PA#6: Vorarlberg is the place to be and a 'Retour d'est' on the maps!

By meteomorris on 12 January 2017 · 6

Life is all about choices and that is no different when riding powder. Our snow maps are showing some nice colors. But where to go? To the resorts with the highest numbers of fresh snow in the forecast? Or are there better choices? In this forecast I'm going to help you to make a decision!

  • Lots of snow for the northwest of the Alps
  • Where to go?
  • Discount on Mountain Academy
  • The 'retour d'est'

Gasteinertal via Powderquest app
Gasteinertal via Powderquest app

Lots of snow for the northwest of the Alps

It's snowing in the northwest of the Alps since Tuesday. Already 5-20 cm of snow came down and you can expect the same amount of snow the next 18 hours. But King Winter is only just getting started. More snow will come down in the night from Thursday to Friday. Forget about Thursday and probably forget about Friday as well.

Thursday: The day will start pretty warm today. The last parts of the warm front are pushing the snow line towards 1500 to 1800 meters. Fortunately, it's not snowing that heavily and the 5-10 cm that are coming down are only the beginning. It will start snowing heavily after sunset and the snow line will drop rapidly.

Friday: Friday morning will start white in large parts of the northern French Alps and western Switzerland. It will snow heavily in the night to Friday and the snow line will drop to 1000 meters or even lower. 20-50 cm already came down and it will keep on snowing. You can expect 30-70 cm of fresh snow in the norhern French Alps and western Switzerland by the end of the day.

Saturday: the center of gravity of the storm has shifted from the west to the north of Switzerland and the Austrian Vorarlberg. The snow line has now dropped deep into the valleys. It is still snowing from time to time in the French northern Alps and the western part of Switzerland, but the focus has clearly shifted towards the north of Switzerland and the Austrian Vorarlberg.

Sunday: It keeps on snowing in northern Switzerland and the Austrian Vorarlberg, but also in the French northern Alps. It's basically the first significant snow to come down in the west of Switzerland and the French northern Alps that will form a base. It will stop snowing in the north during the day and there's a chance that the snowfall will move to the south side of the Alps.

Where to go?

It's only Thursday and the real dump is yet to come. Yet I can already give you an advice for the weekend, because of the facts below.

  1. There's no base below 2000 meters in western Switzerland and the French Northern Alps
  2. There's an old and very weak snow layer above 2000-2500 meters
  3. The weather will be unstable this weekend with poor visibility once in a while

Although it is already January, we are actually still early in the season because of the lack of snow. My advice is to ride powder in the resorts that already something that looks and feels like a base. Only with the right knowledge you can ride powder on alpine meadows where there's a small chance to hit some rocks, branches or other sharks.

Discount on Mountain Academy

Want access to the most comprehensive online backcountry snow safety courses for skiers? Use code "staysafe17", valid until the end of January, to get access for only 9€ (Reg: 29€). Go to Mountain Academy and start now!

In short: my advice would be to ride powder in the resorts situated in the northern Alps central and especially the resorts situated in Vorarlberg. You could also head for the other resorts that get lots of snow, but the risks are much higher here when riding off-piste.

The retour d'est?

The current will turn to the east after the weekend. The Po Valley will fill with cold and humid air, so there is a chance that the next PowderAlert (#7) will be for the Italian Piedmont from the beginning of next week. It is too early for details, but the fact that there's a great base in that region, and that there's snow in the forecast, provides perspective.

In short: you can ride powder this weekend in the northern Alps central and especially in Vorarlberg.

Stay stoked. Morris


  • kipeens
    kipeens op 12 January 2017 · 10:18
    Voucher much appreciated!! Thanks! 😃
  • clausgutiérrezmadsen
    clausgutiérrezmadsen op 12 January 2017 · 10:22
    Thanks for the great PA ALERT! Me and a lot of other guys really appreciate it!

    You mentioned, that it would be best to go to places, that already has a prette decent base right now. Could you maybe give an example of some places/ares which have a pretty good base, and are looking to get some snow in the next couple of days. = Where to go if you want to ride powder, without ruining your skis 😀
  • robro
    robro op 12 January 2017 · 11:20
    Thank you MM for the amazing job!!!
    Anyone around Arlberg this weekend? Ill be there on my own and it would be GREAT to share some runs with other powder addicts like me..
  • yotsit
    yotsit op 12 January 2017 · 12:21
    Great news... I'll be in Lech with a couple of friends from mon to thu

    Anyone else in that area those days?
  • neiluk
    neiluk op 12 January 2017 · 18:19
    Thank you for the voucher 😃
  • mikkelplanck
    mikkelplanck op 12 January 2017 · 21:57
    Going to Ischgl on saturday - is that included in Voralberg, or is it straight up Paznauer?


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