PA#7: 100 cm fresh snow, but where to go?

By meteomorris on 4 January 2019 · 8

A new, very active front is on its way to Austria. Friday starts with some sunny spells in the easternmost part of Austria, but it will start snowing again from the north soon. Storm depression Andre sends humid air from the north to the north side of Austria with the center of gravity between Kitzbühel in the west and the Dachstein region in the east the coming weekend. You can expect around 50-100 cm of fresh snow deep in the valleys with local peaks that go far over 100 cm between Friday and Sunday.

Storm Andre
Storm Andre

Snow forecast until Sunday
Snow forecast until Sunday

The snowfall is accompanied by strong winds and a short rise in temperature in the night from Friday to Saturday. The snowfall in the valleys can temporarily change to rain, but it will snow higher on the mountain. The temporary heating results in the supply of a lot of moisture, because warmer air can contain more moisture. This humid air is trapped between the main alpine ridge and a cold front approaching from the north on Saturday.

Cold front on Saturday
Cold front on Saturday

Because the isobar lines are close to each other, the wind is strong, causing the humid air to bump into the Alps with full force and completely emptying out between Saturday and Sunday. There will be some sun on Monday and, if the maps do not deceive us, the northwest (and later also the northern Alps) will get some fresh snow from the middle of next week. In this forecast:

  • Lots of snow this weekend
  • HIGH avalanche danger because of the storm and fresh snow
  • PA#7: where to go?
  • Sunshine and fresh snow on Monday
  • Finally some snow for the northwest from Tuesday?

Lots of snow this weekend

It has been snowing from the east of Switzerland to the far east of Austria since Saturday. On average 40-80 cm of fresh snow (locally more) already came down. Amazing images come in from many places in Austria and it looks like world champ Eva Walkner is having fun in her backyard. You do not want to miss this dump. And just imagine that there's another meter (or more) in the forecast.

The first peak in the snowfall with very low temperatures will come in on Friday. Friday afternoon just might be the deepest day. The snow is really cold and very fluffy (there's a lot of air between the snowflakes). Up to 2 cm + of very airy snow is pressed out of 1 mm of water. Faceshot galore in the east of Tyrol, the Salzburgerland and the northwest of Styria, also because the wind is not that strong. Relatively speaking of course, because it is already strong on the peaks. The most snow will come down between Kitzbühl and the Dachstein region on Friday.

Warmer air flows into the Alps in the night to Saturday. It will rain or at least the snow that will come down will be wet in the lower valleys. There is even some heavier snow higher up on the mountain. The wind will also be strong. The increase in temperature, the wind and the relatively slightly heavier snow will have its influence on the avalanche danger! Saturday will be a challenge. Higher up on the mountain strong winds, lower on the mountain thaw for a while. It will snow from central Switzerland to the far east of Austria on Saturday. The snow line is the highest in the west. The center of gravity will be situated in the east of Tyrol, the Salzburgerland and the northwest of Styria again.

There will be colder air coming in again on Sunday. The snow line drops, new snowfall pulls into the northern Alps. And again it will snow from central Switzerland to the far east of Austria. The snow line drops, the snow becomes lighter and the tree runs will be awesome.

HIGH avalanche danger because of the storm and fresh snow

The situation is becoming critical. Very critical. The avalanche danger rises from central Switzerland to far eastern Austria. In the east of Tyrol, the Salzburgerland and the northwest of Styria I expect at least a HIGH danger level (4 on a scale of 5) and that might be even higher on Saturday. Please consider this before deciding to ride in the off-piste!

PA#7: where to go?

