5-20 cm of freshies for the high alpine

By meteomorris on 15 December 2015 · 10

A very weak front will start making its way to the Alps on Tuesday night. A combination of humid, but mild air will reach the north and northwest of the Alps. You can expect 5-20 cm of freshies above 1700-2000 meters between Tuesday evening and Wednesday evening. The snow will be dry above 2200 meters. The wind from the west will be strong. Most snow will come down on the highest peaks of the pre-Alps. For detailed maps and more info click here.

Snowfall the next six days
Snowfall the next six days

In this forecast:

  • Jetstream goes around the Alps (with a big bow)
  • Snow for the northwest of the Alps
  • Thursday will be a powder day (well, a small one)
  • You won't find the best powder on earth in the Alps at the moment

Jetstream misses the Alps

This is quite the same situation we had in November. The jetstream is moving around the Alps with a big bow. I wrote this article a couple of weeks ago, but it's still standing strong. The result is that the storm depressions don't reach the Alps, but reach western Norway or that a northern current is taking the storms to Russia, the Black Sea and Turkey and Georgia. Snow that would came down in the Alps in a 'normal' situation. The weather in the Alps is on lockdown.

Snow for the northwest of the Alps

A weak front reaches the northwest of the Alps tonight. Because a real active current from the north is missing this front doesn't hit the Alps, but scrapes it a little bit. Additionally, the supplied air is mild for the time of year. The result is that the snow especially will come down in the pre-Alps and because of the high temperatures for peaks higher than 2000 meters. It will rain below 1700 meters. A small cold front will bring some cold air (and a west northwestern current) on Wednesday, so the most snow will fall north of the northern Swiss alpine ridge, Vorarlberg and western Tyrol. Less snow will come down further to the east and to the west and south of the main alpine ridge (as in: Italy) it won't snow at all.

Thursday will be a powder day (a small one)

Warmer air will reach the Alps on Wednesday afternoon and it will stop snowing by then. I hope that most of the clouds have disappeared, so that the combination of warm air, clouds and moisture does not lead to a small greenhouse effect. At this moment it looks like that the clouds will resolve in the night to Thursday. You can find some good snow on Thursday in:

Especially the region around Lech can expect a nice powder day on Thursday. The weekend will be warmer and right now there's no winter on the maps for next week either...

You won't find the best powder in the Alps

If you really want to ride powder, you shouldn't go to the Alps. There are much better options in place like Canada, Japan or western Norway. Even Turkey and Georgia have great snow conditions at the moment. If you don't have the time to go to other places, hang in there. Winter will come eventually.

Stay stoked


  • floneu
    floneu op 15 December 2015 · 15:50
    Going to check out the conditions around the Arlberg Region from Thursday - Sunday - will send a Report to let you know if 20cms helped to save the weekend.

    However, reason why i'm writing: initially planned to go to Norway in the first two weeks of January - but now that you're mentioning Georgia (especially because it's bright outside for a longer period) - I'd be more than interested to go: anybody any experience, recommendations, Information, websites ... ?

    Thanks in advance,
  • Freekrider
    Freekrider op 15 December 2015 · 19:43
    Any updates for North-America?
  • Arjen
    Arjen op 15 December 2015 · 20:32
    @floneu Georgia is an interesting country. I've been to Gudauri about six years ago. It's an interesting area with lots of lift-accessed freeride, but also with a lot of touring activities. It's an adventure for sure!

    Enjoy the Arlberg this weekend!
    One day, they'll invent synthetic powder, ban all kinds of work and give you a free liftpass...
  • Arjen
    Arjen op 15 December 2015 · 20:33
    @Hordijk: You can check out North America here: http://wepowder.com/forecast?region=4&period=0
    One day, they'll invent synthetic powder, ban all kinds of work and give you a free liftpass...
  • arslonga
    arslonga op 15 December 2015 · 22:59 non rompete il c**** al cavaliere nero....
  • Freekrider
    Freekrider op 16 December 2015 · 00:53
    @Arjen Sometimes you guys have an extra update about the forecast in North-America, for what is coming up. Like the ones for the Alps. I go to ski some lines down in Utah, around New Year.
  • meteomorris
    meteomorris op 16 December 2015 · 10:38
    @arslonga Turkey and Georgia do have a good base layer at the moment and the conditions are supreme compared to the Alps. There is no significant snow in the forecast but at least you can ride powder over there.

    This was Turkey a few days ago (12 december) and it remains cold until the weekend.

    For Georgia check the Facebook pages of Goderdzi: https://www.facebook.com/Goderdzi.ski/?fref=ts and https://www.facebook.com/goderdziresort/?fref=ts

    Hokkaido might need some explanation. The data which snow-forecast uses is the so called GFS model. A model which has the tendency to slightly over estimate the snowfalls in the Alps and has the tendency to always under estimate the snowfalls in Hokkaido. The reason is the lake/sea effected snow on the west coast of Hokkaido and the snow/water equivalent ratio which is way better in Hokkaido. Or in other words Hokkaido gets more snow out of 1 mm of water. Therefor the snow is the lightest on earth.
    So when GFS announces 5 cm in reality they will see 20 or sometimes even 50 cm. For Hokkaido it is better to stop starring at snow forecast and visit this Island yourself. This way you might get a good idea of the local climate.

    @Hordijk, I will write some new updates for North America the next weeks. Enjoy!
    May the powder be with you.
  • DWF
    DWF op 16 December 2015 · 10:50
    Georgia looks seriously ok - what kind of vertical drops are we talking about?
  • floneu
    floneu op 16 December 2015 · 11:41
    Everything that has a good base layer right now is better than the tragedy we can observe in any area in the Alps (maybe one can exclude Engelberg & Lötschental - idk)

    Love you guys for being so dedicated - flights with Turkish Airlines to Tiblisi from Munich for around 300€ round trip (01.01-10.01). Price Level over there is not comparable to any European, Swiss or Scandinavian Location - Georgia is the place to be I guess 😉
  • floneu
    floneu op 11 January 2016 · 12:32
    To those you care and were involved,
    we ended up driving to Norway, spending our 10 days close to Rauland, Hovden, Haukeli and Roldal. Hovden and Haukeli were by far the best: sweet tree runs with 10-20cms of freshies and couloirs probably only a few hiked up and skiied down before. Touring conditions are superb, low avalanche risk (1-2), fresh snow and even when the last snowfall was a few days ago, untouched powder was still to be found. It was cold though (-17C up to -25C at 1200m). Endless touring possibilities. Be sure to have your own car. Skip the ressorts if you're used to the Main Alpine Ridge. Pack your skins, point at a hill, find your route and start walking.
    I'll be back in Norway in March/April - so much potential.
    Ride safe!


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