PA #21: Powder at Easter and HIGH avalanche danger

By meteomorris on 30 March 2015 · 0

Snowfall the next 4 days
Snowfall the next 4 days

And we just thought that spring had already begun, but the jet stream had a different idea. PA #21 has been postponed until further notice due to hurricane winds, lots of snow and rising temperatures. Especially Tuesday seems to get extremely dangerous in the Alps. After Tuesday, the cold weather returns.

You can see on the jetstream animations that the Alps are still primarily in the cooler air, but warmer air is coming in on Tuesday and the jetstream is to go to the northeast. And with the jet stream running right across the Alps is a guarantee for depressions and heavy storms.


  • Over 2 meters of freshies are expected northwest and north of the main alpine ridge this week

  • The snowline will rise till Tuesday, but will drop right after

  • The snowline will be the lowest in Austria, the highest in France

  • The wind will be quite strong pretty much all the time

  • Avalanche danger to 4 (HIGH)


Until Tuesday: hold your horses

Although it's snowing like crazy Monday (30-70 cm of freshies in the northwest and north of the Alps) and the snow line drops from 1800 towards the 1200 meters or lower, it is better to wait. The warm front that storm depression NIklas is sending to the Alps will pass on Tuesday and the snow line is temporarily going up to 2200 meters in the west and to 1500 to 1700 meters in the east of the Northern Alps. Only when Niklas fires its cold front to the Alps in the night to Wednesday, the time has come to get ready for PA #21.

More snow deep into the valleys from Wednesday

The cold front really kicks in on Wednesday and we'll hit the jackpot. Snowfall deep into the valleys and problems on the roads. Particularly in Austria it will be a challenge. The snowfall will expand to the west on Thursday to cause some mayhem on the roads over there as well.


Heavy wind means drift snow and windslabs above the tree line, but also in the open fields in forests. It then becomes difficult to ride somewhere off-piste where it's safe and only with sufficient knowledge you are able to filter out the risks and make the right call. Not something for laymen to do. Realize that there is not a base in the trees in most places and tree runs with steep faces above you are dangerous. But with some searching the right tree runs can certainly be found in parts of the Northern Alps.

Northern Stau until Easter?

I'll tell you on Tuesday/Wednesday where to go for PA #21, but it is certainly going to be deep. Possibly even really deep, because there's even snow on the maps in the weekend of Easter. I can write a lot of words, but I'll keep it short:

  • Wax up

  • Hold your horses

  • Don't even think about riding above the treeline

  • Knowledge is the key to safe powder

  • Austria and the east of Switzerland will be the jackpot destinations. It will be colder over there and treeruns will be possible.

  • More details on Tuesday/Wednesday

Stay stoked



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