HIGH avalanche danger and snowline yoyo


By meteomorris on 6 January 2015 · 0

Loser via Powderquest App
Loser via Powderquest App

Fieberbrunn via Powderquest App
Fieberbrunn via Powderquest App

The reports above say it all. For fresh powder you should head to the east of the Alps. They locally had up to one meter of freshies and the sun is coming out today. Especially below the treeline and in particular between the trees the riding is very good. Above the tree line the wind was really strong and the situation is downright dangerous because of all the drift snow. And that applies not just to the east of Austria.

HIGH avalanche danger!

Because even in the rest of the Northern Alps, the situation is tricky (to say at least). The avalanche danger is at least considerable everywhere and locally even high (4 on a scale of 5).

High avalanche danger in the south of Tyrol
High avalanche danger in the south of Tyrol

And the avalanche services in Tyrol are holding their breath today. And I quote: 'Trotz des Schönwetters am morgigen Dreikönigstag bitte UNBEDINGT EXTREM ZURÜCKHALTEND im Gelände sein.' Above 2,100 meters it's extremely dangerous in Tyrol for laymen. The snow cover is very unstable and the behavior of some are raising questions at the avalanche services: „Die Ignoranz / Unwissenheit unerfahrener Variantenfahrer ist erdrückend!".

We've been saying this for two weeks already and probably the impact of the message starts to erode. But here we go again. There were already 16 fatalities due to avalanches this winter until now. As many as eight of them occurred last week. Main problems at the moment are fresh drift snow due to the wind the last few days and also weak layers deeper into the snow cover. Problems that you find especially above 2,100 meters. In large parts of the Alps you'll find a very unstable snow cover at the moment. If you go off piste, always wear 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 not just dive into a run because others are doing it as well.

The weight of a single skier or boarder is enough to disturb the balance in the snow cover and let avalanches rage down. Today even large spontaneous avalanches are possible. Off-piste thus requires a lot of knowledge in the coming days. If you don't have the right knowledge or if you do not trust your own decisions because you lack sufficient knowledge, hire a ski and mountain guide, or stay on the slopes!

Sunny day
Sunny day

Short term

It's sunny In large parts of the Alps and the last cloud that still hangs over the east of Austria, will move away later today. It remains sunny until Thursday and it's too warm for the time of the year. The freezing level goes up to 2200 meter during the day and it drops again during the night. It is the prelude to bad weather again, because a front is approaching the northern Alps from the west on Thursday afternoon.

Almost no clouds above the Alps
Almost no clouds above the Alps

Snow, rain and snow for the north

That's basically the weather pattern for this weekend. It won't be that good and think of a good Gore-Tex shell if you'll be in the snow this weekend. It's mostly sunny In the Southern Alps, with areas in northern Italy which are close to the main alpine ridge will see some snow on Friday and Sunday. I think it's still too early to announce PA #6. Until the details are completely clear, it might be possible to go out there from Friday to Monday. I expect to have the details on Thursday morning.

Northern Alps

  • Thursday: Sunny, cloudy later in the day and snow in the evening.

  • Friday: Snow (5-25 cm) and wind. Snow line between 1400 meters in the west and 1000 meters in the east.

  • Saturday: Warm, rain, snow and wind. Sometimes sun. In the morning the freezing level will temporarily be around 2700 meters and it will rain up to high altitude. Especially in the night from Friday to Saturday a lot of rain. In the afternoon cloudy and the temperature will drop slowly.

  • Sunday: Snow (10-40 cm) and wind. Because the wind is coming from the west it might take a while before the hot air is gone. During the day the snowline drops to 1500 meters in the west in deep into the valleys in the east.

Western Alps

  • Thursday: Sunny, cloudy later in the day and in the evening some snow in the French Northern Alps.

  • Friday: A single flake and wind. Also sun.

  • Saturday: Warm, wind and sun. In the night from Friday to Saturday a drop of rain or snow in the French Northern Alps

  • Sunday: Snow (5-15 cm) and wind. Because the wind is coming from the west it can take a while before the hot air is gone. During the day the snow line drops to 1500 meters in the French Northern Alps. It won't snow in the French Southern Alps.

Southern Alps

  • Thursday: Sunny

  • Friday: Sunny with later in the day some snow in the north of the Dolomites and Lombardia. Snow line around 1800 meters. The Piedmont and Aosta keep it dry.

  • Saturday: Warm and sun. In the morning the freezing level will temporarily be around 2400 meters.

  • Sunday: Snow (2-10 cm) in the course of the day in the north of the Dolomites and Lombardia.

Ultralong term?

Your snow dances seem to have an effect. Yesterday I wrote the following: And the rest of the Alps? Will it be okay in the French Southern Alps and the Southern Alps? A number of runs are showing some snow on their maps in the south from the 15th / 16th of January, but that's all still very uncertain. A snow dance will not hurt, I'd say;).

The last runs seem to confirm this image. A south west current will start next week (snow for the south), it will be cold right after and snow will start falling in the west and the north. Keep on dancing!

Where to go the next couple of days?

For the best snow you head towards the East. You can definitely find some good accommodation. Search around and you're sure to find something in the east that suits you.

More details on Thursday morning.

Stay stoked!

Morris


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