We're Calling It: A Meter of Snow in the Next 7 Days!

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The forecast for the next week is looking promising.
Kenny Jesus

Facebook sucks.  Even though up until last week Val d'Isere had the most snow in the Alps we've still had to suffer through watching our friends jackknife off their cars into snowdrifts taller than they are in Whistler, see Travis playing in the 670cms Jackson Hole had fall in December, and - more recently - see parts Switzerland and Austria getting dumped on while we get a dusting.  Well all that is about to change.  

Every forecast and model we've seen is pointing towards some decent snowfall for late in the week.  Predictions vary from 30ish to 70ish cms.  We think they're wrong; we're gonna get more than that.  Call it desperate optimism but after being here for a decade we think we're getting a feel for things.  Although the weather in the Alps is notoriously hard (read: impossible) to predict more than a day or two in advance we're going to put our reputations on the line and call over a metre, measured on the Pissaillas Glacier.  Also, Field of Dreams is a sweet movie so our mantra is: If You Call It, It will Come.




Everyone seems to agree that the first significant snowfall will begin on Friday.  Based on the Sat24.com models above we could see the snow stop around 8 or 9am on Saturday morning after getting a +/- 30cm dump overnight.  As the base in most places off-piste isn't great you'll still have to watch for sharks, but Saturday could be a lot of fun.



Meteo France says that Saturday night is when "the snowfall will begin to get serious".  We'll have to wait and see but the above models certainly seem to back that statement up.  Meteo Morris, one of the most trusted names in the game, runs the site WePowder.com and is calling 68cms by Saturday night (as seen in the image at the top of this article).  His forecast doesn't take Sunday in to account, so you can probably expect a bit more than that.  

All of this, plus the fact that out glacier is an extra-snowy micro-climate during a 'Retour d'Est' makes us comfortable calling a meter of snow on the glacier by the end of next Sunday.




As mentioned above, parts of Switzerland and Austria have had some good dumps in the last week.  Unfortunately big dumps on a hard base (like the one we have) make the snowpack super unstable.  A 28-year old skier lost his life yesterday in Valais.  La Nouvelliste reports that he was caught by a 12m wide and 400m long slide that left him buried under 3 meters of snow.  

You often hear people say that you have no business off-piste without a beeper, shovel, and probe.  While they are correct, the real aim of the game is to never have to use them.  Knowledge and critical thinking are indispensable assets to have.  It's not just your life at risk, but the lives of those in your group, and any other groups around you as well.  If you've never had any avalanche safety-training training then get some.  HAT is running a talk this Friday in the Arctic Cafe, just in time for the snow.


Have fun and remember, if you're gonna shred, shred safe.