It’s snowing all around ...

18th October 2010, by Chris Gill

Whiter than white ... what the weekend left in Passo Tonale

Whiter than white ... what the weekend left in Passo Tonale

October has taken on a chilly air, with snowfalls reported in the Alps, Canada and now ... an arctic blast heading for the UK. What’s more, winter had not quite finished with the southern hemisphere yet either, where unsettled weather continued to deliver blizzards in New Zealand last week.

But it’s all eyes on the Alps, which got its first significant taste of winter this weekend, with some snow falling just about everywhere it seems – although Austria got the best (or worst?) of it. The chains were out as motorists tackled snow and ice across high roads in the Tirol, Vorarlberg and Salzburg regions. The snow fell to around 1000m, with more expected mid week, and the freezing level possibly dipping to 500m.

It was a similar scene on the high mountain passes of eastern Switzerland. Reports suggest five high Alpine roads were closed due to heavy snowfall on Saturday. The cold weather was good news for Engelberg and St Moritz, two early-season resorts. Engelberg received another 20cm fresh snow over the weekend and is now open for skiing and boarding on the Mt Titlis slopes.

In Italy, up to 40cm was reported on the Presena glacier above Passo Tonale. The slopes will reopen there on 23 October.  And it has been snowing steadily in France too, with a good dusting at lower levels in Tignes for example.

News in from Canada over the weekend is that snow also arrived in many areas, from Sun Peaks to Jasper – where they received 25cm on Saturday. Both resorts are preparing to fire up the snowmaking too in preparation for their November openings.

Winter has also been exciting US residents in Colorado, where Winter Park got its first decent dump a few days ago and the colder temperatures have pepped up snowmaking at Copper Mountain and Keystone.

Not to be left out, the UK is bracing itself for a below-zero blast of wind and snow showers too, as the weather falls prey to the North Pole and Scandinavian influences. Snow is likely in Scotland and on the higher ground further south (such as the Pennines and Lakes).

Oh, and if you want exotic too ... early snowfalls have been reported in Japan: Mt Fuji apparently received its first snowcap of the season to start the month - nine days earlier than in an average year.

Full report shortly .. in our Snow section

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