Sunshine today, another 50-100 cm of snow coming up!


By meteomorris on 13 December 2017 · 2

Today starts fantastic. The sun is shining in the entire Alps, there is fresh snow and it is cold. It's a powder day! The first high clouds from the west arrive after lunch. It's the prelude to another 4 days with snowfall for the western and northern Alps. We have to deal with a cycle of two warmfronts and two coldfronts between Wednesday evening and Friday. After that, cold air will dominate the Alps at least till the middel of next week. Please keep in mind that the avalanche danger is critical because of all the wind, fluctuating temperatures and precipitation. In this forecast:

  • Today is a powderday
  • New storm cycle with warm fronts and cold fronts
  • PowderAlert #7A
  • Low temperatures and continuous snowfall for the northern Alps from Friday
  • PowderAlert #7B
  • Conclusion: you can ride powder pretty much everywhere
  • Rising temperatures on the long term

Today is a powderday

The conditions in the Alps are great, especially for the time of the year. I was in St. Anton am Arlberg last weekend with a team of powderchasers to let them experience the pleasure of powder. Book last minute, drive to the Alps in the eye of the storm, seeing fresh flakes coming down and then playing outside for three days. Check out the teaser below.

I've met a lot of wePowder members from different countries those three days. The levels of experience differed a bit, but they had one common thing: a big smile on their face. It made me realize what powder can do. No matter if you're a pro or a beginner: the best freerider is the one with the biggest smile.

Today will be another powder day. It is Wednesday, it's not crowded in the ski areas and the sun is shining. After the rain on Monday morning Between 20-50 cm, locally even 70 cm of fresh snow came down in the northern Alps between Monday morning and Wednesday. The southern Alps had to deal with huge amounts of fresh snow. Check out the list where you can ride powder today in the forecast from yesterday.

New storm cycle with warm fronts and cold fronts

The first high clouds will arrive in the western Alps after lunch. This won't improve the visibility and you can expect new precipitation. It will start in the French Alps, but later it will also start snowing in the west and north of Switzerland and in the Austrian Vorarlberg. The snow line is initially around 600-900 meters, but rises in the course of the night towards 1500 meters. The current is west, which means the most snow will come down in the French Alps.

A cold front will come in on Thursday morning and the snow line will drop again to 700 meters. And again, a warm front will arrive on Thursday afternoon (which will result in a slightly rising snow line), followed by the cold front in the night to Friday. You can expect around 50-100 cm of fresh snow in the French northern Alps and the west of Switzerland until Friday night. Please check our detailed snow maps on the forecast page for all the details. You can see the storm developing step by step. The current will turn to the north after Friday and the center of gravity of the precipitation is moving from the western to the northern Alps.

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PowderAlert #7A

The second cold front will arrive on Friday morning and PowderAlert #7A will be on for the French northern Alps, the north of the French Hautes Alpes and the west and northwest of Switzerland. We're taling about the regions below:

The visibility will be bad from time to time so I'd prefer ski areas with lots of trees. Keep in mind that the wind transported a lot of snow the last couple of days and that the temperature was going up and down. This results in a critical avalanche danger, especially above the tree line. An advice:

  • Ride in ski resorts with trees
  • Always check the local avalanche forecast and adapt your choices to it!
  • Always carry beacon, shovel and probe
  • Ride with your powder buddies

The sun will come out from the west from Saturday/Sunday and the visibility will improve.

Low temperatures and continuous snowfall for the northern Alps from Friday

The current turns north after Friday, the air will be cold and the snow falls mainly in the north of Switzerland and the Austrian areas north of the main alpine ridge. But before this front arrives from the north, you can expect heavy snowfall again on the border between Austria, Italy and Slovenia. Ski areas like Vogel, Sella Nevea and probably also Nassfeld will get a lot of snow.

The current in the entire Alps will turn to the north after that and it will start snowing on the north side of the Alps from Saturday and Sunday (and it might just continue to snow until Tuesday and Wednesday). The center of gravity will be in Switzerland and Vorarlberg on Saturday, but will move more to the east from Monday. It remains cold.

PowderAlert #7B

There's a PowderAlert for the north of Switzerland, Austria and the border of Austria, Italy and Slovenia from Saturday (but mostly from Sunday) in the following regions:

The visibility won't be that good from time to time in the northern Alps and I'd prefer resorts with trees. The sun comes out on the border of Austria, Italy and Slovenia after Saturday. And ride with care: check out the local avalanche forecast and adapt your plans to it. And always (as in: ALWAYS) ride with beacon, shovel and probe.

Conclusion: you can ride powder pretty much everywhere

And the rest of the Alps? You can also ride great snow in the southern Alps and specifically the French southern Alps, the Piedmont, the Aosta, the Engadin, Ticino and Lombardia. Those regions received a lot of snow on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. They don't have to expect any more precipitation the next couple of days, but the riding is good. It's sunny and it's cold. The only drawback is that some slopes have already been tracked, but if you plan you line in the larch forests I'm sure you'll be able to find untracked lines. With all the snow on the snow maps for the west and south, the small family areas on the south side of the main alpine ridge could be the secret tip for those seeking powder without the crowds.

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Rising temperatures on the long term

It will remain cold until the middle of next week, but thanks to a high pressure area the weather will calm down. Milder air is allowed to reach the Alps from the west. It won't bring any precipitation, so the consequences for the snow cover won't be significant. The sun is low at this time of the year and the snow cover is very cold. If you want to enjoy the nice weather and snow and you don't mind hiking a bit (a lot will be tracked out), the days after Wednesday will be an option. After that it will become more crowded in the Alps because the Christmas holidays are starting.

Stay stoked, Morris

Comments


  • tarekbayazid
    tarekbayazid op 13 December 2017 · 16:29
    Morris, we're all having way too much fun this winter! Quick question for you. I'm back in Chamonix on Sat/Sun/Mon. On Saturday Les Marecottes will spin their lifts for the first time all season. Is it worth the drive early that morning from Cham, or would you recommend someplace else for deeper snow (Courmayeur, etc)?

    Thanks!
  • meteomorris
    Expert
    meteomorris op 14 December 2017 · 07:45
    @tarekbayazid. Both will have excellent conditions on Saturday and both will be worth the ride.
    I saw on the PowderQuest app you had fun last weekend 😉
    May the powder be with you.

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