Freshies for the complete Alps!

By meteomorris on 5 January 2016 · 9

Another 30-90 centimeters of freshies will come down in the French northern Alps and western Switzerland until Thursday. But the temperatures will rise this weekend, which makes it a bit harder on choosing a destination. Fortunately, the temperatures will drop after the weekend and there's even snow for the southern Alps in the forecast. But can the resorts east of the Arlberg in Austria expect some snowfall as well? In this forecast:

  • Today is a powder day, but locally HIGH avalanche danger
  • Looking back: up to 70 cm of freshies
  • Powder advice for Tuesday and Wednesday
  • Short term: more snow and a bit warmer
  • Tips for the weekend
  • Colder after the weekend and more snow!
  • Ride hard, ride smart

Looking back: up to 70 cm of freshies

Around 30-70 cm of freshies came down in the French Alps and western Switzerland since Sunday evening. Far less snow came down further to the east and south. Big exception is the Arlberg region (and the Kleinwalsertal) where they got 30-50 cm of freshies since Saturday.

Freshies in Switzerland
Freshies in Switzerland

Powder advice for Tuesday and Wednesday

First, please note that there is still a HIGH avalanche danger above 2200 meters. Saty as much as possible below 2200 meters and avoid slopes steeper than 35 degrees, and slopes with steep faces above you. Keep in mind that the wind transported a lot of snow in the high alpine. Small bowls and alpine meadows are the place to be today and tomorrow! Today will be a good day, with the sun coming out in the west. Perhaps the best powder day so far this season!

Today you'll find the best conditions in:

The conditions are improving in:

Short term: more snow and a bit warmer

A weak front will approach the northwest of the Alps on Wednesday. Expect some flurries with the sun coming out once in a while. New storm depression mayhem will kick in on Thursday. An active warm front reaches the French Alps on Thursday morning. It will snow deep into the valleys at first, but the snow line will rise to 1200-1700 meters in the French Alps and around 800-1000 meters in the Arlberg. The front is approaching from the southwest on Thursday. I expect the first snow to come down south of the Ecrins (Vars-Risoul, Puy. St Vincent, etc) on Thursday morning and it will extend to the French Alps and the west of Switzerland. It will reach the Arlberg by noon and this results in the snow map below:

Snowfall on Thursday
Snowfall on Thursday

More snow is expected on Friday and a cold front will kick in on Friday night. Saturday will be a great day!

Tips for the weekend

Fresh snow in the northwest of the Alps and a cold front in the night to Saturday. The heavier snow that comes down on Thursday and Friday will get an cold layer of freshies. Perfect! Saturday will start sunny and this will be a beautiful day in the northwest of the Alps. But the wind turns to the southwest on Saturday and we can expect the first southern Stau this winter. Snow for the southern Alps! Italy, are you ready?? Do you remember what it looks like? Because this is pretty much the first snow of the winter, it pays not to go to the Southern Alps this weekend. And therefore the recommendation for this weekend will be the northwestern Alps (again). Keep in mind that a Föhn wind can kick in on Saturday and it can snow intense in the southern Alps. The precipitation will cross the main alpine ridge on Sunday and it will also start snowing in the northwest (again). My tips for the weekend:

You'll find the best conditions in resorts above 1800 meters this weekend in:

You'll also find good snow above 1500 meters in resorts around:

Colder after the weekend and more snow!

A new storm cycle will kick in on Monday. The exact ath is still not quite sure, but it looks like the French Alps, but also the southern Alps will get a lot of snow. The current will turn from southwest to northwest and possibly even to the north. These are the first indications for the first northern Stau in 2016. Yes, you read that right. It just might happen that a northern Stau (that will also hit the east of the Alps) will arrive at the party called 'Powpow Winter 2016' next week. It is still pretty speculative, but the maps are looking good.

Well, you know where you need to be today, tomorrow and during the weekend. The northwest of the Alps definitely has the best cards. Chances of snow for the Southern Alps will increase after the weekend and perhaps even a northern Stau will kick in.

Ride hard, ride smart

Thanks for all your feedback on my forecast. We do our best every day to give you the best possible forecast for the Alps. Our work is appreciated by you, and I had a couple of emails about a donation button. Thanks for that! But besides finding good powder, we also like that your ride that powder in the most responsible way possible. We've been working, together with Salomon and Atomic, on the Mountain Academy the last couple of years. Therefore: support yourself and support us by starting with Mountain Academy. For less than the price of a day pass you can start with one of the online courses, in which you can read more about the risks and dangers in the backcountry. By starting you also give us the opportunity to make the forecast even better. Thanks!

Stay stoked, Morris


  • Dude
    Dude op 5 January 2016 · 13:42
    Yeeehaaa NORDSTAU!!!
    The Dude abides.
  • bobsy
    bobsy op 6 January 2016 · 09:19
    Hi Morris - I only recently discovered this site. Great work indeed! I had a a few questions that I thought you could spring some wise words on....1) I see the jet stream that has been stuck up north and has sent so much rain to the UK over the past few months is now moving south and is going to position itself so it heads directly in to the South of France - will this mean all the storms will pike straight in to the Alps?
    2) What is a Nordstau?
    Thank v much and, great work allround with wepowder.
  • meteomorris
    meteomorris op 6 January 2016 · 16:12
    @bobsy, thanks.
    1) Yes, although the jetstream does shift its track from time to time. You can follow the daily jetstream for example here:;sess...=

    2) Nordstau means the jetstream is turning North to Northwest, which does bring snow to Austria and Eastern Switzerland.

    Does this help?
    May the powder be with you.
  • bobsy
    bobsy op 7 January 2016 · 09:46

    Thanks very much. Good to see the jetstream staying south for a while from your link - I am going to Serre Chevalier on the 30th Jan so things looking good!

    I am now an avid follower 😃
  • meteomorris
    meteomorris op 7 January 2016 · 11:07 May the powder be with you.
  • bobsy
    bobsy op 8 January 2016 · 09:48
    Ah magic!

    Do you see any weather trends up to the end of January (I know it is probably hard to forecast that far in advance!)..... will the present trend of snow continue beyond the next week? Is the jet stream going to keep the snow engine running?!
  • meteomorris
    meteomorris op 8 January 2016 · 12:04
    @bobsy at least untill mid january!
    May the powder be with you.
  • openshaw82
    openshaw82 op 8 January 2016 · 12:28
    Fantastic tool Morris - without doubt the most accurate forecasting bible around! Always rely on it.

    In a dilemma - flying out on Monday on this forecast but need to decide between Verbier or Val D'Isere...

    Although I would rather hit Verbier I am concerned that the rising temperatures / snowline will ruin it for next week. Really don't want to make the wrong decision and need to pull the trigger on one of them soon! Where would you be heading from Monday onwards?
  • meteomorris
    meteomorris op 8 January 2016 · 14:10
    @openshaw82 see your PM.
    May the powder be with you.


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