Tuesday is a powder day! Same for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday!


By meteomorris on 11 March 2019 · 1

It's snowing in the northwest of the Alps since Saturday. It was mild until Sunday night and locally even Monday morning and snow came down only above 2000 meters until that time. But with the start of what the workweek is for many people, the temperature has suddenly dropped. The peak of the high season ended on Sunday and the supply of mild air ended as well.

Although the snow only fell deep into the valleys today and you can really enjoy the powder on Tuesday, there already was a lot of stoke. The snow is cold again, the winter back again and of course those powder smiles.

Already up to 75 cm of fresh snow came down locally above 2000 meters since Saturday, as you can see below in Les Marécottes in the far west of Wallis. But now that the temperature has dropped today, we see the snow quantities also rising at lower points on the mountain. Below the graph of Les Marécottes you can see a map with the measured fresh snow at the measurement stations in Switzerland.

Snowfall Les Marécottes last 3 days
Snowfall Les Marécottes last 3 days

Snowfall Switzerland last 24 hours)
Snowfall Switzerland last 24 hours)

Graphs are great, but real images are even better. Below the snowfall of Monday. These are thick intense flakes. And by the end of the day there was about 20-40 cm of fresh snow between the trees.

It continues to snow until Tuesday morning, with the front slowly moving towards the east. Then another 10-30 cm of fresh snow for the northern Swiss Alpine Ridge and the Austrian Vorarlberg will come down. The sun will come out from the west on Tuesday. There may still be some residual clouds in the east of the Alps, but it will certainly be a powder day in:

You can find powder between the trees in the above areas. But keep in mind there's a hard layer below. It is possible that its will change tomorrow under the influence of the new snow cover and its insulating effect so that you will feel it less during the day.

You will have to pay attention above the tree line, because the strong wind influenced the snow cover. Therefore, check your local avalanche forecast (available on the area pages on wePowder or via avalanches.org and adjust your plans to it.

You can also ride powder in:

But keep in mind that you have to go high and that the base is often totally frozen. Where the wind prevails, the bluish ice comes out under the new snow.

Hard ice layer is visible
Hard ice layer is visible

New storm is PA#17

Tuesday is a powder day, it will be sunny with higher clouds later in the day, moving to the Alps from the northwest. It is also a bit milder under the influence of high pressure and a southwestern current (take into account wet snow avalanches during the day). It is the prelude of a new storm that is expected in the night to Wednesday.

Storm Franz is heading for Europe and the result is a lot of snow for the northwest of the Alps again. The first front passes in the night from Tuesday to Wednesday, the second front in the course of Wednesday and this will bring a lot of snow until Thursday.

There is some space between the fronts for some sun on Wednesday, but that is by no means guaranteed everywhere. The snow line is again low (900-1200 meters) in the west and even lower in the east (600-900 meters). There is a significant amount of snow falling.

It is possible that you will have some visibility on Wednesday, but Thursday will be a day in the trees because it will snow almost continuously in the northwest of the Alps. PA #17 applies to Wednesday and Thursday and for:

Thursday in particular is going to be deep and we will be riding great treeruns in the middle of March. But then Friday...

Warm front on Friday
Warm front on Friday

Clearly milder from Friday

A warm front follows on Friday. The temperature rises again, just like the snow line. You won't really notice this in the inneralpine valleys because the air in the valleys is still cold here. But because the warm front is pretty persistent and it's impossible for cold air to reach the Alps due to a high pressure area, it will be milder from Friday.

Expect that Friday starts with rain up to 1000-1500 meters in the Alps in France and Switzerland. At the same time it snows deep into the valleys in the inneralpine valleys of France and Switzerland. We also see the same scenario with 4 to 8 hours delay in Austria. The snow line may still rise towards the 1700 meters and it will only freeze above 2000+ meters later in the day.

It is the prelude to a sunny but mild weekend. Forget the treeruns coming weekend. Saturday and Sunday you want to ride powder in the higher parts of the Alps.

Long term: mild again?

Still very far away, but more and more models assume that it will stay mild after the weekend. We will see what will happen, but this is on the menu for this week:

  • Tuesday: late winter conditions in the northwest. A nice powder day
  • Wednesday and especially Thursday: treeruns in the northwest
  • Friday and the weekend: late winter conditions, so go for the high alpine. Choose an area in the northwest and north of the Alps with substantial terrain above the tree line.

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Stay stoked, Morris

Comments


  • tarekbayazid
    tarekbayazid op 12 March 2019 · 15:48
    Morris, big question for you my friend. What's your advice for somebody based in London who wants to ski this weekend, can fly to any of Geneva, Zurich, Munich, Milan, and maybe Lyon, and is willing to drive up to about 2 hours upon landing?

    My friend and I can literally hit anywhere in the Alps that tick those boxes. Where is THE BEST place going to be for riding high alpine pow pow 😃

    Am thinking Lenzerheide, but open to anywhere.

    Thank you!!

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