PA#25: VERY HIGH danger of avalanches

By meteomorris on 17 March 2013 · 0

Powder in[Risoul](
Powder in[Risoul](

It’s on, it’s deep and the conditions are dangerous everywhere in the Alps! PowderAlert #25 is pretty much turning the Alps upside down! PowderAlert #24 brought cold temperatures and snow to the northeast, but it’s time for the southern Alps and the western Alps right now! The weststau regions in the northern Alps will follow on Monday afternoon and Tuesday morning.

Avalanche danger 5

French southern Alps. The Pelvoux already had 30-40 centimeters on Sunday and you can expect another 40-70 centimeters in the complete French southern Alps till Monday night. This makes up for a total of 40-90 centimers, locally even more than one meter. As a result, the avalanche danger in the Alps will be VERY HIGH in parts of the southern Alps (something that happens once or twice a winter) and some cols are closed for traffic.

Avalanche danger 4 to 5
Avalanche danger 4 to 5

VERY HIGH means avalanche danger 5, an extraordinary risk on avalanches. Spontaneous avalanches are possible and these may cause catastrofical damage.

Powder advice

  • French southern Alps. Check if the lifts are open. Avoid the higher alpine. If you chose to ride in these tricky conditions, go for the trees in terrain that’s not so steep (and that aren’t below steep faces). Stay on the slopes! Avoid couloirs, gullies and open fields. If you don’t have any knowledge, wait till Tuesday or Wednesday until the snow stabilized a bit. Best periode: till Thursday.

More snowfall

The snowfall will expand into the other regions of the French Alps and the complete southern Alps. You can expect a lot of fresh snow till Monday night and the snowline is dropping and dropping.

Snow in the western and souther Alps
Snow in the western and souther Alps

There are warnings for the French Isère, the avalanche danger in the French northern Alps will go up tomorrow, there’s a code red for the Swiss kanton of Ticino where they are expecting around 20-40 centimeters deep into the valleys, there’s a lot of snow expected in the Karntischer Alps and the Italian Piemonte, Lombardia and the Dolomites can expect a lot os snow as well. Impressive list right? The snowline will be pretty high in the eastern regions at first, but will drop on Monday afternoon. As a result, the avalanche danger will rise rapidly and the avalanche danger will be considerable (3) to high (4) the next 48 hours. Check your daily local avalanche bulletin here on wePowder and adapt your riding!

Powder advice French northern Alps and western Switzerland

  • Western Alps central. Monday - Friday. Freshies till Thursday. Pick the resorts with trees.

  • Western Alps north._ _Monday - Friday. Freshies till Thursday. Pick the resorts with trees.

  • Northern Alps west. Especially the western and southern resorts in Wallis will be really good from Monday to Friday. Freshies till Thursday. Pick the resorts with trees.

Powder advice southern Alps

  • Southern Alps west. Monday - Thursday. Lots of freshies on Monday. It will be really cold.

  • _Southern Alps central. Monday - Thursday. _Lots of freshies on Monday and Tuesday morning. It will be really cold.__

  • _Southern Alps east. Monday - Thursday._ Lots of freshies on Monday. It will be really cold.

Southern föhn will drop

The föhn was strong in the southern föhn valleys in Switzerland and Austria on Sunday. That strong that most of the top lifts were closed (temporarily) and the temperature in the valleys went up to 12 degrees. A big difference between two PowderAlerts. PowderAlert #24 brought cold temperatures and lots of freshies to the eastern parts of the northern Alps. PowderAlert #25 started with high temperatures and föhn. There’s lots of triebschnee in the higher alpine. I expect the föhn to drop completely when the cold front from the west will kick in.

Cold front from the west
Cold front from the west

But….a true northern aspect of this front is missing and there won’t be a real stau. You can expect 10-15 centimers (locally 20 centimers) till Tuesday morning. The western winds will move some of the snow.

Exceptions: the western stau regions of Austria and the Glanerland

There are two regions that sort of have a stau going on with a front from the west. Those regions are the Glanerland in Switzerland and the western regions in Austria. The barrier Silvretta-Arlberg-Klein Walsertal is pretty well-known. Check out the map below. The lined peaks are causing a western stau, so this region always gets a bit more snow. You can expect 20-40 centimeters of freshies till Tuesday morning.

The western stau Silvretta-Arlberg

Powder advice northern Alps

You'll have to search for powder, but...

Northern Alps central. The Glanerland on Tuesday morning and even better….the weststau resorts of the Silvretta-Arlberg. If you have time, go to the southern Alps.

Long term

The western current will be there for a while and it will bring more snow to the western and northwestern Alps on Wednesday and Thursday. The long term seems to be warmer, but more chances of snow in the western Alps from Saturday/Sunday (we’re talking about March 23rd/24th).


Lots of freshies the next 36 hours, and it will keep snowing in the French northern Alps and the west of Switzerland after Tuesday. The Salzburgerland and the Steiermark are the losers of this PowderAlert. If you go to any other region, you’ll just have to get some pow the next four days.

Stay stoked



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