The weekend is mild and challenging, but low temperatures will return on Monday. The western, southern and northern Alps can expect snow. All in the same week. Sounds pretty good to us! In this forecast:
Warm air arrived at the Alps yesterday, causing huge differences in temperature. It snowed deep into the valleys in a lot of places at first, but later that day warm air took over a large parts of the Alps. Meanwhile, the avalanche danger gone up to 'HIGH' in some regions and it's like looking for a needle in a haystack to find acceptable conditions. We are currently looking for resorts with trees, with something of a base, where it snowed intensely and in a valley where it has remained reasonably cold. And let's add that the valley must also be fairly isolated, is situated at the heart of the Alps and is relatively insensitive to a current from the southwest (which means descending and warming air from the southwest). These two sentences will sound like Chinese for most of you, but I just want to let you know what's on my mind. I made a list of resorts where you can ride between the trees today. But avoid steep forests and parts of forests with steep faces above you!
The temperatures will rise on Friday afternoon and it could be that it will also get too warm in the valleys mentioned above to find good powder in the trees. It's a complex weekend. There are alternatives without trees, but the visibility is worse, the avalanche danger is critical and the wind can be a problem. Resorts for the die-hards, but ride with care. The snow cover is very unstable and riding slopes steeper than 30 degrees might have consequences. Think of all the resorts that have something to offer above 2000 meters, that already have a base and where it has snowed the last couple of days.
You can expect some snow in the northwest (but with mild temperatures) on Saturday, but the temperature will drop on Sunday with cold temperatures and more snowfall. A tricky weekend, but if you don't expect that much and make the right decisions you should be able to ride some nice powder.
You probably already know what you can expect after Sunday. Temperatures will drop from Monday and we can start PowderAlert #5! More details on Sunday, but if you already want to book your accommodation, then I would go to the Mont Blanc area (Courmayeur/Chamonix) on Monday. You can definitely find some great snow there. But you can also wait until Sunday and then I share the rest of the tips with you.
With the arrival of the cold air it starts to snow on Monday from the west and this front hits the Alps with a three punch knock-out. It will start snowing in the French southern Alps and Italy from the southwest on Monday. The snowfall will expand to the north bringing freshies to the French Alps, Switzerland and the Arlberg. You can expect more snow (coming from the northwest) on Tuesday. It even starts to look like a northern Stau on Wednesday. The Alps will be white by the middle of next week.
High avalanche danger = high risks. Are you going off-piste the next couple of days, choose parts of the mountain which are less dangerous. You need have the right knowledge to do that. If you don't have that knowledge, hire a mountain guide. If you don't go out the next couple of days, start working on your knowlegde about avalanches and other dangers in the backcountry. More and more riders are using the Mountain Academy to work on their knowledge.
Stay stoked, Morris