Yes, Switzerland receives snowfall, especially during the winter months. The presence of the Alps in Switzerland ensures that certain regions of the country experience significant snowfall.
- The Swiss Alps are covered in snow in the winter months (November – April)
- Occasional snowfall occurs in the cities in winter
- Snow stays for longer in the mountains, while melting fast in the lowland
- Glaciers are often covered in snow and ice yearlong
- Snow is slowly disappearing with climate change
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Switzerland, with its dominating mountains, is a place that receives a lot of heavy snowfall each year. Mostly in the winter of course.
The Swiss Alps are always blanketed in snow, making popular ski resorts like Zermatt, St. Moritz, Verbier, and the Jungfrau region very popular for snow lovers the world round.
If you head to the mountains in Switzerland in the winter months you are guaranteed to see a lot of snow, especially if you head higher up in the mountains.
Lowlands and Cities
Beyond the mountains, Switzerland’s lowland areas and major cities, such as Zurich, Geneva, and Bern, also experience snowfall a few times a year.
For all the years I have been living in Switzerland, the amount of snow has been reducing. However, you can still expect to experience snow at least a few times each winter. It often comes later in the season during the colder months of January-March, but it can actually come at any time.
Duration and Intensity
In the mountainous regions, the snow season can start as early as late November and extend until April. However, the ideal of a white Christmas has been a big disappointment more recently with shorter ski seasons meaning less now in the Alps/
Of course, how long the ground is covered in snow depends on how high you go. So, some spots at higher elevations, like the Jungfraujoch, Engelberg’s Titlis and other 4000m mountains even retain their snow cover year-round.
Apart from the seasonal snowfall, Switzerland has a huge range of glaciers, such as the mighty Aletsch Glacier, the longest in Europe. These glaciers remain covered in snow and ice throughout the year and you can always expect to see “white” when you go to these places.
Climate Change Concerns
In recent years, there has been growing concern about climate change and its effect on the snowfall in Switzerland.
If you look at some interesting statistics on the impact of climate change on snow in Switzerland:
- Swiss glaciers have lost about 60 percent of their volume since 1850
- The number of days of snowfall has halved since 1970 for locations below 800 meters
In fact just a few days before I wrote this article, there was a record for the highest point where zero degrees was measured, just a few days ago.
What does this mean? That things are getting too warm and even on the tops of mountains in Switzerland everything is melting! Whereas normally it is frozen all year round.