Big Pre-Christmas Snow Forecast For The Alps

STORY BY Patrick Thorne 17th December 2016

Forecasts of up to 1.5m (five feet) of snow falling on ski slopes in the Alps seem to be ‘firming up.’

The various snow forecasting agencies are predicting snow will start falling on Monday and Tuesday and that by early Wednesday some ski areas could have as much as a foot (30cm) of fresh snow and most areas at least some fresh snow.

The snow is then forecast to continue to keep falling for the following week making big accumulations possible – they hope.

Forecasts are changing hourly but at time of writing on Saturday evening one snow reporting agency is reporting Zermatt will get 35cm of snow by Wednesday, and another that Zermatt will have more than 1.45m (five feet) of snow by Boxing Day.

Other resorts in Western Europe are also forecast to get good snowfalls too, if not quite so much as Zermatt, which has Europe’s highest runs at nearly 3,900m at the top. It currently has 1.2m base up top and nothing left in the village – like most ski areas in the Alps it has had little or no fresh snow for nearly a month.

It’s the third year in a row that the first half of December has been ‘dry’ in Europe, although this year, unlike the other two, there were big snowfalls in November and subsequent low temperatures which meant snow bases survived and snowmaking could top them up, so on the whole this is a much better December than 2014 and 2015 on the slopes even before the fresh snow arrives.

Significant snowfall is also expected in the Dolomites and Pyrenees.

(The picture above is a library picture of Zermatt taken by Jeremy Bernard. Perhaps it will look like this again on Christmas Day).

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