PA #19: The Piemonte again


By meteomorris on 19 March 2015 · 0

The sun came out in the Piemonte on Wednesday. And it came hard... It was not so much a race against the competition but a race against the sun. The higher the sun climbed, the warmer it was and descents that 15 minutes earlier were still pretty good, just could transform into wet junk in minutes. You really had to pay attention above the tree line. The wind did his job and you could see a lot of warning signs during the day. Spontaneous avalanches and a rising temperature pretty much summed it up.

But with the right knowledge and with right decisions you could ride until 14.00 o'clock without taking unnecessary risks. It was freezing on Wednesday night and it's sunny today in the Piemonte. It's sunny in the rest of the Alps for at least a week already.

Summary

  • You'll have to search for powder

  • Above the treeline locally lots of drift snow / windslabs due to heavy wind

  • Wet snow avalanches possible in the afternoon

  • Warm on Thursday

  • Cold air coming in from the east on Friday

  • It might snow in the complete Alps on Saturday with a high snowline

  • Snow in the western and southern Piemonte on Sunday

  • Dry again on Monday

  • Unstable again from Wednesday

PA#18 Aftermath

It was a nice alert. Deep powder, delightful tree runs and reports that pretty much say it all. The countdown to a new alert started, time to wax up again and make plans for the next trip.

l'Argentera
l'Argentera

Montgenevre
Montgenevre

Sestriere
Sestriere

Airolo
Airolo

#19 Powder Alert status (Sunday-Monday)

The maps already hinted on something we've seen the last couple of days. But there are two major differences. It will snow on Saturday in large parts of the Alps (above 1600 to 1900 meters) around 5-15 centimeters, where the snow line drops to 1000 meters in the night to Sunday. The snowfall will focus on the Italian Alps on Sunday and in particular the western and southern Piedmont. Because of the higher snowline , the fact that there is less snow and the surface layer will be hard, this will be a difficult weekend. I expect around 25-40, locally 60 centimeters, in the Piedmont and with a frozen surface layer it won't be super deep anywhere. For now, I expect the following scenario to happen:

  • Saturday snowfall at high altitude

  • Snowline will drop during the day

  • Sunday snowfall in the Piemonte

  • Treeruns in the Piemonte especially at the end of the day

  • Higher temperatures on Monday, but with the sun kicking in you can ride some nice lines in the Piemonte

A combination of tree runs on Sunday and nice lines in the high alpine on Monday / Tuesday seems to get the job done. Choose areas that have many northern faces, as it is the end of March already and the sun is getting higher. Where the sunrays can impact the snow cover directly the snow transforms from powder to porridge in a few minutes. Even the larch forests that are on southern faces don't offer any shelter. Northern faces are key to find good snow.

A PowderAlert is ON on Sunday and Monday in:

PA #20 Powder Watch status

If you do go to the south, we could have a look at the middle of next week as well. All still very far away, but ECMWF and GFS both hint at low pressure south of the Alps, which could suck the still cold air from the European continent in from the east and it could snow again in the Italian Alps. This should happen next Thursday-Friday, so we could launch a watch status for Wednesday-Saturday. If we look even further than that, at the end of March the wind might come from the northwest. But that's all still very far away.

The maps for next weekend are clear. But keep in mind that it's March and the window is small.

Stay stoked

Morris


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