Cold, some fresh snow and a sunny weekend

Cold, some fresh snow and a sunny weekend

A storm in Scandinavia results in some fresh snow in the Alps on Thursday and Friday. It also gets colder after a mild Wednesday. The sun returns quickly after Friday making the weekend really fantastic to ride powder. Fresh snow, sun and nice fresh weather. A weekend to dream of. It will therefore become crowded in large parts of the northern Alps.

But the conditions are excellent as you can see in the video above of our big friend Fritzz. He’s hunting for some powder this week with some friends and a camper. Mission seems successful. A part of the tracks will snow full again today and the sun will come out again from Friday. A point of attention remains the avalanche danger that is still critical. In this forecast:

  • Some extra fresh snow
  • Sunny and cold from Friday
  • Avalanche situation is still critical
  • Where to go? Tree runs, tree runs, tree runs
Storm Hinne
Storm Hinne

Some extra fresh snow

The above-mentioned storm depression with the name Hinne pushes cold air towards the Alps with a northwestern current. This causes a drop in temperature and fresh snow. First of all, the snow falls in the northwest and north of the Alps, but once the main alpine ridge is crossed, there is temporarily a low-pressure area above the Adriatic with snow for the far northeast of Italy, Slovenia and the south of Carinthia. It’s been a while since the Alpe Adria got some fresh snow.

Adria low
Adria low

Between 5 and 25 cm of fresh snow comes down in the north and northwest of the Alps between today and Friday morning. Just enough to fill in the tracks. The snow line is first around 600-1000 meters, but later deep in the valleys. In the Alpe Adria and especially Slovenia, it snows more heavily. About 20-50 cm of fresh snow can come down here up to Saturday morning, but that is also necessary. The snow cover is relatively thin over there for the time of the year.

Snow forecast until Saturday
Snow forecast until Saturday

Check our forecast page if you want to see more details.

Sunny and cold from Friday

The sun comes out in the northwest again on Friday and the sunny spells spread to the rest of the Alps later in the day. It is the prelude to a sunny weekend or at least a sunny Saturday. Our model calculates quite a bit of snow today for Sunday for the French Alps, but that is far from certain. However, the northwest and west of the Alps have to take into account the influx of higher clouds on Sunday with some snow later in the day.

Friday and Saturday are powder days in the northwest of the Alps. Friday, Saturday and Sunday are powder days for Austria.

Avalanche situation is still critical

It’s been while since there is no longer HIGH (4 on a scale of 5) avalanche danger in the Alps. Even in Austria, the risk has dropped to 3 on a scale of 5. Which does not mean that you can now ride everywhere. The thick snow cover is settling, but it’s still a point of attention especially above the tree line. The snow cover hasn’t had the time yet to settle, especially on northern slopes. Old and new storm slabs remain the main focus there.

In recent days, they have worked hard to actively trigger avalanches sometimes with impressive results, but that does not mean that everything is safe now. The avalanche danger is still considerable.

Wenn Lawinen in tiefere Schichten durchbrechen, können sie durchaus groß werden und exponierte Bereiche gefährden. Aktivitäten abseits gesicherter Bereiche erfordern Erfahrung in der Lawinen- und Geländebeurteilung. Unerfahrenen wird empfohlen, auf den geöffneten Abfahrten und Routen zu bleiben. (source)

You simply need to have the right knowledge and gear when you want to ride off-piste. No knowledge and/or gear? Stay on the (opened) marked slopes.

TIP: check out the article 'Avalanche danger rating 3: more dangerous than you think!"

Ride hard, ride smart

Around 110 people are killed in avalanches every year. People like you and me. Always check your local avalanche forecast (here or on the destination pages on wePowder) and adapt your plans to it. Common sense and the right knowledge are the key to beautiful powder days. Do not forget to have fun, but keep thinking! Knowledge is the key, but powder panic is not.

When you have no idea what all of the above is about, please stay on the slopes now and invest in your knowledge. Mountain Academy is the ideal start of your search for the right knowledge. You can start right away here.

Where to go? Tree runs, tree runs, tree runs

Fresh snow, cold and especially on the higher parts of the mountain still a critical avalanche danger. Why then seek your pleasure on the highest peaks? The treeruns in large parts of the northern Alps are fantastic. There is so much snow that you can now ride lines in the trees and jump pillows that are normally not possible. Below some pictures of snowboard guide Irian van Helfteren at a secret spot in Vorarlberg. Steep drops and pillow shots.

Winter only just begun. It is mid January and it is time for the better treeruns because:

  1. It is slowly becoming more crowded in the Alps again and the powder panic increases. Especially the easily accessible open faces next to the slopes are well attended, anyone who rides into the woods is often alone simply because not a lot of skiers and snowboarders have the knowledge and especially the ability to ride between the trees.
  2. It is much safer. Statistics show that most avalanche victims fall above the tree line. Simply riding lower on the mountain (where the avalanche danger is often lower and you often don’t have to deal with old layers of snow) you reduce the risk of coming into an avalanche.
  3. Winter season is tree run season. The snow cover will still grow in the low and mid mountains until the end of February. After that the temperature will start to rise in the valleys and spring will come in.
  4. Last but not least, forests are the way to go on the days that it’s dumping. The trees provide the much needed visibility when you can’t see a thing in the high alpine.

Again, common sense and the right knowledge are the key to beautiful powder days. I avoid the areas with mainly terrain above the tree line in the middle of the winter. Too tricky! I mainly ride powder on the mountain between the trees and avoid large open and steep sections with a high avalanche danger. Even steep sections above a forest are dangerous because avalanches can reach far into the trees.

In short: tree runs, tree runs, tree runs. I love to (re)discover small but awesome ski areas in the middle of the winter, where the faces are full of fairytale forests. Peak season is coming up, but I’ve always managed to find accommodation last-minute.

TIP: Check out the article ‘How to make the most of winter

Where to go?

Family ski areas with trees are the place to be in the regions below on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Long term: snow for the south?

The snow cover is (many times) thicker than normal in large parts of the northern Alps. In the meantime it has been dry for weeks in the southern Alps. There may be a change in the weather next week. Cold air threatens to break through from the east and low pressure areas find their way in the Mediterranean. Usually the prelude to snow for the south.

Snow for the south?
Snow for the south?

But how, what, and when is still completely unclear. There is a lot of dynamics in the models. Let’s first enjoy the snow on the north side of the Alps. Because the situation is fairly predictable up to and including Sunday, the next update will be published earliest on Saturday.

As wePowder Pro you get access to the 14-day snow and weather maps and the 14-day forecast per resorts (we’ve got all the resorts in the Alps covered). You never have to miss a dump anymore. When you are wePowder Pro you also have access to 1000+ inspirational freeride routes in the most beautiful freeride areas of the Alps. Sign up as wePowder Pro today. It works great for your karma as well and you’ll support the development of the wePowder platform! Thanks!

Stay stoked,



ShredomatorAuthor18 January 2019 · 08:43
meteomorrisAuthor18 January 2019 · 09:27

@@Shredomator finally!!! Have fun!
beatricejoliotAuthor19 January 2019 · 13:25

How are things looking for the Pyrenees? Have a trip to Baquiera early February.

NicZHAuthor19 January 2019 · 19:33

Very good cdtion in Tschiertschen with surprisingly nobody riding! Bluebird and cold powder. There is plenty of fresh snow remaining tomorrow! It is cold!

NicZHAuthor19 January 2019 · 19:44

Last please be cautious with open bowl above 2000m because of wind in Tschiertschen, avoid too steep, i have seen wind slabs and one decent avalanche.

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