Colder and snowfall next week?

By meteomorris on 26 January 2016 · 3

The temperatures are pretty high at the moment. It was +7 degrees at 2000 meters altitude and it even was raining in the pre-Alps of Austria up to 2000 meters altitude yesterday. It didn't rain deeper in the Alps and the warm air couldn't reach the colder air in the valleys in the main alpine ridge. And that's exactly where you have to search for powder: valleys in the main alpine ridge, north faces and forests. If you're willing to hike you definitely can still find some good snow. A weak front is passing the Alps on Thursday and this will bring some snow above 1500 meters. After that we just have to focus on the positive points on the snow maps. In this forecast:

  • Sunny and mild, some precipitation later
  • Next week: colder and freshies?
  • Powder advice: go deep into the Alps
  • Stay alert: very complex avalanche danger
  • Tips for touring/hiking

Sunny and mild, some precipitation later

It is mild in the Alps with the freezing level around 3000 meters in the French Alps and 2300 meters in the east of Austria. Especially on sunny southern slopes this means the end of the light powder that came down the last couple of weeks. It will be sunny on Wednesday, but a weak cold front will pass the Alps on Thursday. You can expect some snow above 1600 meters in the northern Alps, but it won't be something special. The weather will be mild on Friday and Saturday and it might snow above 1800 meters on Sunday. We have to wait till the middle of next week before it might get colder.

Next week: colder and freshies?

If the jetstream will start to meander from north to south chances are pretty big that cold air will reach the Alps and storms might hit the Alps again. It is still far away, but it's something positive that we will cherish the next few days. There are some weather maps that show a current that's turning to the northwest, but the output is still too unstable to tell you that we can ride powder again.

jetstream will shift back and forth
jetstream will shift back and forth

Powder advice: go deep into the Alps

The humidity will drop deeper in the Alps from today, the sun is still pretty low in the sky at this time of the year and the snowpack is still pretty cold. All of this offers new perspectives. The well-known freeride routes close to the slopes are tracked, but if you're willing to hike or skin can still find some great snow. You can find some great reports here.

Stay alert: very complex avalanche danger

Lots of snow profiles show that the snowpack is still unstable. The situation right now is very similar to that of last year. An old snow layer can be found deep in the snowpack that causes the instability. When the weight of a single skier or snowboarder reached this this layer, it's is enough to disturb the delicate balance in the snowpack, causing the dangerous slab avalanche.

(C) Safety Academy
(C) Safety Academy

This danger can't be seen with the naked eye. It led to many victims in winter '14 -'15 in a short time. The only solution is conservative riding (which means: not too steep!). This weak layer is present everywhere in the northwestern and northern Alps above 2000 meters and it is impossible to predict whether and where you are going to hit it. The use of proper decision methods is a must. If you have no idea what you're doing you're playing Russian Roulette. Check your local avalanche forecast every day and adapt your plans to it. Avalanche beacon, shovel and probe are a must. No knowledge?, go out with a mountain guide!

Tips for touring/hiking

You'll have to start searching for powder in the Alps on Tuesday and Wednesday. Go for a hike or skin up a peak in:

  1. Vorarlberg and Tirol,
  2. The north of the Salzburgerland and Steiermark,
  3. Berner oberland and Glanerland,
  4. Haute Savoie and Wallis,
  5. Savoie and Isère ,
  6. The north of the French southern Alps.

Some clouds will come in Thursday, but the sun will come out on Friday and Saturday again.

Stay stoked, Morris


  • camillaandersen
    camillaandersen op 28 January 2016 · 08:14
    Hey @meteomorris, and thanks for the powderadvices so far, you have been spot on!! 😃 We´re now in the centre-Alps, waiting for the next dump. We´re considering to either go back to the west of Norway, or stay in the Alps (wherever the next dump will be) for the next 10 days. In the forecast for the Alps, it will be a dump on Sat /Sun, but the temperature (esp Monday) makes us uncertain... Is there possible to say something about the warm air in the Chamo / Courma and the Arlberg- area? What would you do? Should we stay or should we go 😃
  • meteomorris
    meteomorris op 28 January 2016 · 09:52
    @camillaandersen Thanks! The new update will be live within a few hours. In short: Sunday/Monday will be to warm (Rain on snow). Even up to 3000 meters the snow might get wet. Conditions will improve as of Thursday nexyt week. So a quick hit and run to western Norway would be on my list 😉
    May the powder be with you.
  • Konayuki
    Konayuki op 28 January 2016 · 10:44
    Thanks Morris for the forecast.

    I need your advice.

    I have a reservation for next week in the Vorarlberg. More precisely, in Damüls. I've been following the model plots and it seems that we will have a rainy sunday. Great amount of precipitation but with lacking cold air apparently.

    The resorts in the area are quite low, reaching their tops 2000m

    Then, what do you suggest us to do? We have paid ski passes for 6 days and 11 ski resorts.

    I've seen that Lech and Zurs have higher lifts, reaching 2400m. Would it be worth to drive there? Is the snow going to be wet in any case?

    Thanks in advance and cheers


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