PA#2: Where and when to go?

By meteomorris on 12 December 2018 · 4

The storms that are determining the weather in the Alps since Saturday are losing their grip. They are directed towards the east by a high pressure area. There is still some snow coming down in the far east of Austria on Wednesday. It remains cold until Saturday, but Friday and Saturday will be nice days. Then a new storm cycle starts.

Where and when to go?

A lot of snow came down in the northern Alps the last couple of days. If you go above 1800 in the west of the Alps (French northern Alps and west of Switzerland) and above 1200 meters in the east (Tyrol, Salzburgerland and Styria) you will soon encounter 80-150 cm of fresh snow that came down the last couple of days. The snow cover is now settling, which makes the snow cover thinner and where the avalanche danger decreases very steadily. There is still a critical situation. It's caused by a combination of a lot of fresh snow, wind and a weak old base layer. Outside the slopes, the right knowledge is more than useful. Always check your local avalanche forecast and adjust your plans to it. (Tip: on wepowder you will find a link to the local avalanche forecast at each village, but you can also visit this page).

Snowfall last three days
Snowfall last three days

More and more areas in the northwest and north of the Alps will open their lifts for the first time. This means that complete mountains are still untracked and a first chair will therefore result in first tracks. On the other hand, the snow is tracked in all the resorts that are open. Just dive in our endless list of ski areas (click on the forecast map and look around, there are so many areas to discover) and search those areas that are less visited and will open for the first time in the coming days. In the western Alps, I would opt for areas with a substantial amount of terrain above 1800 meters and in the eastern Alps for areas with a lot of terrain above 1400 meters.

Touring around the Oberalppass
Touring around the Oberalppass

Of course you can also go touring. Friday and Saturday are fantastic days to earn your own turns. Above the terrain that is relatively easy to reach from the Oberalp Pass. And yes ... the picture is shot today.

Rising temperatures from Sunday

The good weather comes to an end in the night to Sunday. A new storm cycle is starting. Milder air flows into the Alps and the snow line rises towards 1900 meter. The snow line will drop again on Monday and as it looks right now the weather will shift a lot next week. Warmth and fronts will alternate. The wind comes from between the south and northwest and the snow line fluctuates between 1000 and 2000 meters, depending on the direction of the front, the day in the week and the location in the Alps.

GFS is showing shifting weather
GFS is showing shifting weather

I hope to tell you more later, but expect a dynamic prelude to Christmas.

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Stay stoked, Morris


  • NicZH
    NicZH op 12 December 2018 · 19:10
    As always useful to read you Morris. Davos was quickly tracked today, I was a bit surprise but the powder was fresh, light and deep especially nearby tree line. My board was sounding like a sword in the air! Above 2500m with open bowl you had to be nimble and cautious because of the wind. Saturday sounds PA2 number 2!
  • meteomorris
    meteomorris op 13 December 2018 · 12:41
    @NicZH thanks for sharing. Saturday will be a good day. Sunday a new storm coming in. More details about that tomorrow.
    May the powder be with you.
  • AdamStekl
    AdamStekl op 13 December 2018 · 17:14
    Hello, just came back from St. Anton area, where we skied Tuesday-Thursday. Skiing was fantastic. Tuesday total powder day with tricky visibility and last two days we had blue bird skies. They are opening new lifts everyday but there is still untouched terrain accessible (further) from the lifts. The snowpack settled well, conditions are great. Thanks Morris for your great forecasts. We had powder for lunch every day!
  • NicZH
    NicZH op 15 December 2018 · 20:22
    Disentis just opened today and it was fu...good! Plenty of fresh snow, first to track it with little crowd and friendly freeride. Worth to mention the resort is cheap compared to the neighbors. There are still plenty of touring possibilities with snow well settled especially given the upper lift is closed likewise ValStrem and Val Segnas. Enjoy!


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