PowderAlert #8! It's time for treeruns!

By meteomorris on 14 February 2016 · 7

It's snowing heavily in western Wallis, the Italian Aosta and the French Haute Savoie since Thursday evening. They had around 50-90 cm, locally even 140 cm of freshies. The French northern Alps and the north of the Hautes Alpes also had between 30-70 cm of snow. The avalanche danger has gone up to HIGH (4 on a scale of 5) and the combination of the heavy wind and the sometimes rising temperatures because of a Föhn storm don't make it easier. My advice: it's time for treeruns. In this forecast:

  • It's time for treeruns
  • Great shots from the south and the west
  • Conditions this week are great
  • Critical avalanche situation in the Alps

It's time for treeruns

What I wrote on Thursday is still standing strong: Because of the tricky conditions, my advice is to ride powder in the trees this weekend. The avalanche danger is lower (avoid those forests with steep faces above you), but riding powder in the trees requires some skills. Forests are thus a beautiful natural filter to distinguish skilled riders of the wannabees, so it's not that crowded.

PowderAdvice Sunday :

And it will still be pretty good in the regions above on Monday. Treeruns galore! If you don't feel comfortable in the trees, than you're really missing something. The conditions in the trees couldn't be much better. It's deep!

Great shots from the south and the west

The pictures speak for itself. The conditions in the video above from the Hautes Alps are pretty good, but it's even better in:


La Thuile
La Thuile

La Thuile
La Thuile


Courmayeur: find the rider
Courmayeur: find the rider

Le Grand Bornand
Le Grand Bornand

Hautes Alpes
Hautes Alpes


Check the local reports for more updates!

Conditions this week are great

The game between Föhn and snow in the western Alps comes to an end today. The current turns to the northwest and the snowfall expands to the entire Alps. The temperature will drop and it will snow regularly on the north side of the main alpine ridge tomorrow. The other regions in the Alps will also get some freshies.

  • We're dealing with a classic snow-sandwhich today. There will be heavy snowfall in the west and the southern Alps and it will also start snowing in the northern Alps in the afternoon.
  • It will snow in the northern Alps, the Dolomites and even the Italian Piemonte on Monday.
  • Same story on Tuesday, with especially heavy snowfall in Austria. The more east, the bestter. But I also expect a lot of freshies in the Italian Piemonte (west and south).

The sun will come out on Wednesday, but it will also start snowing again later that day. This pattern repeats itself the entire week. We'll add more resorts to the PowderAdvice later this week. A more detailed update will follow tomorrow (Monday). Until then: treeruns!

Temperatures will rise in the Alps from the 21/22 of February

This week will be really good, but the temperatures will probably rise next week. Don't wait too long and shred some powder this week!

Critical avalanche situation in the Alps

The avalanche danger remains tricky. Especially since you can find that nasty old snow layer above 2200 meters in a lot of places in the Alps. It can be found pretty deep in the snowpack, but the recent wind transported so much snow that it might become a problem again. Wind also causes the dangerous wind-eroded snow and the shifting temperatures cause tensions in the snow cover. Unfortunately, the danger is hard to see with the naked eye. No matter how big the stoke is, decision methods and systematic filtering of the risks are the only ways to take calculated decisions. Always check the local avalanche forecast and adapt your plans to it. Avalanche beacon, shovel and probe are a MUST. If you don't have any knowledge, start working on it or go out with a mountain guide.

Stay stoked. Morris


  • Bonskieur
    Bonskieur op 15 February 2016 · 10:31
    Well well guys, after having spent last four days in Courma I have the following reflexions (not criticism!):
    1/ This site has become too widely known as we met (too!) many skiers that used it in order to decide where to go. I spoke to at least 50 different skiers (swedish, norwegian, dutch, german)who used it to make last minutes decisions. And "the trees of Courma" have been repeted in the PA:s the last couple of weeks...
    2/ Hence, Courmas somewhat small and inefficient offpiste areas (woods) became tracked almost at once (I don´t include Toula due to bad weather cond). It wasn´t as in the good old times...hehe
    3/ Val Veny totally overrated - there are many other resorts that have much better woods (Serre C, Sestriere-Saux d Olux, Fornet/Val d´Isere, Stuben, Fugen/Zillertal and then some) and if you take in to consideration smaller resort with less people even smaller areas of wood can be better due to less skiers (with fat skis)

    This trip was still a good one, I mean snow is snow right? And the fact that we managed to catch one cabin to Arp during a two-hour-opening-gap and did first tracks from Col d´Árp in 50 cm pow was a surprise.

