The snow depths are rising fast. The Genoa-low that entered the Alps from the west via the French Southern Alps yesterday has already brought 50 to 100 cm of fresh snow around the Monte Rosa and Gotthard massif in the last 24 hours, but also about 20-50 cm in the French Southern Alps and large parts of the Italian Piedmont. In the meantime the sun is coming out in the western Alps and the storm is slowly moving in the direction of the eastern Alps, resulting in a lot of snow.
With the storm moving to the east, the center of gravity of the precipitation is moving east as well. It will snow heacily in the Swiss Engadin, around the Italian Ortler and later also in the Dolomites, the main alpine ridge of Italy and Austria and on the border between Italy and Carinthia up to and including Saturday morning.
Saturday is temporarily more quiet with some room for sun. The slopes on the glacier are then the place to be. If you want to go off-piste, it is advisable to read the messages from the local avalanche services. They have awakened from their summer sleep and the first warnings have already been given. For example, today there is a HIGH avalanche risk for parts of Switzerland, which is fairly special so early in November.
Whoever goes off piste must take the following risks into account: the second snowfall, rocks just below the snow cover, glacier crevasses and not yet snowed-in and fully snowed-in terrain traps. Do all of these terms mean nothing to you and do you still go off piste? Do yourself and others a favor and start immediately with Mountain Academy.
If you want to avoid the most risks, put your skins on your splitboard or skis, go touring on an alpine meadow that is no steeper than 30 degrees and enjoy the first mellow lines of the season.
After a fairly beautiful Saturday, another storm from the south follows on Sunday. This seems to concentrate mainly on the Eastern Alps with a lot of snow south of the main alpine ridge.
Immediately afterwards a second storm follows south of the Alps with this time snow for the entire south side although the center of gravity appears to be again in the northeast of Italy.
If we look further, it will become (slightly) milder. The European model is on a subtropical course with warm air from the Sahara, the American model shows data that's a lot cooler. More on that early next week when the models have spewed out some more data and there are more tools for a reliable forecast.
SNOWvember has a particularly good start. You should not be surprised if the snow cover in the main alpine ridge of Switzerland, Austria and Italy is already about 1 to 2 meters thick above the tree line and you can even find a lot of snow lower on the mountain. The winter has also started well in the French Southern Alps and I expect some beautiful images from there in the coming days.
It is as if King Winter has been waiting for us. For the last two years, Arjen and I, along with a team of designers, editors and not to mention all our friends in the Alps, have worked endlessly on the ultimate freeride guide book: wePowder Guide the Alps. The last two months in particular were intense, working on that last bits. The presses will be running soon and the aim is to ensure that if you order now you'll receive your guide before Christmas. You can read all about our new book here. The guide is available in a limited edition and only the guides from the pre-order (€ 40,00 instead of € 45,00) are exclusively numbered. Order it now and make sure that you don't miss out!
Stay stoked, Morris