Don't be afraid, the snow map above does not show all the snowfall. This is the snow forecast until Friday, while the biggest dump is expected in the night from Friday to Saturday and Saturday itself. But the trend on this snow map is correct. The west and south will receive the most snow in the coming days and the south seems to be the big winner. Something we often see with snow from the southwest. You can't really see anything on the maps at first, but the color change into yellow or red in the south later.
I expect that the map of Wednesday morning will show partly yellow colors and maybe even some red. The map above is a beautiful prelude, but more will come. Broadly speaking, the forecast of yesterday is still standing strong.
1. Norway and Sweden are ON! There is snow, a lot of snow is coming down and it remains cold. The days are longer and there is a lot of powder. A real adventure for anyone who normally drives on automatic pilot towards the Alps. We received the picture below from Pelle Larsson with the following text: Shredding Tandådalen (Salen, Sweden).
2. Storms Gunter and Felix bring the first dump towards the northwest of the Alps. First, some flakes will come down on the south side, but most snow will fall in the northwest. Expect 20-35 centimeters of freshies in the northwestern Stau of the French Northern Alps and the Northern Alps. This then looks like this, and I am assuming that the Savoie and Isère will also get 20-30 centimeters. The map below looks a bit pessimistic for those last two regions, but I expect some freshies over there as well. Immediately afterwards, the wind turns to the southwest again and it will get pretty warm quickly in the northern Alps. Also check out the Föhndiagram. A solid Föhn on Thursday and the prelude to storm Hermann.
3. Storm Hermann will arrive Thursday night and brings the second dump. This time snow for the west and south. On the night of Thursday to Friday it already starts snowing south of the Gotthard and Piz Bernina (or the Southern Alps central) and southwest of the Mont Viso and the Ecrins (or the western Alps south). This concerns a weak warm front that in particular will bring snow because of the trim against the Alps with a snow line between 1100 and 1500 meters. In the course of Friday the precipitation intensifies and especially around Isola 2000 in the French Southern Alps and Madesimo, south of the Gotthard and the areas south of St. Moritz the precipitation will be intense.
In the course of the night to Saturday follows a fierce cold front from the west. This will result in continuous snowfall in the first mountains of the Haute Savoie, Savoie and the Isère. The resorts in the Savoie, but especially the Isère and the north of the Hautes Alpes at higher altitudes will also benefit. I expect a lot of snow around Les 7 Laux, La Grave and Alpe d'Huez.
In the meantime, it's still snowing in the southern Alps central. The entire area between the Simplon and Brenner will be hit big time. It will continue to snow persistently and you can locally expect one and a half meter of freshies. At the same time the northern Alps might get some snow on Sunday.
Where to go?
You can ride powder in the northwest of the Alps on Thursday, but the temperatures may get too high. There's no snowfall in the south.
Friday will be a struggle. There is already a lot of snow during the day around Isola 2000 and south of the Gotthard, but it is not yet deep enough not to hit the hard base layer. Remember that it's almost one and a half month ago since the last significant snowfall.
Saturday is the day ... although, where can you find a significant base? Where you can ride in the trees? The skiable snow line in the west and south will be around 2000 meters. Yet I see opportunities around the Maloja, Isola and some areas in the Hautes Alpes.
Will there be a third dump?
It will remain cold after the weekend, the snow will come down regularly and the changes of more snow for the northern Alps are pretty high.
The next few days are going to be exciting, but I can already give you some advice:
Keep this weekend and possibly Monday and Tuesday free
Find some friends to ride with
Check out the avalanche bulletins
Make advance arrangements with yourself that you are going to ride safely despite all the powder stress
Wax up and put your gear ready
And leaving on Friday for the Alps is okay. But if you want to be sure you can leave before the dump and arrive on Friday. This will be a good one! More updates tomorrow!