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:
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!
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.
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.
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 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!
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!
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!
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.
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