What's up with those three positive points? Are they still standing strong? Or do we have to go to North America or Scandinavia?
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]((http://wepowder.com/academy) and be more aware of the risks.
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 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.
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.
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!