Lots of snowfall mid-December? Keep on dancing!

By meteomorris on 8 December 2016 · 3

Although the conditions in the Alps are pretty good at the moment above 2000 - 2200 meters it's always a good idea when there's more snowfall in the forecast, especially for some regions in the Alps. We just have to keep on dancing, because my last forecast wasn't that positive. But there was a small storm visible on the American model last night (but it was gone this morning) and there's a nice storm forecasted by the European model. The high pressure area that's dominating the Alps at moment won't move its ass just like that, so keep on dancing. In this forecast:

  • Storm on the maps
  • High pressure during fall: a trend?
  • It's ON in other mountain regions

Storm on the maps

If you're looking at the weather maps for days (just like me) and you see the high pressure area above the Alps, there's nothing more beautiful to see a huge storm popping up that will dominate the weather in western Europe. And exactly such a storm was visible on the European ECMWF model this morning.

When this will actually happen...
When this will actually happen...

Unfortunately, this storm can not be found on maps of the American GFS, but they showed a storm on their maps from their run last night. But as I said, that storm is gone. To be honest, the fact that it hasn't been snowing for a while isn't that strange. You can already find great snow in the high alpine in lots of regions in the Alps. It would be great if the for the mid-mountain arrives in the middle of December. If it falls before that time, chances are that it will simply melt. The saying Weihnachtswetter-Tauwetter is a German saying for a reason. Christmas is early in the season and winter has to get started. And lots of locals prefer a later start of the winter instead of an early start.

TIP: read this article 'Northern Alps : are late winters better?

Anyway, the Big Change should happen somewhere between the 14-17th of December. I will keep posting updates the next couple of days.

High pressure during fall: a trend?

Despite the words above, it still appears to be a trend. There's an increase of high pressure areas during fall in recent years that send storm to northern Europe and bring higher temperatures. For those who can read Italian, you can find an interesting analysis here. The author asks the question: "are we dealing with a trend that is part of a larger cycle, or are these signs of a real climate change?" It is a question that we will be asking ourselves much more in the coming decades. With the availability of more data, we can measure more and we will definitely jump to more and less substantiated conclusions.

It's ON in other mountain regions

Climate change or not, it's simply ON like Donkey Kong in many parts of the world. The depressions are forced to pass the Alps, but the northern current brings them to the Caucasus for example. You can already ride great snow in Gudauri in Georgia and there's more snow falling down next week. They'll open this lifts during the weekend of 12-13th December.


The same applies to western North America. It's especially on in Pacific Northwest (the state of Washington, Oregon and the west of BC). Mount Baker already has a base of up to 109 inches. That is almost three meters of snow at less than 1500 meters altitude and that there expecting another 50 cm next week.

TIP: check our detailled forecast for Mount Baker

No snowfall and relatively mild temperatures in the Alps doesn't mean that the conditions are bad everywhere in the world. The Alps are just as unlucky and the rest of the northern hemisphere are getting tons of snow right now.

Stay stoked. Morris


  • DWF
    DWF op 8 December 2016 · 11:36
    If I remember right we had the same type of weather patterns in Chamonix 1988 to 1992 in mid December to mid January. Super stable high pressure, no wind and no clouds. I remember super stable climbing conditions from that time. Totally the same as we see now. Buy crampons and go and hang out on a nice North Face, take bivy gear and look down at the valley lights...
  • Powdernick
    Powdernick op 9 December 2016 · 12:26
    I see some weather coming in on the 17th. It looks like the southern alps may benefit. What do you think.
    Ski ya later.
  • meteomorris
    meteomorris op 11 December 2016 · 20:56
    @Powderncik still pretty uncertain at the moment
    @DWF thanks. I will have a look in my data.
    May the powder be with you.


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