Finally some fresh snow for the Alps. On average, 5-25 cm of fresh snow fell with locally accumulations up to 40 cm. But high pressure chooses position again and the sun and drought will return in the Alps. At the same time a 20 year storm has developed to the east of Spain with a lot of snow for the central and eastern Pyrenees in the forecast. Time for a new horizon? In this message:
From Friday evening it finally snowed again in the Alps. On average, 5-25 cm of fresh snow fell with locally bigger accumulations. Some reports from the field.
Cham got around 20-40 around 2200 meters, but at the same time the Aiguille got loaded
With 5-25, locally 40 cm it was just (not) deep enough and the feedback I received varied. Most of the snow had fallen above tree line, but due to the wind you could find dust on crust in ons spot while a few kilometers further on it was deep enough not to hit the old layer. This app i recieved is typical of what I took place: 'Today Steinberg 4 times and laub once. Steinberg was pretty ok. Quite some sharks at the laub."
We are on our way towards the end of January, but in many areas early winter conditions are in effect.
In the western Alps the sun was already back on Saturday and in the eastern Alps the sun is expected as of Monday. Currently it is still snowing lightly in the Eastern Alps, but as of Monday sun will dominate the weather until the end of this week. In short, wonderful weather to go touring and explore the backcountry. But don'y expect super deep conditions, for that you have to go to the (eastern) Pyrenees.
Above a map of the Spanish weather services AEMET. On the map you can see the Gloria storm just to the east of Spain. It is an unusual position for a storm. Especially in mid-January. You usually expect them here October / November or February / March. With a core pressure going towards the 1008 Mbar, the Spanish east coast and the Balearic Islands can prepare themselves for a huge storm. A pretty unusual storm that you can expect in this intensity on average only once every 20 years.
Gloria reminds me of January 2006, January 25-28, 2006 to be precise. The storm then had no name at the time, but it was certainly no less intense. With a core pressure of 1005 Mbar, she afflicted the east coast of Spain with bizarre snow in the Pyrenees and towering waves in Barcelona and Valencia. Because the Alps then had no super conditions, I left last minute to friends in Barcelona for a road trip through the Eastern Pyrenees. In our powder quest we visited resorts such as La Molina, Puigmal (nowadays closed), Font Romeu, Porté Puymorens, Arcalis and Baqueira Beret. Tapas and powder, it was a wonderfull trip and I learned a lot for the trips that followed. A picture from the past.
The Eastern Pyrenees and in particular the ski areas of Catalunia, the Pyrénées-orientales and Ariège are mostly visited by weekend warriors from Barcelona, Toulouse and Perpignan. There is some destination tourism, but it can be nice and quiet outside peak season and the weekends. An exception is Andorra, which attracts winter sports enthusiasts from all over Europe with its duty-free alcohol and many artificial snow.
Outside of the weekend it can therefore be quiet in many areas. That is a plus. But how is the snow. The Eastern Pyrenees are not really known as a powder paradise. An area such as La Molina would not exist without the grace of artificial snow and many areas are now worth a visit in your quest for powder. Yet there are a number of areas in this region that are known for their good snow statistics. Resorts such as Porté Puymorens, Arcalis and Baqueira Beret.
This winter, the conditions there are fine. Certainly above the tree line there is enough (sugar) snow on shadowy slopes. But beware lower on the mountain or onthe sunyn slopes, the snow cover is thin or does bately excist. Something to keep in mind ..
The biggest storm warnings from storm Gloria are in force for Monday, but iy will not hit the Pyrenees that hard. According to current calculations, it will be the snowfall from Tuesday evening to Thursday morning that will bring substantial quantities. That is quite a long way in time and just like with a return d'est in the Alps, it is all in the details.
According to the current calculations, the most easterly areas get a lot of snow, such as La Molina, Masella, Valterr 2000, Formigueres, Font Romeu and Les Angles. In some outputs up to two meters of fresh is calculated but: 1. in these areas there is virtually no base and 2. from experience we know that these areas have difficulty opening the lifts quickly after such a huge dump.
Also areas like Porté Puymorens and Arcalis do not have the best base cover in years, with Arcalis also having the misfortune to lie on the wrong side of the Pyrenees for the snow moving in from Tuesday to Thursday. Baqueira Beret then? For the time being this area has the best charts. Although is will get less snow than in the more eastern areas, there is enough base on the northern slopes and if the 50-70 cm really fall, it will be great powder riding there. But it's all about the details.
My next update will be live by Tuesday at the latest, with some updates in the comments below this blog. Please note that I am traveling a lot in the coming days and that updates are less frequent or may occur at different times since I am travelling in different time zones.
Last but not least, I want to ask you to read and where possible support Erik Bulckens' dream. Erik Bulckens is a cinematographer, documentary maker and powder fanatic. Thanks to wePowder, he has been scoring powder for years. His dream is to make a movie documentary about the people behind wePowder. For that, Erik needs your help. You can read all about it here: read here. Do you help Erik make his dream come true? Thank you very much for your help!
Stay stoked Morris