The comeback of winter - Part III

By meteomorris on 13 November 2015 · 9

What's up with those three positive points? Are they still standing strong? Or do we have to go to North America or Scandinavia?

  • It's getting colder
  • The NAO index is getting less positive
  • The jetstream is moving south

Yes, the these three positive points are still ON! I have selected a location in the Alps again and it is definitely getting colder, but if you look closely can see that it is still too warm for this time of year. Fortunately there's a lot of precipitation coming up and the high alpine can expect a lot of snow. But a lot of rain would be pretty good as well. The infamous 'whoomphf sound' can be heard quite frequently on north facing slopes already. It's a sign that a layer of sugar snow is coming into being and this might cause a lot of problems (just like the surface hoar that's developing) with the next snowfall. The snowpack is still thin, but you need to be very aware of the hazards. A thin snowpack often is more dangerous than a thick one, because it's easier to hit the weak layers. Anyway, the start of the season also marks the start of avalanche season. Please keep in mind that already nine people have been killed by avalanches in September and October. Use this month to start with the [Mountain Academy](( and be more aware of the risks.

A bit colder and finally some precipitation
A bit colder and finally some precipitation

The second parameter is the NAO index. When it is positive, all the storms are heading for Norway. Now it's becoming less positive and this is the moment where the storms are heading towards the Alps.

The NAO index is getting less positive
The NAO index is getting less positive

The third parameter is the jet stream. The jet stream marks the boundary between cold air in the north and warm air from the south. In addition, the jetstream is the main highway that storms use to reach the Alps. If the jet stream is north from the Alps, then the Alps not only have to deal with warm air, but they also miss all the storms. The jet stream is making its way south and will fire its storms to the Alps. And cold air is around the corner as well. A perfect mix to let it snow again.

The jetstream is moving south
The jetstream is moving south

When will it happen?

Don't think it will start tomorrow, so be patient with waxing your gear and performing a beacon check. It will happen somewhere in the middle of next week. Then we had almost three weeks without snowfall in the Alps. Don't expect winter to be back with a bang. The weather will be lousy with periods with high temperatures and low temperarures, lots of wind and occasionally some heavy precipitation. And that's great for the high alpine, cause they really need the snow. Anyway, no significant snowfall in the Alps the next seven days. If you can not wait that long, then Norway is a serious alternative. It gets colder and the top of Røldal already is looking good. And if you have a look at the snow maps of Scandinavia then it starts to itch.

Røldal yesterday morning
Røldal yesterday morning

The snow maps of North America are looking even better. The snow line will be too high on Thursday and Friday, but the cold air is coming in on Saturday. Next week will be a powder week in North America and I expect to launch PowderAlert #3 this weekend.

Next update on Sunday!

Stay stoked


  • Soulrider
    Soulrider op 13 November 2015 · 09:56
    Happy to read that the weather is changing. But no early openings for the resorts in the Alps. Whistler is opening on the 19th of November!!
  • kanski
    kanski op 13 November 2015 · 10:57
    That's what I WAS WAITING FOR! Driving to Stubai tal this afternoon. Next 18 days on skis.
    "Work" has started again, it would be perfect with some help of king Winter!
    Never ski faster than your guardian Angel can fly!
  • AdamStekl
    AdamStekl op 13 November 2015 · 12:40
    I might go for a business trip to Norway sometime in the week from 23.-27.11. to Kongsberg (I will land in Oslo). I was thinking to postope my return home and catch up with some local skiers and go touring (preferably) or skiing to some resort for 2 days or so.
    My plan has only one weak point, I don't know any skiers from Norway.
    Would someone be willing to show one Czech guy beauties of pre-winter Norway?
    Morris, Arjen,
    don't you know about some powder friends that would fit my plan? If yes, would you be so kind to share the contact(s)?
    Thanks to all for any ideas, proposals.
    I have beacon, probe and showel and have basic/advanced knowledge of avalanche problematic. (one season in BC, Canada as a lift operator, last winter-8 day backcountry course in Andermatt, Swiss)
  • Arjen
    Arjen op 13 November 2015 · 13:58
    @AdamStekl Sounds like a plan! You should post this on the forum as well, to increase visibility.
    One day, they'll invent synthetic powder, ban all kinds of work and give you a free liftpass...
  • meteomorris
    meteomorris op 13 November 2015 · 16:18
    @AdamStekl there is a chance that winter will arrive as of november 22nd in the Alps

    Regarding Norway @robbie and @Waingro are living over there. Don't know if they have time, but they might be able to give you some tips. Otherwise check this page:

    Keep in mind that most of the snow for the short term is focused on the resorts in the west. It is quite a long and challenging drive from Oslo to get to these resorts.
    May the powder be with you.
  • AdamStekl
    AdamStekl op 15 November 2015 · 08:39
    @Arjen, @Morris, thanks a lot for tips and advices.
  • waingro
    waingro op 16 November 2015 · 11:07
    @AdamStekl You can always take the train from Oslo to e.g. Hemsedal or Geilo.
    see for tickets and fairs.

    This train trip is considered one of the most beautifull trips in the world and is Europe's top scenic train ride.

    Hemsedal is great for offpiste skiing and you could book a guide online:
    or DIY (book is in Norwegian but pictures and google translate could help you out)
    + nice slopes
    + nice off piste options including next to the slopes or behind the slopes e.g. Gummiskogen
    + best after ski in Norway at the Stavkroa 😃
    - you have to take a bus or taxi from Gol trainstation or hitchhike

    Geilo is mediocre for offpiste skiing. Is has a great but long hike up to Hallingskarvet. But this early in the season you probably won't make it to the top since there is not enough daylight time.
    +Train stops in city center
    - flatter terrain

    If there is not enough snow arround the time you visit Norway you could always go to Finse. This remote place in the middle of nowhere is only accessible by train. You can do some snowkiting and some "toptouring" there as well.
    + Great views
    + train stop in the middle of the "Town"
    + remote area (Star Wars The Empire Strikes Back was shot here)
    - flatter terrain

    I cannot take you on a trip arround that time. Altough I will be in Hemsedal early December

    hope you have a nice trip!
    AYSABTU - All your stoke are belong to us.
  • waingro
  • terj
    terj op 28 May 2022 · 18:05
    I'm the maintainer of the Snowlog application referenced in the above post, and from the error logs I have noticed some requests coming from these links. The Snowlog application ( has been upgraded, so these links aren't correct anymore. Here are the updated links:

    And to that list I would like to add this:

    A nice long run with start from the ski area 😃


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