King Winter starts 2018 with one of his best intentions: fresh snow in the new year! In this forecast:
Saturday started good in the western and northern Alps. It snowed deep into the valleys in large parts of the French, Swiss and Austrian Alps. Okay, there was a strong wind, but if you weren't stuck in traffic you could definitely enjoy the fresh snow. But that pleasure didn't last very long. An active warm front pushed the snow line to high altitude during the day. The snow line rose towards the 1800 to 2000 and locally even 2500 meters in the French northern Alps, the west of Switzerland and large parts of Austria. At the same time, about 20-50 cm of snow came down above 2000-2400 meters. The French Alps even got between 40-95 cm. That snowfall was accompanied by a strong wind from the southwest to west, transporting huge amounts of snow (windslabs).
There wasn't any precipitation in large parts of the Italian Alps. The exception was the Aosta where it snowed heavily in the west and north. And then there was another striking exception. It remained colder and the snow line fluctuated between 1,400 and 1,800 meters in the inner alpine areas of the southern French Alps.
It's sunny everywhere today. The sun comes through even in the far east of Austria. It becomes mild. Very mild. The freezing level rises towards the 3000 to even 3500 meters. Fortunately, there aren't any clouds and the influence of the radiation on the snow cover above 2300 meters will be close to zero. No matter how annoying the rain is, remember there was close to no snow at all in large parts of the Alps last year. The rain is annoying, but the thick base is not just going to disappear overnight.
A new storm is on its way towards the Alps. With a bit of luck, it will snow in Chamonix tonight. A cold front (recognizable by the blue line) will move towards the Alps in the coming hours. The first snow is expected around midnight in the northwest of the Alps and extends towards the north of the southern French Alps, Switzerland, Austria and northeastern Italy over the course of the night, so that the first new day of 2018 starts with fresh snow in many places. There will be a second front with lots of snow for the entire French Alps coming in in the course of the day, and it will expand in the direction of the northern Alps in the night to January 2nd. Tuesday will be the second powder day of 2018.
There will be a PowderAlert for the French Alps and the west of Switzerland for the 1st and 2nd of January. There is a lot of snow coming down and you can ride powder between the trees especially on Tuesday. There will be snow falling in the other regions of the Alps as well and if you're not located in the French Alps, then the west and north of Switzerland and Vorarlberg are good options as well because they'll get a lot of snow. Enjoy it while you can, because there is a warm front with a rising snow line coming in in the night to Wednesday and Wednesday itself becomes mild again.
A cold front will gently touch the north of Austria in the night to Wednesday and will bring cold air and snowfall. Because it's still pretty cold over there on Thursday morning, it looks like Thursday will be another powder day! The rest of the Alps have to deal with mild air and the question is how long this will remain.
The long term is still highly uncertain. In any case, 2018 starts good with three powder days. You can ride powder on the 1st, 2nd and 4th of January. My next update will probably be on the 2nd of January. Enjoy the fresh snow at the start of 2018 and make it a good one. As a resolution for 2018 I would like to suggest the following ...
We have introduced wePowder Pro this winter. You'll get extra weather and terrain data for a small donation per year (you can not even buy a day pass for that amount in many places). This allows us to further expand our service and we have found a way to express your support to us. Many of the readers of wePowder have done that already and the whole wePowder team and myself are grateful for that. This allows us to keep on developing to make our service even better. Thank you very much!
Are you not a wePowder Pro yet, but do you regularly read the weather forecast or use the services on wePowder? With an upgrade to wePowder Pro you support us, you can express your gratitude and you'll ride more powder. And it works great for your karma as well. Thanks! Oh, and you'll get a free 7-day trial when you register yourself on wePowder. No strings attached!
Stay stoked, Morris