PA#4: Nordstau for Austria!

PA#4: Nordstau for Austria!
Total precipitation amounts until Sunday according to the European model (wxcharts.com)
Total precipitation amounts until Sunday according to the European model (wxcharts.com)

Starting tomorrow, after a long dry period, it’s time for a big Nordstau in Austria. Locally there might be a meter of snow, so it’s time for a new Powder Alert! Note that not all areas in Austria will get the full load. Of course the areas of Osttirol and Carinthia are on the wrong side of the alpine ridge, but the west of Austria (Vorarlberg and Tirol) will probably also get less of this snowfall.

One more sunny day today, like here in Arosa (roundshot.com)
One more sunny day today, like here in Arosa (roundshot.com)

Still sunny today

^The forecasts on wePowder are powdered by our friends at Ortovox

We can be brief about today: it’s the last calm day before things get started in Austria. High air pressure dominates over the Alps and it will be sunny everywhere. During the afternoon clouds will approach from the west. The Nordstau is in the starting blocks, but before that happens, a small upper level low will create a southwest flow with some snowfall in the French Northern Alps and Switzerland tonight. It’s a very small-scale feature which, with a maximum of 5 centimetres, will not produce much more than dust on crust.

Small upper level low provides several centimetres of snow before the cold front arrives (wetter3.de, DWD)
The cold front arrives during the night (wetter3.de, DWD)

Nordstau

In the course of tonight, a cold front will soon follow from the northwest, which will ensure that the entire Northern Alps will be covered in snow. Until tomorrow night, 10 to 20 centimetres of snow will fall between Central Switzerland and the Arlberg. In the course of Friday, the main part of the snowfall will move to the Eastern Alps, making it snowier here as well.

On Friday, the intensity of the snowfall decreases from the west and it also temporarily snows less in Austria. In the Western Alps it clears up and also in most areas west of Innsbruck it stops snowing. East of Innsbruck, especially in the stau areas, it could continue snowing all day long, which could bring 20 to 30 centimetres of snow until Friday evening. During the night from Friday to Saturday, a warm front with a huge amount of snow will follow. Around the Salzburgerland region, this snowfall could last until the end of the weekend (and maybe even longer), causing local snow accumulations of a meter.

I’ve included the ECMWF model above because I’m not convinced of our weather model. For days now, the strongest snowfall is pretty consistently calculated for the east of Austria, but our weather model doesn’t really show that. So don’t focus too much on the exact snow amounts you see in our ski area forecast! Especially for Tyrol and Vorarlberg they are too positive. I expect the most snow in the stau areas around the Dachstein massif and the Totes Gebirge. This means a metre of snow could fall here by Sunday evening.

Snow bomb on Saturday (wxcharts.com)
Snow bomb on Saturday (wxcharts.com)

Timing, wind and avalanche danger!

It is important to keep an eye on the timing of the snowfall. It doesn’t happen right away, starting Thursday. The heaviest snowfall will come on Saturday (possibly half a meter of snow in the stau areas) with the passing warm front, which means it will only get really deep from then on. Also Sunday it will probably snow all day in the east of Austria with especially in the stau areas again 20 to 30 centimetres of fresh snow. Further developments early next week are still very uncertain. The European model has it snowing (lightly) for a couple of days in the Eastern Alps, but the American model chooses a drier path with possibly already some sun on Monday and Tuesday.

Please note that especially on Thursday and Saturday during the front passages the north wind picks up considerably! In combination with the heavy snowfall on Saturday Wind slab formation becomes a serious problem in the Eastern Alps. Avalanche danger will be high, so please check the local avalanche bulletin before diving into the deep powder! In any case, it is wise not to go higher up on Saturday and to stay far away from steep terrain. Despite the milder air, the snowfall line remains below 500 meters, which means that even lower stau areas will be covered in snow.

Where to go?

The Salzburgerland and Oberösterreich will get loads of snow on Saturday. On top of the 20 to 30 centimeters (locally possibly more) that will fall until Friday, there could be another 30 to 50 centimeters of snow. Because of the strong wind, it is not wise to ski in steep and exposed terrain. From Sunday onwards, the wind speed will be lower again, but the stau areas in the east of Austria will continue to get snow. Also on Sunday, please be careful: the avalanche risk will still be very high. Hotspots for snowfall are for example:

It will be very deep in these places, but also consider some low skiing areas like:

Henri
knows everything about new ski areas, lifts and projects.

Replies

Beginner
powstriaAuthor19 January 2022 · 14:50

Hi Henry,

The map shows Gerlos, Wildkogel as well as big hot spots. Do you think it is unreliable or it can happen?

Advanced
CamuschAuthor19 January 2022 · 15:07

I am so exited. Could not ask for a better birthday present. And I will be close to the stau areas also. Thinking on taking off Monday/Tuesday

Tourist
RafhollAuthor19 January 2022 · 17:30

We were due to leave Austria for France on Saturday… But that not happening now paid for appartment there 🤷‍♂️😂

Advanced
revedepapillonAuthor19 January 2022 · 17:32

driest winter in the south west :'(
##prayforsnow

Advanced
powderhoundmoritzAuthor19 January 2022 · 18:19

Is Obertauern also an option or is it too much south from Dachstein?

