It's snowing like crazy in parts of the northern Alps. Cold air reached the Alps from the northwest yesterday evening and it will keep on snowing today. The snow pack is grwoing on the north side of the main alpine ridge. It's about 50-120 cm thick, locally even 150 cm above 2100 meters. And that's more than enough for the first PowderAlert for winter 17-18. In this forecast:
The temperature increased on Saturday and Sunday, the snow line increased as well and the snow became heavier. But the cold front finally arrived on the north side of the Alps on Sunday. The temperature dropped, the snow line dropped as well and the snow became much lighter. If the wind wasn't that strong, it could have resulted in a nice pack of cold smoke blower pow. The wind influenced the snow pack especially above the tree line. The riding is pretty good below the tree line. There was a lift running in Lech this morning (unfortunately only for the Facebook promo below). It would be nice if they would open it for the public tomorrow and the day after tomorrow, but unfortunately that's not going to happen.
If you look at the webcams you'll see huge differences. There's a lot of snow, but also signs of wind and that results in big differences in the northern Alps. The most snow fall in the pre-Alps. It's cold and the clouds drop the most snow at the first mountains they reach. Check out the effects of the wind below. A lot of snow below the tree line on the first picture, but a lot of wind on the second picture.
It will keep on snowing on the north side of the Alps until the night to Tuesday. The sun will come out in the western Alps. Tuesday will start with sunshine, fresh snow and bluebird conditions in large parts of the Alps, except for the east of Austria. There are some higher (mostly thin) clouds coming in in the afternoon, but they won't be that much of problem. That's different in the valleys where the clouds can be a bit more persistent. But the sun shines once you're above 1200-1500 meters, also in the east of Austria after lunch.
A lot of fresh snow and bluebird conditions. A perfect powder day in short, but it's too bad that most of the resorts in the Alps are still closed. More and more resorts (mostly the resorts at high elevation) are opening their lifts, but the cold front brought a lot of wind and less snow to those areas. Sub optimal, but we have to deal with it. It's only in the early winter and this is the first PowderAlert. Please be aware:
Ride with care! How attractive the snow cover might look, an injury will impact the rest of your season. And I really want a long season this winter!
The temperatures will go up after Wednesday. High pressure stops the supply of cold air and keeps storms at a distance. If you want to enjoy the fresh snow, then Tuesday and Wednesday are the best days.
The lifts are running in 31 ski areas. Unfortunately, most of the resorts are high-altitude resorts and the wind is still pretty strong over there today. Nevertheless, the conditions on the slopes will be perfect tomorrow. If you know the area very well and you don't ride too steep you could also ride some powder. You can definitely find a resort on the north side of the main alpine ridge with great conditions. You could also skin up an alpine meadow, so you don't have to worry about rocks or crevasses.
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There's nothing to say yet about the weather for the long term. Our snow maps are showing a lot of precipitation, but it's not set in stone yet. High pressure is moving in according to the latest calculations and cold air (and a new storm cycle) is pushed to the east. The chances for snow for France and Switzerland decrease rapidly, but it increases for the east of Austria. We'll see what happens.
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Live images from the Alps and more news about the long term tomorrow.
Stay stoked Morris