Shifting temperatures and a weather yo-yo

By Arjen on 22 January 2016 · 4

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:

  • You should have been here yesterday
  • Warm air is coming in: glaced frost!
  • The temperatures will rise
  • You can still find powder in valleys in the main alpine ridge
  • Powder advice for the weekend and the days after

You should have been here yesterday

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.

Snow depths almost normal again
Snow depths almost normal again

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 coming in: glaced frost!

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.

Glaced frost!!!
Glaced frost!!!

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.

The temperatures 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.

You can still find powder in valleys in the main alpine ridge

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!

Powder advice for the weekend and the days after

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


  • peterlarsendk
    peterlarsendk op 22 January 2016 · 19:36
    First of all: Very much appreciate this site and the excellent information it provides!

    Will leave Copenhagen for the Alps on Sunday evening. Will arrive in Innsbruck Airport, where we rent a car.

    I understand you recommend "in the trees and on northern faces ... "in the main alpine ridge." this coming week. Do you have a specific recommendation within reach from Innsbruck?

  • Karlis
    Karlis op 23 January 2016 · 09:34
    We are now in Montafon, it's snowing, looks like perhaps some 10cm will come down. We are considering to ski also tomorrow - let me know if you need a company.
    Sending it :)
  • freshiesCrew
    freshiesCrew op 23 January 2016 · 19:40
    i think the further west from innsbruck, the better! i'm not sure (because i'm from switzerland) but the arlberg/montafon region got alot of snow!
  • meteomorris
    meteomorris op 24 January 2016 · 12:18
    @peterlarsendk there will be sun and milder temperatures this week. It will be possible to ride some lines in the alpine, but make sure that you adapt your lines to the current avalanche danger.
    May the powder be with you.


You need to be logged in to post a comment in this topic. Login or create an account.

Upgrade to wepowder Pro

  • Extended 14 day forecast
  • Slope angle and exposition terrain layers
  • Inspirational freeride routes
wePowder Pro