Heavy snow coming up!

Heavy snow coming up!

There is snow in the air which is easily to notice. In the last few hours I have received dozens of questions about details and the one million dollar question: when and where to go? Below a first draft with some directions where to go. But keep in mind that the timing of the storms is not failry relaible yet. The head lines for the upcoming week will be as follow: the jet stream finally finds its way back to the Alps. On Tuesday and Wednesday that leads to snow and a rapidly falling snow line for the northwestern Alps. But from Thursday the jetstream will turn southwest again. The result is that will get milder again. Biggest questions for the next few days are: what will be the exact timing of the fronts? How much milder will it get after Wednesday? Will the weekend be sunny enough to ride above powder the tree line? What will the avalanche danger rating will be? In this message:

  • Tuesday and Wednesday: lots of snow for the northwest
  • Thursday will be a powder day (powder alert # 8)
  • Weekend: mild and sunny or rising rainfall?
  • Avalanche danger will go up

Tuesday and Wednesday: lots of snow for the northwest

Finally there is sign of winter on the wather charts. The jet stream turns west and even northwest which will force storms to track to the northwestern Alps. The temperature will drop and the wind will pick up. The first snow is expected Monday at the end of the day with the snow line dropping towards 1200 meters. Tuesday: loads of snow and a snow line that starts around 1200 meters but will drop towards 500 to 800 meters in the evening. Wednesday it will snow deep into the valleys and you might get an old fashioned winter feeling.

Below the snow forecast until Wednesday according to the most important weather models:


Serious amounts of snow are expected for the Northwest and the hotsport will be the French Northern Alps, the northwest of the Aosta and western Switzerland. But also the Swiss Bernese Oberland and the Austrian Vorarlberg will get enough snow worth a powder alert.

Will Thursday be a powder day (powder alert # 8)?

You may expect to ride deep powder already on Wednesday, but the the question is what to expect for Thursday? All models assume it will get milder due to a new storm depression moving in, but what will be the timing of the front?

When this will arrive not earlier then Thursday afternoon or even from Thursday evening, then Thursday will be a classic powder day with sun and loads of pow. But when it will arrive already on Thursday morning, then the visbility will get pooir and it will snow above 1500 meters. The exact timing of this front differs in the models, nevertheless Wednesday and Thursday will be powder days. Sun or no sun. More details about Wednesday and Thursday tomorrow under this blog or in a new article. Hotspots for Wednesday and Thursday will be:

  • French Northern Alps
  • Western Wallis
  • Northwest Aosta
  • Swiss Alpennordhang
  • Vorarlberg

Weekend: mild and sunny or rising rainfall?

As of Friday it will get even warmer with some snow above 1500-2000 meters. Saturday will be mild and probably fairly sunny which enables you to ride powder in the northwest above 1800-2000 meters. And Sunday? Good question. Will it remain sunny and mild or will a very temporary cooler northern stau track to the northern Alps?

Avalanche hazard up

In short, many questions, but a number of things are certain. The northwest will get 50 to 100 cm of fresh snowabove the tree line. Mild temperatures will follow and in combination with strong winds the avalanche will rise. So the stoke might be high due to the new snow, so will the risks.

More tomorrow.



magicpeachAuthor27 January 2020 · 13:38

hopefully, the coming weekend will be sunny

you are progressing on something, that's all about
meteomorrisAuthor27 January 2020 · 15:00

@@magicpeach long term forecast is very unreliable at the moment, but according to the latest runs it will be milder as of Thursday. Snow line at first around 1200-1700 meters, on Saturday climbing towards 1700-2000 meters. There is room for some sunny intervals.

magicpeachAuthor27 January 2020 · 15:55

Thanks! Morris

btw, I am very curious about how do you predict visibility above tree lines.

Looks like there are different kinds of “clouds” when it is not snowing. In some cloudy days, you can not see much things above tree line, mostly whiteout. In some other cloudy days, the visibility is still OK for riding.

Is this related to high/low clouds OR different kinds of fronts? How do I tell from weather forecast that whether the visibility is going to be OK for some fun riding?

you are progressing on something, that's all about
NicZHAuthor27 January 2020 · 19:41

Looks tricky powder alert with strong wind and warmer temperature from wednesday onward. Thursday/Friday (lower risk avalanche with settled snow ?) would be the days, probably tree line resorts protected from gusts…hoping rains wont destroy the treat

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