Lots of snow, but also critical avalanche danger

By meteomorris on 14 December 2017 · 2

The Alps are dealing with a huge storm depression. It snows heavily in particular in the French northern Alps and the west of Switzerland on Thursday and Friday. The current turns to the north from Saturday and you can expect a lot of snow on the northern side of the main alpine ridge. It will continue to snow until the beginning of next week, but the wind will also be strong. The combination of wind and fresh snow results in critical avalanche danger at the moment. Please ride with care! In this forecast:

  • Lots of snow for the western and northwestern Alps the next couple of days
  • Strong wind on Friday
  • A PowderAlert in phases
  • Critical avalanche danger

Lots of snow for the western and northwestern Alps the next couple of days

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There's a lot of snow in the forecast for the northwest of the Alps until Monday. As in: a lot! You can check it out with the animation above. The snow will mainly come down in the French northern Alps, the west and north of Switzerland and the Austrian Vorarlberg on Thursday and Friday. The northwest of the Hautes Alpes also picks up some snow. All details about the snowfall can be found on our snow and weather maps, but also be sure to read the forecast from yesterday.

Strong wind on Friday

It temporarily was a bit warmer in Thursday morning, but with the snow line dropped rapidly after the cold front came in. The same thing will happen on Friday and the wind will be strong especially in the night from Thursday to Friday. The current turns to the north later on Friday and the strong wind calms down. The wind won't be that strong anymore in large parts of the Alps, but it will remain pretty strong in the main alpine ridge from time to time.

A PowderAlert in phases

The video above shows how good the conditions are in the French southern Alps. They didn't have that much snow a week ago, but the storm cycle from last week resulted in a great start of the season for them as well! A lot of lifts open on the south side of the main alpine ridge this weekend with perfect conditions. If you want to ride fresh snow this weekend there are two options:

PowderAlert #7A

There's a PowderAlert dor the French northern Alps, the north of the French Hautes Alpes and the west and northwest of Switzerland from Friday morning (when the second cold front arrives and the wind is still strong). Specifically, these are the regions where it will be on:

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

PowderAlert #7B

There's also a PowderAlert for the north of Switzerland and Austria for the regions below from Saturday, but especially from Sunday:

The northern Stau will keep on delivering snow after the weekend.

Critical avalanche danger

A German man was killed in an avalanche in Serfaus yesterday, and the body of a missing man was found in an avalanche in the Swiss resort Ovronnaz on Wednesday. Two fatalities on weekdays during low season. An overview of all avalanche forecast for the different regions in the Alps: CONSIDERABLE (3 on a scale of 5) and in parts of Switzerland and France even HIGH (4 on a scale of 5).

Don't forget that it is only the beginning of the season and that a lot of ski areas just opened. The weak layers haven't been tracked out after every dump on the most popular faces and it's dangerous close to the slopes. So please ride with care!

  • Ride some tree runs this weekend
  • Always check the local avalanche forecast and adapt your choices to it!
  • Always carry beacon, shovel and probe
  • Ride with your powder buddies

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Avalanche danger level 3 is often seen as average. Check out this article in which you can read that avalanche danger level 3 is much more dangerous than you think. Riding powder in the backcountry is the best thing there is. The freedom you experience there can only be found in few places in our society. Do not forget that this freedom requires responsibility. To yourself, to your powder buddies, your family and friends and not to mention the rescue services. Those guests love their job, but prefer not to come into action because you have forgotten to think about the consequences. Live your freedom, and act responsible!

Stay stoked, Morris


  • DWF
    DWF op 17 December 2017 · 23:59
    Great delivery in Courmayeur on Punta Helbronner today. We did some epic runs virtually alone and then spent the afternoon doing safety drills, digging and probing, plus first aid basics, the young riders is 14 and very quick and very knowledgeable and eager to learn how to ride safely.

    *message edited by DWF op 18 Dec 2017 00:55 (16% bewerkt)
  • meteomorris
    meteomorris op 18 December 2017 · 21:38
    @DWF like

    May the powder be with you.


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