The sun is shining in the Alps! Time to go touring!


By meteomorris on 13 February 2017 · 5

PowderAlert #8 in the south of the Alps was really good! The combination of powder, espresso and larch trees delivered, especially when the sun came out on Saturday and Sunday. It's still snowing lightly in the Piedmont today, but the sun should come out tomorrow. It is the prelude to a relatively mild and sunny Wednesday and Thursday. The temperatures will drop during the weekend, with light snowfall from time to time. The jetstream will move to the west (and will probably end up too far north) and the long term is pretty uncertain. You can still find powder in the trees and you can go out for a tour above the treeline, but don't ride faces that are too steep. In this forecast:

  • It was a good weekend in the southern Alps
  • Some light snowfall, but mild and sunny on Wednesday and Thursday
  • The best conditions in the Alps can be found in the Piedmont
  • Time to go touring, but not too steep
  • Warning: old and weak layer of snow
  • Long term uncertain

It was a good weekend in the southern Alps

More than half a meter of snow came down locally, it was cold and there was a decent base in the forests of the Piedmont and the Queyras. PowderAlert #8 was ON. Just have a look at the pictures.

The pictures above (do not forget to watch the video as well) show that you can still have a lot of fun in the mountains during critical avalanche conditions. Just don't ride too steep!

Some light snowfall, but mild and sunny on Wednesday and Thursday

It's still snowing lightly in the Piedmont today (Monday), but the sun will come out later. Thanks to the disappearance of the current from the southeast that strong Föhn storm in the northern Alps finally comes to an end. That wind transported a lot of snow and that resulted in critical avalanche conditions. A dramatic accident happened in Tignes today, where at least four people were killed in an avalanche. There are still people missing.

High pressure will take over after today. There won't be any wind and it will be mild and sunny during the day. You can still find powder on north faces and between the trees. The air is relatively dry and as long as the sun doesn't radiate into the snowcover directly, the powder will remain fresh.

The best conditions in the Alps can be found in the Piedmont

There are quite a bit of wind slabs in the western and northern Alps. That's not the case in the Piedmont and they got some more fresh snow the last couple of days. You'll find the best conditions in the Alps in that region. And you can still find some great powder between the trees there.

Time to go touring, but not too steep

The conditions to go touring below 2000 meters are pretty good. Above that altitude you have to think about that old and weak layer deeper in the snowpack in the complete Alps. The wind also transported lots of snow the last couple of days. The avalanche situation is critical in a lot of places. If you choose to go touring, ride conservative lines above the treeline. Choose lines like the ones in the video above. Not too steep, but definitely a lot of fun!

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Long term uncertain

The weather for the long term is uncertain, thanks to the jetstream that's moving to the west (and will probably end up too far north). The temperatures will rise this week, but it might get colder this weekend with some snowfall. More about that tomorrow!

Stay stoked. Morris

Comments


  • TRZ
    Expert
    TRZ op 13 February 2017 · 20:49
    Your are right Morris - on photo: Lombardia hills
    Jacek Trzemzalski
  • StyleAltitude
    StyleAltitude op 14 February 2017 · 12:50
    Don't quite agree with your prognosis.

    Warmer temps are making the snow heavy lower down below 2,200m even in the forests on N Facing slopes here in the Southern Alps.

    Yesterday we were touring in the Nevache having driven close to the sector where there were two avalanches on Sat, off the back of Montgenevre, with one fatality. And I had a very lucky escape in the forest the previous weekend, and we were commenting (and at the time we were unaware of the tragedy unfolding in Tignes) that we'd welcome the onset of spring touring conditions which tends to relieve the stress factor of unstable conditions, but first we're going to need three or four days of freeze melt, before that you might still find powder above 2,500 but it's going to get harder especially so down here Ecrins/Thabor/Queyras where majority of safer routes are below 2,800 and lower down is just going to be heavy with crust.

    I'm based all season in Serre and our home turf for touring is Galibier / Lautaret / Nevache / Izoard / Cervieres going further afield to Queyras / Val Maira etc
  • yovo
    yovo op 14 February 2017 · 18:36
    Why can't I use the Mountain Academy voucher ALTENMARKT1617? I get error: "Sorry, the voucher code you've entered could not be found. Please try again."
  • meteomorris
    Tourist
    meteomorris op 15 February 2017 · 09:50
    @yovo, try it at: http://mountainacademy.atomic.com/en

    @StyleAltitude Thanks for your report.
    May the powder be with you.
  • yovo
    yovo op 16 February 2017 · 12:33
    Tnx. It seems that it only works on Atomic MA, not Salomon MA.

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