It is winter in the Alps. After warm temperatures and a rising snowline on Saturday the cold front arrived in the Alps on Sunday. You can find snow everywhere in the Alps 2000-2200 meters. This is the first base for the season and there's more snow on its way. So what to do? Ride the snow from last weekend and enjoy some sunshine? Or wait for the new dump to come down and ski in a white-out? Or simply wait till the weekend of the 12th and 13th of November? In this forecast:
There's a solid base in the high alpine thanks to the snowfall of the last 72 hours. You can find around 20-70 cm of snow above 2000-2200 meters, so they can start grooming the slopes. If you're not riding on alpine meadows you still have to be careful. Sharks are never far away and snow bridges on the glaciers simply aren't strong enough. But this is a solid base for the high alpine for the rest of the season!
A new storm is coming in on Wednesday. A powerful current from the northwest sends cold and humid air to the Alps. This will result in lots of snow for the northwest and north of the Alps. Don't expect any snowfall south of the main alpine ridge.
The Alps will have to deal with this storm till Friday morning. It will bring more snow to the northwest of the Alps. Not only in the high alpine, but also deep into the valleys. This storm is accompanied by a reasonable amount of wind. This could have some consequences especially in the high alpine in the main alpine ridge (think about closed lifts on the glaciers).
Interesting colors appear on our snow maps when the storm is reallu big. Check out the black spots on the map below. You can expect over two meters of freshies over there. Don't forget that this is on the highest peaks and definitely not lower on the mountain. Check out the snow map of Chamonix for example. You can see that we have multiple measuring points and that they'll get different amounts of snow.
The precipitation forecast is correct, but the model doesn't include the influence of the wind. The storm will bring lots of wind on Wednesday and Thursday, but you can also expect some heavy winds during the weekend. The air is thereby forced out of the snow and the snow cover will settle. Even worse: snow is transported from one side of the mountain to the other. This result in dangerous wind-drifted snow with a thick snow cover on one side and a thinner snow cover on the other side.
The other thing is that this snowfall is forecasted for a very high peak where the temperatures are always below zero. If we take a look lower on the mountain you can see that there will be less snow falling down and there's even some rain in the forecast for the weekend.
The jet stream now comes directly from the northwest, but this weekend it will come more from the west and will be a bit too far north.
The Alps will have to deal with a warm front between Friday afternoon and Sunday morning. The freezing level will rise and the snow line will go up to 1800 to 2300 meters. Expect some dry snow coming down above 2000 to 2600 meters. All of this is accompanied with heavy wind. Check out the top 10 resorts for this Saturday and you can see the warnings for the temperature and heavy wind.
Winter will be back in the Alps from Sunday when a cold front comes in and causes the temperature to drop again. But storm, wet snow and a white out simply aren't the perfect conditions to ride some powder this weekend.
The details can still shift next week, but I'd rather tell you the bad news now, so it can only get better. Fortunately the storm that will hit the Alps this weekend bring some more snow to the high alpine and this will result in an even better base in the northwest and the north of the Alps. I expect that we can start riding powder in resorts without a glacier by the end of the month. Just have some patience.
There's more room for the sun today and tomorrow. The combination with the sun coming out would be perfect, but lots of resorts are still closed. The resorts that are already open are mostly resorts with a glacier. And with all the crevasses glaciers simply aren't a freerider's best friend, especially in the beginning of the season.
The only three resorts without a glacier that are open are the Diavolezza, Solda am Ortler and Kitzbühel. The snow cover is still pretty thin over there and you can find lots of sharks below the surface waiting to eat some P-Tex. But hey, the snow on the glaciers will be pretty good tomorrow, even if you stay on the slopes. Or go out on a tour on an alpine meadow near a mountain pass. Some tips per region/country:
You can ride some freshies with bad visibility on Wednesday and Thursday. Andermatt will (partly) open in the weekend of November the 12th. The snow cover is still too thin, but you can expect lots of snow next week. The big question is if that warm front that is visible on the maps for Friday the 11th and Saturday the 12th will do. More details about that the next couple of days. Enjoy Tuesday!
Stay stoked! Morris