PA#4: It's snowing in Austria! Snow on its way to France!


By meteomorris on 4 January 2017 · 5

It's already snowing on the north side of the Alps, but the wind is pretty strong. That wind will get stronger when the cold front approaches the Alps later today. First on the north side of the Alps, but in the night to Thursday, especially on the south side of and in the French Alps. The wind won't be that strong in the pre-Alps in Austria and Switzerland by that time and it will keep on snowing over there. The conditions in the resorts north of the main alpine ridge in Switzerland and Austria will rapidly improve from Thursday. But what about the resorts in the French Alps and the resorts south of the main alpine ridge? In this forecast:

  • It's snowing on the north side of the Alps
  • Lots of wind
  • Thursday, Friday and Saturday will be powder days
  • Still uncertainties for the weekend
  • Long term: good perspectives for France

It's snowing on the north side of the Alps

An occlussion front reached the Alps. As a result it's snowing on the north side of the Alps.

Snowfall in Lofer
Snowfall in Lofer

And snowfall in Loser
And snowfall in Loser

It's already snowing according to some measuring stations, but the big dump is still to come. It's hard to see on our snow maps, but you'll have to believe that it will really start snowing on the north side of the main alpine ridge tonight.

Check out the forecast page for the expected snowfall per resorts, but also have a look at the 'snowfall around 2000 meters' list. It will give you a fair overview of the snowfall.

Snowfall around 2000 meters the next five days
Snowfall around 2000 meters the next five days

You can expect 40-80 centimeters of snow coming down on the north side of the main alpine ridge until Tuesday morning. It will come down as loose powder between the trees, but the wind will influence the snow that's falling in the high alpine. Don't expect any snowfall in most resorts in the French Alps, but also in the ski areas in the north of Italy.

Lots of wind

The wind will kick in before and during the passage of the cold front on the north side of the Alps (but also south of the French Ecrins). This will result in horizontal snowfall in Austria and Switzerland. When the cold front has passed it will really start to snow in the northern Alps. The wind won't be that strong anymore (especially on the lower parts of the mountain) and you can expect heavy snowfall. A strong Föhn will kick in on the south side of the main alpine ridge.

Strong wind in the northern Alps on Wednesday
Strong wind in the northern Alps on Wednesday

Strong wind in the southern Alps on Thursday
Strong wind in the southern Alps on Thursday

The snow that's coming down right now is being transported by the wind, but it will fall smoothly on Thursday, simply because there's less wind. Exceptions are the resorts in or close to the main alpine ridge, like Sportgastein, Kaprun, Hintertux, etc. The wind will be pretty strong over there.

Main alpine ridge
Main alpine ridge

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 and 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.

Still uncertainties for the weekend

The European model is more positive than the American model if you love fresh snow. They forecast quite a lot of snow for the northern Alps again this weekend. The American model isn't that positive. I'm stuck in the middle and expect it to snow from time to time in the eastern Alps.

Long term: good perspectives for France

The weather models are on the same page again after the weekend. The current turns to the north to northwest, and we can expect a lot of fresh snow again. PowderAlert #5 is coming up 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. But when will the snow for the French resorts come down? According to the European model that will be after the weekend, but according to the American model we'll have to wait for the snow to fall in the French northern Aps till the end of next week. Anyway: finally a good perspective for the French northern Alps!

Snowfall from the 10th of January for the French northern Alps?
Snowfall from the 10th of January for the French northern Alps?

Or from the 12/13th of January?
Or from the 12/13th of January?

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


  • Chamscot
    Advanced
    Chamscot op 4 January 2017 · 14:51
    Hi Morris. Finally some good news, we have been considering bringing the mountain bikes back out from the UK. Do you have any estimates of snow levels? I am based in Chamonix? I know I am being a bit impatient here as I am sure they will pop up soon. but excited for snow!

    Love this site, cheers for all the work!
  • tarekbayazid
    tarekbayazid op 4 January 2017 · 15:06
    Hi Morris, thanks again for the update. What do you think of Krippenstein for this weekend? I can only ski Saturday + Sunday. Clearly a lot of snow coming down there, but not sure how deep the base is. I've heard you need a lot of snow there to make everything skiable. Could also do Dachstein West, although from everything I've heard, Krippenstein is THE place in that region.

    Thanks
  • tackle
    Tourist
    tackle op 4 January 2017 · 15:15
    Friday what is the best powder resort closest to Italian ridge (Brennero); Stubai?
    All you can eat!!!!!
  • shreddy_krueger
    Beginner
    shreddy_krueger op 4 January 2017 · 15:49
    @tarekbayazid Krippenstein is still closed for skiing, it might change the next days but the routes down to the valley will be tricky.
    Here´s the link to this info: http://www.dachstein-salzkammergut.com/en/winter/news/news/news-detail...
  • tarekbayazid
    tarekbayazid op 4 January 2017 · 16:26
    Thanks a lot Shreddy Krueger. I just called the Lodge am Krippenstein and they said they expect skiers to be allowed up from friday onwards.

    Looking at Bergfex, they're calling for a ton of snow there today and tomorrow. You don't think skiing down to the valley will be okay if that forecast turns out to be true?

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