Between 20-100 cm of fresh snow came down in large parts of the Alps the past 48 hours. The perfect storm delivered the white stuff in the almost the complete Alps. And right after this perfect storm comes a perfect retour d'est. The temperature will be relatively low the whole week and the maps are showing a new storm system that could deliver much more snow next weekend. So no bad news at all? Yes, this is just the first real snowfall. Although some places really got hammered, the sharks are never far away. In this forecast:
There are a lot of great images coming in from the Alps right now. The perfect storm resulted in a base layer for large parts of the Alps and pretty much everybody is stoked. It is very rare for a storm to bring snow to the complete Alps. More normal is snow for the northern Alps, snow for the southern Alps or snow for the western Alps. This storm is one of a kind, because it brought a lot of snow to pretty much the comple main alpine ridge. And we need that snow as a base for the rest of the season. Check out the picture below from the Stubaier Glacier.
Snow in Kitzbühel, Westendorf, Toggenburg, Seythenex or Piani di Bobbio looks great on the webcams and will be good for the bookings for the Christmas and spring holidays, but the chance that the snow will stick around below 2000 meters the next couple of weeks is small. These types of resort profit more from snowfall in December.
I'm so happy with this dump because a lot of snow came down in the high alpine. Relatively small dumps caused a lot of stress (as in: avalanche danger) in the snow pack the last couple of seasons. We're definitely not there yet with this dump, but it's a first step. More snowfall please!
The snow cover next to the slopes is still thin and the rocks, stones and branches are not far away. A bite in your P-tex is annoying, an injury or fracture is even worse. The same goes for the glaciers. It was warm last summer and many crevasses are hiding themselves like a sniper waiting to take you out. In short: keep calm. How attractive the snow cover might look, an injury will impact the rest of your season. If you just need to go riding the next couple of days, just stay on the slopes. My focus on the snow maps right now is simply because I want to know where I can find a great base in a month or so.
Storm Karl turned out to be the perfect storm and developed into the perfect return d'est. It's clamped between high-pressure areas and just can't go anywhere. The cold current from the north brought cold polar air to the Po-valley, and a mixture of cold air and humidity will hit the Alps with a current from the east from the Gulf of Genoa and the Adriatic Sea. The result is called a retour d'est (return from the east). Check out the summary by our own weather maps below. You see storm Karl on the first image. The arrows indicate the direction of the wind. The second image shows the clouds. The arrows indicate where the clouds are pushed against the Alps, being forced to rise and snow empty. This results in a lot of snowfall (which you can see on the last image).
Meanwhile it is still snowing in the central and southern parts of the Piemont, but also in the nearby ski areas in the French southern Alps. And it is also snowing in northeastern Italy and the nearby ski areas in Austria (Carinthia and Eastern Tirol). This instability in the southern Alps will continue the next couple of days and it will keep on snowing especially in the Piedmont. They'll get a good base in the high alpine.
Our weather maps continue to forecast snowfall for the long term and and that's confirmed by the European and American weather models.
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There's room for cold air from the north and precipitation next weekend. It's too early for details, but that offers perspective!
Stay stoked Morris