The countdown has begun. Storm Hermann is on its way and since Thursday night (the night of Thursday to Friday) it's snowing in the Alps. Already in parts of the Southern Alps, but it will start a bit later in the northern Alps. The Alps will be sandwiched between cold air on both sides, and as a result everyone will get some freshies. All resorts are equal, but clearly some are more equal than others. Which resorts? You can check it out below.
Let's go through it step by step. It is then up to you to make a choice. But before I start, a warning for the weekend warriors among us. In the night from Friday to Saturday and early Saturday morning it will snow heavily in large parts of Switzerland, Austria and northern Italy and it will snow deep into the valleys. Both Switzerland, Austria and Italy are already subject to weather alerts or warnings. Handy to keep in mind. In addition, the SLF warns that the avalanche danger temporarily can go up to level 4 next weekend. Okay, that was our warning, now the snow in the coming days.
Friday: Snow from the southwest. On the night of Thursday to Friday the first snow will come down in the stau regions of the Piz Bernina and the Ortler and not much later in the west and it begins to snow south and west of the Ecrins. Until Friday night, the most snow will fall in these regions. You can expect 25-50, locally even 70 centimeters of freshies at midnight and the snow line will be around 1500 meters and will drop slowly but surely. Most snow will come down in:
Western Alps south (French southern Alps)
But pretty soon cold air is approaching from the west that pushes moist air to the pre-Alps and the first big mountains of the Isère, Savoie and Haute Savoie. Especially the Beaufortain, Aravis, Belledone and Chablais will get a lot of snow. You can expect 30-50 centimeters until Saturday. If you go deeper into the Alps, to for example Tignes of Valfréjus, you'll find less snow.
Alps sandwiched between two low pressure areas
Saturday: In the night from Friday to Saturday it is really on like Donkey Kong. The humid air is pressed towards the Alps by a low pressure area in the Po Valley and a low pressure area east of Germany. This creates a kind of sandwich with a current from the north and a flow from the south where the present moist air that hangs above the Alps is forced to snow empty. Does that sounds like music to your ears or what?
The sun will come out In the French Southern Alps on Saturday and it will be a powder day. Same story for the French Northern Alps. Although it will especially remain snowy in the pre-Alps, but even there a powder day. Especially in the pre-Alps and the Chamonix valley.
And then there are the southern Alps central (especially between the Simplon and the Ortler) where it started dumping heavily. Until Saturday morning you can expect around 50-100 centimeters and locally even more. But because it is still snowing during the day you have to ride in the trees. Remember that there are many places with no or only a limited base below the 1700-2000 meters. Around 150 centimeters of snow might came down by the end of Saturday.
Anyway, Saturday is a powder day in:
western Alps south (French southern Alps, especially south of the Ecrins and around Isola 2000)
southern Alps central (especially between Simplon and Ortler)
western Alps central (especially in the Belledone)
And other areas? Well, the front should then move on to the east and the snow will fall only on Saturday itself. This results in snowfall, poor visibility and very little freshies. You better until Sunday. Saturday will bring snow, but also poor visibility. And in the trees, there is not that much to do.
Because humid air from the south of the main alpine ridge strikes back and at the same time there is a northerly current generated there is a lot of snow in the main alpine ridge of Austria, but also of Italy. The quantities more to the north will be way less. I expect for example for Obergurgl and Hintertux around 70-90 centimeters of freshies while St. Anton and Fieberbrunn will only get 20-30 centimeters. Until the end of Saturday there will still be intense precipitation in the main alpine ridge and the sun will come out after.
Sunday: will be a powder day. The sun will come out everywhere. My advice:
Western Alps south (French southern Alps, especially south of the Ecrins and around Isola 2000)
Western Alps central (especially in the Belledone)
Western Alps north (especially in the Aravis, Beaufortain and Chablais)
Southern Alps central (especially between Simplon and Ortler)
Southern Alps east(especially between the Ortler and Grossglockner)
And the other areas? Well 10-30 cm is fine, but 50-100 centimeters and more is much better. Certainly in the trees.
Monday: starts dry, but later, there is snow from the west coming in.
II'm in the Southern Alps central and I'll continue to update you with updates, but mainly in the evening. We'll be riding powder during the day.