Snow Report - 12-12-2017

Avalanche

Risk: High

Daily Update

Weather

We woke up to a beautiful morning here in Val d'Isere however the cloud cover is set to move back in and bring a little bit of extra snowfall with it. Despite the blanket of clouds, it will be getting colder as the temperatures will be falling throughout the day. The wind, coming from the Southwest doesn't look like it will be very strong.

Tonight the skies will clear up somewhat while the temperature in resort will fall to -10°. Tomorrow looks to be a nice day with a bit of snow returning at night.

 

Ski Report :

15cm fresh snow overnight on top of Solaise.

Snow Depth: 108 cm of snow on the pistes at resort level, 175cm on top of the Solaise.

Fornet: The Mangard homerun is confirmed to open. Pont Abatte and Arrolay as well as a couple runs on the glacier will open as well.

Solaise: All the homeruns on Solaise are now open as are the free Village and Savonnette lifts on the snowfront and quite a few blues and greens up top.

Bellevarde: Up top you can enjoy the Moutons, Tines, Collet, Fontaine Froide, and Grand Pre. Homeruns are a bit more complicated with just the Verte confirmed to open top to bottom to bring you down to La Daille. The Joseray, Stade Olympique and the Face will open which will allow good skiers to make it down to the snowfront

You can get to Tignes from the Bellevarde via the Tommeuses chair.

Please respect pistes which are marked closed. The avalanche risk is 4 out of 5, if heading off piste you need to exercise extreme caution.

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Pisaillas

Henry's Avalanche Talk

Off-piste snow report: 7 – 13 Dec for Savoie & Northern French Alps

Poor visibility some of the week. Wayne Watson photo

We are due for fresh snow in the week ahead, which we need. Indeed, our friends at WeatherToSki are predicting the following (text in italics quoted directly from their website):

The greatest accumulations, at least in the first instance, are likely to be in the northern French Alps, roughly from Alpe d’Huez northwards through the Tarentaise (e.g. 3 Valleys, La Plagne, Les Arcs) , Mont Blanc region (e.g. Chamonix), Portes du Soleil (e.g. Avoriaz), into the western and northern Swiss Alps (e.g. Verbier, Wengen, Engelberg), and across into the Austrian Arlberg (e.g. St Anton Lech). By Monday these areas should see between 40cm and 70cm of new snow above 1500m, maybe even more in places.

The off-piste snow cover is still thin at the moment, and there are plenty of rocks and other obstacles just below the surface. Still, as long as visibility has been good, it’s been fun venturing off-piste and looking to see what we can find. There are all sorts of conditions out there. Aside from hitting things hidden beneath the surface, there are some great areas of light powder, particularly in gullies where the wind has blown it. In other areas the snow can be very wind-hardened, if not scoured off altogether.

The cold days and cold clear nights over the last week, combined with the thin snowcover, have made the snowpack much less cohesive. It’s become that sugary type of snow (‘facets’) that just crumbles away. Although the last couple of days have been a bit warmer, they’ve not been able to turn this situation around. So, even though the current avalanche risk is low, any substantial amount of fresh snow (even just 20-30 cm or more) falling on top of this unstable snowpack, will cause a very unstable situation. When that happens, the avalanche danger rating will shoot up to 3 then, in places that get more than 50 cm, it will go up to a higher rating of 4 pretty quickly See what the avalanche danger ratings mean on henrysavalanchetalk.com/hat-advice/danger-rating.

The recent accidental avalanches that have been reported are a big warning that the off-piste is getting dangerous and that once the new snow comes, you need to stay in and around slopes that are no steeper than 30° unless you really know what you’re doing… even if you’re experienced, it’s going to be tricky and potentially really dangerous.  Sadly, last weekend, 3 experienced ski tourers in the Chartreuse mountains, of Isère near Grenoble, were killed in slab avalanches. They were wearing safety gear, but that was not enough. There’s a report in French on France 3.


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