The countdown to the new year has begun and so is the countdown to The Big Change. Snow is coming and France will hit the jackpot. It will keep on snowing until the middle of next week and you can enjoy some great snow in France, but also in Switzerland and the west of Austria. There's even more snow coming up after next week, but I still have some doubts about the snow line. You can definitely ride powder from Sunday to Thursday! In this forecast:
If you want to know more about The Big Change you can check the forecast from yesterday. In this forecast you'll find more details about the four dumps that lead to the image below today! Check the snow maps for more details.
Dump 1 (December 31st - January 1st):
3-10, locally 15 centimeters of freshies above 1800 meters. Especially in the French northern Alps, western Switzerland and northern Austria. In almost all cases too little for a powder day and thus primarily intended to get us used to the weather phenomenon called snow again. Details can be found here.
Dump 2 (January 2nd):
With 25-50 cm above 1900 meters it starts to look like winter in the French Alps. The most snow will come down in the French Alps, the west of Wallis, the north of Switzerland and the west of Austria. In these last regions you can expect 15 (east) - 30 (west) centimeters of freshies. Even the southern Alps will get some freshies. I expect the most snow in Lombardia, the west of Trentino and Slovenia. Sunday will be a powder day in the French northern Alps. Be careful, because the base is very thin off-piste. You'd better ride on the slopes on Sunday. Only the higher parts of Val Thorens and the Espace Killy offer a reasonable base. More details can be found here.
Dump 3 (January 3rd and 4th):
The third dump looks a bit like the second dump with 15-40 cm of freshies. It will start snowing on Sunday and it won't stop until Monday afternoon. It will start in the French Alps again and will expand to the north later. The southern Alps will also get some snow. Monday is a powder day in the French northern Alps and the west of Wallis. More details can be found here.
The snow maps are looking pretty awesome, so I can already tell you where to go to find some great snow. I'd focus on the resorts that already have a base. Keep in mind that there are risks involved, both in the resorts with a base, but definitely in the resorts that don't have a base yet as well.
You can start looking for accommodation in the resorts in the Isère and the Savoie + the Haute Savoie and the west of Wallis. You can check out the detailed weather forecasts on the resort pages. You can see how much snow your resort will get on the highest peaks, but also in the valley and other important landmarks. Check out the weather in Chamonix and Tignes the next couple of days. More details on Friday, but if you have questions, do not hesitate to ask them in the comments below this forecast. I'll do my best to answer them!
Fresh snow on an old snow layer leads to an increase of the avalanche danger. Many avalanche services didn't have a lot to do the last couple of weeks, but will have plenty of work to do shortly. If there is more news I will share it with you. But keep the following in mind: in many places the snow either turned into some kind of sugar and forms the perfect weak layer. Just imagine what kind of risk increased when a lot of freshies fall on top. It's different for the resorts that don't even have a base. The sharks are still close to the surface, waiting to grab a piece out of your P-tex. Consider carefully what you do and where you don't want to ride and don't go full throttle. Do you want to get more knowledge about snow safety? Start with the Mountain Academy and be more aware of the risks.
Have a great New Year's Eve and I see you in 2016! Stay stoked, Morris