As always with a retour d'est turn the computer models are working overtime. The most depressions from the west neatly follow the path of the jet stream, but a Genoa low pressure area with associated fronts will make the models think hard. Fine tuning is more than ever in the details. And so I choose to regularly update the weather forecast during the day. And that means that you can find updates in this weather forecast during the day.
There locally was a lot of snow coming down last Friday and Saturday. Around 85-150 centimeters of freshies were measured above 2000 meters in the Gotthard, Bernina and in northern Lombardy, but also in the west and south of the Ecrins, north of the Piedmont, South Tyrol, west of Trentino, the heart of Switzerland and the areas in southern Tyrol and Vorarlberg were pretty good with 50-80 centimeters. The rest of the Alps had approximately 10-50 centimeters of freshies. Not enough to ride in the trees, but every centimeter counts and the conditions in the Alps are improving rapidly.
But ... unstable snowcover
There were as many as seven victims again last week due to avalanches in the Alps. We studied the snow cover the last couple of days and it still is very unstable. In many places there are weak layers deep in the snowcover and those can't be seen by the layman. We have seen avalanches of which the crown sometimes was over two meters high. And yes, that's pretty intimidating.
We made the decision last weekend to ride not steeper than 30 degrees above the tree line and sometimes below 35 degrees. Instead, we mainly rode powder in the dense forests of Livigno where there were no steep slopes above us. Because of this we were able to reduce the risks. But just because there was plenty of snow to have fun in the trees. We avoided even the more open parts in the forest as much as possible and when there was no other option we descended one by one in which it is important to wait until the person before you has arrived at a safe spot.
Off-piste is still dangerous at the moment . If you go the Alps the next couple of days, be alert. Choose resorts with trees and especially ride powder between the trees. Check your local daily avalanche bulletin, make sure you have the right gear with you and that you have the right knowledge. No knowledge? Are you not sure? Say no to off-piste and wait for conditions to improve.
Short term: Go west!
As expected, it was snowing in the pre-Alps of the Haute Savoie, Savoie and Isère, and because there is little movement in the atmosphere the front sticks around at the western parts of the Alps, causing it to snow heavily today southwest of the Ecrins and in lower mountain ranges like the Vercors. Yes, today it's even a powder day in the Vercors.
This front will be around until Wednesday and it will ensure continuous snowfall in the pre-Alps of the Haute Savoie, Savoie, Isère, Hautes Alpes and the entire western French Southern Alps. Until Wednesday 20-50 centimeters of freshies will come down, with the west of the Isère, Vercors and Hautes Alpes will get the most. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday will be powder days in:
Western Alps North (vooralpen Haute Savoie)
Western Alps Central (vooralpen Isère)
Le Retour d'Est
In the night from Wednesday to Thursday the front will move to the Po Valley. It will initially snow around Valberg and Isola 2000 and later (with a eastern current) you can expect snow between Alagna and the Piz Bernina. You can expect an average of 10-25 centimeters of freshies. In the eastern stau of theMonte Rosa and Simplon (Alagna, Macugnaga, San Domenico and Bosco Gurin) and the stau of the Bernina you can expect 30-50, locally 70 centimeters of freshies. Where the details are still able to shift the coming days.
Thursday, Friday and Saturday are powder days in:
From west to south to north west? The models tend to show snowfall from the northwest for Saturday/Sunday. But with the leering high pressure area and a return est...well, you never know what will happen. For now, I'll postpone the announcement for snow from the northwest...
More details later today...