Snow fall anticipated in the northern Alps at the start of mid term

At the start of mid term snow conditions are generally good in the Alps for the vast majority of skiers who are happy to remain on-piste. Off the beaten track the situation is more complicated. There is some fresh snow across the far south-western Alps at altitude at the moment, otherwise the off-piste is quite mixed. It is unseasonably mild in the median altitude range. The snow cover is relatively thin and there are very weak layers deeper into the snow cover. Moreover, the mild weather, especially in the middle of the day, is turning the snow on south-facing slopes soggy in places. The freeze and thaw cycle is hurting the conditions on south-facing slopes, otherwise the mild weather is not affecting the slopes very much because the air is still very dry and temperature inversion is counter-acting at low altitude. But, there are still considerable dangers confirmed by a number of recent avalanche incidents.


Thursday will -once again- be mostly sunny and very mild. The zero-degree level will reside between 2500 and 3000m. Although the afrternoon is pleasant, the night is still chilly.

A polar air mass is coming in from the north on Friday, shaping a cold front which is expected to cross over the Alps from the north, probably fairly weak in a remaining high pressure field. The freezing level wil descent in the course of the evening. A small amount of snowfall is anticipated in the eastern part of the northern Alps. A little more snow will fall on Saturday in the same sector. In France and Italy it remains almost completely dry. The expected volumes are around 5 to 15 cm across Vorarlberg and Tirol with locally a peak of 20 cm. The Ski Arlberg resort Lech and Sankt Anton may welcome 25 to 30 cm of fresh snow. During the day it cools down to 0 ° C at 1500 meters in the west and -3 ° C at 1500 meters in the east. The snowline will even drop to 600 meters in the eastern part of Austria.

High pressure will take over again after the cold front has passed and the temperatures will rise again thanks to the jetstream that's positioned too far north. Sunday will therefore be mainly dry and sunny throughout the Alps. You can see some clouds coming in on the north side of the Alps from time to time. The temperatures are slightly higher, with 0 ° C at 1800 meters in the west and 1500 meters in the east.

Beyond the weekend there is a trend towards further milder weather. There's some hope though, because the weather might change in the middle of next week. Both ECM and GFS see cold and snow at the end of next week.

snow forecast

Written by skiweather on Thursday February 16, 2017

Categories: snowreport, skiresort - Tags: alps, snow, french, northern

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