Winter will be back for a while this Sunday

Winter will be back for a while this Sunday

A storm depression called Peter is ready to rumble and waiting above Scandinavia. It’s aiming for the Alps, but a high-pressure area called Zoë attempts to block the road and send warm air to the Alps. Who will eventually be the winner? In this forecast:

  • Great start of the season
  • It’s still early season
  • Another current from the north
  • Snow for the northern Alps
  • Tips for the weekend

Great start of the season

It’s the 16th of November and large parts of the Alps have the best start of the season in years. There’s a snow cover of 20-50 cm, locally even 80 cm at an altitude of 2000 meters in almost the entire Alps. That’s something different compared to the last three winters. The ski areas are stoked and are sharing that stoke on social media. Who can blame them after the last couple of seasons? The conditions are great especially on the north side of the main alpine ridge. But, as always, you have to ride with care!

It’s still early season

Het is pas 16 november. Het is early season, in veel gebieden draaien de liften nog niet en er zijn 3 risico’s waar je rekening mee moet houden als je buiten de pistes gaat:

Again, it’s only mid-November. It’s early season, the lifts aren’t running in most resorts and you have to be aware of these three things when you go out of bounds:

  • The snow cover next to the slopes is still a bit thin and the rocks, stones and branches are not far away. A bite in your P-tex is annoying, an injury or fracture is even worse.
  • The same goes for the glaciers. It was warm last summer and many crevasses are hiding themselves like a sniper waiting to take you out.
  • If there’s enough snow to ride, there’s enough snow to slide. It’s a saying from my Canadian friends. The snow cover is growing and the first avalanches already came down, resulting in a tragic accident in Engelberg last Tuesday.

^The perfect winter This is how I make decisions during the season. Check out my perfect winter.

I take it easy during this time of the season and let nature do its job. I’ll wait until the snow cover is a bit thicker and I have a good understanding of all the different layers. The avalanche services have only just started and are collecting information. It’s still the beginning of the season, don’t let nature fool you.

Another current from the north

A storm depression called Peter wants to send cold air (blue arrow) to the Alps the next couple of days. High-pressure area Zoë will have to make way. The northern Stau was forecasted for Friday/Saturday at first, but now it’s expected on Sunday. It indicates how persistent the high pressure area is. The sun will shine in the Alps till Sunday. Some valleys will fill up with clouds, but there aren’t any clouds in the high alpine.


^Northern Stau, everything you wanted to know but were afraid to ask. Check out this article.

Snow for the northern Alps

Storm Peter pushes the high pressure area Zoë to the southwest in the course of Saturday. This allows the cold air to head to the north side of the Alps. This is already the third weekend in a row that it will snow in the Alps and the second real northern Stau. Storm Karl also brought a lot of snow to the northern Alps, but wasn’t a northern Stau. This perfect storm brought snow to the entire Alps, which is pretty unique.

It is expected to start snowing on the north side of the main alpine ridge in the night from Saturday to Sunday. Check out the current from the north, the incoming cold air and the quickly accumulating snow quantities in Switzerland and Austria below. The French northern Alps will only get a small amount of fresh snow compared to the areas in the rest of the northern Alps, because of the proximity of the high pressure area.

The high-pressure area is pushing the precipitation to the east (slowly but surely) and less and less snow will come down in the western part of the northern Alps. Warm air is coming in from the west at the same time, but this is coming in very slow. Nevertheless, it will be warmer in the Alps again from Tuesday. How much warmer is still the question, but the snow line will definitely rise after Monday. The question is where it will end up.

Especially because the models go back and forth after Tuesday. The low temperatures are coming back one moment, while less than 12 hours later you can see an impressive mild southern current on the maps. It is the typical battle of the masses of cold and warm air that we see more often during autumn. Anyway, you can definitely expect it to snow on the north side of the Alps from Sunday. The snow cover above 1200-1600 meters will grow significantly on the north side of the Alps until Wednesday. You can expect 20-60 cm, locally even 100 cm of fresh snow above 1900 meters. The wind will kick in on Sunday as well and this is definitely annoying in the high alpine. This strong wind will cause bad visibility and it will transport a lot of snow (the builder of avalanches).

Tip: If you want to look into the future, become a wePowder Pro member. You’ll get access to the 14-day forecast and more detailed weather and terrain options. And it works for your karma as well, because you support the development of the wePowder platform.

^Which resorts are already open? 31 resorts in the Alps have their lifts running or will be opening soon. Which ones? Check out this article.

Tips for the weekend

Some resorts already have their lifts running and more and more resorts are opening their lifts this weekend. You can definitely ride some great snow. Take the aforementioned three risks into account and opt for relatively safe lines. Especially because there is room for sun on Friday and especially Saturday. The weather will change on Sunday.

Obergurgl opens his lifts today. Resorts like Val Thorens, Engelberg (Titlis), Silvretta Montafon and Andermatt will open some of their lifts for the first time this weekend after Monday’s dump. It’s a nice perspective for Saturday.

Discount on Mountain Academy

Want access to the most comprehensive online backcountry snow safety courses for skiers and snowboarders? Use code “WEARESKIING1718”, valid until the beginning of March, to get access for only 9€ (Reg: 29€). Go to Mountain Academy and start now!

Stay stoked

Never miss a PowderAlert!

Get updates on the latest news, PowderAlerts and more!