Advanced
powderhoundmoritzAuthor19 January 2022 · 18:36

Hi Henry,

The map shows Gerlos, Wildkogel as well as big hot spots. Do you think it is unreliable or it can happen?

powstria op 19 Jan 2022 14:50

I think this is what he meant with he doesn’t trust his model but ECMWF

Tourist
tarekbayazidAuthor19 January 2022 · 19:42

Henri please keep the updates frequent over the next few days!! It’s been a tough early season for a lot of us and decisions need to be made! I know you said next week could go either way but as soon as you have more info please let us know!!

Tourist
8611Author19 January 2022 · 19:49

Can anyone recommend a resort in the areas Henry suggests with good tree runs easy to find from the lifts?

Any recommendations for hotel close to the lifts and wellness in the hotel always welcome!

Tourist
8611Author19 January 2022 · 19:49
Beginner
HenriAuthor19 January 2022 · 22:12

@@powstria, like moritzfalkjünger said, it’s what I meant with the unreliability of our model at the moment. The snowfall on Saturday is in our model too far to the west. Gerlos and Wildkogel won’t be the hotspots, but still 30 and up to 50 centimeters are possible here until Saturday evening. Let’s hope our model is showing the right thing tomorrow!

@@moritzfalkjünger yes! Obertauern is definitely also a good option. More inneralpine, so definitely less than the real stau areas to the north, but still about a half a metre of snow from tomorrow until Saturday.

@@tarekbayazid! I’ll keep you updated!

Advanced
wildstyleAuthor19 January 2022 · 22:39

Can anyone recommend a resort in the areas Henry suggests with good tree runs easy to find from the lifts?

Any recommendations for hotel close to the lifts and wellness in the hotel always welcome!

8611 op 19 Jan 2022 19:49

Die-Tauplitz - Mitterstein lift - skiers left / lookers right. South facing slope , away from the wind hopefully.Can be skied well in a complete whiteout.

Pension Köberl - Bad Mitterndorf - stayed there a few years ago - nice, classic austrian hotel, very good value. 5-10 min drive to main lift. 10 min walk to the main bars in town and for food.
Hotel Tauplitzerhof - Tauplitz. 2 min walk to the lift. slightly more expensive.

‘Semper in Pulveris, sumus solim profundum variat “
Advanced
wildstyleAuthor19 January 2022 · 22:39

.

‘Semper in Pulveris, sumus solim profundum variat “
Tourist
8611Author19 January 2022 · 23:58

Super @@wildstyle thanks

Advanced
CamuschAuthor20 January 2022 · 08:48

Would you recommend Obertauern or Zauchensee Saturday and Sunday? Visibility will be low and wind will also play a role, so Zauchensee might be the better option

Beginner
HenriAuthor20 January 2022 · 09:21

@@Camusch Zauchensee is the better option. Especially on Saturday with the strong winds.

Tourist
tarekbayazidAuthor20 January 2022 · 09:34

Henri,

Bergfex, snow-forecast.com and weather.com are all calling for another round of snow starting on Tuesday/Wednesday for the Dachstein area, but your model shows high pressure coming back. Is there any guidance you can give on this please!!!

I love WePowder!!!

Best,
Tarek

Beginner
powstriaAuthor20 January 2022 · 09:51

@@Camusch Zauchensee is the better option. Especially on Saturday with the strong winds.

Henri op 20 Jan 2022 09:21

What about St Johann am Pillersee? Looks like there are woods over there and seems could be not far from hotspot.

Another question regarding the magic trio Krippenstein; Die Tauplitz; Dachstein-West. Which one, given wind, do you think it would be best for Sunday? And better Sunday or Sat?

Beginner
HenriAuthor20 January 2022 · 11:26

@@tarekbayazid
You can see that the spread in the GFS ensemble is still large after Monday. The models were indeed yesterday showing another round of snow for Austria, but this morning there is not much left of that.
https://cdn.wepowder.com/site/forum/15/fbd685e260544e5008e81eb3c9044009_salzburg_20ensemble.png?width=800

Beginner
powstriaAuthor20 January 2022 · 11:59

@@Henry - any update on my question above? Thank youuuuu :D

Advanced
Schn33fraeseproAuthor20 January 2022 · 13:25

@@powstria, like moritzfalkjünger said, it’s what I meant with the unreliability of our model at the moment. The snowfall on Saturday is in our model too far to the west.
/post]

From the looks of it, this is still the case, isn’t it?

I am contemplating wether it’s a good idea to start in the west of austria tomorrow and make my way to the east (because i don’t have to get up crazy early that way). I was aiming for Damüls or Diedamskopf, maybe Arlberg or Brandertal to start with on Friday, then go east towards Fieberbrunn or maybe even further to Zauchensee or Gasteinertal.
Also, i assume it will be more or less the mentioned dust on crust scenario prety much everywhere untill friday evening/saturday anyway, so it won’t make a huge difference where to start, but i feel like the models are fooling me right now when i have to make decisions…
Another place i’d like to throw into the mix would be Dienten am Hochkönig. It’s supposed to be a Snowmagnet, but i would have expectet that the Hochkönigmassiv would actuall block alot of snow when the weather comes from the north.

Advanced
powderhoundmoritzAuthor20 January 2022 · 15:50

I’d start in the east so you know how the base is even if day 1 is dust on crust + reduces travel time/intervals - but that’s a personal preference

Beginner
powstriaAuthor20 January 2022 · 21:40

Dachstein West wise - where do you recommend? In the wepowder Guide couldn’t find any tips…

Reply
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