The avalanche danger currently is HIGH (4 on a scale of 5) or EXTREME (5 on a scale of 5) in large parts of Switzerland and the northern French Alps. Same story in Austria, the north of the southern French Alps and the regions in Italy that are on the border with Switzerland and Austria. Links to the avalanche forecasts per ski area can be found on the resort pages of wePowder, but you can also use this link to get a quick overview.
This is an extreme situation. The snow cover in large parts of the northwest of the Alps is now just as thick as in 1999 when the Alps had to deal with with a lot of catastrophical avalanches. There's already a snow cover of about 200-350 cm (locally even 400 cm) at an altitude of 2000 meters in the western part of Switzerland and the northern French Alps.
It's been snowing almost continuously since the beginning of November. The snow cover is now exceptionally thick for the time of the year. Around 8 meters of snow locally came down in the higher parts of the Alps since the beginning of November. Snow consists for about 90% air and the snow cover settles (due to its weight, the temperature and the wind).
The situation in the Alps will remain critical during the next 24 to 36 hours. Several villages have already been cut off (like Zermatt, Sölden, Gargellen, Tignes and many more) and possibly more will follow. The access roads towards the villages are closed as a precaution because of the high probability of large spontaneous avalanches. There's more snow in the forecast the next 24 hours and the temperature will rise a bit, so this situation will remain critical!
Read more about the current weather in the Alps in the latest forecast!