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St Valentine’s Day Avalanche Warning
Posted: 13 February 2011 08:28 PM  
Total Posts:  2234
Joined  2003-10-24

We have waited over a month for fresh snow in the Northern Alps but finally it looks like it may be on its way in two waves. An Atlantic weather system should cross France tomorrow bringing snow to the Massif Central at first, from 1000m dropping to 900m. It will then hit the Vosges and Jura with snow falling to 800 m then the Alps where the snow line will be between 1000-1300m, similar for the Pyrenees. This system should bring around 20cm. A second wave will cross France between Wednesday and Thursday. Currently we’re not expecting much more than 40cm in total in the North, there may be more in the South and across the border with Italy. The zero iso will be between 1400-1500m all week, not that cold for mid February. Wind will largely be from the south at altitude.

However this fresh snow will fall on a very unconsolidated based on shaded slopes: West through to North East and with the wind from the south expect some slab formation. If you have seen our recent snow reports you will know what we are talking about;

Henry Schniewind has picked up on this too.

Take great care next weekend once the nice weather returns.

Posted: 15 February 2011 12:30 PM   [ # 1 ]  
Total Posts:  26
Joined  2010-11-25

Hammering it down with rain here just north of Geneva at about 500m. Both excited for the new snow but equally nervous about the conditions, as it seems a horrible combination of eager skiers, lots of new snow and slab friendly base.


Alpine skier, looking to start skinning.
Ski Reviews | Snowboard Reviews

Posted: 15 February 2011 04:57 PM   [ # 2 ]  
Total Posts:  2234
Joined  2003-10-24

SW thru’ East slopes are your best bet. The wind has been quite strong from the SE to S over the last 24 hours but in most of the French Alps only a dozen cm of snow has fallen. This will have formed some deeper slabs of some 20-30cm on north slopes. However the situation in the South and along the Italian border is slightly more worrying.

Posted: 16 February 2011 01:25 PM   [ # 3 ]  
Total Posts:  58
Joined  2008-10-29

Unfortunately the 40cms didn’t quite materialise. At least not in the Haute Savoie and Valais.... I’m seeing about 5cms with some peaks of about 10cms in some places of haute savoie. Nothing but a dusting east of Verbier. Insignificant precip forecasted for the next 48 hrs. It seems like the southern alps got most of it again.

Posted: 16 February 2011 01:54 PM   [ # 4 ]  
Total Posts:  2234
Joined  2003-10-24

Yes the 10cm isn’t really enough to change the ski conditions but could still lead to some slab formation on N slopes. There is quite a lot more snow above 2000m in the Southern Alps: Queyras/Mercantour. 50cm in places.