Will there be a PA #19?

By meteomorris on 18 March 2015 · 0

It was ON for three days in the Piedmont. On average, they got around 70-100 centimeters of freshies at 2000 meters, in some regions 100-130 and locally even 159 and 162 cm. Not a bad score in three days time. Especially when you consider that it's been spring in Austria for days.

But on Tuesday, you already felt the sun in Sestriere burning through the clouds. That wasn't a surprise. We are in the third week of March and the sun is getting stronger by the day. If today (Wednesday) the sun will win this battle from the clouds, the freezing level will rise rapidly.



  • It was deep in the Italian Piemonte

  • The sun and higher temperatures will return on Wednesday so you'll have to go higher

  • lots of drift snow and wind slabs above the treeline due to heavy winds

  • More wet snow avalanches later on the day

  • Warm on Wednesday and Thursday

  • Snow again from Saturday

PA#18 Aftermath

Three days of powder form three different angles. Sunday was cold and the snow that came down was really dry. You don't have that many opportunities to ride powder that dry and that deep in the Alps. At the end of the day there was certainly about 80 cm of very dry powder full of air. In the night to Monday it began to storm. The snow became more compact but it was still snowing steadily. You could notice the transformation of the snow immediately on Monday. Because this was less loose and you felt more resistance it was time for longer boards and super wide skis. Float was needed to keep up and not to stand still somewhere in the trees. And even then you had to look for steep faces. But that was only possible in the dense forests, because the wind did his job in the higher alpine. The temperature rose on Tuesday. Even more resistance from the snow cover and too risky for children. Before you know it they drowned in the snow. You could really feel the temperature getting higher. Although it still snowed slightly on Tuesday, it was nothing compared to the days before. The last three days were awesome and I wonder what Wednesday will bring.

It will be sunny in the entire Alps on Wednesday and Thursday and temperatures will rise considerably. The freezing level will go up to 2400-3000 meters during the day and will cause many wet snow avalanches. Even in areas where they had a lot of snow the last couple of days, the temperature leave its mark. The avalanche danger in the Piedmont has been HIGH the last three days (4 on a scale of 5), and Wednesday and Thursday will be no different.

Monte Rosa
Monte Rosa

Monte Rosa
Monte Rosa

#19 Powder Watch status

The maps hinted on a repeat of what we have seen the last couple of days on Monday already, but my doubts were and are mainly with the temperature. The upcoming snow fall will also be a lot less intense, but the spread of snowfall will be a lot bigger, so it won't just snow in the Piedmont. Also the western Alps seem to benefit from this snow fall, but the exact path is not clear yet.

Due to the higher snowline, the fact that less snow will fall and the fact that it's really warm on Wednesday and Thursday in the Alps, it will be a tough weekend. I expect around 25-40, locally 60 centimeters and with a frozen layer beneath it won't be super deep anywhere.

I expect this scenario:

  • Emerging and intense snowfall at high altitude in the Piedmont and western Alps on Saturday

  • Temporarily colder on Sunday and tree runs in the Piedmont especially at the end of the day

  • Warmer again on Monday

A combination of tree runs on Sunday and touring in the high alpine on Monday/Tuesday seems to be it. I hope to tell you more details on Thursday.

Stay stoked



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