The Snow Report 12th March 2018

With Storm Emma / Evie behind us and spring creeping up, what can we expect from the weather in these quieter weeks?

This weekend saw the end of French half term and the start of the “low” period before Easter.

For trainees and seasonnaires this means a bit of peace and quiet on the slopes – and much more open space! It’s also the start of spring meaning ski touring is starting to become a popular way to hit the backcountry. So lets see if the spring snow and weather is playing ball.

Courchevel and Meribel

We’ve already planned our tours this week for Wednesday and Fridays morning! Those two days see a break in the cloud and sunny spells, with temperatures below freezing. The rest of the week however is a blizzard, with a little rain on Thursday morning. Not great for visibility but great for an early spring snow top-up.

Despite only a small flurry of snow last week, the avalanche hazard level has risen to 3 (Considerable). This is due to the rainfall, which has made the snow heavy. This applies to all faces – Meteo France consider every aspect to be at its “most dangerous”.

Meteo France Avalanche Bulletin 12th March 2018

St Anton

In Austria we can expect a similar pattern – though temperatures will be slightly lower and winds will pick up briefly on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons. As Mikey says, “Some moisture coming through with Snow above 2000m and Clear Snow below it”. No-one likes clear snow…

The avalanche hazard level will be between 2 and 3 today (Moderate to Considerable) but rise to 3 in all areas and on all aspects by tomorrow. Again, this is due to wet snow. Due to the wind and snow condition we also highly recommend checking the bulletin daily as this is likely to change throughout the week.

St Anton Snow Field Feb 2018
Verbier and Villars

Last but never least, is our Swiss resorts. Unfortunately they’re seeing the most spring-like weather, with day-time temperatures in the plus range until next week. Thankfully this will bring some precipitation, and amazingly, no wind for the majority of the week. Not even a little breeze! St Anton must be using it all. Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday will be the dry days, so take advantage of the nicer weather then.

Although currently at Risk Level 3 (Considerable), on Tuesday and Wednesday it  is likely to increase slightly. Fresh snow has fallen on the older snowdrift, and has left the snowpack quite unstable. In particular, it has put extra weight on cornices – and with the added moisture from recent rainfall this makes West over North to South- facing slopes increasingly dangerous. The Swiss Meteo agency recommend only experts even consider off-piste routes, and if they do attempt them, do so with extreme caution.

So take care this week – as the slopes are quiet do take advantage of the extra space. Although the off-piste is going to be very tempting with the extra snow, no turn is worth someones life. Know Before You Go.