The weather will change quite a lot the next couple of days. The roads to the northern Alps will be very slippery the next 24 hours, the temperature will start yo-yoing, but there are definitely some positive points as well. You will have to search to find powder, but if you are willing to do that you can definitely still ride some great snow. In this forecast:
It was ON last week. PowderAlert #5 delivered. It resulted in a great base for the rest of the season in the west and the north and of course cold temperatures, deep powder and faceshots. Check out a lot of footage (video and photo) in this article. Please don't click if you weren't there!
It's starting to look like a normal winter. You can find snow depths in the northwest and north of the Alps that are around or above the long year average.
But fact is that it isn't a normal winter. It started late, the snowpack is highly unstable in a lot of places, already 27 people were killed because of avalanches and the Dolomites didn't see that much snow yet. It's a typical winter where you just have to take extra care and enjoy the PowderAlerts. And again, it's possible to ride powder next week, but it will be pretty hard to find.
Warm air is arriving in the northwest of Europe on Friday afternoon. And warm air onto a cold surface means glaced frost. If you're driving to the Alps from the north the next 24 hours, you should take extra care. You can find an estimate per hour where you can expect the biggest problems on Friday and Saturday on this site.
The incoming warm air is a sign that the course of the jetstream is changing. We had to deal with cold polar air first, but the jetstream will cross the Alps from the southwest to the northeast the next 36 hours and will bring warm subtropical to the Alps. The temperatures in the Alps will rise.
After -23 degrees Celsius last week it suddenly feels like Spring again. Warm air is arriving in the Alps and from time to time (very) weak fronts reach the Alps as well. The first front cruises along the northern side of the Alps on Friday and Saturday. It is a warm front that makes the low temperatures disappear and so there will be relatively warm snow falling on top of cold snow. The temperature will rise considerably immediately after this snowfall. It remains too warm for the rest of the week and the couple of clouds that will bring some precipitation won't improve the conditions. We have to wait till Thursday before the temperatures will drop again.
The temperatures will also rise in the pre-Alps and on the highest peaks. It will remain cold in the valleys in the main alpine ridge. The cold air is stuck in the valleys and there won't be any precipitation here to change that. These are the valleys where you can still find good snow in the trees and on northern faces this week. Please make the right decisions. A lot of snow profiles show that the snow cover is still unstable, especially in the valleys in the main alpine ridge. Check the local avalanche forecast every day and adjust your plans to it. You always should carry you avalanche beacon, shovel and probe. No knowledge? Hire a mountain guide!
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