This last winter has blessed us with plenty of snow in the Alps. Compared with the
previous decades, there’s been above average amounts of snowfall, especially in
the Southern Alps. With the onset of spring, days have been getting longer and are
currently more than 12 hours long, and the temperatures have been rising steadily
as well. Still, winter is not going away any time soon at altitudes above 1,600 m.
With that in mind, we spent the Easter Monday skiing in the Grossglockner area,
where we encountered extremely varied snow conditions. In the morning, we had
powder above 2,000 meters, and the snow was frozen and firm lower down. The
southern aspects quickly softened up during the day.
The western and northern aspects softened after 12 pm, when they skied almost
like powder, except that the snow was slightly heavier. Our timing was just right:
there was no wind and plenty of untracked powder and we could barely stop
skiing to take even the shortest of brakes.
Avalanche danger for the Hohe Tauern area was considerable (level 3) and we
took all the appropriate safety precautions. After 2 pm, when we were skiing on
the north-western slopes, spontaneous avalanches started occurring on the
southern slopes above 2,500 m.
It is currently unwise to ski on steep south and south-east facing slopes. Wind
slabs are also an issue, especially on steeper terrain and with rising temperatures.
Caution is advised on complex objectives and crampons, ice axe and full avalanche
gear, along with the knowledge of how to use it, are mandatory.