The sun is shining, freshies all over the Alps and the temperatures are low. It's time to have some fun! Around 20-50 cm of freshies, locally even 80 centimeters, came down in the Alps since Monday. And the good thing is that pretty much every region in the Alps got some freshies. You can even ride powder in the southern Alps! More snow will come down in the west and south during the weekend and after that we're moving to PowderAlert #8! And that will be a northern Stau! In this forecast:
Via e-mail, iMessage, WhatsApp, PowderQuest and wePowder we received a lot of reports with great pictures. With captions like 'Courmayeur, thank you, we powdered'. Thanks and keep it coming!
The last photo shows that it also snowed heavily in parts of the northern Alps yesterday. A lot of snow came down north and west of the Arlberg and in the north of Steiermark and the Salzburgerland, but there were also heavy winds. The wind has quite a lot of influence on the snow cover the last couple of days. The avalanche danger is still critical in a lot of places.
The sun is shining and there are lots of freshies this Thursday. But what's next? The first clouds will appear in the west in the afternoon. A trough (the blue line on the map below) is approaching the western Alps and will bring very dry and cold snow. Especially in the night to Friday you can expect 2-15 cm in the French Alps. There's no precipitation in the rest of the Alps and in Austria and eastern Switzerland they have to deal with a Föhn wind.
A new front will hit the Alps form the west on Friday afternoon. Same story. Snow in the western and southern Alps, a Föhn in the northern Alps, but the temperatures will drop there later and they'll also get some freshies. A new front will kick in on Saturday. This front is a bit warmer and the freezing level will rise. It will snow again in the western and southern Alps, followed by the northern Alps. The snow line in the pre-Alps will temporarily rise to 1200 - 1500 meter. It will remain colder in the inner alpine valleys of the Alps and the snowline will be at lower altitude. It's an interesting weekend with wind from all directions, snowfall (especially in the French Alps, Wallis and the northwest of Italy) and shifting temperatures. A mix that will have its effect on the avalanche danger.
The avalanche danger remains tricky. Especially since you can find that nasty old snow layer above 2200 meters in a lot of places in the Alps. It can be found pretty deep in the snowpack, but the recent wind transported so much snow that it might become a problem again. Wind also causes the dangerous wind-eroded snow and the shifting temperatures cause tensions in the snow cover. Unfortunately, the danger is hard to see with the naked eye. No matter how big the stoke is, decision methods and systematic filtering of the risks are the only ways to take calculated decisions. Always check the local avalanche forecast and adapt your plans to it. Avalanche beacon, shovel and probe are a MUST. If you don't have any knowledge, start working on it or go out with a mountain guide.
Because of the tricky conditions, my advice is to ride powder in the trees this weekend. The avalanche danger is lower (avoid those forests with steep faces above you), but riding powder in the trees requires some skills. Forests are thus a beautiful natural filter to distinguish skilled riders of the wannabees, so it's not that crowded. Tips for this weekend:
PowderAdvice Friday, Saturday and Sunday :
There aren't any resorts in the northern Alps in this list. But... It will snow heavily in the northern Alps on Monday and Tuesday! Doesn't that sound like a plan? It will be ON in the northern Alps from Tuesday/Wednesday.
Stay stoked. Morris