A very strong high pressure area has settled itself above the Alps and keeps any form of storm activity at bay. Mild air is transported towards the Alps with a southwestern current. It is sunny because of the high pressure, but it is very mild for the time of the year during the day. It will be mild until the end of this year and 2018 will be recorded as the warmest year ever measured in the Alps since the start of the measurements.
It was also very warm last weekend. It rained to an altitude of 2000-2400 meters in large parts of the Alps. The promised drop in temperature for the Northern Alps followed on Monday, so that a white Christmas could start there yesterday.
Those who woke up at a altitude higher than 900-1200 meters in the northern Alps east of Engelberg on Christmas Day were rewarded with fresh snow lower in the valleys. But those who woke up more to the west and had days with rain up to 2200 meters high will have wondered whether it was really Christmas or rather late April. There was a reason that PowderAert #4 was only valid for the northern Alps and for to the northwest of the Alps. Please also read 'where to go during Christmas?' and you can see where things went wrong for the western Alps.
Rain up to very high altitude with Christmas, it fits the 18-year long trend of global warming that raises questions and hopefully some thinking. Even the POTUS isn't that sure anymore and the warming is no fake news anymore ([source](https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/oct/15/itll-change-back-trump -says-climate-change-not-a-hoax-but-denies-lasting-impact)). Let's hope it will be flake news again.
Then there is still the question of whether what we can do about that, but let's try to answer that question later.
First of all, I wonder what your answer would be and why? A nice question for Christmas and the start of 2019. If you answer the question and share your findings, would you be so kind as to mention your sources? In recent years, I have enjoyed the openness and honesty on which we have already held various discussions and talks at wePowder. Even in bad times. I hope that is possible with this topic as well so that we can learn from each other. Thanks in advance!
The map above says it all for the coming days. High pressure area Hugo is located above the Alps, keeps precipitation at bay and ensures sunny days and clear nights on the mountains. With the influx of mild air from the southwest, it is (and remains) very mild during the day. The freezing level fluctuates around 2900 meters in the western Alps and around 1500 meters in the far east of the Alps during the day. This will be like this in the coming days.
Despite the high temperatures, there is certainly still powder to be found. The sun is at its lowest point so that shady slopes between northwest and northeast keep the snow fresh and cool. Even if it is as warm as it is now. This is because the air humidity is very low and therefore there is no heat that can pull itself into the snow cover on shady slopes. It will be harder to find fresh snow close to the slopes. You need to start hiking or go touring. The guidance of a professional guide will certainly help!
The right knowledge is more than useful when you're riding off-piste. Always check your local avalanche forecast and adjust your plans to it. (Tip: on wepowder you will find a link to the local avalanche forecast at each village, but you can also visit this page).
You can find the best snow in the east of the Alps. The cold air arrived here and these regions got the most snow.
It is already sure that the west and south of the Alps will not see any fresh snow until the end of 2018. That it remains mild is also a certainty. Even large parts of the northern Alps it will remain mild and dry this year. It is possible that (eastern) Austria will still have snow in the last days of 2018. The east in particular got the right cards. But whether this is going to be an amount worth a PowderAlert is not sure yet. The models are too uncertain the last 48 hours to say something about it. I hope to give you more information later in the week.
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For now applies: sunshine and mild weather, powder on (higher) northern slopes and some hiking or skinning. Christmas has been worse in the past. Enjoy it!
Stay stoked, Morris