The map above says it all. PowderAlert #11 is going to be deep. You'll probably know by now how PowderAlert #11 started. If not, check out my forecasted from yesterday. In the meanwhile, we could enjoy the goods from PowderAlert #10 and the reports came in on the PowderQuest app. Thanks for sharing everybody. The reports tell the real story of the PowderAlerts. We also get a lot of stuff posted on our Facebook page. What do you think of this ride in the Dolomites?
Get ready for PowderAlert #11. Wax up, start your engines and find your powder snorkel! It's going to be chin deep in the southern Alps and we're about to experience some overhead face shots.
It all started with Helga, the low pressure area that's sending an active front to the Alps. She'll do so in two steps. The first storm passes on Thursday and Friday. It will snow in the French southern Alps first. It will start snowing in the stau regions of the Ecrins and the mt. Viso in the morning and it will start not much later in the stau regions of the Mont Blanc and the Monte Rosa. The areas south of the Gotthard and the Engadin can expect their snowfall by the end of the afternoon. The precipitation will spread to the Dolomites, the French northern Alps and the western parts of Wallis. It will start snowing during the night in the areas north of the northern Swiss alpine ridge and west of the Arlberg. The sun will come out from the west (hopefully in time for the first stop of the FWT in Courmayeur, which you can follow with a live-stream here on wePowder), and it will still be snowing in the Dolomites.
I expect the next quantities of snow till Friday afternoon:
French southern Alps: 20-50 cm, locally even 70 centimeters or more. The snowline will be around 1000-1300 meters.
Southern Alps west: 15-40 cm, locally in the south 70 centimeters or more. The snowline will be around 400-900 meters.
Southern Alps central: 20-50, locally 70 cm. The snowline will be around 700-1000 meters.
Southern Alps east: 20-45, locally 60 cm. The snowline will be around 600-1200 meters.
Western Alps north: 15-40 cm in the stau regions of the Mt. Blanc, western Wallis and the south of Wallis. The rest will get 5-20 cm.
You can expect 5-20 centimeters north of the northern Alpine ridge and in the stau regions of the Arlberg. It won't be snowing further east.
It will start snowing again on Saturday morning. This time more from the south than from the southwest. This is caused by a temporary low in the Gulf of Genua, which will dump its snow in the complete southern Alps (including the French southern Alps) in the night from Saturday to Sunday. Especially the stau regions of the Ecrins (the French southern Alps), the stau regions of the Mt Viso (the central and southern parts of the southern Alps west), everything south of the line Monte Rosa-Gotthard-Piz Bernina (the southern Alps central) and the stau regions of the Dolomites, the Ortler, the Kärntischer Alps and everything south of the Hohe Tauern (southern Alps east) can expect a lot of snow. Right now I’m expecting around 30-60 centimeters of freshies, but regions such as just south of the Gotthard might even het 90 centimeters or even more. The snow line will be around 1000 meters and it will rise later on to 1200 meters. The freezing level will temporarily rise to 1400-1600 meters. The snow will get heavier on Sunday. So expect acummulations up to 150 cm in 4 days in those places where the storm will kick in really hard. And... there will be a northern kickback on Monday. It looks like 10-25 cm are in for he resorts north of the line Grenoble-Innsbruck.
The new snow will cause the avalanche danger to rise and I expect it to be HIGH (that’s 4 on a scale of 5) in many parts of the Alps. Fortunately, the avalanche situation stabilized a bit in a lot of regions in the Alps. But there are still regions that cause some problems. Some advices:
Avoid Wallis, Graübunden and Süd-Tirol. If you’re skiing there, stay below 2200-2400 meters to reduce the risk.
Avoid the higher alpine terrain in general. All parts of the mountain above 2500 meters will be dangerous because of the wind, corn snow and layers in the snowpack that doesn’t bond well.
Avoid ridges and couloirs. By doing this you’ll eliminate around 70% of the risk of triggering an avalanche.
In short: choose resorts with lots of larch trees this weekend and don’t ride any steep faces in the higher alpine. Always check your latest avalanche bulletin. Enjoy and don’t forget to share your reports!