The situation in the Alps completely changed in less than 10 days. Winter has (finally) started, the complete Alps are white and the snow depths in the northwest of the Alps are in line again with the long yearly average. You can find plenty of powder there and it's great to ride powder between the trees with the arrival of cold air. A new storm will come in on Thursday. It will snow in the west of the Alps first, but a true northern Stau will hit the Alps between Friday and Sunday. The sun will return right after, but it will remain cold. It will feel like winter! In this forecast:
The northwest of the Alps had around 150 to 275 centimeters of fresh snow above 2000 meters between the 3rd and 13th of January. This amount of fresh snow settled under the influence of the temperature, its own weight and the wind. You can find a base of about a meter at 2000 meters in the northwest of the Alps and you can even find a solid base at 1500 meters. The snowpack north of the northern alpine ridge and in Vorarlberg is growing as well, so we can get ready for some treeruns. The snowpack isn't that thick further south and east and in large parts of Italy, the French southern Alps and some regions in Austria it's just too thin to ride through the trees.
The sun will come out from the west, but it will keep on snowing further east. Around 15-30 cm of fresh snow came down in the northwest stau regions of Austria and Switzerland, and another 15-30 cm is expected tonight. A new storm, named Emma, will kick in on Thursday.
Emma will bring snow south of the Ecrins (that's the northern part of this region) at first. You can expect around 15-30 centimeters of fresh snow. There's room for some sunshine in the northern Alps, because of a Föhn wind. But in the course of the morning it will also start snowing in the French northern Alps and later in the day in the north of Switzerland and Austria. It's the prelude to a northern Stau that will hit the Alps from Friday to Sunday and will bring 15-40 cm, but locally even 70 centimeters of freshies in the northern Stau areas. The sun will come out in the southern and western Alps.
The sun will return to the northern Alps after the weekend. But there's a high probability that a new storm will kick in from the southwest. The models still have some doubts about the timing and storm path.
PowderAlert #5 is ON until Monday. This will be the best weekend to ride powder so far this season. There is plenty of fresh snow and it stays cold. Even better, after the short peak in temperature on Thursday it will only get colder. 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. This is the powder chase the next couple of days:
More and more people venture off-piste, but not everybody has the right knowledge and the right gear. Already 15 people died because of avalanches this winter. Do you have the right knowledge to ride off-piste? Test it yourself and start with the first capital of the Mountain Academy for free! No knowledge? Stay on the marked slopes or hire a mountain guide!
Stay stoked, Morris