Snow in the forecast for the French Alps

Door meteomorris op 25 november 2019 · 10

After more than three weeks with a southern stau, the current finally turns west. With last weekend's return d'est, an unprecedented long episode with storms over the Mediterranean has come to an end. The jet stream slowly turns to the west so the French (northern) Alps and western Switzerland will hit the jackpot in the coming week.

In this forecast:

  • Already 1.5 to 3 meters of snow in the southern Alps
  • Perfect base in the southern Alps for the rest of the winter
  • Time for snow in the northern and western Alps
  • Westlage on the way

Already 1.5 to 3 meters of snow in the southern Alps

Hereby two points in the southern Alps to show you how much snow has fallen in the last two to three weeks. First of all San Domenico, the pearl near the Simplon. The photos were taken at an elevation of 2100 meters.

The first image is November 12th, great weather and a nice snow pack. Then the second image of this morning. Take a good look again. The lift gates are snowed in, the windows of the cottage in the foreground are almost no longer visible and if you look at it for longer see many more details that make your eyebrows frown. It is deep and to underline that: near the Simplon, a measurement station has recorded a snow cover of almost 3 meters thick.

The second point is the Stelvio Pass. The ski area there is now closed, but the lifts of Sulden am Ortler, Bormio and Livigno are pretty close. The first photo is from November 2nd, then the southern Stau started. The second photo is this morning. A good example of what can happen in three weeks.

Yes, there is now a lot of snow above 1500-2000 meters in the entire southern Alps. What a start of the season.

Perfect base in the southern Alps for the rest of the winter

With the disappearance of the southern current it immediately became milder in the southern Alps. The freezing level for today is calculated at around 2100-2500 meters and this will even be 2400-2700 meters on Tuesday. Only at the highest peaks is it still freezing.

The weather will be cooler after Wednesday, the snow can lose some moisture and after the mild temperatures at the start of this week, the snow cover will continue to settle. Now you can grieve for global warming, but you can also consider it a perfect process of base building. A super thick pack of snow at the end of November that settles itself well is the base for the rest of the season. Every subsequent cold storm is then a reason to head towards the southern Alps.

Time for snow in the northern and western Alps

Three weeks of southern Staus brought lots of snow to the south side of and to the main alpine ridge. Images from the glacier areas in Austria and, for example, Val d'Isère in France also show a lot of snow. But if you move more from the main alpine ridge towards the pre-Alps, the snow cover becomes thinner. Snow clouds from the south rarely get here and the strong Föhn storms have blown away a lot of snow. Where the southern Alps are already far advanced with the winter and they are somewhere in between pre-winter and high-winter, in many areas in the west and north of the Alps it is still pre-winter or even pre-season.

Rendl, St. Anton am Arlberg
Rendl, St. Anton am Arlberg
Val Thorens
Val Thorens

A number of storms still have to pass before you can start freeriding in large parts of the western and northern Alps.

Westlage on the way with snow for the northwest of the Alps

The current in the Alps becomes more westerly from Wednesday. Storm depressions then find their way to the west and northwest of the Alps. That is generally good news for the French Northern Alps and western Switzerland. A significant amount of snow will fall there between Thursday and Saturday and the condotions will improve. It will become a bit colder so that the snow line will drop from 1900 to 1200 meters in the course of the days up to and including Saturday. An area such as Val Thorens (where a riding off-piste is not really possible at the moment) will see its snow cover grow.

More snow for the southern Alps from the weekend?

What will happen next weekend is very uncertain. The American model hints for snow for the southern Alps for next week again, but this is still highly uncertain.

More snow for the south of the Alps
More snow for the south of the Alps

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Stay stoked, Morris


  • Ed48
    Ed48 op 25 november 2019 · 17:43
    Update today's conditions in Cervinia.
    Wet snow at about 2000m, crust already at the end of the day at about 2400m, morning was bad visibility then conditions improved about noon, most of the easy stuff is already tracked. The snow is quite heavy about 2700, there are two layers, heavy snow and abou 30 of lighter on top. Not sure if the powder will survive this night. Cheers Ed
    bericht aangepast door Ed48 op 25 nov 2019 17:49
  • tomabens
    tomabens op 25 november 2019 · 17:49
    Hello Morris
    Could you please give us 2-3 area with a very good base right now, in order to have a trip idea for mid december.
    Have a nice week
    And I confirm that it will need some storm before free riding at Valthorens....
  • meteomorris
    meteomorris op 25 november 2019 · 21:24
    @tomabens what do you mean with areas? Do you mean 2-3 resorts or 2-3 regions?

    @Ed48 thanks for your report.
    May the powder be with you.
  • thomasweller
    thomasweller op 25 november 2019 · 23:14
    Wow, wow, WOW!!! One of THE MOST epic days skiing ever today in Cervinia. The difference between Cervinia and Zermatt is unbelievable. Don’t get me wrong, Zermatt is doing just fine but Cervinia was non-stop, nearly 10000m vertical today...all in boot-deep light powder. Best was northern slopes where snow was dry into late afternoon but like @ed42 mentioned the sun came out and lower down snow got heavier, but still!

    And just like Morris says, the warmth isn’t all that bad, will make for a great base. Cervinia is going to rock this season! Unfortunately today was our last day cuz there’s still loooads to be tracked. Simplon Pass was closed (took the train ferry back yo Italy) and we’re all smiles ear to ear! What a November, what a privilege! T.

  • arslonga
    arslonga op 25 november 2019 · 23:29
    cortina, no words....
    non rompete il c**** al cavaliere nero....
  • tomabens
    tomabens op 26 november 2019 · 07:43
    2-3 resort , not in the same ré i will search arround those resort...
    Thank you so much, have a nice day
  • meteomorris
    meteomorris op 26 november 2019 · 12:44
    @tomabens, is there a particular reason why you want to book in advance? You can also wait and book last minute your destination.

    @thomasweller @arslonga thanks for sharing
    May the powder be with you.
  • tomabens
    tomabens op 26 november 2019 · 13:26
    I don t want to réserve in advance , I just want to have 2-3 area with a good base in order to make the good choice in 3 weeks.
    And have a look of what are the best resort for me in those area....
  • meteomorris
    meteomorris op 26 november 2019 · 13:40

    4 regions with a solid snowcover:
    * western piemonte (via Lattea)
    * Monte Rosa
    * Upper Engadin: St. Moritz
    * Ortler (Sulden am Ortler)
    May the powder be with you.
  • tomabens
    tomabens op 26 november 2019 · 14:36
    Thank s a lot, I will find some informations on those area. And combine with your last forecast before out departure we Can be réactive and close to the best spot...
    And may be your guide will be in my hands at this moment 👌🤞
    2 years ago we have made a powder trip with via latea and prali thank s to you 👍
    Last year for the end of 2018 and the begin of 2019 it was arlberg and silvetra again thank s to you👍
    So keep going!!
    have a nice week

    bericht aangepast door tomabens op 26 nov 2019 14:54 (15% bewerkt)


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