Welcome 2019! Welcome PowderAlert #6! Anyone who is flexible in their time, loves fresh powder snow and is not afraid of huge amounts of fresh snow, should head to the northeast of the Alps. Do not forget to pack your fattest skis and/or your powder board, because it will be very deep. I'd like to warn you: it will locally be too deep if you go towards the northeast of the Alps. There won't be that much snow coming down in the northwest of the Alps, while the western and southern Alps won't see any fresh snow. In this forecast:
The promised powder day on Tuesday with nice weather followed after the snow on Sunday and Monday. It was much deeper than expected with 50-100 cm of fresh snow in the northern Stau areas to the east of Innsbruck. The sun came out after the snowfall on Tuesday afternoon and this resulted in magical moments in the northeast of Austria. The clouds stayed longer in the far east, but it was a day with powder and sun more to the west of Austria and the east of Switzerland.
Anyone who traveled further west towards the French Alps, or who crossed the main alpine ridge to Italy only found sunshine. No fresh snow here, but snow that is sometimes a couple of weeks old, as is the case in the Dolomites. That won't change in the coming week. The west (French Alps), northwest of the Alps (west of Switzerland) and the south (Italy, Ticino, Engadin and Carinthia) do not see snow in the next couple of days and the sun is dominant. Only the areas close to the Hohe Tauern in Austria can expect some fresh snow that's coming over the main alpine ridge.
Today (Wednesday) is dominated by a northern Stau again. A strong northern current brings snowfall and lots of wind to the east of Switzerland and the nortehrn Stau regions of Austria. The snow line is deep in the valleys. There is about 20-45 cm of fresh snow with local peaks towards 60-70 cm coming down until Friday morning. It will snow heavily especially in the east again. The wind is a deal breaker and will further sharpen the avalanche danger.
The intensity of the snowfall decreases in the north of the Alps and there is even room for the sun on Thursday. It's a nice day to ride powder. The snow cover has grown considerably in Austria the last couple of days.
There were only a few places in Austria where the snow cover was thicker than 150 cm at the end of 2018. But the snow cover on the mountains is already 200 cm thick and locally even 300 cm and more has been measured in the beginning of 2019!
Thursday will be a great day and the tree runs will be pretty good with all that snowfall.
A lot of snow and a lot of wind = rising avalanche danger. Locally, the avalanche danger has already risen to HIGH (4 on a scale of 5). Expect tricky avalanche conditions. You're best off in the forests and avoid big steep faces above you. Knowledge and skills are necessary for those who want to ride in the off-piste steeper than 30 degrees in the coming days.
The conditions are already fantastic with such a thick snow cover and the fresh snow that's coming down today (Wednesday), but King Winter is throwing in something extra. There will be a very active front coming in with lots of fresh snow especially for the northeast in the course of Friday. The supplied air is a bit warmer on Friday/Saturday. As a result, the snow line temporarily rises towards 700-1000 meters, especially in the west. Much more important is that this warmer air contains more moisture so that if the colder air follows later, all this moisture is squeezed out of the clouds in the form of snow.
It's dumping like crazy between today and Monday. In particular, the northern Stau areas of Styria, the Salzburgerland, Oberosterreich, Niederosterreich and Tyrol receive a lot of snow. Maybe even locally too much (it just gets too deep). Too deep when you're looking at the avalanche danger, but possibly also too deep to be able to make your way through terrain that's a bit flatter. More about this later this week.
You'll ride great powder in the regions below until Friday. The further east, the deeper:
Choose for the lower parts on the mountain because of the avalanche danger. Treeruns are the best and I mean those runs where the trees are very close together. There will be more news about the super dump and tips where to go during PA #7 on Friday.
The most important weather models are very pessimistic and assume that up to and including the 10th of January there will be no significant snowfall in the west and certainly not in the south. According to some calculations, this can even persist until January the 12th or later. Go East!
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May the powder be with you in 2019!
Stay stoked, Morris