Powderalert#22, le Retour d'est

By meteomorris on 25 February 2013 · 0

An active low-pressure area is dominating the weather in the Italian Po-valley, the southeast of Austria and in Slovenia and this low-pressure area is causing a retour d’est. And that retour d’est is that big that it just doesn’t fit in PowderAlert #21 anymore. PowderAlert #22 is on!

40-90 cm of freshies in the south

The northstau that brought 20-40 centimeter of freshies in the Salzburgerland, Steiermark and Niederösterreich was moving south last Wednesday. It was able to reactivate itself and locally brought surprisingly big amounts of freshied. Slovenia got 60-90 centimeter of freshies, the Italian Alps 20-70 centimeter and even in Karinthia they got around 30-70 centimeters between Thursday and Saturday.

20-50 cm of freshies in Karinthia from Saturday to Sunday
20-50 cm of freshies in Karinthia from Saturday to Sunday

This snow in the south surely was a double hit. PowderAlert#21 resulted in cold and dry powder. You had to have some patience in some places to let the base get thick enough, but once it was there, it was on!

Snowfall between Wednesday and Saturday
Snowfall between Wednesday and Saturday

Genua low

The long expected Genua-low was forming on Sunday and started PowderAlert #22. A low pressure area named Thomas settled itself in the Gulf of Genua and firestarted southern to eastern current.

Genua-low Thomas
Genua-low Thomas

Cold and dry powder came down on Sunday in the Piemonte, Oberengadin, around the Monte Rosa, the Dolomites and the south of Tirol. The air is cold and all humidity is squeezed out of it. The result? Cold smoke blower powder…except for the snow that came down in Karinthia and the northeastern regions in Italy on Sunday afternoon. Warmer air east of the Genua-low was allowed to come in, resulting the snowline to rise and the snow to become more humid. But…the powder was still pretty good and we got a lot of reports on Powfinder from the southern Alps. The was a week not to be missed, as long you were in the right place on the right time.

Snowfall in the Piemonte last Sunday
Snowfall in the Piemonte last Sunday

It was deep on Sunday and not crowded at all in the family resorts in the south. And that’s quite a relief compared to the powder stress in the northern and western resorts in the Alps (word on the street is that Chamonix is already tracked before the snow even fell down). The south has larch trees, deep and dry powder and no crowds. Last weekend probably was one of the best weekends in the south this winter. And the best days are yet to come!

Second chance

If you happened to miss the snow in the south this weekend, here’s your second chance. Thomas will be around for a while and this results in more snowfall in the south on Monday…and the rest of the week. The northern regions of the Salzburgerland and Steiermark and the southern regions of Niederösterreich might get a little gift on Wednesday. But first the snow in the south. The retour d’est is hammering the southern Alps till Tuesday morning. You can expect another 30-70 centimeters. Thomas will loose its grip on the weather after that, will move east and will make way for some snow in the northeast of Austria. You can expect 10-35 centimeters in the northstau regions between Tuesday and Wednesday. The rest of the Alps will remain dry. And will be dry at least till the first weekend in March.

Powder advice

Monday: Piemonte (southern Alps west), southern Alps central and southern Alps east

Tuesday: Piemonte (southern Alps west), southern Alps central and southern Alps east

Wednesday: Piemonte (southern Alps west) and northstau regions Salzburgerland and Steiermark

Long term

The first weekend of March wil be pretty important. It will probably mark the change from winter to spring. February was cold with lots of snowfall, but March just might be warm. The distribution of pressure that determines the weather in the Alps is about to change. This weekend might be cold in the far east of the Alps with possibly some snow, but warmer air is waiting in the west to move into the Alps This will mean that the temperatures will rise around 10-15 degrees the next ten days and that the cold air will disappear in the first mountains of the Alps for sure. Winter will hold in the inneralpine areas, because the colder air just can’t be moved like that in those regions!

Temperatures are going up
Temperatures are going up

If you want to enjoy cold smoke blower pow deep into the valleys, go out there the next couple of days! You’ll have to prepare yourself for the last part of the winter by next week. This will mean that we’ll have to ride more and more powder in the higher alpine areas and less and less in the trees. This doesn’t mean that the treeruns are over (there’s a solid base and the snow will stay in good condition on slopes with a northern exposure), but time is ticking! Enjoy winter when you can and prepare for the final part of winter with couloirs, steeper terrain and different kinds of snow!

Stay stoked



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