PA #9: up to 80 centimeter of freshies

By meteomorris on 30 January 2015 · 1

PowderQuest report
PowderQuest report

Everybody was complaining about the lack of snow, but it's probably a matter of days before the first complaints that there's too much snow will come in. Somehow this reminds me of the avalanche winter of 1999. This also began weak and meaningless, until January 26, when the snow machine was switched on. Big time. In three storms more than 5 meters of snow came down in less than a month. We are not there yet in the Alps, but we've got a stormy period with lots of fresh snow ahead of us.

The snow cover is back at its normal level
The snow cover is back at its normal level

In short, it is ON. More visitors on the website, more reports on the PowderQuest app, but also more messages in my inbox. And most of the time, you're all asking me the same questions. Where exactly do I have to go, have you got secret tips, where should I go next week, etc.. Relevant questions. Especially when you're about to go to the Alps, but let's face it, the questions aren't really unique.

PowderQuest report
PowderQuest report

PowderQuest report
PowderQuest report

wePowder is a fast growing community and together we have a lot of knowledge. Knowledge that grows every day as we learn more every day, but also because there are new members every day with new knowledge. We can help each other. Ask your question online. Below in the comments or on the forum. I try to answer most of the questions as quickly as possible. And besides me there are many more wePowder with extensive amounts of knowledge that are willing to help.

Of course everyone will have his secrets that you would rather not share. In addition, some areas are already overflowing with riders so that the snow is normally already tracked before it even touches the ground. The challenge is to find the balance between sharing and protecting. Indeed, there are quite a few small areas that could use our support. Once you chose a region or destination you go on powder trip. The one time to an area that you already know, sometimes to an unknown area. All dictated by the circumstances. Where will the snow fall, what about avalanche danger, who are going there, are there plenty of opportunities to ride powder as much as possible with minimal risk? It's your choice. Are you not sure, ask your question on wePowder and many answers will follow. Well ... back to PowderAlert #9.

  • Up to 80 centimeter of frehsies in 36 hours

  • Superstorm Mischka = N-O-R-T-H-W-E-S-T S-T-A-U!

  • Centimeters count

  • Where to go?

  • HIGH avalanche danger

Up to 80 centimeter of freshies

Mischka came in with a bang. In the night from Wednesday to Thursday it started snowing in the northwest of the Alps and on average about 30-70 centimeters came down. Locally on Friday morning even about 80 cm of freshies and there's more coming. The measuring stations around Engelberg, Ovronnaz, Martigny, Portes du Soleil, Chamonix, Flaine and La Clusaz reported 30-65 centimeters of freshies in 24 hours. Nice amounts. Certainly for the Northern Alps, where it snows more often than in the Southern Alps, but where the quantities per dump normally are smaller than in the Southern Alps. In addition, large parts of the northern Alps already had about 40-110 centimeters last week. Most of that snow came down in the pre-Alps.


Superstorm Mischka

Storm Mischka has arrived. A storm that will determine the weather in the Alps until the end of next week. With three cores of each 970 mbar deep at first, but from Friday as a single core based above the North Sea. Where the current yesterday and especially last night was pretty west and almost the entire French Alps had fresh snow, it will shift to the northwest the next couple of hours. But not before the snow fronts hit the Southern Alps East. The front that brought snow in the western Alps then hits the Alps again, and it will bring snow especially south of Grossglockner and around the Kärntische Hauptkamm and the Alpe di Gulia (expect 10-35 cm, locally even 50 cm of freshies).

PowderQuest report
PowderQuest report

Cold Smoke Powder Alert

Due to the more northern current the snow machine in the French Southern Alps, with the exception of the Hautes Alpes, will be switched off, slowly but surely, while in the area between Grenoble and the Arlberg it will snow even a little bit harder. Colder air is still flowing to the Alps and the snow will become drier. On Saturday cold polar air is taking over and we get into a rhythm of the cold front. The sun might come out now and then in the main alpine ridge, but it will also snow again. At the same time it will keep on snowing in the pre-Alps of the Isere, Savoie, Haute Savoie, Lower Valais, north of the main alpine ridge, Voralberg and the Arlberg. Perhaps the most beautiful flakes coming down. Super dry and light. And the best part is that this will continue until Monday / Tuesday and after that we can count the centimeters.

Let's count centimeters!

Will we reach 200 centimeters? I think so. We already locally have around 80 centimeters and the machine is still switched on. Until Saturday night I expect the following amounts of snow and until Tuesday you can add another 30-80 centimeters to that.

Where to go?

For this weekend, the maps are clear. Go west or go north west. A lot of snow already came down and there is more to come. This weekend will be a weekend for some great tree runs. Forget the parts above the tree line. Way too dangerous. Choose areas with trees where there are no steep slopes above you!

Avalanche danger 4 (HIGH) in the west
Avalanche danger 4 (HIGH) in the west

Problems on the roads

Saturday is traditionally a so-called 'changeover' in the French Alps and the local authorities will do everything possible to keep the main roads open. However, it can (and probably will) be that certain roads will (temporarily) close due to avalanche danger. Are you driving that direction this weekend check the actual road conditions in advance. For France, check out Bison Fute and the TCS website for Switzerland. It is also good to keep an eye on the site, so that you are aware of current weather conditions.

Closed (parts of) ski areas

Besides road closures also (parts of) ski areas will be closed due to avalanche danger. Inform yourself before your departure about the conditions to expect in your local area and adapt your plans to it.

No knowledge = on the marked slopes!

With such amounts of fresh snow it can be very dangerous in the backcountry. Stay on the marked slopes and that's definitely not a punishment. There is so much snow that you can also ride freshies on the slopes. Please check if the slope isn't closed. If it's closed, it's closed for a reason.

Knowledge? Go for treeruns that aren't below steep faces

If you're going to the Alps the next couple of days, be alert. Check your local daily avalanche bulletin, make sure you have the right gear with you and that you have the right knowledge. With the right knowledge, it is still possible to ride beautiful tree runs. The avalanche danger is expected to be less high lower in the valleys and as long as you choose tree runs that are not under below steep faces you ride with less risk. Be alert while in open areas, trenches and so-called avalanche chutes.

No knowledge? Are you not sure? Say no to off piste and wait for conditions to improve. The season is still long.

Stay stoked!




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