    One strange thing was that ava level was set to 3 during thursday AND friday.... It was first on saturady that it was changed to 4...I mean we started some small avas during thu/fri...

  • tzachislav
    tzachislav op 15 February 2016 · 11:22
    Pila, 10/02!
  • tzachislav
    tzachislav op 15 February 2016 · 11:23
    Our car in La salle 12/02 ...
  • meteomorris
    meteomorris op 15 February 2016 · 13:25
    @Bonskieur thank you for your reflections. First tracks at Col d'Arp is pretty rare. You must have been lucky. I never managed to get a first cabin and have been there quite a lot times 😉

    But you're right in a way. Hopefully more people will have the reflections like you had. Because besides the resorts I mention there will be always smaller resorts in the same region that might be epic as well. If more and more people will start visiting these smaller resorts the better it is for them. But most of the times I do not mention them because I want to keep some secrets for myself 😉 Although this is always a struggle. There are small resorts that do need all the support we can give them to stay alive.

    Another fact this weekend was the weather. The western Aosta was by far the best destination to go to this weekend because of the weather pattern (warm and cold sectors) and the micro climate overthrew.

    Would it be better if I wouldn't mention specific resorts?
    May the powder be with you.
  • EpU
    EpU op 15 February 2016 · 22:38
    I think mentioning specific resorts should not be part of the powder alerts, and the outlook on the projected snowfall should be more general.
    Mentioning specific zones in resorts is contraproductive in getting people more educated on risks and knowledge. They don't even know where they ski or what is above, beyond or what kind of effects the weather will have on the mentioned zone or resort.
    Part of freeriding is planning where to go at the right time, understanding the weather, the effects of wind and snowfall and exploring and finding the right terrain under that circumstances. Everybody should learn that on his own also by risking to fail and ski the same place more often before you get the goods. But by exploring the terrain on your own and skiing the zone more often you automatically have more knowledge and an idea about the dangers around etc. People ride safer and its more rewarding skiing powder on a selfplanned trip in a selfexplored or found zone instead of blindly reading a website. Besides that it would keep people away from offpiste zones they can't even ski because of lack od skiing technique.
    To make you an example: you repeated that people should avoid skiing trees with steep faces above...I bet that some of the skiers that skied the trees in Val Veny or even more on the Palud side this past friday and saturday didn't even know what faces where above them...the weather was bad so they couldn't see but everybody said the trees here will be good.
  • Bonskieur
    Bonskieur op 16 February 2016 · 12:22
    Ciao di nuovo,

    Yes Arp was a unexpected gift, I was surprised that they opened the cabin at all.

    Regarding the site, first: Congrats to your success, together with local webcams and national Meteo services your forecasts and resort reports gives you top notch info - and I hope that you are able to make some money out of it as well. And I almost forgot to mention emailing or calling local guide compaies - they often give honest and updatet info. I usually buy local guide books and topo maps first day in order to get the a better picture of the area - and for five consecutive years we have skied ok to fanatstic pow late january to mid february.

    When it comes to include resorts or not I definitly think that you should keep on doin it, it is part of the useful and fun part of the service. Of course the big ones are well known but sometimes you find places off the beaten tracks. I first learned about Madessimo, Pelvoux (GEM!) and Airolo here, and I have been skiing all over the alps for over 30 yrs.

    When it comes down to what less experienced off pist skiers do (or shouldn´t do) I think it`s up to them - they are all adults and are capable of making their own decisions.

    And this time we did some beginners mistakes...1/ We didn´t go to La Thuile or Pila even though we had a car and snowchains...we heard from some who visited La Thuile on friday that it was almost empty...

    So, keep up the good work and let´s hope that The god of powder is with us all winter Cheers
  • Niels
    Niels op 16 February 2016 · 22:58
    I think mentioning one specific resort per powderalert is a good thing. Most people will go there, leaving the rest of the snow for them willing to invest some time and thinking.


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