Snow, Snow and More Snow

Another 30cm of snow fell at 700m today, bringing road closures, electricity cuts and general chaos. Over two metres is now reported on the summits, and while Méribel and Courchevel will open tomorrow, the Three Valley links will remain closed. Meteo France is predicting an avalanche risk of 4-5 tonight and tomorrow, possibly dropping to 3 on Sunday. Snow is expected to continue through tonight until tomorrow morning. Access roads to the resorts will be difficult tomorrow, but we will try to battle through to bring you news and views from the slopes.

Weather update

There’s a big storm brewing in the French Alps… we have had a bit of a lull today, but the snow will start again tomorrow morning, with winds building to 80-120 km/h at altitude. An aditional 30-50 cm of snow is forecast with the snow line between 300m and 1000m. The avalanche risk is likely to increase to 5, with snow continuing through Saturday morning, giving up to 15cm more snow, before winds drop and skies clear in the afternoon.

The Season Begins…

We’ve been a bit quiet lately, enjoying the snow snowfall, and shoveling a fair bit of it off the driveway. Well over half a meter has fallen at 700m in the last few days, and there is over 150cm on the summits. Val Thorens opened two weeks ago, with Méribel and Courchevel due to open on Saturday.

Snowfall !

Earlier in the week we had the first significant snow of the season. Snow fell to around 1600m, covering all peaks in a lovely white blanket. Here is a shot of Mt Vallon taken yesterday evening from the Chaudanne in Méribel.

Christmas skiing conditions

A rare break in the weather gave us a wonderfully sunny day and fabulous skiing yesterday. With barely a cloud in the sky all day, and conditions on piste excellent, we spent the day in Courchevel. Today, the snow returned, along with high winds and limited visibility for much of the day. In fact, winds were so high that we spent half an hour stuck in the Saulire gondola!

Snow falling heavily at the moment

Snow has continued to fall for most of the night, building on the great conditions we already have. Lifts will open late again this morning as avalanche prevention measures continue. While the avalanche risk had fallen to 3 yesterday for much of the region, it is likely to be at 5 again this morning following a heavy overnight accumulation of fresh snow. Cold temperatures are keeping the snow wonderfully light, and skiing in Les Menuires yesterday, snow depth averaged around mid-shin, although the base is thin in places, and we had a few rock-scraping moments.

In the Tarentaise, more snow has fallen in December than in last January, February, March and April combined, and more is forecast over the coming days.

Snow, snow, snow

At the higher resorts about a meter of snow has fallen in the last few days, and another meter is expected over the next 24-36 hours. Méteo Chamonix is advising people to stay off the mountain today. Val Thorens are issuing warnings to travellers arriving or leaving this weekend, and many roads to higher resorts risk closure due to avalanche risks. In the Three Valleys, avalanche blasting began before 6am this morning, and electricity to many villages was cut.

After the snow drought two weeks ago, we are now seeing some of the largest snowfalls in recent years. Val Thorens is reporting 120cm of accumulated snowpack, with much more to come.

When the weather starts to clear next week however, the avalanche risk is sure to be high, so take care if skiing off-piste.

It has snowed, it is snowing, and it will snow again

After a couple of heavy snowfalls last week, followed by further snow yesterday, the forecast is again for heavy snowfalls later this week. The ensembles indicate heavy falls on Friday and Sunday:

Here is the ensembles for 6E45N – roughly corresponding to Bourg d’Oisans

The ensembles for 6E46N – Annecy

The ensembles for 7E46N – Chamonix / Argentiere

The ensembles for 7E45N – Sestriere / Sauze d’Oulx

The Three Valleys lies exactly between these four coordinates, so we have created a composite picture

In summary, major dumps likely on Friday and Sunday, possibly a meter of snow in total. So for those driving to the alps at the weekend, take care on the roads, and here’s looking forward to a powder-filled weekend.