After a fairly lacklustre ski season for snowfall volumes across much of the Alps, there are signs that we may finally see a big snowfall this weekend.
Snow forecasting models have, however, been fluctuating wildly recently Big snow forecasts predicted a week or so in advance over the past month have failed to deliver much when the predicted falls were actually due to happen, so it’s difficult to get too excited quite yet.
And whilst we’re hopeful there will indeed be big falls up high, among the more alarming scenarios are that temperatures are too warm for it to fall as snow at lower levels and the thin ribbons of white currently completing ski runs to the valley floor at some areas get washed out. Some forecasts say the dividing line between snowfall and rainfall will be 2000m up in places.
But, let’s not think of that! Instead lets focus on some of the numbers we’re seeing – potentially around 2 metres of snowfall in the next seven days on some high slopes in the French Alps, a metre of that on Friday-Sunday alone. Of course those kind of numbers would transform slopes for the final few months of the season as well as causing some short term logistical issues digging out roads and lifts as we’ve seen all season in Western North America which has had week after week of that kind of snowfall.
Whatever does happen, the good news is that snow is falling already. Alpe d’Huez has posted 20cm in the last 24 hours, Les Arcs and La Plagne and many other French resorts – some of which haven’t really had any fresh snowfall since late January – despite still keeping most if their slopes open – around 5cm so far. Similar totals have been reported across northern Italy so far and in Switzerland with Verbier and Zermatt both posting a little fresh snowfall.
Oz en Oisans in the Alpe d’Huez ski area is pictured above on Tuesday 7th March 2023.