Winter is back with a vengeance, delivering plenty of fresh snow. And there is still lot's more to come! Over the last few days we’ve been experiencing some of the best powder skiing of the season. However, at lower altitudes -especially with the milder temperatures- the fresh snow is a bit more humidified and sticky. Unfortunately, the fresh snow is often being accompanied by howling winds.
Until Saturday afternoon the weather in the Alps is dominated by storm-strength southerly winds. In some central and northern parts of the Alps the strong Föhn winds will be particularly violent and disruptive. Many ski lifts at high altitude down-size operations this Saturday or are completely shut-down. ZAMG have issued storm warnings for Austria. Winds of 70-120kmh gusting up to 160kmh in the mountains are possible.
Snowstorm out there! 182kmh winds on Solaise (Val dIsere) at 6am
To an increasing extent skies will become heavily overcast early Saturday morning. A very active front is set to travel through the French southern Alps to the Piedmont. There will be heavy snow fall in the western and northern Piedmont, Tessin and northern Lombardy towards the start of the afternoon. The ski resorts in the border region of Italy-France will welcome some fresh snow as well. Any precipitation will intensify across the southern Alps, gradually moving further north and east through the weekend.
Strong winds and heavy snow in the Southern Alps
The snowline will reside at around 1300m in the southern Alps, and higher in the northern Alps before descending to lower levels everywhere by Sunday. The southerly winds are expected to slacken off on Sunday and will get to enjoy the familiar Westwind weather. Maritime polar air turns the weather a bit colder.
By Sunday afternoon widespread snowfall is expected to resume in the mountains of the northern Alps above 1200-1300 meters and then lower in the following night. The disturbance is expected to spill over into the Southern Alps on Sunday evening in particular into the northern Piedmont, Tessin, Lombardia, the Dolomites and southern Carinthia. Thus, we can add 15 to 25 cm of fresh snow from 1500 meters. The snow-rain limit that should be around 1100-1200 meters.
Between Friday night and the end of Sunday we can expect 40-60cm of fresh snow at altitude in some southern and western parts of the Alps, including Meribel, Tignes, Val d'Isere, La Plagne, Chamonix, Serre Chevalier and the Monte Rosa region. The further north and east you arethe less snow there will be initially, but these areas will get more into the action as we move into next week. Expect some excellent days for free-ride skiing. Keep track of our snow forecast and powder advice reports. Please be aware that the overall situation will continue to be treacherous for skiers and freeriders undertaking tours in outlying terrain. Watch out for steep North-ish facing slopes. That's where most avalanche instability will be.
The first part of next week will remain unsettled and mild with cloudy weather and snow showers, often to quite low elevation: approximately 800m. Strong-velocity westerly winds will arise. In southern regions it will be partly sunny.
The models are indicating an incoming high-pressure system that will keep the storms away from the Alps, but that will allow some snow fall in the northern Alps before the weather will come to a rest. An interlude of calm weather with plenty of sunshine to enjoy the powder conditions.