Mild, sunny and mostly dry with some snow for the northeast

By meteomorris on 18 February 2019 路 4

The Alps are under the influence of an immense high pressure area with the name Dorit. Storms are therefore kept at a considerable distance and guided around the Alps with a large curve. The guide rail with storms now runs via Scotland, Scandinavia and the Baltic states into Eurasia.

Norway usually is a good choice with such a weather pattern if you want some fresh snow, but the supplied air is too mild too often in the coming days. Anyone wanting to experience something of a winter in Europe will have to go to Georgia. The current there will be coming from the north this week and it seems there's some snow in the forecast.

Mild, sunny and dry

It will remain dry, sunny and mild in most part of the Alps, the Pyrenees, the Abruzzo and the German lower mountain ranges in the coming week. The sun will dominate the coming week in France, Switzerland, western Austria and Italy. The freezing degree level drops in the direction of 1200-2000 meters in the middle of the week, but rises again later in the week. The farther you go to the west, the milder. With regard to the clouds, the east will suffer from cloud coverage, but the sun and blue skies continue to dominate in the west.

Now that's good news for the average skier who wants to work on his goggle face and boast how much groomers he has skied when he's back at work, but if you love to ride powder, have only one week in the Alps per year.... Well, let's say you're not really lucky to go to Switzerland or France in the dryest week of the season.

Snow for the northeast

The only exception is the extreme northeast of the Alps and the mountains of the Czech Republic and Slovakia. This part of Europe will be on the edge of the Dorit high-pressure area for the next 96 hours. There will be more humid and cooler air pushed by a northwestern current against the northern Stau areas of the Salzburgerland, Styria and Ober- and Niederosterreich. This will provide about 10-25 cm of fresh snow between Wednesday and Friday. As a rule, too little for a PowderAlert, but who knows what is still possible the next few days. In times of pessimistic weather maps you have to be positive about every sparke on the snow maps. And besides that, 10-25 cm is quite nice in times of drought.

Snow forecast next 6 days
Snow forecast next 6 days

Let's hope that this front will result in more snow coming in that direction. Whoever looks at the maps however sees that there's not a very high chance according to the models.



Dry again after this weekend?

Both the European model (ECMWF) and the American model (GFS) calculate a huge high pressure area over Poland from the weekend, with which the supply of snow to the Alps is cut off. But the models are switching from day to day at the moment. There seemed to be room for a breakthrough from the west on Sunday and it looked like a breakthrough from the east on Saturday. No clear signals however, but there is always hope in frightened times.

The plan for this week

Either you go towards the east where some fresh snow falls between Wednesday and Thursday. The other option is you go on a tour in those parts of the Alps where the sun shines.

Again my words from last week:

Put an ice cream on a dry day in the sun and it melts quickly, put an ice in the shadow and it takes much longer. Put that same ice cream on a layer of snow in the shade and you will see that it takes even longer before the it melts. This also applies in the mountains. In fact, put an ice cream on a snowy shadow slope in the middle of the winter and you will see that the ice cream does not melt. Even if the temperature in the free atmosphere is clearly in the plus and people are relaxing in the sun.

It works like this. The snow cover itself is not directly susceptible to changes in the air temperature due to the insulating capacities of the snow cover. For warming the snow cover, the following three elements are the most powerful:

  • Direct radiation of the sun
  • Relatively warm air and clouds. This is because the clouds conduct the warmer, humid air into the snow cover
  • Rain

The sun is lower in the winter. The result is that it only directly affects the southern slopes and the steeper western and eastern slopes. On the other slopes, the sun is at most gently touching the snow cover and as a result the warm air can not penetrate the snow cover. As a result, the temperature of the snow cover on more shady slopes, but also those slopes where the sun does not directly hit, remains considerably lower. Often even well below zero. Especially when the nights are clear and the moisture can radiate considerably. Days on which you can see nice amounts of surface hoar on the snow cover on the shadow slopes.

Surface hoar
Surface hoar

Warm but sunny days do not mean that this is the end of the fresh powder snow. You just have to work a bit more for it. It is only mid February and the sun is still relatively low. This means that on slopes with an N, O or NW component you can still ride powder for a while. Especially when there are also trees on these kind of faces, then the sun does not hit the snow cover at all.

But how do you know if a ski area has enough N, O or NW slopes? You can check that out yourself with a compass, but you can also take a look at the exposition maps when you are a wePowder Pro. Below you can see the map of the Tannheimertal as an example.

The red colors on the map indicate the Northern and Northeastern slopes and if they are a bit steep, the snow stays good, light and fresh.

As wePowder Pro you get access to exposition, freeride routes, slope angle 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!

If you want to ride powder in the coming days, then you should search for:

  1. ski areas with plenyty of northern slopes where the powder remains cold enough;
  2. and look for family areas with lots of trees and little obvious terrain, that scares beginning freeriders.
  3. and delete the usual suspects and areas with a lot of easy access terrain.

With these tips you will certainly find some fresh powder.

Stay stoked, Morris


  • wayneo
    wayneo op 19 February 2019 路 01:15
    Please tell me there will be some snow in the first few weeks of March? Coming all the way from Australia 馃槥
  • Petter
    Petter op 19 February 2019 路 10:11
    That high-pressure Dorit is stubborn as a mule. No change for next 6-7days or what do you think @meteomorris
    Snow should always be dry, cold, and free. Like champagne!
  • meteomorris
    meteomorris op 19 February 2019 路 14:37
    That high-pressure Dorit is stubborn as a mule. No change for next 6-7days or what do you think @meteomorrisPetter op 19 Feb 2019 10:11

    Yes, you're right. I am getting nervous. Aaargghh
    May the powder be with you.
  • meteomorris
    meteomorris op 19 February 2019 路 14:37
    Please tell me there will be some snow in the first few weeks of March? Coming all the way from Australia 馃槥wayneo op 19 Feb 2019 01:15

    Looks like the pattern will change as of the start of March @wayneo
    May the powder be with you.


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