Around 5-20 cm of freshies came down in the high alpine between Chamonix and Innsbruck since Tuesday night. The precipitation mostly came down as rain below 2000 meter, but above the 2000-2300 meter it came down as snow. Today is therefore a powder day in the high alpine. The sun came out yesterday afternoon in the west of Wallis, so everything is pretty much tracked over there, but you can still find some powder on the highest peaks of Vorarlberg, the Glanerland and the west of Tyrol. And because I don't see any snow in the forecast pretty soon my advice it: enjoy it while you can! In this forecast:
It's a small powder day today. You can ride some powder on the highest peaks of the Arlberg, the west of Tyrol, the Glanerland and the north of Graubünden. Some snow also came down in the Berner Oberland and Unterwallis. But be aware of heavy snow. In many places where it snowed it's still overcast and the warm air that's coming in creates a kind of greenhouse effect. This will result in wet and heavy snow. But if you're willing to search a bit, you'll find some powder today.
The conditions on in the high alpine in the northwest of the Alps improved a bit, but the conditions did not improve in the French Alps and in Italy. They had no snowfall the last 24 hours. An exception is the region around the Ortler where a few flakes came down. The conditions deteriorated in the resorts at low altitude in Austria and Switzerland. Earlier this week, the air was dry and the nights cold and the snow machines could do their work. But because of the rain yesterday and the mild / humid air they're not able to operate. The white ribbons of artificial snow have become wet and there's more mild and humid air in the forecast for Monday, with some rain in the valleys.
You'll find the best (natural) snow conditions in these regions in the Alps right now (above 2200 meters):
A while back I wrote that the snow would come down in January and looking at the maps, it looks just like that. This winter is very similar to the avalanche winter of 1999. Until mid-January it wasn't that good (as in: very bad), and after that there was just too much snow in a lot of regions in the northern Alps. I wonder if the snow comes in large quantities in January.
The Southern Alps will have a problem if they don't have a decent base before January. The sun will be higher in the sky from mid January and it will be hard for south facing slopes. If there's no thick base that can reflect the heat from the sun, well, than we have a problem in the southern Alps from a freeride perspective. But hey, it's still 2015 and it still can all happen. The bright spots are sparse, but let's stay positive:
Well, you know, I know that we can also ride powder in winters with less snowfall. We did that in the winter of 06-07, but also in the winter of 99-00. But that required a great deal of flexibility. Because of the bad start I'd recommend you to wait to book your trip. Read the 10 tips for a powder trip and I'm sure that you will read deep powder in the Alps this winter. When? I do not know yet. But what I do know is that we'll tell you here when the time is right. This forecast proves its value even more in winters with not much snowfall. We have to be patient.
Someone asked me yesterday: what would you do right now? I believe there are three options. Saving your euros and waiting for better times in the Alps is the easiest but least satisfactory option. The second option is to do something completely different, like surfing. The third option is the most expensive and time-consuming. Head to North America, since they have great conditions there. Western Norway is also an option, but it's too warm over there this weekend. It will get colder after the weekend again, but it will also gets dark early. You'll find more about the conditions in the rest of the world here.