A lot of snow, but also increasing avalanche danger, the end of the New Year's holiday and a lot of riders who are on their way from the western and southern Alps. Where to go? Avoid areas with mainly terrain above the tree line. Little visibility, a lot of snow, a lot of wind, super tricky conditions. Don't ride above the tree line. You don't want to go to areas such as Kaprun, Sportgastein, the glacier resorts, etc.. Secondly, there are some well-known freeride areasin this region. Think of Fieberbrunn, the Kleinwalsertal, the Nordkette, the Arlberg or the Kripp (the snow cover is still to thin here to cover the dolines). And freeriders, lots of snow and avalanche danger ensure powder panic with the sword of Damocles lurking. Not ideal either. No, you should be looking for family areas and the areas that are known for their entertainment the coming weekend. Families and apres-skiers generally do not like bad weather, so it won't be that crowded in those areas. Especially the small family areas offer a lot of fun this weekend. Ride powder between the trees and avoid large open and steep faces. Even steep sections above a forest are dangerous because avalanches can reach far into the woods. But a experienced freerider understands what I write above: tree runs, family area, not too steep above you. Good luck with searching! PA #7 is a good one. Search and find your destination in one of the following regions:

Sunshine and fresh snow on Monday

The holidays are over on Monday. The sun comes out, the wind won't be that strong anymore, but the avalanche danger is still present. Fortunately, the powder panic will be less because many are back at work. Carefully study your local avalanche forecast and enjoy the super-dry powder and the sun. It's going to be beautiful. Magically even. In the above regions you will experience magical moments.

Finally some snow for the northwest from Tuesday?

Four computer runs now indicate snow for the northwest. Will the French northern Alps and west of Switzerland finally see fresh snow again? After the rain to a great altitude of Christmas, they are ready for it. The big models now point in that direction and thus also our weather model. More on that later this week.

We close wePowder HQ for a week. Arjen and I will go on a powder chase for a week. Hard heavy work...This means that sometimes we react a little slower than you are used or that updates take a bit longer. Do not be afraid, I will continue to provide you with news, but sometimes with some delay.

As wePowder Pro you get access to the 14-day snow and weather maps and the 14-day forecast per resorts (we've got all the resorts in the Alps covered). You never have to miss a dump anymore. When you are wePowder Pro you also have access to 1000+ inspirational freeride routes in the most beautiful freeride areas of the Alps. Sign up as wePowder Pro today. It works great for your karma as well and you'll support the development of the wePowder platform! Thanks!

Stay stoked Morris


  • davidschwan
    davidschwan op 4 January 2019 · 11:14
    Hi everyone,
    I'm trying to organize a trip to drive from Grenoble to near Innsbruck for the powder alert. I am planning to leave tonight (Friday) and drive through the night and stay till Monday evening, driving through the night till Tuesday morning. Is there anyone who would be interested in joining me on the road to share the costs and driving a bit? I'll be passing alot of big cities on the way: Chambery, Annecy, Geneva, Lausanne, Bern, Zurich, and St Gallen and am flexible to pick people up. Anyone interested?
  • ohadgolan
    ohadgolan op 4 January 2019 · 14:00
    Hi David, I might join.
  • thomasweller
    thomasweller op 4 January 2019 · 16:41
    Enjoy the snow Morris, you deserve it. Take care too!
  • 8611
    8611 op 4 January 2019 · 20:45
    Yes well deserved Morris

    If I hear a voice I recognize from the forecast videos i'll send over a drink
  • bleddynwilliams
    bleddynwilliams op 5 January 2019 · 08:43
    Morris just had the most amazing week in Saalbach your forecasts have been spot on. The powder was amazing never seen anything like it.

    Enjoy your time out.
  • NicZH
    NicZH op 5 January 2019 · 17:10
    Indeed Saalbach looks amazing! With so many freeride roads and tree runs. A pity it is so far from Switzerland...
  • NicZH
    NicZH op 5 January 2019 · 17:12

    Home, Switzerland, Zurich area, 500m high. This week ahead looks epic!
  • opisska
    opisska op 6 January 2019 · 10:44
    Live from Wurzeralm, Oberosterreich. Only the funicular and hook lifts open. Look, there is untracked powder next to the slope, where is the catch? Aaaargh buuummm... it's more of a mud than powder, was too warm on the night and there is a lot of water in the fresh snow. Maybe it's better higher up, but visibility is zero and strong wind. At least I am not wasting the first day if my season (when i am incredibly clumsy) on a good ppw day 😃


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