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Snow time?

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Visakhapatnam
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Snow time?

We were in Switzerland last year during summer. This time we want to experience in winter with snow fall. What time of the year does the snow start to fall in Switzerland (say in places like Murren and Lauterbrunnen)

Colombo, Sri Lanka
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1. Re: Snow time?

Gosh, you want a LONG TERM weather forecast? That there will be _some_ snow is sure but whether it's enough for good ski? No one can tell :-)

Most chances for snowy weather, aka High Season, are December to February. But depending on the altitude to which a ski area extends skiing might, or might not, be possible from October to May...

All the best,

<Erik> & [Sandya]

Garmisch-Partenkirch...
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2. Re: Snow time?

Hi vs_hi,

I've skied the Jungfrau region 4 times, and I can tell you that there is just NO way to tell in advance.

There is a world famous ski race held in Wengen every January, and about 7 years ago (cannot remember exactly), there wasn't enough snow and they had to cancel the race.

The last time I skied the area (2007), I scheduled it for February to make sure there was snow -- and there was, but not loads of it. The ski instructor found the best snow every day, but it wasn't all that easy because of the light snowfall.

The best places for sure snowfall are Zermatt and St. Moritz because they are at higher altitudes.

I'll also say that, in Germany, the schools close down for one week in February, and all the families (ALLLLL of 'em, lol) head to the mountains to ski. I don't know if Switzerland has the same thing, but it's worthwhile to check it.

So, I would plan for a holiday in late February, and pray for the best!

s

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3. Re: Snow time?

The OP doesn't mention skiing - snow seems to be all they want. You can get snow up in the mountains (above about 1500 m by mid December usually but almost definitely by early January. Most mountain villages below 1500 m will almost surely have snow in January as well. It's very hard to predict snow off ski hills - the weather is fickle. Most ski resorts make snow once the temperatures are cold enough so if you visit a ski resort there will almost surely be snow by mid-December but it could be man-made if it is a bad year for snow. If you wait until February it is almost guaranteed anywhere over about 1000 m. Snow is the cities such as Zurich, Lucerne, Bern, etc. doesn't usually last all winter on the ground - it often gets too warm in between snow falls.

The problem with most ski areas is getting a hotel for a stay of less than 5 or 7 nights as they have minimum requirements during ski season. The closer to February, the more likely the minimums will be required and certainly over the Christmas and New Year holiday.

Edited: 01 August 2012, 08:42
Garmisch-Partenkirch...
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4. Re: Snow time?

Oh, thanks for that note, km -- I didn't notice that.

Then, let me add this --

That Feb in Wengen (1272m), there was no snow in the village at all. I was quite disappointed. Lauterbrunnen is at 796m, and there is even less chance of snow there.

So, my advice is the same -- I would plan for late February and hope for the best --

Or go to Zermatt or St. Mortiz!

s

Anchorage, Alaska
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5. Re: Snow time?

I have to agree that to be assured snow that is easily accessible if not on the ground in the village, head for the high resorts such as Zermatt, St. Moritz, Verbier, etc. They all sit well over 1300 m. so are much more likely to have snow than Lauterbrunnen or Gstaad etc. I ski Zermatt the end of Jan and early Feb every year and there are some years when there is way too much snow in the village and others when there is just some snow but plenty on the mountians around the village. As a non-skier, you can access the mountains very easily by using the ski lifts (they are gondolas etc. that run in both directions or the train up to the top of one area) so you can go up and play in the snow, have lunch on a deck in the snow, go sledging, etc.

Zurich, Switzerland
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6. Re: Snow time?

There are actually about 65 of ski regions than just the mentioned ones: myswitzerland.com/en/interests/adventure-spo…

Just mention a few others:

- Davos/Klosters (Grisons), though do not go there on January, since then a lot of military/police you will meet on the street since all the business and politcal leaders from all over the world will meet there on the annual WEF meeting.

- Arosa (Grisons), the hidden Swiss/Zurichois champ

- Laax/Flims (Grisons), the snowboarder's eldorado

- Lenzerheide (Grisons), great easy sking area

- Lenk/Adelboden (Bernese Oberland), just around the corner of Lauterbrunnen/Wengen

- Engelberg (Central Switzerland), with Mt. Titlis

- Andermatt (Central Switzerland), new huge resort under construction next to St. Gotthard and financed by an Agyptian

... just to mention a few, I rather prefer cosier ones, not overrun by tourists ;-), but with steep and interestings slopes.

----------

Regarding school holidays: In Switzerland, the main responsibility for education and culture lies with the cantons. They coordinate their work at the national level.

So, it is not really a problem on the Swiss side, though it can obviously have impact. Check the dates here (only in German, but dates are still readable anyhow ;-) : http://www.edk.ch/dyn/15213.php

Midland, MIchigan...
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7. Re: Snow time?

I just happen to see a Rick Steves Christmas video over hte weekend, where he and his family were in Gimmelwald during Christmas. From the video, there seemed to be more than plenty snow, and it seemed like a winter wonderland.

Visakhapatnam
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8. Re: Snow time?

Thank you kileysmom and swandav! Like last year, you have once again provided valuable inputs for planning my trip. Will keep your suggestions in mind and will include St Moritz and Zermatt.

I said Lauterbrunnen and Murren because I was nostalgic and wanted to return there (which I will too).

Anchorage, Alaska
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9. Re: Snow time?

I rather imagine that the snow in Gimmelwald could have been man made as they would have wanted to show Christmas with snow....it may have been a good year and "real" snow as well of course.

St. Moritz...
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10. Re: Snow time?

I think what vs hi - and many others who live in warm places - would want is to see SNOWFALL, as this adds to the experience, not just snow on the floor and on the hills. This however is really unpredictable. Here in the Engadin St. Moritz area, it usually is snowing in December, but last year with a long autumn, it arrived later only as well.

The images with snow at Christmas could have been take two years ago, when it was haevily snowing in the northern part of the Alps.

As for accomodation: Engadin St. Moritz is not strictly applying the one-week only rule - if ever just over the Christmas-New Years holidays. Mostly weekenders from the cities fill the accomodations if weather and conditions are good, thus you should be able to find something also on short notice.