The northern Stau for the eastern Alps is standing strong. But it's definitely not a classic Stau from the north that will cover the complete northern Alps with snow. The snow line will go up and down and the precipitation will come down as snow and rain. Only the resorts east of Innsbruck will maybe (yes, MAYBE) get enough snow to launch a PowderAlert for the northern Alps east in the middle of next week. The biggest uncertainties: the strong wind, the amounts of snow coming down and the existing snowpack. In this forecast:
- Mid-term: a 'northern Stau' in two phases
- Long term: a real storm?
- Short term: touring and freeriding in the French southern Alps and the Italian Piedmont
The 'northern Stau' in two phases
You don't have to expect a white Christmas in Austria, but some snow will come down on Tuesday the 27th of December in the northern Stau resorts in the Salzburgerland and Styria. But the snow won't come down easily. There's a lot of wind on the maps for the 27th of December. And I mean a lot of wind, maybe even too much. It will be raining in the valleys on the 25th of December. That isn't something to get too excited about. Maybe some things will change the next couple of days, but it is how it is right now.
- December 24th: Storm Antje sends a cold front toward the Alps. It will snow lightly the whole day on the north side of the Alps. The snow line will be around 1200-1500 meters. The sun will be shining in the rest of the Alps.
- December 25th: The warm front of storm Barbara reaches the Alps. The snow line will climb during the day towards 2000 meters or even higher. In the rest of the Alps, the sun is shining and it's unusually mild.
- December 26th: Monday will start warm, mild and sunny in large parts of the Alps. An exception is the north side of the Alps where a cold front is knocking on the door. The cold front is at its strongest in the evening and the night to Tuesday. It will snow heavily in the northeast, but the wind will be very strong (as in: gale force winds on the peaks and perhaps even stronger). In the rest of the Alps, the sun shines and it is mild.
- December 27th: some snow will come down in the morning, but the wind will be very, very strong again. The following days will be sunny (thanks to the high pressure area) and mild (except in the eastern Alps).
Long term: a real storm?
There finally is a real storm on the maps for the beginning of 2017. When this actually happens we can say goodbye to almost six weeks of high pressure without snowfall and high temperatures. Something in the atmosphere should change in the week of the 2nd of January and we can get ready for lots of PowderAlerts. Finally...
Short term: touring and freeriding in the French southern Alps and the Italian Piedmont
Do you want to ride powder next week? Your best options are the French Southern Alps and the Italian Piedmont. A lot of snow came down last week and you'll find the best conditions in the Alps over there right now. Check out the footage shot in the Queyras from yesterday of our French editor Sandra.
Some advice on where to ride powder the next couple of days:
- Via Lattea, Sestrière/Pragelato: The eastern parts of Sestrière normally has less wind
- Via Lattea, Sauze d'Oulx: you can find some trees up to 2300 meters on north faces. You'll find a base above 1900 meters and maybe you could ride between the trees.
- Prali: no base below 1800 meters, use the groomed slope to get back to the valley (40 cm in the village right now).
- Bardonecchia, Jafferau/Bardonecchia 2000: Great conditions above 2000 meters, but lots of wind. It's never really steep.
- Bardonecchia, Melezet: You'll probably find great snow above Chesal.
- Monte Rosa, Alagna/Gressoney: great base above 2000 meter.
- Limone Piemonte: Pay attention: no base before this dump
- Prato Nevoso: Pay attention: no base before this dump
- Montgenèvre: good base above 1800 meters, but they had lots of wind
- Valfréjus: good base above 2000 meters, but they had lots of wind
- Isola 2000: good base above 2000 meters, but they had lots of wind
- Bonneval sur Arc: good base above 2000 meters, but they had lots of wind
- Val Cenis: good base above 2000 meters, but they had lots of wind
- Abriès: good base above 1800 meters, but they had lots of wind
- Champorcher: great base and lots of fresh snow
Avalanches: instable snow cover
Because of the snowfall, the temperature, the wind, the old layer of surface hoar, old layers in the snowpack or the hard top layer, the new snow bonds pourly with snowpack. The avalanche danger has increased from LOW to CONSIDERABLE or even HIGH. Check out this article again and adapt your plans to it.
Stay stoked. Morris