With a dusting of snow falling over the Alps and brutal winter storms battering the west coast of England it seems like the long hot summer is finally over. The crisp air that has fallen across London in the last couple of days has really put the idea of getting back onto my skis at the forefront of my mind. Thinking back to the last two seasons where I have been on a chalet holiday in Courchevel 1850 with my family, there has been a particularly impressive snowfall, especially in the period after Christmas. Looking at the Courchevel snow report on New Year’s Eve in December of 2011 we were elated to see a constant 10-20cm of snow forecast for pretty much the whole of the first week in January. As the week progressed, we were definitely not disappointed. This deep January powder snow is something that can be expected in the major powder resorts of North America but not often in the family friendly Courchevel with it’s pristine groomed runs. So, what we would love to know at Alpine Answers is whether this trend for massive alpine snowfall is going to continue for future winters.
Courchevel Snow Report – What does the Future Hold?
There are many contradictory reports of what the future holds for Courchevel and for the rest of the Alps. The last three seasons we have enjoyed deep powder and beautifully groomed ski slopes, which hardly seems to be adding to the body of evidence of global warming. Deep in the Alps, however, scientists are observing, monitoring and reporting the effects of changing climate patterns and the general consensus is that there may not be many more golden years like this left. A leading scientist in this field is Gilles Brunot and one of his more disturbing graphs shows average temperatures in the Alps since 1971 with what he predicts the temperature will do in the future.
If this graph were to be correct then many of the resorts around the world would be devastated with lack of snow, especially in the lower lying resorts.
However, it is not all bad news. There is one strong view which is gathering pace and completely contradicts the findings of Mr Brunot. Dr Rainer Zahn, Peter Wadhams and many other leading scientists are of the belief that as the rate of melting in the Arctic ice caps continues to gain momentum, the Gulf Stream which brings warm water up from South America may be seriously affected, consequently changing the climate of Western Europe. There is strong reason to believe that should the Gulf Stream be switched off or decrease dramatically, that these areas would experience a climate shift to much cooler weather – possibly even plunging Europe into another ice age. Thus it is entirely possible global warming could lead to severe cooling in the Northern hemisphere, which in turn would lead to much higher levels of snowfall in both the Alps and closer to home. However, whether or not we want another ice age is another matter entirely.
Average snow depth history in Courchevel (2009 – 2013)
If you wish to believe the doom and gloom or the optimism regards the future quantity and quality of snow in the Alps, we think the way forward is to make the most of it while we can. We all love skiing whether there is a load of snow or hardly any, and after all it’s really all about the experience and being there to enjoy it. We are hoping for another powder-filled season this winter, and going from the Courchevel snow report history over recent years we are pretty sure it’s going to be epic.
Our Snow Reports and Mountain Weather Forecasts
If you are ever unsure as to the snow conditions in any of the resorts we offer you can always have a quick look at our snow report page where you can see an up to date snow reports and HD webcams for all the major ski resorts of the Alps. If this is not enough you can always ask one of our Alpine Answers team who will be happy to advise you where you can get the best snow.
If you believe us and Dr Zahn and are looking experience some fantastic snow this winter then please do give us a call at Alpine Answers and take full advantage of our vast and detailed knowledge. We would be delighted to help you find your ideal holiday in Courchevel and chalet or any other ski resort. Phone us on +44 (0)20 7801 1080 or you can browse through the thousands of ski chalets and hotels we offer on our website: www.alpineanswers.co.uk.