PA#4: Big dump for the northern Alps! (and great news for the French northern Alps)


By meteomorris on 3 January 2017 · 8

It's been snowing lightly north of the main alpine ridge in Switzerland and western Austria since Monday night. On average 2-10 cm of fresh snow came down, but they got 10-15 cm around the Arlberg. But that was just the start. The storm from the north really kicks in on Wednesday and you can ride powder north of the main alpine ridge in Austria and Switzerland on Thursday. And there's more to come. The chances that the French northern Alps will (finally) get fresh snow after the weekend are increasing. In this forecast:

  • Some fresh snow for the northern Alps today
  • It will start dumping on Wednesday
  • Thursday, Friday and Saturday will be powder days!
  • Not sure about the weekend
  • Long term: more snow for the northern Alps (and yes, that includes the French northern Alps)

Some fresh snow for the northern Alps today

It's been snowing lightly in the north of Switzerland and western Austria since Monday night. The webcam images are white again this morning white and it was time to get the snow shovels out for the first time this winter!

Kleinwalsertal
Kleinwalsertal

This man almost lost his job
This man almost lost his job

Between 2-10 cm and locally even 10-15 cm came down. Certainly not enough for a powder day, but definitely good to get your eyes used to a white landscape again. The further south you go (French Alps, Swiss Valais, Ticino and Engadine, Carinthia and East-Tyrol and northern Italy) the less snowfall. There was no precipitation at all south of the main alpine ridge.

Snow forecast next 120 hours
Snow forecast next 120 hours

It will start dumping on Wednesday

Storm Axel is sending cold and humid air to the north of Switzerland and Austria on Wednesday. The snowline will drop deep into the valleys and you can expect around 40-80 centimeters of fresh snow in just 48 hours. And that's even more on the highest peaks. The wind will be strong on the peaks of the main alpine ridge in Austria and Switzerland and on the peaks of the Swiss northern alpine ridge.

Storm Axel
Storm Axel

It will keep on snowing until Thursday night / Friday morning. I still expect the most snow to come down north of the Swiss northern alpine ridge, in Vorarlberg, Kleinwalsertal and the resorts at the border with Tyrol and around the Hohe Tauern with the center of gravity in the Salzburgerland, Styria and Ober- and Niederösterreich.

Thursday, Friday and Saturday will be powder days!

There's 40-80 cm in the forecast for the northern Alps of Switzerland and Austria. Why isn't there a PowderAlert for the complete northern Alps? The answer is simple. Please realize that there's no such thing as a base below 2000 to 2500 meters in most parts of the northern Alps. The base that's still there in the high alpine is either hard (because of the rain up to 2400 meters earlier) or consists of sugar snow. Be aware of rocks, branches or other sharks!

I'd ride powder on alpine meadows without rocks, branches on Thursday. Due to the lack of a base there's no PowderAlert for the complete northern Alps, but you can certainly ride powder with the right knowledge in the Northern Alps Central.

The PowderAlert is for the Salzburgerland, Styria and Ober- and Niederösterreich. The combination of a good base + fresh snow in the forecast is enough for a PowderAlert for the Northern Alps East from Wednesday/Thursday. And even though the holidays are still going strong in Europe, you can still find plenty of accommodation in this region to ride some great snow for a day or four. Think about resorts like:

The conditions will improve in resorts such as Obertauern and Kaprun, but the wind will be something to keep in mind in those resorts.

Not sure about the weekend

Our snow maps are excited about the weekend, but the pressure distribution maps of all the major models are showing high just pressure on the north side of the Alps. Is there a spike in our snow maps, or are the other models wrong? We'll know it tomorrow. Right now I expect it to be quite sunny and that we can get ready for the second dump after the weekend (PowderAlert #5).

Long term: more snow for the northern Alps (and yes, that includes the French northern Alps)

The models totally agree on what will happen after the weekend. The current turns to the north to northwest, and will bring huge amounts of snow again. I can already tell you that PowderAlert #5 will be ON soon, probably after the weekend. There will be a base in Tyrol, Vorarlberg and northern Switzerland by then and it's time to ride powder over there as well!

There's still no such thing as a base in the French northern Alps, but according to the last calculations that region will finally get their base for the rest of the season. And it was about time.

In short: a PowderAlert for the northern Alps east. And even though the holidays are still going strong in Europe, you can still find plenty of accommodation in this region to ride some great snow for a day or four.

Next update tomorrow!

Stay stoked. Morris

Comments


  • Hummingbird
    Tourist
    Hummingbird op 3 January 2017 · 11:19
    Thanks so much for the forecast.

    Are there any signs of snowfall for Italy/Schweiz, for example Cervinia/Zermatt in the near future?

    Thanks again for the lovely community.
  • AdamStekl
    Advanced
    AdamStekl op 3 January 2017 · 12:44
    Thanks for the forecast Morris, I just love it when Sumava -CZ (Spicak or Grosser Arber) gets yellow.
  • MaxGroppfeldt
    Advanced
    MaxGroppfeldt op 3 January 2017 · 16:12
    Looking at the current snowmap and the top 10 snowfall resorts one thing stands out.

    Zillertal & Kaprun - Zell am Zee has a huge variation between expected snowfall at the top vs 2000m. In the other resorts this is not the case? Do you have any information of why this is the case?

    Cheers!

  • SweetSnowsports
    SweetSnowsports op 3 January 2017 · 19:00


    Despite lack of natural snow Courchevel 1650 is skiing pretty well at the moment!
  • caluchko
    caluchko op 3 January 2017 · 22:13
    MeteoSwiss is predicting a significantly high amount of precipitation for Leysin (31 mm water equivalent) compared to nearby spots. Any idea why this might be the case? I'd love to find a secret anomalous snow dump but perhaps that's wishful thinking.
  • MartinVorel
    Tourist
    MartinVorel op 4 January 2017 · 12:11
    @MaxGroppfeldt - it is because the height difference between highest point and 2000m point in Zillertal and Kaprun is much bigger than in any other listed resort..
  • meteomorris
    Tourist
    meteomorris op 4 January 2017 · 13:11
    @Hummingbird No. Maybe at the start of next week, depending on if the jetstream turns more west.
    @MaxGroppfeldt Zillertal and Kaprun are in the Main Alpine ridge and get less snow on 2000 meters compared to the resorts in the pre Alps which get most of the snow during a Nordstau. In other words the next few days there is more snow to expect on the lower parts of the mountain in the resorts in the pre Alps compared to the resorts in the Main Alpine ridge.
    May the powder be with you.
  • Jamesh
    Beginner
    Jamesh op 4 January 2017 · 13:36
    Hey Morris, Happy New year. I'm flying to Milan for 4 days on Jan 19th. I Was going to take my group to Alagna in Monte Rosa but based on the forecasts where would you go within a 3 hour drive of Milan Malpensa on Jan 19th?????? Stay stoked dude.

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