PowderAlert #7: Go south!

By meteomorris on 22 December 2013 · 3

PowderAlert#7 (Source: [snowmaps](http://wepowder.com/forecast))
PowderAlert#7 (Source: [snowmaps](http://wepowder.com/forecast))

WARNING: The snowcover in the complete Alps is really unstable. The problem is caused by the base layer that's there since the autumn. A lot of avalanches came down after the most recent snowfall and this will probably the case with the next snowfall. If you're heading out, be alert. Check your daily avalanche bulletin, make sure you have the right gear and that you have the right knowledge. Not sure about your skills or knowledge? Don't go into the backcountry or hire a qualified mountain guide. Or just wait for the conditions to improve. It's a long season.


The warning above is there for a reason. We warned for these unstable conditions since the start of PowderAlert #6 and we received a lot of reports that the stability of the snowcover is pretty bad at the moment. Check the report below (PowderQuest) from Isola 2000, where you can easily see the cracks in the snowcover.

You can read these warnings as well in the local avalanche bulletins. The French describe it like this: 'L'importante couche de neige récente est encore mal stabilisée, elle adhère mal avec la sous-couche, composée souvent de neige sans cohésion.' That are a lot of words for: the snowcover is unstable everywhere.

The French southern Alps, the Piemonte, the Aosta, Lombardia and the first Alps of the Isère, Savoie and the Haute Savoie received the most snow. The far west of Wallis also got some freshies. On average, around 30-50 centimeters came down in the south, and in the far south they even got 70 centimeters. Up north the only got around 10-35 centimeters. It remained dry in the Swiss and Austrian northern Alps. The snow conditions in the south improved a lot and PowderAlert #7 will also bring a lot of snow to the southern Alps. The scenario of last Friday is still going strong.

  • Tuesday will mark the shift to PowderAlert #7. It will snow again in the southwest an Föhn in the northern Alps.

  • The precipitation will intensify in the southwest and the southern Alps. There will be a Föhnstorm in the northern Alps and the temperatures will rise there.

  • It will snow in the complete Alps on Thursday

  • The temperatures will rise again on Friday

Tuesday will mark the transition

The superstorm that I was already talking about is shown on the maps right now. The expected core pressure is 940 hPa (yes, that's 940 millibar) and that will make this one a storm to remember. The current is southwest and it will push a powerful front to the French southern Alps, the other regions of the southern Alps (that are the southern Alps west, southern Alps central and southern Alps east). It will start snowing in these regions, I expect 15-40 centimeters till Wednesday morning, but the real fireworks is still to come. The temperature will rise in the northern Alps and the temperatures may hit the fifteen or even eighteen degrees in some northern valleys in Austria and Switzerland.


Christmas Day: lots of snow in the south, a Föhn storm in the north

The front will kick in on Wednesday. The differences will be huge. It will snow heavily in the French southern Alps and the orther regions in the southern Alps with a snowline between 700 and 1000 meters. I expect around 50-90 centimeters, locally even 120 centimeters of freshies. It will start snowing in the other regions in the western Alps because of the incoming cold front and shortly after that the precipation will hit the south of Wallis (Zinal, Zermatt, Saas Fee, Simplon), the Gotthard (Andermatt), Engadin (St. Moritz), Mittelbünden (Davos, Disentis) and the most southern resorts in Tirol (the southern parts of the Otztal, Kaunertal, etc).

There will still be a Föhn storm in the northern Alps and the temperatures will be way too high. The storm from the south qill be quite heavy. Keep in mind that lifts in resorts in and north of the main alpine ridge can be closed because of heavy winds.

Föhn in the northern Alps
Föhn in the northern Alps

Snow in the complete Alps on Thursday

The cold air and precipitation will strike the complete Alps on Boxing Day and thus it will snow in the Swiss and Austrian northern Alps. Not as intense as in the south, but I still expect around 25-50 centimeters of freshies.


  • Tuesday: snow in the French southern Alps

  • Wednesday: still snow in the south, it will start snowing in the other regions in France and the resorts just north of the main alpine ridge

  • Thursday: snow in the entire Alps

  • Friday: watch out! Lots of freshies and weak layers in the snowpack!

Long term

PowderAlert #8 is visible on the maps already. It will Föhn in the northern Alps (again) and it will start snowing from the southwest.

Stay stoked



  • Powdernick
    Powdernick op 22 December 2013 · 13:59
    This is good good news, now how am i going to break it to my girlfriend and my mother who is over visiting for Christmas that im going skiing on Christmas day.
    Ski ya later.
  • meteomorris
    meteomorris op 22 December 2013 · 15:23
    @Powdernick, tell them this is the storm of the century... and promise them to bake them a taritflette for Christmas evening 😉
    May the powder be with you.
  • Powdernick
    Powdernick op 24 December 2013 · 09:52
    Got the green light. We are a go. Shredding pow Christmas Day.
    Ski ya later.


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