Fresh snow, sun and föhn: where to go?

Fresh snow, sun and föhn: where to go?

Wednesday and Thursday were powder days as promised. That is, if you were on the road in the right place in the Alps. The wind was a bummer above the tree line, but in many places the treeruns were finally once again in good condition. This Friday, the snow falls will taper off to the east and it will get sunny everywhere. Saturday will start with a föhn and mild temperatures in the North, followed by a cold front moving in into the night to Sunday, with another south föhn on Sunday. Next week the Alps will remain under the spell of storms cycle that may contiue until the end of next week. In this article:

  • Looking back: loads of fresh snow for northwest
  • Friday: sunny and milder
  • Saturday: South föhn with incoming snow fall
  • Night Saturday to Sunday: cold front moving in
  • Sunday: milder
  • Where to go?
  • Next week: prolonged storm cycle

Looking back: loads of fresh snow for northwest

It snowed intensely since Tuesday evening. A lot of snow fell in the northwestern parts of the Alps. The French Northern Alps, western Switzerland, the Swiss Alpine north ridge and the far west of the Aosta. Those who were in these regions (and were lucky that the lifts were still running) were in the right place. Especially among the trees it was once again old skool pillows and powder.

Like alwys the Kleinwalsertal and Vorarlberg did well with snow from the northwest, but the strong wind of Thursday has left its mark on it with storm slabs all over the place.

Snow forecast Thursday night (c)WXCharts/ECMWF
Snow forecast Thursday night ©WXCharts/ECMWF

Friday: sunny from the west

The night from Thursday to Friday is still snowing in the Northern Alps which will definetely improve the conditions. And it will continue to snows east of Innsbruck on Friday morning. At the same time the sun is already shining in the western Alps. It gets milder in the west, but the wind drops, there is a lot of fresh snow and the sun shows itself. The ultimate powder day?

Yes and no. Because the wind above the tree line has caused a lot of storm slabs (= avalanches) and with the holiday pressure at maximum level, the bustle in the off-piste will cause the necessary powder stress. You might know the saying: The first beautiful day after snowfall …

Southstau en Northföhn on Saturday (c)WXCharts/ECMWF
Southstau en Northföhn on Saturday ©WXCharts/ECMWF

Saturday: Southern föhn with incoming snow falls for the South

The entire northern Alps have to deal with the mild air on Saturday. With an approaching new front, a southern föhn lights up and becomes tangible in the Northern Alps. Which means again a strong wind in the higher alpine with gusts up to 100 km / h. At the mean time on the southern side of the Alps the clouds are moving in.The first snow falls in the Southern Alps by the end of Saturday.

Incoming snow from the South (c)WXCharts/ECMWF
Incoming snow from the South ©WXCharts/ECMWF

A cold front then passes in the night to Sunday. The southern fhn then falls away in the western Alps and it snows in the northwest. In the meantime it is snowing on the south side of the eastern Alps.

Saturday night (c)WXCharts/ECMWF
Saturday night ©WXCharts/ECMWF

In the course of Sunday morning the cold air reaches the north of Austria and then it snows there just as well. At the same time, mild air reaches the western Alps and it will have reached the Eastern Alps on Sunday towards the end of the day.

Where to go?

The life of a powfinder revolves around making the right choices. The following context is important for the coming days.

  • Most snow fell in the northwest
  • The tree runs overthere are therefore in a good shape
  • Less snow fell in the northern Alps east of the Arlberg
  • The tree runs are therefore not always an option overthere
  • Friday, Saturday and Sunday the sun shows itself regularly
  • The urge to play above the tree line will be immense
  • If you are going to do that: check your local avalanche bulletin and adjust your plans accordingly
  • Because a good freerider is an old freerider

In short:

  • best treeruns in the northwest (including Vorarlberg), where small but fine areas are recommended. Just some tips out of my pocket: Ovronnaz, Bruson, Arèches Beaufort, La Giettaz, La Thuile, Rothwald, MF and Sonnenkopf. Oh, did I mention Airolo?

After the weekend a new storm cycle with lots of snow. Updates about this will follow later this weekend.

I’m busy in the coming days and I don’t always have reach. But if you have pressing questions, ask them here or via my insta or facebook pages. I will do my best to answer asap.

Your Powfinder, Morris



Rafael_CordeiroAuthor28 February 2020 · 11:45

Hey Moris! Thanks for the great forecast as usual. Next week (from Monday night) I will be near See am Paznauntal and Kappl, which is just one valley (south)east of Arlberg… what are your thoughts on the region? We want to do some “easy” Splitboard touring in mostly safe (mostly <30°) slopes, will there be enough snow above the tree line, or will the wind blot it all away in the next days? (The wind and snow line graphic here has been acting funny, btw).
Thanks and I hope you are busy riding powder on the next days ;)

thomaswellerAuthor29 February 2020 · 23:56

Hi! Different topic…can we get any more of your PowderGuide book, I’ve shown some friends the ones we have and they’d like one too. Sorry, but I can´t find on the site where to put my name on waiting list or similar…
Thanks T.

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