Which region will get the most snow? Will it be the region Kleinwalsertal / Bregenzerwald or the Swiss Glaner Alps? Both regions had around 140 centimeters of freshies the last couple of days and more snow is on its way the next 72 hours. We'll know who's the winner on Wednesday when the last flakes of PowderAlert #4 came down.
Storm Hiltrud pumped 50-140 centimeters of freshies towards large parts of the western and northern Alps, and now little sister Indira is on her way to add an icecold northern Stau to PowderAlert #4. Indira contains less moisture than Hiltrud, but it's that cold that little moisture is needed to drop the lightest fluffiest powder so far this winter on the north side of the Alps. Expect another 20-50 centimeters of freshies between Engelberg and Innsbruck. Let's hope that the snow from the last 96 hours will settle soon, so that we can benefit from the light powder that's still to come.
And what a huge difference with last week. We were drinking coffee under the palm trees of the Como lake in Italy, but right now it's full on winter in the Alps. The reports are coming in through the PowderQuest app and it seems like that every new report is deeper than the ones before!Click for more reports
Storm Hiltrud is the storm that started the winter in the Northern Alps. But Hiltrud didn't only bring snow, but also a lot of wind. And this leads to avalanches. A huge avalanche took the life of a 47-year old skier in the French resort Auron on December the 28th.
Very unstable snow cover
We warned you before for a very unstable snowcover. The weight of a single skier or boarder is sufficient to break the snowcover and trigger an avalanche. Going off-piste thus requires a lot of knowledge the next couple of days. Even more than in a 'normal' situation. If you don't have that knowledge, or when you don't trust your own decisions, please hire a ski and mountain guide, or stay on the slopes! If you go off piste, always carry an avalanche transceiver, shovel and probe with you. In addition, make sure you know your local avalanche bulletin and adapt your plans to it. Think three times before you follow other tracks and do not ride a line because others are already riding it. The situation at the moment is really dangerous! Winter is still young. What you can't ride today, you'll probably can later in the season. Be patient!
The wind really kicked in yesterday and the front Idira brought some wind to the northern Alps as well. This means that the avalanche situation is even more complex than before. Wind is the creator of avalanches and drift snow on an old weak layer is bad news!
Signs of wind this morning in the Serre Che
Cold Smoke Blower Pow!
Because of the proximity of the Atlantic, the snow in the Alps often is a bit sticky, sometimes wet, it comes with a lot of wind and the warm air is often pretty close. But sometimes .... sometimes then there is a type of snow that we know from Japan, Colorado and other regions in the Rockies, like Montana. Cold Smoke Blower Pow. This is very cold snow with plenty of air. Snow for which you take your powder snorkel out of the closet and that will give you faceshot after faceshot. Unfortunately there was no base in many places before Hiltrud presented itself and you will occasionally be scraping with your p-tex on the rocks. Also you can certainly not ride all the forests because there simply is no base, but on mountain meadows the riding will be awesome.
You can expect 25-50 centimeters on Thursday, locally even 75 centimeters of snow in the Stau regions of the northern Alps. When you continue towards the main alpine ridge, you'll notice that the amount of snow will decrease and it will even remain dry in some valleys. The map below clearly shows where the snow is going to fall. Today snow from Adelboden to Styria, but Tuesday and Wednesday snow especially for the east of Tyrol and the Salzburgerland. And the Vorarlberg. Kleinwalsertal or Glanerland? It is a neck to neck race.
The day starts sunny in the Arlberg
By that time it's already sunny in the western and southern Alps. It's less cold than in the north of the Alps where the temperature will drop significantly. If you want the most snow you'll have to go to the northern Stau regions in Austria and Switzerland.
The northern Stau will lose its grip on the Alps after New Year and this allows us to look to the west for new snow fronts. It's not quite sure what the exact current will be and the start of 2015 therefor is hard to tell right now. But hey, let's ride some powder during PA #4 and I'm sure that PowderAlert #5 will follow!
Enjoy the fresh powder and ride safe!