It is warm during the day and on sunny on most peaks in the Alps, but the nights are cold and clear. It is dry and nature invites to go touring. Everything is tracked close to the slopes and if you want to ride powder there are two options. Either you could search for powder on mostly steep north faces or you can go out into the backcountry. Both come with dangers and risks though. A cold front will gently touch the Alps this weekend and that means lots of snowfall in the high alpine, but also lots of rain in the valleys. In this forecast:
- Lots of sun and mild
- There's still some powder (and spring snow) to be found
- Lots of rain and snowfall this weekend
Lots of sun and mild
High pressure in dominating the weather in the Alps the coming days. The sun was shining everywhere today (except in the east of Austria). The sun is getting more powerful and the snow cover on south facing slopes is getting heat up rapidly. The snow cover looses some of its humidity during the night and freezes again.
There's still some powder (and spring snow) to be found
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. Some steep north faces haven't been tracked as well, but I definitely want to warn you. You have to keep two things in mind. There's still a chance of dry snow avalanches between 2000 and 2800 meters, especially in the resorts in the main alpine ridge (thanks to that old weak layer of snow that's still present). The transitions from a thin to a thick snow cover (and vice versa), but also the pressure on the snow cover from a single skier, snowboarder or a group of them could trigger an avalanche. Be very critical in your decision making the next couple of days!
As said before, you also 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 is not HIGH (4 on a scale of 5) anymore, 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
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.
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Lots of rain and snowfall this weekend
The influence of the high pressure system will decrease this weekend. It might come back after the weekend, but that's not sure yet. What is certain is that the temperature will drop in the Alps. Don't expect to much from it, because the really cold air won't make it to the Alps. According to the latest calculations, the current is too far west to bring the cold air down south. Nevertheless, the temperature will drop with rain in the valleys and snowfall above 1500-1900 meters. I don't know the exact altitude of the snow line yet, that will follow next week. But you can expect some substantial amounts of snow in the high alpine. More details later this week!
Stay stoked. Morris