A wet first half to the week, with humid-heavy snowfall above 2500 m and rain below. Lower temperatures at the mid/end of the week will help to bring some snow lower down (and hopefully more conditions like in the photo above). The lower temperatures will help to stabilise the snowpack, following the initial stability caused by rain and wet snow.

It looks like this general scenario will be the case for most of the Alps over this coming week.

To cheer us up, our featured image shows what off-piste conditions were like a few days ago! We’re hoping for a return to similar conditions by the end of the week. However, until Thursday, temperatures will be higher than usual for the time of year.

Unfortunately, the rain/snow limit is predicted to be at 2200/2400 m or even higher, so it looks like we’ll be seeing a lot of rain, especially on Monday and Tuesday.

With Monday and Tuesday’s rain, any slopes lower than about 2500 m that will suffer significant losses of snow cover. At very high altitudes above 2500 m, snow depths will rise, but the quality of fresh snow will be very heavy and humid.

Avalanche Bulletin

The current avalanche danger level is a 3 out of 5 on the European scale. However, after the heavy rain expected on Sunday night and into Monday and Tuesday is really going to change things.

During the rainy episode and In the following 48 hours, there will be a lot of instability in the form of wet snow avalanches. The danger level may rise to 4/5 in most places. See our blog about wet snow avalanches for more info.

With temperatures decreasing again at the end of the week, things will quickly stabilise as those drenched slopes settle, refreeze and solidify.

Avalanche danger ratings for the N French Alps on Sunday 10 Dec by Meteo France. We expect this to rise to 4/5 in most places on Mon and Tues.

Weather forecast : Sun 10th to  Fri 15th Dec

SUN 10th:  Sunny until midday, when clouds will come in and thicken up.  Precipitation will start in the evening, lasting all night. Rain/snow limit : around 1800 m at the start, but rapidly rising to 2300/2500  m.  Above 2500 m, there could be up to 30 cm of fresh snow by Monday morning. 0° C at 1500 m first thing, rising to 2600 m. Light NW wind.

MON 11th: Snowing above 2300 m or so, but below that it will be raining all day long, sometimes heavily. 50 cm or more of fresh snow expected above 2300 m, but lower slopes could be a complete washout. The snowpack at lower altitudes will suffer badly. Moderate NW wind.

TUES 12th:  Temperatures still higher than normal for the time of season. Showers most of the day, which could fall as snow above 2300 m, bringing another 15 cm of snow above 2500 m. 0° C at around 2500 m. Moderate W wind.

WED 13th: Temperatures in the mountains beginning to fall. Snow showers above 1400 m, down to 1100 m by evening.  Maybe 10 to 20 cm of snow in the mid-mountains.

THIRS 14th: Remaining cloudy with a few residual snow showers above 1000 m in the morning. Clearing up in the afternoon.

FRI 15th: Sunny and dry. Continuing like this over the weekend.


14 day forecast for Tignes 09/12/2 by Meteo Blue

Tip of the Week

Given the very wet forecast, take a look at my blog on wet snow avalanches.

In sum, the rain up to relatively high altitudes (2500-2700m) followed by much lower temperatures will significantly stabilise the snowpack for the fresh snow forecast in the 2nd half of this week for most of the Alps.

Just keep in mind that steeps slopes above terrain traps (cliffs, holes, trees, lakes, etc) are always a dangerous place to be, especially with fresh snow – even when the snowpack is relatively stable.

Hopefully by Friday and into next week we should be back to enjoying conditions like this!

Photo by J.C. Souillac

Safety is Freedom!