The snow cover in Austria has increased with 200 cm since December 29th. A number of villages in the Alps had to process sometimes up to 300 cm of fresh snow at the valley level and often more at higher altitude. This makes 'Snowmageddon' a special weather event. Such a thing occurs only once in 30 years and with the snow coming up it can become even more unique.
The snow cover has grown considerably in the east of Switzerland as well and it's up to 2 times thicker than normal for the time of the year.
The avalanche danger in parts of Styria, the Salzburgerland and Lower Austria is EXTREME (5 on a scale of 5) since Wednesday. These areas have thus become a NO GO for your storm chase. It's better to chase powder elsewhere. More and more areas have closed parts of the ski area or are completely closed. Snowmageddon certainly has a dark side. But those who are well informed and who make the right choices can experience very deep days. Mind you: without the right knowledge going off-piste is always, but certainly now an absolute NO GO. But who wants to go powder chasing: Styria, the north of the Salzburgerland and Lower Austria can already be removed from your list, but powder can certainly be scored in other parts of Austria and Switzerland.
The sun comes out today (Friday). It is cold and the snow is light. There is some fresh snow in the forecast in the night to Saturday, but there is also room for the sun in the course of Saturday. A lot of air in the snow makes the white carpet so light that you can score faceshot after faceshot. Although Saturday is a little warmer, it is mainly a silence before the storm. Friday and Saturday are powder days in:
The avalanche danger is HIGH (and locally even EXTREME) in large parts of Austria (source). Knowledge is the key to powder these days. Keep thinking! Do not let powder panic take over, read avalanche forecasts, talk to experts and ride conservatively. Oh yes ... and have fun. It does not always have to be really steep. Common sense and the right knowledge can also ensure the most beautiful and unforgettable powder days in this period. Avoid the ski areas with mainly terrain above the tree line. Again: don't ride above the tree line, it's simply too dangerous! Ride powder between the trees and avoid large open and steep sections. Even steep sections above a forest are dangerous because avalanches can reach far into the trees. Do not choose the deepest destinations and do not forget to have fun. But keep thinking! Knowledge is the key, but powder panic is not. When you have no idea what all of the above is about, please stay on the slopes now and invest in your knowledge. Mountain Academy is the ideal start of your search for the right knowledge. You can start right away here.
Mild air will reach the northern Alps on Saturday evening. This can temporarily cause rain and wet snow. The snowline will probably rise to 500-1000 meters and wet snow will come down up to 1500 meters. Even above that altitude the snow will be heavier with more moisture than the snow that came down the last couple of days. The result is that warmer and heavier snow will fall on a cold snow cover. A far from perfect situation that will temporarily will further unstable the snow cover. The result is a huge avalanche activity. The snow that will start sliding will be heavier as well. Please pay attention to that!
The Sunday will be a different day than today and Saturday and you will have to assess the faces again. Always use the latest avalanche forecast.
A cold front follows in the night to Monday. The mild air disappears and the storm is capped with cold smoke blower pow. Unfortunately, the wind will be strong. This will lead to a lot of transport of snow above the tree line (so don't expect the avalanche conditions to improve there). You can probably ride good powder lower on the mountain. Monday and Tuesday will be powder days in:
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Stay stoked Morris