2Alpes in the southern French Alps.
In resort is one of our regular readers, Michael Pettifer, from the ski insurance specialist, MPI Brokers.
“MPI is here in sunny Les Deux Alpes for the 12th independent Schools Ski Championships organised by Halsbury Travel,” said Michael.
“The snow conditions are excellent. We’ve had 30cm of new snow. The piste bashers have not been out so whilst it’s lovely light snow on the piste, less experienced skiers would struggle.
“With that being said, the conditions are near perfect.
“On the lower slopes the powder is deeper and there is some wind crust on exposed slopes. It is very cold at -15c on the upper slopes. There is more snow in the forecast too.”
Thursday 12th December
After a litte more snow overnight, these were the views from the PlanetSKI apartment in Tignes this morning.
What a day to be in the mountains.
Wednesday 11th December
With the latest information on the current conditions and what’s to come, have a look at our snow report from the Alps from our chief reporter Jane Peel.
It was recorded at the end of the ski day today.
And here’s what it looked like towards the end of the day on the final stretch of the renamed black run into Tignes 2100…
Find out why the run has a new name in today’s Skiing Secrets.
Tuesday 10th December
The snow has been falling in the Portes du Soleil, parts of France and Switzerland and over in western Austria.
Here is what it looks like in Chamonix that has seen some of the new snow.
And it’s looking good in Les Menuires too in Les3Vallees:
Here’s St Anton in the Tirol.
Nearby Lech had rather missed out on the recent falls.
Not any more and snow has been falling in the village with 50cm reported.
The latest storm has now passed and has brought up to 50cm in places.
(Tuesday) conditions are excellent for skiing in many places.
James Timothy is staying in Tignes for PlanetSKI.
“The conditions have been amazing today,” he said on Tuesday.
“There was a significant dump of snow from Sunday night and through Monday.
“Today the sun came out first thing and stayed out, so it was perfect.
“I have never been here at this time of year before. I’d been told it was quiet on the slopes and it really is,” James added.
“There’s hardly anyone around.”
James spent much of his day on the Val d’Isere side.
“It was relatively cold – minus 7 at 2.30pm at Le Fornet, which is at around 1,900 metres altitude,” he said.
And one of our regular readers, the ski instructor Neal Wardman, is out on the slopes of Verbier in Switzerland for his first powder day of the season.
The fresh snow completes the jigsaw and here at PlanetSKI we reckon it is the best start to a season in many years.
Some places have a base of over 3m already and there is good coverage across pretty much the whole of the Alps.
It should be a cracker of a Xmas.
And we are not the only ones to think so.
Angus Kinloch is the managing director of the UK agent, Ski Line:
“It is the best start to winter I can remember in 25 years and has come as many people have been twitchy about booking with all the Brexit worries,” said Angus.
“We’ve had a rise in interest and enquiries as people look to the season ahead. It should be a great one for snow if the start is anything to go by.”
Ski Line Ski Line has been trading since 1995 when the company first sold ski holidays via Teletext, so it has been keeping an eye on snow levels for a while.
It is the largest UK agent for Club Med holidays.
And the forecast?
Another big storm is coming later in the week with heavy snow and high winds predicted at the weekend.
Bring it on!
And do check back later as we update this story… today and over the next few days.