May the powder be with you in 2017! King Winter starts this year with snowfall for Austria and Switzerland. And that snowfall is much needed! Check out the great snow maps for the northern Alps! You can expect a lot of fresh snow coming down next week and that was about time. The other regions in the Alps (like the French Alps) won't get any fresh snow on a short notice. In this forecast:
Great news for the resorts on the north side of the main alpine ridge in Switzerland and Austria. They can expect between 30 and 70 cm of snow in the next 120 hours. Especially the resorts east of the line Zürich-Engelberg and all the way to die Steiermark in Austria will get significant amounts of snow. The resorts in the Salzburgerland, Styria and Ober- and Niederösterreich will be interesting to ride, since they received a base last week. And that's not the case in other (popular) resorts and valleys like the Zillertal and Arlberg. A strong current from the north will bring cold and humid air to the Alps (that air is coming down between a high pressure area over the British Isles and a storm above the Baltic Sea). This time the snow won't only come down in the east of Austria, but also in Tyrol, Vorarlberg and eastern and central Switzerland.
There's bad news for the orther regions in the Alps. They don't have to expect any snowfall and they'll experience some heavy winds from time to time. The French northern Alps must hope that the high pressure area will be pushed a but to the west, because that would mean that they also might get some fresh snow. But that's wishful thinking at the moment. The only thing visible on the weather maps for the French northern Alps are heavy winds right now. More about that the next couple of days.
Monday: the first indication that the high pressure area is losing its strength is visible. Clouds are coming in from the norht and this will result in snowfall for the resorts north of the main alpine ridge in Switzerland and Austria. Even the Portes du Soleil might get some flakes. There's a heavy wind from the north, but this wind will get less and less powerful during the day (starting from the west, but only where it's snowing). It is sunny and dry in the rest of the Alps.
Tuesday: There are some clouds hanging in the valley on the north side of the main alpine ridge on Tuesday and it will snow from time to time. It's bluebird in the rest of the Alps. The few clouds that are still there will disappear quickly. The wind in the east of the Alps is still pretty strong.
Wednesday: The storm from the north is getting fired up. The clouds will get thicker on the north side of the main alpine ridge and it will snow heavily on the north side of the Swiss and Austrian Alps. You can expect 20-50 cm of fresh snow until Thursday morning. The wind in the eastern Alps will be strong. It's sunny and dry in the rest of the Alps, but especially the French Alps will get hit by a strong northern wind (Mistral).
Thursday: It will keep on snowing on the north side of the Alps with 5-20 cm of fresh snow coming down. Bluebird conditions in the rest of the Alps.
Between 20-70 cm of snow came down in the Salzburgerland, Styria and Ober- and Niederösterreich last week. You can expect another 30-70 cm of fresh snow the next 120 hours.The combination of a good base + fresh snow is enough for a PowderAlert for the Northern Alps East from Wednesday/Thursday.
The other resorts north of the main alpine ridge between Engelberg and Innsbruck will get 30-70 cm of fresh snow the next couple of days, but please realize that there's no such thing as a base below 2000 to 2500 meters. The base that's still there in the high alpine is either hard (because of the rain up to 2400 meters earlier this week) or consists of sugar snow. You can ride powder on alpine meadows without rocks, brenches or other sharks on Thursday, but I won't venture into the high alpine yet. No PowderAlert for this region, but if you have the right (local) knowledge, you should be able to find great snow in the Northern Alps Central.
There's a good chance of fresh snow for the northern Alps next weekend. A new storm from the north might kick in in the weekend of the 7th-8th of January, bring snow again to the resorts north of the main alpine ridge. There won't be any precipitation in other resorts in the Alps in this scenario.
In short: a PowderAlert for the northern Alps east. And even though the holidays are still going strong in Europe, you can still find plenty of accommodation in this region to ride some great snow for a day or four.
Next update tomorrow!
Stay stoked. Morris