Areas of Switzerland saw record snowfall for the month of May overnight from Saturday into Sunday. Most snow fell in the central and eastern alpine regions, but the most dramatic records were observed in lower-lying Bern and St Gallen.
The Swiss capital of Bern woke up to four centimetres of fresh snow on Sunday morning. The previous record for the month was one centimetre in 1945.
The eastern city of St Gallen saw 19 centimetres of snow, up from the 12 centimetres recorded on May 7, 1957, according to the Swiss meteorological service MeteoSwiss.
People have been advised not to take walks in wooded areas, especially in deciduous regions, as wet snow caught in trees could cause branches to fall off.
Weather forecasters have warned of further problems likely to be caused by the unseasonal cold snap next early week. MeteoSwiss forecasts sharp groundfrost in the lowlands on Monday and Tuesday.
SRF is also warning of large snowfalls and rainfalls between Monday and Tuesday
Arosa got the highest snowfall at 72 cm.
Snow also fell down at 500 meters in some places, such as Zurich airport. But snow needs to fall at over 700 meters above sea level to stay. Southern Valais got 20-30 cm of powder snow and the Jura also got some snow, as you can see with these cows trying to find grass to eat.
WeathertoSki reported that there was lots of precipitation this weekend across the Alps, mixed with rain and snow from 600 meters up. Mostly the snow sat from 1000m to 1500 across the north-western half of the Alps, and between 1500 and 2500 across the south-eastern half.
When driving to the mountains, it is important to know the laws about carrying winter tyres and snow chains. Not all countries and states or provinces oblige you to wear them. I would suggest you to check before you travel. Even if there were no law for using snow tyres, I would at least recommend taking snow chains, because if you are caught in a big snowstorm, you will need them. If you can buy at least second hand winter tyres, do so. It is an investment, more if you are going to drive to the mountains each ski season.
Also, if renting a car, don’t assume the car will come with snow tyres, even if going to countries full of mountains everywhere, remember to request them when booking your car rental, and also reserve snow chains.
Here is a summary of where snow tyres are mandatory – please you need to do your own search, as this is not by any means 100% accurate- we cannot be held responsible for you deciding not to take winter tyres! Do your own homework!
How to deal with high prone avalanche terrain – A talk with Coco Torres, former Mountain Manager in Las Leñas and now Operative Consultant for numerous ski resorts.
Jorge “Coco” Torres has left Las Leñas in the year 2010, having worked for several years as the Mountain Manager in charge of all the avalanches control operations, amongst all other mountain matters.
I’ve contacted him as I’ve always found fascinating how Las Leñas took control of their avalanches. Every time there was a storm at Las Leñas, which could last a whole week, we went on hearing bombing all day and all night. I know that Las Leñas is a high prone avalanche terrain.
Skiing in Europe, I cannot say I have heard too many bombs at all, so this prompted me to start putting together a couple of stories that will come out on the next months, on how the avalanches are prevented or controlled in different countries of the world.
Coco told me that he left Las Leñas (Mendoza, Argentina) in the year 2010, and since then he has been working as a consultant in mountain projects and developments. He is going to tell me the process used in Las Leñas at least until he left the valley.
Three accidents happened during the weekend break, claiming several victims in the mountains of Switzerland, killing 9 victims. News from 20 minutes – In the Pigne d’Arolla region in the canton of Valais, 14 ski tour riders went into a storm and had to spend the night outdoors. Four of them did not survive the hardships. On Monday and Tuesday, two more victims died in the hospital, as the Valais canton police announced on Tuesday.
The 14 ski tourers all started on Sunday from the “Cabane des Dix” at 2928 meters above sea level. They were traveling in two different groups: a group of four and a group of ten people, one of whom was a mountain guide. Both groups wanted to reach the “Vignettes” hut at 3157 meters via the classic route “la Serpentine”.
Going skiing with the family is great, but you need to plan your bag ahead, and be sure that your little ones will not be suffering from the cold, or if not, your holiday might be jeopardised if they are too cold for skiing.
When you are packing, I suggest thinking on your ski clothes first, and doing the normal clothes later. You will not need too many normal clothes if you are self catering, a couple of trousers, shirts or t-shirts and warm jumpers if you are planning to dine outside, unless you are staying in a hotel or chalet and you have to go out for dinner or you have included half or full board, that you might want to look smart every evening.
The Panoramic Mont-Blanc lift finished in the ground after suffering very weird conditions. A thick ice cover, thicker than the width of the cable covered a very long stretch of cable creating a very heavy mass, which made the cable collapse.