The weather will calm down in the Alps after a storm cycle of two weeks. It was snowing heavily on the north side of the main alpine ridge last weekend, but high pressure (and mild temperatures) kicked in on Wednesday. You can expect the same weather till the end of the week and you might expect some wet snow avalanches. You can still find some powder on north faces at high altitude, but you have to keep two things in mind. There's still a chance of dry snow avalanches above 2200 meters, especially in the resorts in the main alpine ridge (thanks to that old weak layer of snow) and you have to keep in mind that the sun is getting stronger. It's becoming that powerful that it will influence the snow on south facing slopes and the chance on wet snow avalanches will increase. Plan your day well! In this forecast:
- High pressure is dominating
- Mild days and clear but cold nights
- Off-piste: plan your day well!
- Long term: change in the models from next weekend
High pressure is dominating
A cold front that's getting weaker brought some high clouds to the western Alps on Sunday. It's still pretty cold in the east of Austria and will stay cold till Monday. The rest of the Alps already have to deal with mild air and it will be like that till the end of the week. The temperature will rise in the east of Austria as well on Tuesday and it will be mild in the entire Alps. The sun is strong and the clouds will disappear.
The days will be mild and sunny this week and the nights are cold and clear. That gives the snowpack the chance to loose some of its humidity.
Off-piste: plan your day well!
You'll have to go deeper into the backcountry because pretty much everything is tracked close to the lifts. You'll have to hike or skin to reach some untracked powder. You have to keep two things in mind. There's still a chance of dry snow avalanches above 2200 meters, especially in the resorts in the main alpine ridge (thanks to that old weak layer of snow) and you have to keep in mind that the sun is getting stronger. It's becoming that powerful that it will influence the snow on south facing slopes and the chance on wet snow avalanches will increase. Plan your day well! The avalanche danger will probably go down after the weekend, but that doesn't mean that it's completely safe. Avalanche danger rating 3 is more dangerous than you think. Read this article why.
Are you planning to ride off-piste? Keep asking yourself the next questions:
- Do you have the right knowledge?
- Do you (and the other riders in your group) have the gear (avalanche beacon, shovel and probe)?
- Have you read the local avalanche forecast?
- Do you know which parts of the mountain you have to avoid that particular day to minimize the risk?
If one of the answers is 'no', stay on the slopes!
Knowledge is key
It's been a complete disaster in the Alps last week, where avalanches claimed the lives of 11 skiers and snowboarders. Lots of people are still riding alone or without the right gear (avalanche beacon, shovel, probe). These are indications that those riders are short of knowledge. And knowledge is key. With applying the right knowlegde you can reduce the risk to the level of driving a car for one hour. If you don't have the right knowledge, than you're basically playing a game of Russian Roulette.
Discount on Mountain Academy
Want access to the most comprehensive online backcountry snow safety courses for skiers and snowboarders? Use code "ALTENMARKT1617", valid until the end of March, to get access for only 9€ (Reg: 29€). Go to Mountain Academy and start now!
Long term: change in the models from next weekend
The sun will shine this week. The models calculate some change in the weather next week. There could be some room for some precipitation. We'll see how that will develop the next couple of days. For now: plan your trip well and use a lot of sunscreen.
Stay stoked. Morris