Across the Alps there’s something missing, namely snow.
November has been the warmest and driest on record in the northern Alps, and the majority of the ski resorts are still shut.
There is a little snow on the highest ridges and glacier skiing is still possible, but there has been precious little new snow for several weeks now. In fact the weather in the Alps is so warm, it has even been impossible to use snow cannons to produce man-made snow. Only on the shadier slopes, above 2000 metres, has it been possible to produce snow artificially, in resorts like Val Thorens and Kronplatz.
The Alpine skiing industry is now desperately hoping for a bumper delivery of snow before the ski season really gets going in December.
At the beginning of November, things looked quite optimistic. Large storms across Italy left deep snow on some of the mountains. The snowline was quite high, but Europe’s skiers were hopeful that this would lower in time.
However, three weeks later, there’s even less snow around, as the exposed slopes have seen the snow melt away.
The dry, settled weather across the Alps has been due to a high pressure which has been situated across much of Europe for several weeks. This high pressure has blocked all the usual weather systems from travelling across the continent. Instead the active weather has been pushed northwards across the UK and Scandinavia, or has been confined to the Mediterranean. The Alps have been left high and dry.
There are a few signs that things will change in the coming week, and many Alpine resorts are hoping for a significant drop in temperature and even some snow. However, what’s really needed is a substantial delivery of snow, and soon.