An independent guide to Val Thorens
Here you can find the latest Val Thorens weather and snow reports. We update the Val Thorens weather bulletins daily during the winter season. You can read the best, most local, accurate, and up-to-date weather forecasts.
This is the Val Thorens weather forecast, updated after 5.30pm each day during the winter season. See also our Val Thorens snow report.
Partly clear skies on Monday night. Minimum temperatures:
Sunny periods are possible in the morning, then cumulus clouds in the afternoon, with thundery showers.
0C at 3000m. The wind will be SE, 5-10kmh at 2500m.
The weather and snow conditions have a big impact on a trip to Val Thorens. Our 'good' winter weather comes from westerly systems, bringing us snow; and anticyclones, which produce sunny days, and cold, clear nights (often lasting for days). 'Bad' weather is usually associated with south or south easterly winds (see the Foehn section below). They carry snow to the Italian side of the Alps, but tend to be dry when they get to us - and all they do is blow the snow from Val Thorens down the Belleville valley. We hope the best Val Thorens weather coincides with your visit!
The past few years have seen rising temperatures, as the Alps warm faster than the global average. Surprising warmth in November means less snow for the start of the season; blazing springs see the snow melt at lower altitudes. Rather than letting highly unusual temperatures go unremarked, I'll note them here as they happen.
It has been a week of sunshine and very warm temperatures. Yesterday the Funitel Péclet was closed because of a problem with the plastic covers over the wheels on the pylons that the lift's cables run through: the plastic melted.
The Météo France bulletin for Saturday predicts temperatures of 25C or more at 1000m, 10-13C at 2000m, and 5C at 3000m. It says these are remarkable values, sometimes records for the season. It is not normal to be breaking temperature records year after year, and you have to wonder where it will end.
We've had some very cold weather for the last two or three days - overnight minimums of -20C or even colder. Polar air was reaching us here in the French Alps. Today, with south winds, it's about 20C warmer than it was a day ago.
The cold weather is thought to be connected with a heatwave in the Arctic. Usually, it's very cold around the North Pole at this time of year, and winds known as 'the polar vortex' stop the cold air escaping. As the temperature difference between the Arctic and the rest of the northern hemisphere reduces, the polar vortex may be weakening.
Siberia has been 35C above its seasonal average, and Greenland has had 61 hours above freezing already in 2018, which scientists have described as crazy, weird, and shocking.
The warm weather has continued all week, with June temperatures every day. It looks as though the temperatures will finally drop tomorrow.
The temperatures today, Saturday 8th April 2017, were (maximum) 24C at 1000m, 15C at 2000m, and 5C at 3000m - again, about right for the middle of June. Tomorrow, Sunday 9th April, we can expect 24C, 12C, and 4C. These weekend temperatures come at the end of another very warm week. If it was the odd day, it might be dismissed as a one-off, but it's day after day.
It's highly damaging for the lower resorts like Méribel and Saint-Martin, which already experienced a poor start to the season.
We've had extremely warm temperatures in spring for the last few years, but this is the first time I can remember June temperatures at the end of March and beginning of April. It must be getting to the point where there's no point in saying 'these temperatures are about right for June', because it seems the climate has just changed. But as the world is still pouring greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, it's likely that this is just the start of the change.
The second half of March has been very warm indeed, and it peaked on 30th & 31st March. According to Météo France in Bourg Saint-Maurice, we experienced temperatures about right for the middle of June. On Friday 31st March 2017, they forecast maximums of 24C at 1000m, 15C at 2000m, and 4C at 3000m.
Read the latest snow reports for Val Thorens, covering snow depths, quality of the snow, number of pistes and lifts open, 3 Valley links open, and avalanche risk.
Foehn wind blowing in Val Thorens
A Foehn wind is a dry, warm, down-slope wind, that occurs in the lee of a mountain range. It is also known as a 'rain shadow' wind, and as a 'snow-eater.' The Chinook is also a rain shadow wind, in north America.
Air is pushed up by the mountains on the windward side of the mountain range, and as the air pressure gets less, the air cools, and moisture in the air condenses and falls as rain or snow. As the dry air descends on the lee side of the mountains, it warms, and at a faster rate than it previously cooled, because dry air warms faster than moist air. (The dry adiabatic lapse rate is greater).
The word Foehn is German. It probably comes, distantly, from the Latin favonius, a mild west wind, and may have been transmitted through Romansh.
In Val Thorens, the Foehn is associated with S or SE winds.
The Lombarde is an E to NE wind which affects the areas of France bordering Italy, and blows out of the Lombardy region of Italy. It often appears in forecasts alongside the Foehn. It's likely that the Foehn affects Val Thorens more than the Lombarde.
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