Looking back at winter 17/18: December 2017


By meteomorris on 5 September 2018 · 0

The winter of 17-18 is now far behind us and we are on our way to winter 18-19. I look back on this winter in a series of articles, starting with December. It was cold, lots of snow and December brought us four PowderAlerts!

  • Four PowderAlerts (just like in November)
  • A very cold start of the month
  • On average colder than normal
  • Lots of snowfall
  • The year ended with a huge storm M

December was the perfect winter month. It wasn't dry and warm like in the previous winters. Nope, it was colder than normal in large parts of the Alps for the time of the year. A lot of storms brought a lot of precipitation. It resulted in fantastic PowderAlerts in the beginning of the end, but t there was sometimes so much snow and rain towards the end of the month that it was too much sometimes and resorts had to shut down.

Colder than normal in the French Alps
Colder than normal in the French Alps

Much more precipitation than normal
Much more precipitation than normal

December looked like this:

  • December started with a lot of snow in the Italian Piedmont. No less than 170 cm of fresh snow came down in a short time. PowderAlert #4 treated us well.
  • After the invasion of cold air, milder but dry air poured into the Alps under the influence of high pressure. But it did not stay dry for long.
  • Storm Walter tilted the jetstream with another two storms in its slipstream. PowderAlert #5 was a fact. The result was an intense weekend with deep snow in large parts of the Alps. We enjoy that weekend in the trees of Sonnenkopf in Vorarlberg, but due to an incoming warm front towards the end of Sunday, it became slippery on the roads to and from the Alps.
  • Monday was downright wet with a rapidly rising snow line, but because the cold front came in on Tuesday PA # 6 was happening on Wednesday and PA #7 was on its way. Especially the snow and rain from Sunday and Monday were special. Although the snow line rose quickly, huge amounts of snow came down in the high alpine. Combine this with the low temperatures on Tuesday and it resulted in a pretty good Wednesday.
  • That was pretty amazing, especially because the last three winters started with green alpine meadows. December 2017 was the best start of the winter in years.
  • A new weekend brought new opportunities. PA #7 was launched, but the avalanche danger was critical. The combination of wind, rain and snow set things up. But there were definitely options to ride snow in a way as safe as possibel. We found historic powder deep into the valley. According to the lifty in Andelsbuch, this was the deepest start of December in 40 years.

Conclusion: finally a snowy and, above all, cold December month. Above the tree line it was already winter and even treeruns were possible in many places mid-December. The end was mild, but the start was really good.

Bowen in the white room
Bowen in the white room


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