Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Austrian Fulbright Dreams

The new year is here and my sabbatical begins officially on January 7th.  I'm pretty excited as I will be serving as the Fulbright Visiting Professor of Natural Sciences at the University of Innsbruck beginning on March 1st.  The appointment will involve teaching classes in atmospheric and related sciences, as well as forging research ties with their Institute of Atmospheric and Cryospheric Sciences

We depart in about two weeks and will be living in Innsbruck for about 6 months.  We have run most of the gauntlet needed to move temporarily to Austria, but still have a few issues to take care of.  Perhaps most challenging was getting a packing system down that will allow us to get all of our gear to Innsbruck in two checked bags and a carry on.  Sadly, I need to leave my skate gear at home, but may rent for a couple of days to try out the 2019 Nordic World Championship track in Seefeld, just outside of Innsbruck. 

I've been watching the Innsbruck area web cams and ski reports for a few weeks and have been getting nervous as the snowfall has seemed fair at best so far and non-existent in the lower elevations.  However, a storm has finally descended on the area and there's some white now even in town. 

The forecasts are looking optimistic.  I haven't dialed in my software yet for the Alps, but the GFS loop below shows a prolonged period of moist northerly flow impinging on the eastern Alps over the next few days. 

Water equivalents produced over the next five days by the relatively low resolution GFS exceed 10 cm (4 inches) in some areas, so this should be a game changer for the Austrian ski season. 

You may be wondering what will happen to the Wasatch Weather Weenies while I am gone.  My plans are not certain, but I am anticipating doing occasional posts on Austrian skiing, culture, and weather. 


  1. Looking forward to the posts about Austria (and the greatest Steenburgh Effect of all-time for the rest of the winter!)

  2. I, for one, would be keenly interested in hearing about European ski culture. Never skied the Alps and am fascinated by what its like over there.

  3. Hopefully someone can take over for us here in the Wasatch as this is my go to to impress my wife and ski friends (unsuccessfully) about our weather and snow!

  4. Dr. Jim, perhaps you could periodically illuminate us utards how the weather patterns in europe affect the german alps?

  5. Looking forward to reading whatever you post. Echoing the Steenburgh effect sentiment!

  6. Good luck! Check out St Anton - the are some reasonably priced accommodations a little ways out of the center, linked by a free ski bus. Also some wild apres ski.
    Damuls is delightful.
    Enjoy the baked goods!!

    1. I was in St. Anton for the 2001 Alpine World Championships (part of the 2002 Olympic Team that was observing support for alpine events). I clanked beer mugs with Daron Rahlves after he won the Super-G gold. Planning on skiing there again. WIld apres? Probably not!