It will be a great day today in the Alps (except in the east of Austria) above 1000-1500 meters. Below that altitude you can expect some clouds, so don't be fooled by gray skies in the valleys. It will be a good day to start seaching for powder. Around 2-10 cm, locally even 20 cm of freshies came down between Andermatt and the Dachstein in Austria the last 48 hours. Not much, but sometimes just enough to let the old tracks disappear. The sun will dominate the weather till Friday, but the weekend will bring some fresh snow again, but with higher temperatures. In this forecast:
Last week was the best week in the Alps so far. Especially the weekend was really good with deep powder, cold temperatures and a thick base. The live reports and videos that were shared said it all. It was deep! I really hope that you didn't miss last weekend, because next weekend won't be as good.
You'll have to search for powder till the weekend. Basically, you have two options. You can go to the small resorts in the northern Alps, that got some freshies the last couple of days and where it's not as crowded as in the big resorts. Just start searching on this map of Vorarlberg and Tyrol, this map of the Bernese Oberland and Glanerland or this map of ski areas in Salzburg. You can also go out on a tour. There's a good base in the west and north of the Alps to skin up the mountain. Earn your turns! There are plenty of possibilities in both the larger and the smaller resorts. Sometimes a bootpack is enough to reach some untracked freshies, sometimes you'll have to skin up.
The stability of the snowpack is still something to think about. Especially the transition from a thick to a thin snow cover and vice versa can cause problems. A weak base layer is present in a lot of places. If you hit that weak layer it can result in a large avalanche. Planning a tour these days therefore requires some basic knowledge. If you don't have that knowledge, go out with a mountain guide. The touring conditions in the French Alps and the complete northern Alps improved a lot the last couple of days and the weather today and tomorrow is perfect. Always check your local avalanche forecast and adapt your plans.
As I said, we have two sunny days coming up in the northern Alps. There will be even more days with sun coming up in the southern French Alps and Italy. A large high pressure area dominates the weather the next couple of days days and will force depressions to travel north.
The Alps will have to deal with warmer air. A complex interplay of fronts is approaching from the west on Friday. It starts snowing in the French northern Alps in the night from Friday to Saturday. This snowfall will expand to the rest of the northern Alps in the course of Saturday and Sunday. The snow line is initially around 1300 meters in the west and around 700 meters in the east, but will rise towards the 1700 meters in the west and 1200 meters in the east during the weekend.
The complete Alps will have to deal with warmer air after Sunday. Fortunately, the moisture is pretty much gone by then. You probably can still find great snow on north faces and in the forests, with the condition that the snow line didn't rise too much on Saturday. With a little luck, Sunday will be something like a powder day in the northern Alps. You can expect 2-10 cm, locally even 20 cm of freshies. More details about that and more advice on Friday.
I hope that the maps of ECMWF turn out to be right. They show cold temperatures and snowfall after the weekend. Let's hope that GFS won't be right. No precipitation and mild temperatures in the Alps. Which one will be right? That's hard to say. The jet stream will shift from the north to south the next couple of days. And this is exactly with which the weather models have lots of trouble. Where exactly will it be cold? And where will it be mild? A shift of a couple of hundred kilometers makes the difference between high and low temperatures. We'll see what will happen the next couple of days. Whatever it will be, next week will be a good week. There's a good base, so you can go out on a tour when the sun will shine or you can ride some powder between the trees when it starts snowing.
I'm hoping that ECMWF will be right and that we can ride between the trees!
The sun will come out in the west on Saturday, but it will still be snowing in the northern Alps. This is my advice for the weekend:
Stay stoked, Morris