It's been snowing again in the northern Alps since Tuesday and there is more fresh snow coming down today (Thursday) and Friday. The weather temporarily calms down on Saturday, but a new depression pops into the Alps from the northwest on Sunday. The avalanche danger is now HIGH to EXTREME in the northern Alps. Snowmageddon has entered a new phase.
The avalanche danger in parts of Styria, the Salzburgerland and Lower Austria is EXTREME (5 on a scale of 5) since Wednesday. These areas have thus become a NO GO for your storm chase. There is an acute threat to public life with avalanche danger 5. It's better to chase powder elsewhere. There's a code red for large parts of Austria. Do not just get into the car to steer towards the areas with the most snow. Do not just get in the car and drive towards the areas with the most snow (in the forecast). More and more areas have closed parts of the ski area or are completely closed. But those who are well informed and who make the right choices can experience very deep days. And that include NOT going to Styria and Lower Austria.
Mild air will make an attempt to reach the northern Alps on Sunday the 13th. This can temporarily cause rain and wet snow. The result is that warmer and heavier snow will fall on a cold snow cover. A far from perfect situation that will temporarily will further unstable the snow cover. The result is a huge avalanche activity.
According to current calculations, an active front is heading into the Alps on Sunday afternoon. Especially from that moment on it will become critical. The exact timing of the front is not yet known. The weather models might change a bit, but you'd better be warned now than too late.
But it is not Sunday yet. There is still plenty of snow in the forecast (with very low temperatures) for the northern Alps on Thursday and Friday .
Especially Thursday, Friday and Saturday become legendary. A real cold smoke blower pow alert. A lot of air in the snow makes the white carpet so light that you can score faceshot after faceshot. Although Saturday is a little warmer, it is mainly a silence before the storm. Friday and Saturday become powder days in:
PLEASE INFORM YOURSELF:
Have fun during your storm chase now and/or the coming days. Keep thinking! Do not let powder panic take over, read avalanche forecasts, talk to experts and ride conservatively. Oh yes ... and have fun. It does not always have to be really steep.
Are you a novice storm chaser? Have little to no knowledge of the dangers outside the slopes? Then be sensible and do not defy fate unnecessarily and postpone your plans until a later date.
The avalanche danger is HIGH (and locally even EXTREME) in large parts of Austria (source). The avalanche danger in the east and central part of Switzerland has risen to HIGH.
In short, check your local avalanche forecast every day and adapt your plans to it. The advantage of such a large amount of snow is that it eventually will settle. Once the snow mass has been consolidated, it could provide a very stable base layer for the rest of the season. But there is certainly no question of a stable snow cover right now.
A 16-year-old boy was the victim of an avalanche in the Arlberg area on Wednesday. He was off-piste with his family and had no avalanche beacon, shovel and probe with him. The avalanche situation is very critical. Snow has already claimed 10 fatalities since the start of the new year. Seven in Austria and three in Switzerland.
Common sense and the right knowledge can also ensure the most beautiful and unforgettable powder days in this period. Avoid the ski areas with mainly terrain above the tree line. Again: don't ride above the tree line, it's simply too dangerous! Ride powder between the trees and avoid large open and steep sections. Even steep sections above a forest are dangerous because avalanches can reach far into the trees. Do not choose the deepest destinations and do not forget to have fun. But keep thinking! Knowledge is the key, but powder panic is not.
When you have no idea what all of the above is about, please stay on the slopes now and invest in your knowledge. Mountain Academy is the ideal start of your search for the right knowledge. You can start right away here.
Friday and Saturday will be great powder days, but Sunday can be a difficult one. The temperature is rising, the wind is getting stronger and the snow is temporarily turning into rain in the valleys on Sunday afternoon and in the night to Monday. Keep an eye on the coverage so that you can make the right choice for Sunday.
A cold front follows in the night to Monday. The mild air disappears and the storm is capped with cold smoke blower pow. Monday and Tuesday will be powder days in:
Snowmageddon hasn't ended yet. There are more storm depressions on the maps for the northwest and north of the Alps in the long term. There is no signal yet in the models of snow of significance for the southern Alps.
As wePowder Pro you get access to the 14-day snow and weather maps and the 14-day forecast per resorts (we've got all the resorts in the Alps covered). You never have to miss a dump anymore. When you are wePowder Pro you also have access to 1000+ inspirational freeride routes in the most beautiful freeride areas of the Alps. Sign up as wePowder Pro today. It works great for your karma as well and you'll support the development of the wePowder platform! Thanks!
Stay stoked, Morris