In alpine zones, cold season processes, particularly those associated with snow accumulation and ablation, have a central role in ecosystem functioning. However, we know very little about soil carbon and nitrogen processes under the snowpack in these ecosystems, including the Tibetan Plateau. We conducted an experiment comparing three snow regimes (11 m x 1 m plots) of different snow depths and durations at an altitude of 4,100 m in the Minshan Range on the eastern Tibetan Plateau. The three snow regimes included a shallow and short duration snowpack (SS; depth <10 cm), a moderate snow depth and medium duration snowpack (MS; depth <20 cm), as well as a deep and long duration snowpack (DS; depth > 30 cm). This study explores the effects of different snow conditions on soil temperature, and further describes the sequence and timing of dissolved nutrients and microbial biomass carbon (MBC) and microbial biomass nitrogen (MBN) in soils under different snow regimes during the autumn-winter transition (i.e. November 7, 2008 - March 7, 2009). Three successive phases of temperature change were distinguished: I - initial decline - soil temperatures dropped steadily from 4[degrees]C to about 0[degrees]C at the same rate for all three snow regimes; II - moderate freezing - soil temperatures fluctuated between 0[degrees]C and -7[degrees]C under all three snow regimes; III - multiple freeze-thaw cycles took place in the SS and MS regimes, but permanent freezing occurred in the DS regime. Under moderate freezing, we found that soil temperature fluctuation was an essential factor for the transformation of soil C and N. Our results indicate that larger temperature fluctuations correlate with a greater increase in dissolved organic nitrogen (DON) content. Dissolved organic carbon (DOC) content increased markedly only under the most drastic temperature fluctuations. In contrast, MBC content increased significantly only when soil temperatures were relatively steady. Under the permanent freezing, only a large number of freeze-thaw cycles caused a significant decline of NO[^] -N and DOC concentrations. DON content declined markedly under permanent freezing and multiple freeze-thaw cycles. However, MBC content declined significantly only under permanent freezing. Ultimately, multiple freeze-thaw cycles resulted in the export of dissolved nutrients (organic and inorganic nitrogen) from the alpine ecosystem which had previously accumulated in the moderate freezing phase of the soil.