It's going to be a turbulent week with lots of snow from time to time. The bussiest week in the Alps is behind us and especially the hidden gems in the Alps will be the place to be this week. With all the snow in the forecast this week is the ideal moment to go powderchasing. With friends or under the guidance of a mountain, snowboard or ski guide. In this article:
A lovely start of the week with a very powerful Genua storm depression, what else to wish for? A Genua low is something we have not seen since November 2019. With a powerful southwestern current, moist air is pressed against the Southwestern and Southern the Alps. Although the air moving is relatively mild, the snow line is very low due to the strong orographic cooling. The snowline will be on average around 1000-1400 meters, but locally around 600 meters in Northern Italy and south of the Ecrins.
Most snow falls in the French Southern Alps on Monday morning. Especially south of the Ecrins massif heavy snow is expected. On average I do expect around 15-30 cm with locally up the 50 cm towards the end of the day.
During the day, the cold front (the blue line on the chart above) enters the northwestern Alps and then it starts snowing heavily in the French Northern Alps. Up to and including Tuesday morning I do expect around 20-45 cm with locally accumulations up to 70 cm.
At the same time once the warm front (the red line on the chart above) passed the French Southern Alps it enters the Po valley and will be full force pressed against the southern side of the Alps. This is the moment when it starts to snow heavily in the northern Italy. From the Lombardia and the Dolomites to the Alpe di Giullia there will be powder. Here too, I do expect an average of 20-45 cm with locally accumulations up to 90 cm.
In the night from Monday to Tuesday, the Alps are trapped between two low-pressure areas. First of all there is the Genoa low that pushes a lot of moisture from the south towards the Alps. Normally this produces a strong Föhn wind on the north side of the Alps. But now the clouds that hit over the main Alpine ridge are pushed back with a northern current so that the north side of the Alps also sees snow. as well The Swiss Alpine Nordhang, Vorarlberg and the Austrian Alpine main ridge in particular benefit from this. Here I also expect some 20-40 cm of fresh snow. The lower parts of Austria (in particular everything north of the Inn) get considerably less.
The course of the snowfall can be seen in the video below. (source: WXCharts, model: ECMWF). Read the above text again carefully and then watch the video below step by step. A storm like this is a beautiful example of what nature is capable of.
The snowfall of Monday and Tuesday will defintely improve the conditions. Tuesday and Wednesday are therefore powder days in large parts of the Alps. Exceptions are the Piedmont and the lower-lying areas of Austria north of the Inn and the lower-lying areas of the Salzburgerland and Styria. On the map below you can see that they get significant less amounts of fresh snow.
On Tuesday the sun comes through again from the west and Wednesday the sun shines in large parts of the Alps. The biggest holiday crowds are over, last minute booking is not really a problem and you will find excellent powder in the hidden gems.
A new storm cycle with again a lot of snow for large parts of the Alps will move in on Thursday. Because the exact course of the storm path is not clear yet, it is too early for details. But you may assume that powder alert#16 will be in effect from Thursday and that the weekend of 6-8 March will be a very good one to chase some powder. For the time being, the storm path of powder alert#16 appears to be similar to that of powder alert #15, with the biggest difference that the lower parts of Austria also seem to get some significant accumulations.
If we look beyond the weekend of March 6-8, then according to the American model we get a relatively cold and sunny week while the European model hints at first cold, then mild and then again a new storm cycle. We will see what the future will bring to us.
Your Powfinder, Morris