Winter is back

The weather has been prevaricating for a couple of days, but it made a decision finally last night. The fairly light snow of yesterday turned into a heavier fall overnight, became something more significant by the morning and was torrential at Scheidegg this afternoon. The forecast might have been an April fool’s joke, but it turned out to be real.

An early visit to the Punch Bowl was not the best idea. The snow was magnificent, but the visibility was nil. A long trip through the trees to Grund offered better light. It was still snowing, just about, in the depths of the Grindelwald valley, but it wasn’t settling very much.

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                                           On the way to Grund

It is still snowing now in Wengen, with more forecast for tomorrow. Snowfall at this time of year tends to melt away quite quickly, with warmer ground and more direct sunlight, but I suspect sufficient has fallen in the last few hours to keep the mountain going nicely until closing day.

The day brought 7,890 vertical metres in 18 lift rides and 48 kilometres travelled.

Lost in cloud

The sun shone on Mannlichen for an hour or so in the morning, but apart from that interlude, we have been lost in cloud. For much of the day, it looked like MeteoSwiss were off beam with their forecast. Visibility was terrible all afternoon, there was rain in the village but only a smattering of snow.

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                                  Better visibility, for a while

Finally though the snow fell heavily, at least to the level of Bumps T bar. More is forecast for tomorrow, but at the moment, down here in the lower part of the village, it is still almost four degrees. We will see what the morning brings.

A dismal day brought 8,477 vertical metres in 19 lift rides and 49 kilometres travelled.

The weather changes

After weeks of sunshine, give or take a day or so, the weather has turned finally. The cold weather we were promised hasn’t arrived yet; it was almost eight degrees on the balcony this morning. The precipitation has arrived though, in the form of rain in the village and snow on the very top of the mountain.

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                                  Wixi chairlift in the clouds

The clouds were low and heavy all day, but it was one of those occasions when it is impossible to see twenty yards ahead, but the few feet of visibility needed to ski was fine completely. Tomorrow is forecast to be colder with significant snow. That is from MeteoSwiss, so it is as nailed on as it gets in the weather forecasting game.

After the quiet of yesterday, the pistes were more or less deserted today. Some of the hotels end their season soon and it may be that the village has finished for business before the lifts close.

The day brought 8,267 vertical metres in 18 lift rides and 43 kilometres travelled.

Skiers missing

Monday was unexpectedly busy and I though there would be a similar number of people on Tuesday, but the skiers were missing. Long weekenders had been and gone. On what promised to be the last sunny day for a while, the pistes were pretty much deserted. It is difficult to see another crowded day this season.

The skiing was good. In the afternoon, the Punch Bowl offered great snow and the absence of the crazies meant the tunnel under the railway line could be approached with confidence that someone would not arrive by your side in the narrowest section at uncontrolled speed.

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                                    Clouds arriving

In the afternoon the clouds began to build up and the promised change in the weather is imminent. It is still difficult though to imagine the winter temperatures forecast.

An enjoyable spring day brought 8,827 vertical metres in 18 lift rides and 57 kilometres travelled.

Winter again, soon

The change in the clocks meant, of course, that it was darker this morning, and being woken by early light most days, I was slow off the mark today. It was 9.15am when I reached Mannlichen. The snow was crisp, in fact icy in places. The sun soon warmed things up and the morning’s skiing was pretty good.

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                                 Eigernordwand lift and some snow

The skiing has been spring like for a couple of weeks now, ever since the long February cold period ended. I couldn’t say with any certainty when it last snowed. All that seems set to change. If the latest forecasts are accurate, it will be colder tomorrow and then it will snow again. By the weekend it will be minus eleven degrees. So we will have had April skiing in March and when the month turns, we will be back to January conditions.

A day in the sun brought 8,797 vertical metres in 18 lift rides and 55 kilometres travelled.

Paragliders

The clocks changed last night and we lost an hour’s sleep. I think everyone who skied today was later onto the mountain than intended. The cable car at just after 9.00am was full with local skiers. There was a murmur of conversation on the platform, but nothing too loud on what seemed early morning still.

