A super storm with a core pressure of 960 hPa determines the weather in the Alps in the coming days. A lot of snow comes down until next weekend and the Alps will have to deal with strong wind and a HIGH avalanche danger. The hunt for powder demands flexibility, restraint and trees the next couple of days. And we mean a lot of trees to get some kind of visibility. Keep in mind that lifts will close because of the strong wind, but also because of the rapidly rising avalanche danger. In this forecast:
A strong jet stream between superstorm Evi in the north of Europe and a high pressure over the Atlantic Ocean will focus on the Alps the next couple of days. The result is that the Alps will get a lot of snow, but also a lot of wind. The image above first shows storm Evi, you can see the jet stream (the dark red river with the blue arrow in it) at the bottom left and the map at the bottom right shows the wind speed (red/pink is more than 70 km/h). The wind will be coming from the southwest to northwest with wind speeds of up to 120 km/h above 2000 meters until Friday. During the passages of the warm fronts on Tuesdays and Thursdays, the wind will have a southwestern component in it. But with the arrival of the cold fronts on Wednesday and Friday, the wind turns to the northwest.
Because the jetstream is fully focused on the northwest of the Alps, the most snow will come down here for the next four days. There is a lot of snow coming down in the northern French Alps and the west of Switzerland in particular. The rhythm will look something like this:
You can expect about 100-150 cm, locally even 200 cm of fresh snow in the northern French Alps and western Switzerland. In the rest of the northern Alps this will be about 20-50 cm, locally 80 cm.
Lots of fresh snow, fluctuating temperatures and a lot of wind. That is a cocktail that guarantees a rapidly rising avalanche danger. Add that a considerable layer of surface hoar has developed in many places in the Alps the last few days and all conditions for a very tricky situation are there. The avalanche danger in parts of the French Alps has risen to HIGH and there's a realistic chance that this will happen in other parts of the Alps as well. Because of the wind and the increasing avalanche danger, flexibility is a must because you can not ride powder everywhere. Take it easy! I still have some additions to make a choice where to go:
Skip Tuesday and wait for Wednesday. The wind is less strong and the snow line drops. Ride powder below the tree line. It will be quite dangerous above the tree line. Stay away from the faces that are too steep and pick a face that's not that steep with trees. You'll find plenty of them in the northwest. Thursday may be even worse. It will be temporarily warmer, with a lot of wind and fresh snow. Thursday will be a challenging day. It will be colder again from Friday and you could ride tree runs in the northern French Alps, the west and north of Switzerland and the Austrian Vorarlberg.
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Stay stoked, Morris