Winter weather set to return to the Swiss Alps this week

Winter weather set to return to the Swiss Alps this week

In what will come as a relief to anyone heading to Swiss ski resorts in the near future, wintery conditions are finally set to return to the mountains by the end of the week. The snowfall will be an ideal tonic for resorts across the country, which have struggled with a lack of snow in recent weeks.

February 2024 in Switzerland is far too warm

You’d be forgiven for thinking that winter had already left Switzerland, with warm temperatures dominating the weather in recent weeks. This is not expected to change in the short term, with MeteoNews forecasting highs of 18 degrees celsius on February 22.

Speaking to Blick, MeteoNews forecaster Roger Perret explained that a strong “foehn” wind will bring balmy temperatures of 15 to 18 degrees to most Swiss cities and cantons. He added that temperatures in February so far have been five degrees warmer than the long-term average for the month and that we are on track to record the warmest February in Switzerland since 1864. 

The winter sports industry has also been hit by the warm weather, with many ski resorts reporting a distinct lack of snow. Some are having to use artificial snow to compensate, while others have reached the point of offering substitute activities in place of skiing and snowboarding such as hiking, mini golf and swimming.

Up to 70 centimetres of snow forecast in Swiss Alps

However, there is a glimmer of hope for Swiss resorts: Perret noted that the warm foehn wind will disappear in the early hours of Friday, leading to plummeting temperatures and heavy snowfall. The snow line is expected to drop to 1.000 metres above sea level, too high for major cities to get a dusting but low enough to give practically all ski resorts a top-up of powder.

“People in the mountains in southern and eastern Switzerland in particular can look forward to fresh snow,” Perret confirmed. Up to 70 centimetres of snow is expected above 1.500 metres in southern Graubünden and northern Ticino. All other areas of the Alps are forecast to receive 20 to 30 centimetres of snow.

Changeable weather expected in Switzerland this weekend

Of course, the sudden influx of snow does have its downside. Perret said that “with more fresh snow, a "significant" level three avalanche danger level is expected” to be issued across the Alps. Skiers and snowboarders are encouraged to keep abreast of the warnings via the Swiss Natural Hazards Portal.

Whether you choose to hit the slopes or remain at lower altitudes this weekend, Perret confirmed that the weather will start to clear over the course of Friday, with temperatures of up to 10 degrees forecast for the Mittelland. Be sure to have your weather apps ready for the weekend, as scattered rain, clouds and sunshine are expected nationwide. Cloudy conditions are set to dominate the start of next week, with highs of nine degrees.

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Editor for Switzerland at IamExpat Media. Jan studied History at the University of York and Broadcast Journalism at the University of Sheffield. Though born in York, Jan has lived most...

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