PowderAlert #12 finally brought a lot of freshies to the northern Alps. A lot of deep reports from the northern and northwestern Alps were uploaded on the PowderQuest app this season. Just think about that for a second. Twelve PowderAlerts and this is the first one for the northern Alps. I was in Munich the last couple of days and it was even snowing there. I was visiting the ISPO tradeshow and I always get a little bit sad when I can’t ride powder, but I met a lot of great people telling passionately about powder and how they use this forecast. Thanks for the stoke guys! It definitely made my day. Keep sharing your feedback and updates, because the weather can get pretty complex and this forecast gets better with your feedback. But now it’s time to have a look at PowderAlert #13.
PowderAlert #13 will be quite complicated in the southern Alps and that’s for three reasons:
PowderAlert #12 brought the first big dump to the northern Alps. Snow from the north results in a northern Föhn in the south. There were heavy winds in the higher alpine between Friday and Monday. Winds stronger than 6 Bft always lead to drift snow. With drift snow, the avalanche danger is rising immediately. There were four serious avalanche incidents in the southern Alps last weekend. Fortunately without fatalities, but the situation is still tense.
It will get warmer this weekend. The freezing level will go up to 1500-1900 meters in the southern Alps, especially in the southern Alps east. The freshies that will come down will fall on a thin layer of surface hoar, that could form because of the nice weather.
Check out the meteogram below for the southern Alps east. Rising temperatures with lots of precipitation.
Western and northern Alps
You can find great snow in the western and northern Alps today, even though you’ll find some problems deep in the snow cover. The picture shows a location close to Davos and was taken by the SLF. They’re testing the stability of the snow cover with a so-called ‚shovel-test’. If you know a little bit about layers in the snow, you’ll immediately spot the 4-50 centimeters thick layer of sugar snow deep in the snow cover. You can’t see it with the naked eye, but this layer could cause problems. So always check your local avalanche forecast.
Just add the wind and the temperature rise and you’l know it’s not the easiest PowderAlert form a safety perspective. Check out the föhn-chart below. A southern Föhn means a strong wind from the south and rising temperatures in the north. The wind will cause extra drift snow to form the next couple of days and combined with the rising temperatures, that will make the snow cover pretty complicated.
What will PowderAlert #13 look like. And where should you go the next couple of days. The sun came out from the west and Tuesday will be sunny and cold. The fireworks will start tomorrow. A strong low pressure area is moving in from the southwest through the Gulf of Genua towards the southern Alps. A Genua-low will bring snow in the southern and western Piemonte and the resorts close to the border with France (we’re talking about the southern Alps west). The far south of the French southern Alps can expect a lot of snow as well. It will be pretty cold and it will snow deep into the valleys.
The snowfall will expand towards the rest of the southern Alps in the night from Wednesday to Thursday. The snow line will rise to 500-700 meters. It will snow in the southern Alps central and the southern Alps east and it will keep snowing and snowing in the most eastern regions of the southern Alps east.
The freezing level will rise rapidly on Friday and especially Saturday and this will be the strongest in the southern Alps central and the southern Alps east. Especially the regions that had lots of freshies will see the temperatures go up the strongest. The freezing level will go up to 1900 meters and the snow line will be between 1300 and 1500 meters. The snow will get really humid. The western Piemonte will be much colder, but they’ll also have less freshies.
Saturday will be pretty warm and it will get colder again in the night from Saturday to Sunday from the west. This is my advice for PowderAlert #13:
Southern Alps west: woensdag t/m zondag verse sneeuw. Ietsje warmer op zaterdag
Southern Alps central: donderdag t/m zondag. Vrijdagmiddag en zaterdag iets te warm
More details about where to ride will follow tomorrow, but right now I think the western Piemonte will be the region to go to. Colder, larch trees and freshies. If you ride in the trees, the avalanche risk is lower than in the high alpine and you’ll ride great pow. More tomorrow!