It was another day when the gods had painted the sky a uniform bright blue and added a bright sun to finish things off nicely. It was quieter still than yesterday on the piste, but the sky was full. The perfect weather had brought out the region’s paragliders. Sat on the Lager lift shortly after mid-day, there were at least twenty wings above the Lauterbrunnen valley.

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                                       Blue splendour 

By mid-afternoon the pistes and the skies had emptied as people headed home for a new working week. It might be very quiet tomorrow.

A slow start to a perfect spring day brought 8,905 vertical metres in 18 lift rides and 55 kilometres travelled.

All quiet in Wengen

It was warm this morning, almost five degrees on the balcony as early as 7.00am. It was a day for a prompt start and I was on the cable car by shortly after 8.30am.

Last night I speculated as to whether the ski clubs would be on the mountain today. Full marks to the Wengen and Boningen ski clubs for a good turn out each. Other clubs had decided, seemingly, that the season is over. In terms of numbers of skiers, they may well be correct.

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                                      North face in the shade

There is a suggestion (possibly blind hope) that the change in the weather next week may lead to snow rather than rain. Fingers crossed. A cold wind on Scheidegg this afternoon belied the warmth of the morning. In the village late on, it was high summer.

A day to ski north facing slopes brought 10,549 vertical metres in 22 lift rides and 69 kilometres travelled.

What the weather holds

Across two ’phones and and iPad I have accumulated numerous weather apps. Occasionally, their forecasts coincide nicely, but often they are at odds with each other for any day but the next. The trick is to choose the forecast with which you are happiest and disregard the rest.

If accuracy is needed though, Meteo Swiss is the most reliable app for the Jungfrau region, largely because it forecasts only a few days ahead. Of those taking the longer view, AccuWeather comes out on top, so it is disappointing that they expect rain in the middle of next week. I am sure it will snow in April, but probably too late in the season to do much good for the skiing.

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                                     Sunny with some light cloud

It was marginally colder today and chilly enough to keep the snow in good condition into the afternoon. It is Friday of course, but not many people arrived for the start of a long weekend. It is difficult to know how many skiers might turn up tomorrow. Sun is forecast, with rain next week. It may be the last hurrah of the season for the ski clubs.

Yet another sunny day brought 10,249 vertical metres in 21 lift rides and 61 kilometres travelled.

Moguls

Like many things, moguls are not what they once were. In the days when piste bashing was less sophisticated, moguls ruled the piste for much of the time. They still turn up on heavily skied runs and sometimes they are left to do their worst.

There is a significant bumps field below Birg in Murren. It is a major challenge. Below the Lager chair in Wengen, an unpisted run, large moguls grow over the winter. The moguls now seem as hard as concrete and so well set they might be there still next season.

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                          Moguls below Lager

On the way home, it was clear that the Bumps T bar has closed until next winter. It hasn’t been running since Sunday, but today the T bars had gone from the cable.

The day has been warm, warranting a mere three layers of clothing. The weather apps continue to show sunshine for days to come. The app which shows the onset of rain towards the end of next week will be ignored.

A warm, sunny day brought 8,872 vertical metres in 18 lift rides and 54 kilometres travelled.

How many layers?

The weather has been very cold for much of the season, so the question as to how many layers to wear has been easily answered; as many as possible whilst still being able to move.

Today, it was warm in the village even early on. The spring flowers are in full bloom and chalet owners are making their gardens ready for the summer. Surely, therefore, a couple of layers would suffice. On the mountain, despite the glorious blue skies, a chilly wind blew yet again. That extra layer, almost left at home, was essential.

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             Blue skis with a chilly wind

The skiing remains excellent, if south facing slopes are avoided. It remains quiet; the cable car was full at 9.30am, but that was the only crowd. The day brought 10,111 vertical metres in 21 lift rides and 58 kilometres travelled.