PA #5: Finally, it's cold in the Alps!


By meteomorris on 12 January 2016 · 5

The differences were quite big yesterday. There were parts in the Southern Alps where the snow line hovered around 1000m, while it was still raining at 1900 meters altitude in other places in the Alps. Meanwhile, the cold temperatures arrived and it snowed heavily between Grenoble in the west and the Arlberg in the east last night. And that won't be much different today. It's snowing! In this forecast:

  • Looking back: up to a meter of freshies and finally colder
  • Cold and intense snowfall today
  • Powder advice: Wednesday will be THE day in the west, Thursday in Vorarlberg
  • Lots of snowfall and wind = high avalanche danger
  • Long term: rising temperatures

Looking back: up to a meter of freshies and finally colder

It's been snowing intense above 1800 meters in the Alps since Sunday night. The wind transported a lot of snow and you can find more than a meter of snow in some places. This caused the avalanche danger to go up to 'HIGH' and a lot of roads are already closed. Keep that in mind when you're travelling to the Alps. The following amounts of snow came down above 1800 meters since Sunday night:

  • France: French northern Alps and the north of the Hautes Alps 20-80 cm
  • Switzerland: Wallis 40-120 cm, Berner Oberland, Engadin and Ticino 20-50 cm, other regions 5-20 cm
  • Austria: 5-15 cm, Arlberg, glacier resorts, Ost-Tirol and Carinthia 15-35 cm
  • Italy: Between Aosta and Piz Bernina 20-60 cm, other resorts 5-20 m

It initially snowed above 1800 meters, but the snow line dropped rapidly yesterday evening. The cold front arrived and the temperatures dropped.

Le Tour, Chamonix end of the afternoon below zero
Le Tour, Chamonix end of the afternoon below zero

Val d'Isère below zero since Monday afternoon
Val d'Isère below zero since Monday afternoon

Lech below zero in the beginning of the evening
Lech below zero in the beginning of the evening

Today will be a powder day at the few open slopes or in the trees. But avoid slopes steeper than 30 degrees or slopes and trees with steep faces above them. Large spontaneous avalanches are possible, and don't forget the run out of avalanches that big!

Verbier this morning
Verbier this morning

Méribel this morning
Méribel this morning

Les Arcs this morning
Les Arcs this morning

Cold and intense snowfall today

For the first time in four days the temperature dropped below zero again in Adelboden. Thus, the temperature dropped 8 degrees in less than 24 hours time.

Adelboden finally below zero
Adelboden finally below zero

The cold temperatures arrived with a current from the northwest last night and this cold front causes it to snow in the northwest of the Alps today. You can expect (after the 10-30 cm from last night) another 10-40 cm of freshies during the day.

Snowfall today
Snowfall today

The sun will come out in the French Alps and Valais in Switzerland on Wednesday, but it will still be snowing in the northern Alps. The sun will come out over there later in the day. It will start snowing again in the French Alps on Thursday and this snowfall will expand to the north. The front arriving on Thursday is a warm front (no, definitely not as warm as the last one) and will cause a Föhn storm in the Northern Alp. Fortunately, this Föhn storm won't last long and the northern Stau will kick on right after!

Northern Stau from Friday to Sunday
Northern Stau from Friday to Sunday

Powder advice: Wednesday will be THE day in the west, Thursday in Vorarlberg

Wax up, PowderAlert #5 is ON. Wednesday will be a great day in the French Alps with plenty of sunshine! It will be pretty good in Vorarlberg and the north of Switzerland on Wednesday afternoon and Thursday morning. This is the powder chase:

  • Tuesday: check out this list
  • Wednesday: all resorts from the list above + this list. Keep in mind that only Switzerland and Vorarlberg have a decent base. The other resorts need some more time!
  • Thursday and Friday you can ride between the trees in the French Alps, Wallis, the north of Switzerland and Vorarlberg.
  • Saturday: It will be ON in the northern Alps.

So happy hunting! Choose resorts with trees between 1200 and 2100 meters and with 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 avalanche dummies.

Lots of snowfall and wind = high 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!

Long term: rising temperatures

This section is highly speculative, but it looks like that it will remain dry with cold temperatures after the weekend. There's a high pressure area with mild temperatures in the forecast for the ultra long term, but again, this is speculation. Conclusion: ride powder the next 10 days!

Stay stoked, Morris

Comments


  • thomasweller
    Tourist
    thomasweller op 12 January 2016 · 12:24
    Hey Maestro Morris!
    Any expert prognosis specifically on Serre Che and area, (La Grave)? Enough base in the trees? Can't believe our luck with all new snow as we're arriving on Saturday for three weeks. Any advice is appreciated.
    Thanks,
    Thomas
  • meteomorris
    Tourist
    meteomorris op 12 January 2016 · 15:31
    @thomasweller treeruns are possible at the moment in Serre Che. La Grave mid mountain is okay, but higher up a lot of wind.

    Serre Che (Cucumelle) this morning
    May the powder be with you.
  • yotsit
    Beginner
    yotsit op 12 January 2016 · 17:06
    Check-in in from Megève, it's snowing in town right now and it has been snowing pretty much all day on top.

    Tomorrow should be a great day *-*
  • aistis
    aistis op 12 January 2016 · 20:26
    Seems that snow goes out from south alps, Italy will stay off snow at least for this weekunhappy
  • DanBock
    Tourist
    DanBock op 13 January 2016 · 12:13
    Hello Morris, a question: can I save a location not in the database so that I can keep monitored without having to go looking again manually ?

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