This is an archive of the old forum

News | Gear | Ski Areas | Hiking | Mountain Biking
Powered by Google™
Posted: 07 November 2011 09:17 PM  
Jr. Member
Total Posts:  48
Joined  2009-10-09

The snowline seems to be all over the place in the Alps. In the south it is under 2000m yet in the north it seems to be closer to 3000 meters. I would have thought it would be the other way round. In the 4 meter thread in the east of the southern alps it is 1600 meters, in the west 2000 meters, why?

The south seems to be getting a huge amount of snow.

Posted: 08 November 2011 08:44 AM   [ # 1 ]  
Total Posts:  2234
Joined  2003-10-24

I think it is due to the foehn wind.


as the air descends the less side of the mountain it is warmed by compression, it is like a heat pump or reverse fridge. So for the same altitude you can get a 5C difference between the two sides of the valley.

Posted: 08 November 2011 12:19 PM   [ # 2 ]  
Jr. Member
Total Posts:  33
Joined  2005-02-26

Could it have anything to do with this. Cold airs ability to accomodate moisture is less then warm air’s. When air risese it will cool off and therefore shed off moisture (it starts snowing when it’s cold enough). The air coming down (in this case on the north side) is relatively dry (because it allready lost most of it’s moisture). I think this explains partly the difference in snowline. An other factor is in my opinion that in these conditions it is simply colder on the south side! Remember that a ‘foehn’ feels often like a warm wind on the north side. What do you think?

Posted: 09 November 2011 10:13 PM   [ # 3 ]  
Total Posts:  24
Joined  2008-02-05

I drove to Aosta Sunday, via Switzerland.  The difference either side of the Gr. St Bernard was mightily profound.  On the Italian side of the Matterhorn / Mont Blanc ‘chain’ there have been big rainstorms moving north, and looks like getting blocked from heading any further.  I think it’s them thar moun’ns creating the split…

Actual skiing on the Italian side (Cervinia) delayed until Friday, on account of them needing to dig out the lifts and do bombing.  No probs Zermatt side.