Winter 2015/16 – what do the snow gods have in store for the Alps this season?

skiing champagne powder

Every year climate experts and weather gurus use science and history to predict long range forecasts to try and give us an idea of what to expect for the upcoming seasons. After several varied winters here in the Alps, we wonder if we will be up to our armpits in smooth, dry champagne powder, or doing a daily snow dance to encourage the flakes to fall?? All summer there has been talk of the mighty El Niño, a weather phenomenon, its opposite being La Niña. In short: An El Niño is a temporary change in the climate of the Pacific ocean, in the region around the equator. You can see its effects in both the ocean and atmosphere, generally in Northern Hemisphere winter. Climate experts are predicting the strongest ever recorded El Niño, which brings with it below average temperatures and above average precipitation. So, importantly, what does that mean for your ski trip this year…. It’s going to be chilly. The predictions are that it will be quite a bit colder than normal, which can be great for the snow, as when it falls, it will stay for longer, and could extend the season. It also means that when it does precipitate it will fall as snow and not rain – good news. Snow levels will also drop down, meaning that some lower resorts such as St Gervais should get more snow and it should hang around for longer. The predictions also suggest that precipitation levels will be higher, so as well as being colder there will be more snow falling, keeping levels nicely topped up. So all in all, for the ski season, El Niño is very welcome. The downsides to this phenomenon can mean some bitterly cold days, so investing in warmer kit, heated socks and hand warmers should definitely be on your Christmas list this year. It may also bring more snowy days, where good goggles and some bright clothing come in handy for finding your way down the mountain and not losing your buddies. And as always with more snow the avalanche risks should be well respected and if you haven’t already invested in a transceiver, probe and shovel for any off piste antics, perhaps now is the time to do so. If you are planning to book airport transfers this winter, make sure the company you are using has winter tyres and experienced drivers to take care of you on your journeys to and from resort. Who knows what the reality will be, but it’s always handy to have a little ‘heads-up’ on the weather to help you to plan your ski holidays. Wishing you a fun, safe and snowy season.