Cold powder, sun and some fog

By meteomorris on 20 March 2018 · 2

The Alps are dealing with a high pressure area northwest of the Alps and a low pressure area south of the Alps. Cold air is being pushed to the Alps by a current from the northeast. At the same time there is still quite some humid air north of the Alps and in the Italian Po-valley. That resulted in some snow on the north side of the Alps on Monday. A lot of cities in Switzerland got a white cover on Monday morning and cold powder came down in the high alpine. The cold air will have its effect on the moisture and it will snow a bit more which might result in some local surprises. There is also room for the sun locally. Where you wake up on Wednesday there might be some fog in the valleys, but when you jump into a lift the sun might shine on the highest peaks. In this forecast:

  • Northeastern current with some moisture
  • Short roadtrip
  • The weather comes from the west again after Thursday

Northeastern current with some moisture

Cold air is brought in from the north with a current from the east until Thursday. This also pushes humid air against the west and south of the Piedmont and the north of the Alps. Some cold powder will come down from that fog from time to time. This does not produce the greatest amounts of fresh snow, but where it falls it does provide a nice layer of dry powder. Especially on the north side of the Alps where the wind has been relatively weak for the past 36 hours the snow is very loose and it came down on a fresh layer of 10-35 cm from the past few days. About 40-70 cm of fresh snow already came down on the south and west of the Alps on Friday and Sunday, but a strong Föhn from the north kicked in yesterday and that resulted in very critical amounts of wind drifted snow. We saw a lot of slab avalanches on the south side of the main alpine ridge yesterday.

Although the fog still generated about 5-10 cm of fresh snow on the north side of the Alps and the Piedmont today, chances were high that the sun was shining high on the mountains.

Engelberg this morning
Engelberg this morning

Short roadtrip

I am on a road trip through the Alps with some friends. After we've been riding the flakes on the south side of the Alps, we are now on the northern side of the main alpine ridge. Because the wind was very strong and the snow changed more and more, resulting in dangerous windslabs we decided to drive towards the north side of Switzerland. We were welcomed with open arms by the crew of Skilodge Engelberg yesterday. They had around 10-20 cm cold powder on Monday and we skied some nice lines today. The past few days were typically a trip where you had to make last minute decisions. That has worked out well so far.

The weather will be the same on Wednesday, with clouds and sometimes some snow on the north side of the Alps. In addition, you'll have the biggest chance for sun in the high alpine.

The weather comes from the west again after Thursday

The current from the east will come to an end on Thursday. The weather will come from the west again. Whether that will bring some new snow and how much is still a question. At the moment there are two scenarios:

  • The European model: an azorean high pressure are would determine the weather in the Alps from this weekend. Depressions will be led towards Scandinavia with a current from the southwest. It will be mild and dry in this scenario and you'll need to find powder skinning or ski touring.
  • The American model outlines a scenario in which the current will become northwest. You can expect cold air, a strong jetstream from the northwest and lots of snow for the north of the Alps.

The long term is still very uncertain. And in case of uncertainty: enjoy what you have right now... We now live from day to day and decide this afternoon where the day of tomorrow will bring us!

Stay stoked. Morris


  • NicZH
    NicZH op 21 March 2018 · 21:00
    Good choice Central Switzerland indeed, some fresh snow added last night. But I have even better, go to Lenzerheide tomorrow especially early the morning it will be sunny and they have big powpow now, fresh and cold.
    Having said that and because I am a nice guy I even tell you where to go (it is more than 200km slopes!)....You have to go to either the Statzerhorn or the parpaner rothorn if it is not foggy like today. Don't go the other parts, the wind blew everything. Last but not least talking about wind please be cautious to icy part, you can have deep powder and 5 meters nearby some icy parts.
    Good luck and hope you ll enjoy
  • westi
    westi op 21 March 2018 · 22:11
    Engelberg my home in the Alps. Every time I go up the Titlis and look out the cable car onto Steinberg for a nice line and thereafter standing at the top of Laub, I know why this is the best place in the Alps.
    *message edited by westi op 21 Mar 2018 22:11 (1% bewerkt)


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