PowderAlert #13: the details

By meteomorris on 29 January 2014 · 3

It started snowing in the French southern Alps and the Piemonte. You can spot the first flakes on the webcams of Isola 2000, Valberg and Limone Piemonte. PowderAlert #13 officially started. And again, it’s for the southern Alps, the part of the Alps that wasn’t exactly short of snow. But fortunately for the northern Alps, you can still find great powder there and a lot of reports came in yesterday.

But back to PowderAlert #13. The low pressure area Mayla is responsible for the snow coming from the south. Mayla is a so-called ‚Genua-low’ and those low-pressure areas always bring snow to the southern Alps and a Föhn-wind to the northern Alps.

Genua low 'Mayla'
Genua low 'Mayla'

If you have a look at the Föhn chart below, you can easily spot two different ‚events’ coming up. The first front is moving in from the south and will bring snow between today and Friday morning. It will snow intense in the southern Alps, and the low pressure area will cool down the temperature and the snow will fall deep into the valleys. But Mayla will loose her grip on the Alps in the night from Thursday to Friday.

The föhn chart

There’s a huge low-pressure area waiting above the Atlantic Ocean from Friday. The Alps will temporarily have to deal with a weak southern current and the incoming air in the southern Alps will be pretty warm, especially in the eastern regions of the southern Alps. The freezing level will go up to 1700-1900 meters on Saturday and Sunday. The temperatures won’t rise that much in the other regions of the southern Alps (southern Alps west and southern Alps central), because the warm winds can’t easily reach the colder valleys in the Piemonte.

One thing that the Föhn chart isn’t really showing that well is ‚event’ number three that’s about to happen in the night from Saturday to Sunday. A huge low pressure area is sending another front to the Alps on Saturday. Both GFS and ECMWF are forecasting that a new Genua-low will form, but they have different interpretations, so it’s not sure where the snow will fall exactly, because small shifts can have major consequences. If we want to believe the ECMWF and the Föhn-chart, than it will be epic in the Piemonte. If GSF will be right, than we have to go to the Dolomites on Sunday. I definitely have a close look on the outcome the next couple of days.

GFS versus ECMWF
GFS versus ECMWF

The forecast for the short term is pretty much the same as the one from yesterday. The biggest difference is the temperature that won’t rise that much in the west and that won’t (hopefully) be that much of a problem in the southern Alps east. You can expect the freezing level to rise temporarily to 1700 meters in the Dolomites, Carintiha and the Julian Alps on Friday and especially Saturday. The snow line will be around 1300 to 1500 meters. The snow will be pretty humid in the forests. It will be much colder in the Piemonte, Aosta and Lombardia, but they’ll get less freshies.

According to the latest runs, Saturday will be pretty warm and the temperature will drop again in the night from Saturday to Sunday with snow from the west. This is our advice for PowderAlert #13:

  • Southern Alps west: freshies from Wednesday till Sunday. A little bit warmer on Saturday.

  • Southern Alps central: freshies from Thursday till Sunday. A little bit too warm on Friday afternoon and Saturday

  • Southern Alps east: Epic on Thursday and Friday morning, the temperature will rise rapidly on Friday afternoon.

  • French southern Alps: freshies from Thursday to Sunday, especially in the southern regions and first Alps.

  • Isère: some snow on Thursday till Saturday. Especially in the first Alps and west of the Ecrins.

More details about where to ride will follow tomorrow, but right now I think the 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.

Stay stoked



  • SebJP
    SebJP op 30 January 2014 · 09:44
    Could you provide any informations about San Domenico ski area? If you say Piemonte - that would be a good place to go i think - but i`ve nver been there so far.
    thanks a lot !
  • Niels
    Niels op 30 January 2014 · 10:28
    @SebJP see here: http://wepowder.com/playgrounds/san-domenico

    But I think it is wiser to stay even further away from the warm south east.
  • richard1985
    richard1985 op 30 January 2014 · 16:58
    Bardo is awesome right now. Day 2 of dump and whats was searching (and finding great stashes) has now become everywhere u go (piste is 10cm fresh today. Low season so literally i only saw 10 or so people above the first set of lifts. Fogs set in but no issues in trees. Would have spoken up sooner or dome a report but WiFi proving hard to find. Video and pictures when i return to uk Monday.
    tree skiing all the way!


You need to be logged in to post a comment in this topic. Login or create an account.

Upgrade to wepowder Pro

  • Extended 14 day forecast
  • Slope angle and exposition terrain layers
  • Inspirational freeride routes
wePowder Pro