The temperature is dropping. Snow in the forecast for the Alps!

By meteomorris on 17 October 2016 · 0

It was a nice weekend in the Alps. Saturday started perfect in the west with sun and great powder on the Col Agnel. Our French colleague Sandra was there, skinned up and made her first powder turns of the season, as you can see in the video above. The lines are far from extreme (not really steep with low risk), but it's only the beginning of the season. Sharks are waiting to bite their way through your P-tex or even worse, you can get injured.

More clouds came in from the west on Sunday and that basically killed the great conditions. The sun came out in the rest of the Alps. Check out the images from our German editor Patrick in this article. Autumn, summer and winter are only 24 hours apart.

Autumn and winter in the same weekend
Autumn and winter in the same weekend

In this forecast:

  • Resorts are getting ready for the opening of the season
  • First avalanche victim
  • The temperature will drop
  • Snow for the west and later for the east of the Alps as well
  • Next week: southern current

Resorts are getting ready for the opening of the season

A lot of resorts with a glacier already have their lifts running, but more and more resorts without a glacier are preparing to open their lifts for the season as well. They're busy grooming the slopes in resorts like Solda am Ortler and the Diavolezza near St. Moritz. Just a few dumps and the snow cover is thick enough to ride some freshies out of bounds.

Solda am Ortler
Solda am Ortler


That does not apply to the resorts with a glacier. The snow bridges over the crevasses just aren't strong enough in the beginning of the season. Riding off-piste on the glacier requires a different type of knowledge. You'd better go out with a guide every time you want to ride powder on the glacier. They'll probably discourage you to ride off-piste on a glacier in pre-season anyway, so just be smart and stick to the marked slopes.

Solda am Ortler
Solda am Ortler

First avalanche victim

The footage that our French editor shot on the Col Agnel fires up the stoke, but you'll immediately get back on your feet when you hear that an avalanche took the life of a 25-year-old man in Hintertux yesterday. Our thoughts are with family and friends. It's only the beginning of the season. Prepare yourself for winter and make sure you go out with the right knowledge. Start with Mountain Academy now!

The temperature will drop

It was snowing already in the western Alps today, but the snow line was still pretty high. The incoming air simply is too warm. Only well above 2300 meters the precipitation is coming down as dry snow as you can see here on the webcam of La Grave in France. The temperature will drop from Tuesday/Wednesday. A low pressure area is heading for the Northsea and brings plenty of cold air. A northern current will push the cold air through the western flank of this storm towards the Alps.


Cold air will reach the north side of the Alps between Tuesday and Wednesday and this will result in a significant drop of the freezing level and the snow level. The low pressure area will arrive at the Alps on Thursday and especially the eastern Alps will be sandwiched by fronts from the north and the south.

Plenty of low pressure above the Alps
Plenty of low pressure above the Alps

It will especially snow on Wednesday and Thursday and the snow line will drop to 800 to 1000 meters. That's exactly what happened in the south of the Alps during the last dump. The difference however is that it's not directly super warm again like last weekend, but that the temperature will stay low the whole week. This could result in great conditions on the glaciers. It's always great to shred on the slopes of a glacier during snowfall.

TIP: check out the detailed snowmaps of the Alps here

There's not enough snow coming down for the first PowderAlert of the season (to give you something to compare: the first PowderAlert was on the 14th of October last winter and the second one was on the 24th of November).

Next week: southern current

A low pressure area is moving towards Portugal and the same time there will be a high pressure area over Scandinavia next week. This will result in a southern current in the Alps. Big question is whether the cold air above Russia will find its way to the eastern Alps and the Italian Po Valley. If that's the case, the southern Alps will hit the jackpot. If not, than I expect a normal southern Stau in which orographic cooling (a drop in temperature due to the rise of the air against the mountains) will result in a temporary drop of the snow line.

Stay stoked. Morris


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