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.

Groundhog day

I have said many times that the weather is central to everything around this neck of the woods. Life is spent out of doors and whether it is raining, snowing or the sun is shining is pretty important.

Just now, we are locked into the Bernese Oberland version of Groundhog day. Each morning is sunny and just a little warmer than we would want. The snow conditions are icy early on, turning to slush as the day progresses. The only difference to the days is that a little more brown landscape appears each dawn as the snow recedes slightly further.

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                                    Brown on white

Every weather app suggests this will continue for a few days yet. Despite everything, the skiing remains good for the most part. Piste Distolboden and the Punch Bowl were exceptional today. Only Wixi let the side down.

Another warm, sunny day brought 10,213 vertical metres in 21 lift rides and 58 kilometres travelled.

Is this the end?

The season has several weeks to run yet, and has been extended recently. It was colder too this morning and a chilly wind and a very light cloud kept the snow in good order for much of the day. However, there were few skiers on the mountain and the day had an end of term feel. I doubt it will be busy until Friday at the earliest. As good as it is to have an uncrowded mountain, for the sake of local businesses if nothing else, a few more skiers would be welcome.

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                                         Light cloud

We are never happy of course. It is too warm or too cold, too busy or too quiet. The perfect balance of conditions and number of skiers is different in each person’s mind and the best skiing day might be one of any number of days.

For me, today was a pretty good day bringing 9,213 vertical metres in 19 lift rides and 55 kilometres travelled.

Sunday calm

Saturday is a busy day in the Jungfrau region. Free skiing for children attracts families and ski clubs alike. Yesterday, a sunny Saturday, was very crowded Today, an equally sunny Sunday, was quiet The cable car was busy first thing, but by late morning the pistes were almost empty. Calm and tranquility reigned on the Wengen pistes.

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                          Towards Grindelwald

The current suuny weather is due to continue indefinitely, or so it seems, which is all well and good, but some fresh snow is needed urgently after the recent warm period. Otherwise, the season might melt away at an ever increasing rate.

A good morning and an okay afternoon (north facing pistes at least remained in good condition all day) brought 9,541 vertical metres in 21 lift rides and 57 kilometres travelled.

Wengen revived

After a poor day yesterday, this morning dawned bright, clear and colder than for a while.  An early start meant icy pistes, but frankly they were welcome after yesterday’s terrible weather.  You can never be sure at this time of year whether a Saturday will be busy or not, but the ski clubs and other locals decided it was still winter and the mountain was pretty full.

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                                                Blue skies

As the day wore on, the skiers thinned out and the snow softened. Wixi in the afternoon was a mass of slushy moguls. Still though the mountain had revived from yesterday’s disastrous conditions and there was good skiing to be had.

A sunny spring day brought 8,847 vertical metres in 20 lift rides and 53 kilometres travelled.