PA #16: Deep, lots of snow and cold. It's ON!

By meteomorris on 22 April 2016 · 5

It's ON! The last week of April will feel like mid-winter! Cold air is on its way from the North Pole to the Alps. Lots of freshies will come down in the northwest and the north of the Alps. It will be cold and it will be deep. Too bad that the visibility won't be that good. Anyway, if you are traveling to the Alps the next couple of days and you want to support wePowder and this forecast, book your accommodation using this link. We receive a small percentage of every booking made through this link and this helps us a lot to improve wePowder and advice you even better. Thanks in advance! In this forecast:

  • The mountains: the best and the worst
  • Winter is back!
  • Lots of snow deep into the valleys
  • What about the sun?
  • Plenty of open resorts
  • PowderAdvice

The mountains: the best and the worst

I developed some kind of a ritual during my powder trips in April. I always listened to the same some when driving to the Alps and that won't be any different the next couple of years. Although Prince probably had a whole different meaning with his song "Sometimes it snows in April," I gave it my own meaning.

'It always snows in April' is how I see that song and April traditionally marks the end of the season for me. One last time to the Alps to ride some deep powder. Simply celebrate life knowing that a new winter will come after a long summer. But during that last trip to the Alps I always reflect what the mountains took from us this season. This week Estelle Balet and Maxim Arsenault were killed in avalanches.

After the unexpected death of Prince his song hits me even harder. The mountains give us great joy and make us suffer with terrible losses, but that's the same with life in general. With each loss I lose a piece of my candor and naivety, but every loss makes me realize that we need to Live. Yes, with a capital L. I cherish every trip to the Alps and enjoy every day that I live. Prince sings 'Sometimes, sometimes I wish that life was never ending'. Seize the day, ride that powder and enjoy life. You'll never know when it's about to end.

Winter is back!

Summer can wait. It's getting cold again in large parts of Europe from Saturday. There's even snow in the forecast for the Italian Apennines! It is almost May and most of Romans will have to look twice before they'll see snow again on the peaks of the Abruzzo. Winter didn't want to enter the building at the end of 2015, but now she just won't leave.

The current is coming from the north
The current is coming from the north

The current is coming from the north the next couple of days. It was 25 degrees or warmer in some alpine valleys yesterday, but the temperature is struggling to get to 5 degrees today. The first cold air arrives on Saturday, but it already starts snowing in the Alps before the really cold air arrives. It will start to snow at high altitude at first, but the snow line will drop rapidly. These type of storms creates the best snow conditions. The warmer air brings snow with a higher density and less air (which is great for a soft and somewhat compact base), but after the inflow of cold air the snow is looser and lighter because less water is needed to form the crystals. The cold fluffy powder comes down on top of the soft layer and than it's time to have some fun!

The freezing level will drop to around 1000 meters next week and that's about a 1000 meters lower than normal for this time of the year. The freezing level will reach its normal levels again by the end of the month. Winter is back for a week!

Lots of snow deep into the valleys

The freezing level at 1000 meters means a snow line that drops towards 600-800 meters. That can only happen because of a northern Stau in this time of the year. The current will keep coming from the north, with cold air and heavy snowfall, between Saturday the 23rd of April and Saturday the 30th of April. The map below shows how all the snow from the northwest (almost 1000 kilometers wide) is approaching the northwest and north of the Alps. Lots of moisture that arrives with mild temperatures, but the temperature will drop rapidly. Add the effect of the Alps to this and a kind of traffic jam of clouds forms on the north side of the Alps and they can't do anything other than dropping their snow. BOOM!

Northern Stau
Northern Stau

What about the sun?

With such a persistent northern Stau, you'll have to search for some sunshine (even though there will be definitely some room for the sun between the snowfall). Check out where you'll have the best visibility next week below:

  • There won't be any sunshine on Saturday. It's snowing intense in the complete northern Alps (including the French northern Alps).
  • It's still snowing on Sunday and the temperatures are dropping, but there's also some room for the sun. Your best bet for some sunshine are the French northern Alps and the west of Switserland. You can also expect some sunshine west of the Arlberg and in the west of Tyrol. It will be cloudy in the other regions in the northern Alps.
  • Monday will be a good day with some flurries and some sunshine. A lot of the resorts will be closed, but there still are plenty of options.
  • Tuesday will be a great day again with increasing chances of snow at the end of the day, but also plenty of room for the sun in the morning and around lunch.

Plenty of open resorts

The lifts are still open in a lot of resorts. Which ones? Check out the list below (keep in mind that not all the lifts in the resorts are open).


  • St. Anton am Arlberg (closes after the 24th of April)
  • Ischgl
  • Hintertux
  • Kaprun
  • Sölden
  • Stubaier Glacier
  • Kaunertaler Glacier
  • Pitztaler Glacier
  • Mölltaler Glacier


  • Samnaun
  • Corvatsch en Diavolezza (St. Moritz)
  • Les Diablerets
  • Engelberg
  • Andermatt (closes after the 24th of April)
  • Verbier (closes after the 24th of April)


  • Bonneval sur Arc
  • La Clusaz
  • Les 2 Alpes
  • Espace Killy
  • Val Thorens


The resorts in the northern French Alps, the resorts in the west and northwest of Switzerland, the higher regions in Vorarlberg and the glaciers in Austria are good options this weekend. Especially the resorts that aren't situated in the main alpine ridge, but just north of west of it will be really good. Expect clouds and snowfall during the weekend and some more sunshine after the weekend. Think of resorts like La Grave, Espace Killy, Val Thorens, Andermatt, Engelberg, Verbier, Sankt Anton am Arlberg and Sölden where the conditions will be good. This just might the last lift-assisted powder of the season! Thanks for booking your accommodation with this link!

Stay stoked, Morris


  • peterski
    peterski op 22 April 2016 · 14:29
    Not much is forecasted for Andermatt but you suggest it, any particular reason/do you think the forecast is wrong and there will be more snow?
  • joachimmarty
    joachimmarty op 22 April 2016 · 15:04
    Not much on the forecast for espace Killy either .
    Do you think it will be worth it from Monday on ?
    Thank you for all your forecast , had some epic rides this winter thanks to you 😃
  • Chamscot
    Chamscot op 22 April 2016 · 15:57
    Following on from peterski and joachimmarty, Chamonix is not on your list but the local weather reports are saying 60cm at 2000m across tonight and until Sunday.
  • peterski
    peterski op 25 April 2016 · 11:20
    hey @meteomorris, did this storm develop as you expected/did Andermatt get more than forecasted?
  • freshiesCrew
    freshiesCrew op 25 April 2016 · 21:15
    Here we go, this is from Andermatt today, actually from Oberalppass, because the lifts are closed now!

    Thanks PA #16!!!!! 30-70cm up there, crazy shit! I expected around 20cm...but huge wind today, so ride safe guys!


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