Just in SNOWvember it's time for the first PowderAlert of winter '19 -'20. A very active western current will bring snow to the French Alps in the coming days. The sun comes out on Saturday and snow follows again on Sunday. This time for the southwest. In short, a weekend with changing circumstances. Where to go?
In this forecast:
After an intense SNOWvember you can ask yourself 'why did it take so long to issue a PowderAlert?'. Good question and that has two reasons. First of all the most snow came down in the past two weekends, often resulting in avalanches, floods and closed lifts. Secondly, in November I am cautious about fueling the stoke. Often many areas are closed at the beginning of November, so you have to ride on glaciers and crevasses and freeriding are not the ideal combination. Where there are no glaciers, the snow cover at the start of the season is still very thin and the rocks are not far away. Last but not least there is the risk of avalanches and you have to keep the so-called second snowfall in mind in November and there is no such thing as a tracked out slope just after the opening of an area.
I always hold my horses in November, but now there is a lot of snow in some places in the Alps so a first alert can't hurt. But if you are going this weekend keep in mind:
Therefore, check your local avalanche forecast and adjust your plans to it.
Maybe you have already noticed (at least I have seen the dozens of questions I get every day), but perhaps not yet: the PowderQuest app is not working at the moment. Salomon has decided to stop the service and at the moment we have no funding to provide you with our weather data, PowderAlerts and stoke via an app. We had an amazing partnership with Salomon all these years and after so many years they have shifted the priorities. So if your app doesn't work properly then you now know why. We apologize for the inconvenience, we are looking at what we can do, but until then you can always visit wepowder.com for all updates and info.
The Alps have been dealing with a strong western current since Wednesday, which provides a lot of snow mainly in the French Northern Alps and western Switzerland up to and including Friday.
The first snow fell on Wednesday with an average of 15 to 30 cm above 2000 meters in the French Alps and western Switzerland and even more is falling down today and Friday. Which is also necessary, because with all the news about the snowfall from November you would expect that there is already a base here. Well, that's not true. In recent weeks everything has been dominated by southern Staus so that the French Northern Alps didn't get much. Only the areas in the main alpine ridge on the border with Italy (Val d'Isère-Tignes, Bonneval sur Arc, Val Cenis and Valfréjus) got nice amounts of snow .
The first really good storm for the northwestern Alps will kick in until Friday. Above the snow forecast up to and including Friday (check here our forecast page for more details). The nice thing about the map above is that the snowfall is now exactly on the other side of the Alps as we have seen in recent weeks. For comparison, check again the video in this weather forecast.
The current today starts due west, but it continues further to northwest on Friday and then also Austria and especially Vorarlberg will get a lot of snow.
The Alps are temporarily confronted with a back of high-pressure on Saturday. Another storm is coming in with snow for the southwest and south of the Alps on Sunday. At the same time, high-pressure is building up over the Black Sea, transporting cold air from the east to the Alps. The interaction between this high-pressure above the Black Sea and an incoming storm from the southwest causes the snowfall on Sunday and Monday.
But the interaction between the two also determines the speed and intensity with which the storm can travel into the Alps. In the latest calculations, the center of gravity of this storm appears to be located in the French Southern Alps and the areas around the Simplon and Gotthard. But things can change in the coming hours.
A first alert to get warmed up. But a thin snow cover in large parts of the French Northern Alps, many closed areas and the high temperature after the southern dump of last weekend means that the choices are limited. The place to be this weekend is:
Good options are:
The disadvantage of the options above is that the snow for Sunday only really falls during the day, so that it is really nice to ride powder only by the end of the afternoon.
You can also go high for dry snow in:
The above areas get less snow, but there is already a thick snow pack. But as said, the place to be is really Val d'Isère-Tignes this coming weekend.
It is as if King Winter has been waiting for us. For the last two years, Arjen and I, along with a team of designers, editors and not to mention all our friends in the Alps, have worked endlessly on the ultimate freeride guide book: wePowder Guide the Alps. The last two months in particular were intense, working on that last bits. The presses will be running soon and the aim is to ensure that if you order now you'll receive your guide before Christmas. You can read all about our new book here. The guide is available in a limited edition and only the guides from the pre-order (€ 40,00 instead of € 45,00) are exclusively numbered. Order it now and make sure that you don't miss out!
Stay stoked, Morris