PA #5: locally up to 60 cm of freshies!


By meteomorris on 11 January 2016 · 6

It's snowing intense in the French Alps, western Switzerland and in the Italian Piemonte and Aosta since Sunday. We have to deal with a last peak in the temperature this morning, but the snow line will drop rapidly to around a 1000 meters in the course of the morning (Italy) or the end of the afternoon (Northern Alps. The avalanche danger in the French Alps and western Switzerland got up to HIGH again (4 on a scale of 5) and the situation will remain critical the next 36-48 hours. The good news is that the snowpack is getting thicker between the trees and we can probably ride some powder between the trees on lower elevations later this week. In this forecast:

  • Already 20-60 cm of freshies locally!
  • The snowfall will expand to the northern Alps this afternoon
  • It will snow the entire week!
  • The northern Stau will kick in on Friday
  • Powder advice
  • Lots of freshies + lots of wind = avalanche danger!

Already 20-60 cm of freshies locally!

The western Alps are getting hammered since Sunday evening and the snow line is dropping already locally. In some places over 30 cm of freshies came down in the last 6 hours, which is an average of more than 5 cm per hour!

More than 5 cm per hour in Wallis
More than 5 cm per hour in Wallis

It's not only snowing in the west of the Alps. The Southern Alps are also getting plenty of snow since yesterday evening and locally the snow line dropped below a 1000 meters.

Lots of freshies in Airolo
Lots of freshies in Airolo

Snow line around 900 meter south of the Gotthard tunnel
Snow line around 900 meter south of the Gotthard tunnel

The Malojo pass is white
The Malojo pass is white

It's also snowing intense in the Engadin and it is expected that the snowfall will expand to the north of Switzerland, Vorarlberg and the glaciers in Austria this afternoon. Especially south of and in the main alpine ridge I expect more snowfall than is indicated on our snow maps.

The larch trees in the Engadin are getting freshies
The larch trees in the Engadin are getting freshies

This lady serves a powder meal today!
This lady serves a powder meal today!

Lots of snow in Courmayeur!
Lots of snow in Courmayeur!

Snow and wind in Verbier
Snow and wind in Verbier

Due to the recent snowfall and the heavy winds the avalanche danger in the west of the Alps gone up to HIGH (4 on a scale of 5).

The snowfall will expand to the northern Alps this afternoon

The front that will bring snow to the south and west, will expand to the northwest of the Alps in the course of the afternoon. But that does not mean that the temperatures will immediately drop. Although the snow line in the southern Alps can be found around 900-1200 meters right now, it's still at higher altitude in the northern Alps. Only in the course of the evening, when the cold front from the northwest arrives, the snow line in the northern Alps will drop and will be at around 500 meters by Tuesday morning. Winter is finally starting for real!

Snow fall on Tuesday
Snow fall on Tuesday

It will snow the entire week!

It will snow in the north of the Alps on Tuesday and Wednesday and the sun will come out in the west and the south. Thursday starts dry everywhere, but it's snowing again in the west of the Alps pretty soon. The snow line will temporarily rise to 600-1400 meters, but will drop soon deep into the valleys again. It's time for a northern Stau!

The northern Stau will kick in on Friday

Yes, it will snow in the northern Alps on Tuesday and Wednesday, but the northern Stau will kick in on Thursday! Our weather model clearly shows that it will start snowing and that this northern Stau could last till Sunday!

Northern Stau top 10
Northern Stau top 10

Powder advice

In short: Wax up, PowderAlert #5 is on its way! And this is the powderchase:

So happy hunting! Choose resorts with trees between 1200 and 2100 meters and a decent base and you'll have some great days. And if you'd ask me, I would avoid the steep slopes and big faces above the 2200 meter. Leave those slopes to the the avalanche dummies.

Lots of freshies + lots of wind = avalanche danger!

The avalanche danger got up to HIGH (4 on a scale of 5) locally. This means that you need to have the right knowledge to make the right decisions in the terrain. If you don't have this knowledge, go out with a mountain guide!

Stay stoked, Morris

Comments


  • AdamStekl
    Advanced
    AdamStekl op 11 January 2016 · 11:54
    Halelujah, Sumava (Czech) hasn't seen that much snow for the last 2 years! And with the northern stau followed. Words from the movie Ghost Dog come to my mind: "Am I fucking dreamin' hear or what?"
    May the Ullar be with us and may all the people ski safe.
  • kipeens
    Beginner
    kipeens op 11 January 2016 · 18:59
    Where can we go with the big winds in Les Deux Alpes region ? La Grave is closed already for two days. Most of the Les Deux Alpes, too. And below 2000 seems to have too little snow.
  • Dovydas
    Dovydas op 11 January 2016 · 21:11
    Hi Morris,

    thanks for wonderful website! We have a possibility to go one day this week to St. Anton am Arlberg. Tuesday is a day with a most snow in few days period. My question is which day to choose for riding - Tuesday or day after? Thanks for your answer!
  • mseymour74
    mseymour74 op 11 January 2016 · 21:43
    Skiing in Courmayeur was excellent today. While it was raining in Chamonix, leaving the tunnel at 9.30am we found 35cm of fresh snow on the Courmayeur side. A little bit heavy lower down in the afternoon, but up to 30-50cm of freshies, with epic skiing between the trees higher up... Still raining in Chamonix at 5pm and nothing happening right now (at 10pm).
  • meteomorris
    Tourist
    meteomorris op 11 January 2016 · 22:11
    @Dovydas: Wednesday!!!
    @kipeens jep, that's typical Les 2 Alpes. Conditions shuold improve wednesday. Less wind and lots and fresh snow!

    @mseymour74 Great to hear that it all worked out!!
    May the powder be with you.
  • aistis
    aistis op 12 January 2016 · 07:46
    Seems that snow goes out from south alps, Italy will stay off snow at least for this week😞

Reply

You need to be logged in to post a comment in this topic. Login or create an account.

Upgrade to wepowder Pro

  • Extended 14 day forecast
  • Slope angle and exposition terrain layers
  • Inspirational freeride routes
wePowder Pro