PA#24: Northern Stau

By meteomorris on 2 May 2019 · 4

PA #23 brought significant amounts of snow to the high alpine in the Alps and the snow cover is 3+ meters thick in large parts of the high alpine. And there will be more snow coming down the next couple of days and not only in the high alpine. The cold air returns (temporarily) deep into the valleys on Sunday. The result is that parts of the French northern Alps, Switzerland and Austria will get 5-30 cm of fresh snow in the valleys because the snow line will then temporarily drop towards the 400 - 700 meters. Winter ain't over yet!

3+ meters thick snow cover in the high alpine
3+ meters thick snow cover in the high alpine

Storm Werner

A strong northern current will start in the next 96 hours. Arctic air is pushed towards the Alps between high pressure above Iceland and a considerable storm depression above Scandinavia. This doesn't immediately lead to a huge drop in temperature. The current turns north on Friday, but the really cold air is still at the North Sea. Although the first snow already falls, the snow line fluctuates between 1400 and 2000 meters. It is already the coldest in the northwestern Alps where the snow line fluctuates around 1400 meters. The snow line is a bit higher to the east of Lucerne. The snow line is basicly still around 1200-1800 meters on Saturday, but according to current calculations, the snow line will drop rapidly in the night from Saturday to Sunday.

Polar air on its way to the Alps
Polar air on its way to the Alps

There is a fairly easy way to see for yourself that the snow line is quite high up to and including Saturday. By zooming in on the snow map you can clearly see that the valleys remain clear. It rains there until Saturday afternoon, while a lot of snow falls above 2000 meters. Because the air is a bit milder and the really strong northern current is missing, we see a further growth of the snow cover everywhere in the high alpine of the Alps until Saturday morning. (Check our forecastpage for more details).

Snow above 1500-2000 meters
Snow above 1500-2000 meters

Snow into the valleys until Saturday

When the cold front arrives in the course of Saturday afternoon, the current has turned north. The result is a northern Stau. It snows heavily in the extreme northwest in the night to Sunday, but especially in the northern Alps. And as said: deep into the valleys. That is also clearly visible on our snow maps. The (higher) valleys in the northern Alps get a color. The signal that snow is falling lower on the mountain.

Snow deep into the valleys
Snow deep into the valleys

The northern Stau is expected to continue on Sunday. The sun comes out slowly from the west (ski areas such as Val Thorens, Tignes, Chamonix and Glacier 3000 may already see some sun, but the areas east of Bern mainly still get a lot of snow (exact timing may change in the coming days) , follow the updates in the comments).

Only from Monday the sun returns everywhere and that is just too late for many areas. After Sunday May 5th, only a handful of areas are still open. Annoying but true.

Welke gebieden zijn nog open?

Lots of snow in the forecast and a real comeback of winter. Yet many skiers, boarders and ski resorts have already switched OFF and are already thinking of summer. Nevertheless, there are still a few areas open where the lifts will run (to a limited extent) in the coming days. Below is an overview of the areas in which the lifts are still running. But call them about the current status before you leave. In these areas you can already ride powder on the slopes this weekend, but the visibility outside the slopes will regularly be lousy.


  • Zermatt
  • Engelberg-Titlis until 26th of May
  • Andermatt - Gemsstock up to and including 19th of May
  • Glacier 3000 up to and including 5th of May
  • Adelboden - Engstligenalp until 5th of May


  • Tignes up to and including 5th of May
  • Val Thorens until 5th of May
  • Chamonix Mont Blanc until 5th of May


  • Ponte di Legno - Tonale until 5th of May
  • Schnalstal (Val Senales) until 5th of May
  • Breuil-Cervinia up to and including 5th of May
  • Sulden am Ortler until 5th of May
  • Monte Rosa (check the opening times here)


  • Hintertuxer Glacier
  • Stubaier Glacier up to and including 10th of June
  • Kitzsteinhorn Kaprun up to and including 2nd of June
  • Kaunertaler Glacier up to and including 12th of May
  • Mölltaler Glacier up to and including 12th of May
  • Pitztal Glacier up to and including 5th of May
  • Sölden up to and including 5th of May

Sunshine on Monday?

Heavy snowfall in the Alps this weekend, so it will be dangerous. Planning a big ski tour, a mountain bike tour, climbing or just a hike? Take into account that the conditions will be bad above 1000 meters on Sunday with a rapidly rising avalanche risk.

Chances are that it will be sunny (almost) everywhere from Monday. High pressure returns and temporarily puts fronts at a distance. Monday could therefore be the most beautiful day. Anyone who wants to get some chance of sun and fresh snow on Sunday is best off in the northwestern Alps with fresh snow and the sun coming out from the west. Lift-assisted powder and sunshine for the last time this season? It's possible! Sunday in the northwest, Monday in the rest of the Alps in the handful of areas where the lifts are still running.

Looking forward to winter '19-'20

Winter '18 -'19 is almost finished, but in the meantime we are already working on winter '19-'20. Arjen, our coders and myself are already busy with updates for winter '19 -'20 to further improve wePowder. We also have something else in store for you, but more about that later this summer.

In addition, together with Haas and our team of testers, I have put the finishing touches to the Powfinder models for winter '19 -'20. At Powfinder we don't do a sale because we always sell out. We don't think it's correct that regular customers pay the most and bargain hunters can pick up the same product at the end of the season. We turn things around. We reward regular customers and fast orderers by offering them a 20% pre-order discount and ask for a higher price during the winter because we have investment and storage costs. In short, if you order now, you are guaranteed the lowest price of the season and you will have your new Powfinder at home in time for the winter of '19-'20. Especially our Splitboard and the Limited have become gems. With the code 20%STOKED the pre sale discount is automatically deducted from the total amount.

The Powfinder Split 157
The Powfinder Split 157

PA#24, the last alert?

For a lot of ski areas this is the last alert in which lift assisted powder is possible. Then they go into summer mode. But whether this is also the last alert? A number of areas will still be open in the coming weeks. If significant snow appears then PowderAlert #25 will follow. We will see what happens. Enjoy PA #24 anyway and don't forget to check the local avalanche forecast.

Stay stoked, Morris


  • filippalmexmajkus
    filippalmexmajkus op 2 May 2019 · 20:22
    Morris the other forecasts (like bergfex for example) still rate monday as cloudy for hintertux... do you think it will really clear up on monday already?
  • meteomorris
    meteomorris op 3 May 2019 · 17:30

    Really hard tp predict at the moment. Like I said:
    Chances are that it will be sunny (almost) everywhere from Monday.

    Probably already some sun on Monday afternoon.
    But hard to say at the moment. Will update my expectations on this this weekend.
    May the powder be with you.
  • filippalmexmajkus
    filippalmexmajkus op 7 May 2019 · 06:55
    Hey Morris, just to let you know. We had some windows yesterday, mostly between 11am-2pm on hintertux glacier. Before and after whiteout. about 50cm of fluffy, winter kind of snow. today is bluebird so we go aerly before it gets wet. Thanks a lot
  • Shreddermax
    Shreddermax op 14 May 2019 · 10:58
    Yesterday we did our season closing at Stubai it was just awsome deep pow from top to bottom.


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