Wow, have a look at our snow maps and get stoked! They're showing all kinds of orange and red colors. That's promising. You can expect up to 70 cm of snow till Friday. Wax up! Or not? Because the snow maps do not tell the full story. The temperature will start to rise from Thursday. First at the north side of the Alps (including the northern French Alps), and later in the rest of the Alps as well. It's a warm storm kicking in directly after a cold storm and that's not the best scenario. The temperature will rise during the storm, the snow line will rise as well and the result will be less pretty than the webcam images will tell you on Wednesday. Nevertheless, this is another great storm. It will bring snow to the high alpine that will last and it will create a base layer for the glaciers and the highest peaks.
In this forecast:
You can check all the details in my forecast from Monday. There's an active front coming in from the southwest and this will bring lots of freshies to the southern French Alps, the Italian Piedmont and the bordering Swiss regions. That looks a bit like this:
These are colors that would normally lead to a PowderAlert. When you just look at the centimeters you'd say that it will be very deep. Almost 70 centimeters in 48 hours and this will locally be even more.
But if you look any further you'll also see the warning for the higher snow line. Check out the detailed resort information from Zermatt for example. You see that the snow line is rising rapidly. Even on the Gornergrat (check out the forecast below) the temperature will rise above freezing point. Check out the the snow map of Zermatt and you'll see all the details for that specific resort.
The freezing level will be around 3000 meter altitude. That means snow for the high alpine.
The trend is clear: the temperature will rise. This is all due to the fact that the storm does not get past the Western Alps and as a result the Alps have to deal with a warm current from the south and the cold front just can't make it to the Alps.
Nevertheless, Thursday will start with a snow line round 1200-1500 meters and locally even around 1000 meters or lower in many places in the southern French Alps and the Italian Piedmont. But the snow line will start rising and will only stick around 1500 meters in the resorts where the precipiation is very intense. The snow line will rise everywhere on Friday and will end up at around 3000 meters or higher during the weekend.
In the meantime there's a heavy Föhn wind hitting the northern Alps and the temperatures will rise rapidly on Thursday. The stormy wind on the highest peak will stop the feeling of winter just like that.
There's also some good news. If you're a die-hard winter addict you can definitely ride some powder. It's snowing again today in the northern regions of Steiermark and the southern regions of Oberösterreich. The snow line will be around 1000 meter and I expect the sun to come out (with lots of wind unfortunately) on Thursday. If you have some time you can ride some freshies in Hochkar. Skin up the slopes and ride some powder. Earn your turns!
I even think that Hochkar will be a better option than the glaciers in Austria tomorrow. The conditions on the glaciers won't be that good due to the strong Föhn.
Another option is to go on a little snow expedition in the Hautes Alpes and the Piedmont. Skin up and ride some powder on a slope with a grassy surface. The timeframe isn't that big, because the temperatures will rise the next 36 hours.
It's not winter yet, but it's starting to look like it. The temperatures will remain high during the weekend, but the sun will also come out and maybe you can do a little tour on the Col d'Agnel, Colle de Sestrière or the Col de Montgenèvre. The conditions on the glaciers of Saas Fee and Zermatt will be pretty good as well. We're far from the first PowderAlert of the season, but if you're around anyway: have fun!
Stay stoked! Morris