It is November 4th and we are entering the winter months with mixed feelings. The Alps are remarkably well covered with natural snow thanks to a fairly cold, snowy October month. At the same time, the coronavirus of course hangs like a sword of Damocles above the Alpine countries, so we do not yet know whether we will be able to enjoy that base in December. The resorts in Austria and France are closed at the moment. Let's hope the situation will improve in December! There were years that we could call this month SNOWvember, now it's clearly NOvember.
Anyway, the starting position in terms of snow is excellent. October was 1 to 3 degrees colder than normal across the Alps, on the Patscherkofel near Innsbruck for example the deviation was -2.1 degrees. Moreover, it was very wet and snowy in the mountains almost everywhere. On October 2nd, a whopping 258 mm of rain fell in one day in Binn in the Swiss canton of Valais. Unfortunately, the snow line was still very high, but that changed later in the month. On October 12th, the Dolomites already had a lot of snow and from the 26th to the 27th of October about 30 to 60 centimeters of snow came down even in the higher valleys. Even Chur (CH) at 556 meters reported 3 centimeters of snow on October 27th. You'll find the measuring station of the Salzburg avalanche service below, near the ski area Werfenweng, had no snow cover for only nine days in October. This station is only at 1925 meters.
With November on the calendar, winter seems to take a step back for a while. A high-pressure area will dominate the weather and we should expect few signs of winter the next coming days. November seems to want to compensate for the lack of sunshine in October. It's normal weather for autumn: during the day it becomes quite mild, but in the clear nights it sometimes freezes. Above 2500 meters the milder weather makes little difference, this snow will no longer melt away completely. The sun has lost a lot of power and some north faces even see almost no sun anymore. The period that the base is being laid has therefore begun!
This picture was from about a week ago in Engelberg. You can already see the facets forming on the snow cover. This means that the next snowfall won't bind that good and that this probably will become a weak layer in the snow cover. This is a quite normal situation to happen in this part of the season, but keep that in mind!
In the meantime, we've also started with the pre-order of the wePowder Guide! Whatever this season will turn out to be, the wePowder Guide is available again. For € 45.00 (excl. shipping costs) this huge book of 400+ pages will be delivered to you in mid-December! Thanks for your support!