The Alps are currently seeing big snowfalls, which is generally good news of course both for those few people lucky enough to be able to access the mountains during the pandemic, and perhaps for base building for the more optimistic who still hope to be able to travel to the mountains this season, perhaps at Easter or later.
Up to a metre (40”) of snowfall is forecast to arrive over the next 48 hours.
But ski areas and snow forecasters are warning that the current avalanche danger is extremely high. Along with the heavy snowfall there is expected to be a period of rain to as high as 2,000 metres altitude during a short warm spell, and that combination means the danger of a slow slide is very high, even on fairly gentle slopes.
Andermatt is closings its access road (above) from tonight and Zermatt is reported to be cut off due to closures because of avalanche danger.
“The amounts of snow are very large and the snow is weighed down by a large amount of rain. Any movement on slopes anywhere close to 30 degrees, whatever the orientation, should be completely avoided until Saturday evening,” a statement from the world’s largest ski area, the 3 Valleys, reads, continuing “This includes people walking, except areas of forest that are not overlooked by slopes. Given the conditions and the risks to and staff, we will not be taking avalanche prevention measures in the next few days.”
The three Valleys also said they are considering an avalanche trigger plan from Saturday morning to protect slopes only and allow the planned activities such as guided ski touring routes.
Currently Swiss ski resorts are slopes are open to those who can legally travel to then, Austria’s ski slopes are open to locals but other resort facilities closed, French resorts are open to those who can legally travel to then and activities like ski touring available, but the ski lifts are closed and in Italy ski areas are closed.