Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Wild weather!

It has been unseasonably warm this last week in the Alps - the snow has been visibly melting from day to day at resort level, although there is still good skiing to be found up above the 2800m level or thereabouts!

With temperatures in the valley in the mid 20s at the weekend ski boots were shelved & climbing shoes had their first sortie on rock for the summer... shame the fingers/arms weren't quite up to speed yet!

Damien enjoying some sunshine rock at the 'Mont Secret':

Sunday was mostly spent in my late-season ritual of watching the Paris-Roubaix - another exciting race with all the usual thrills & spills, followed by a gentle outing on the road bike to make the most of the early evening sun...

So how are conditions in the Vanoise/Tarentaise?

3 Valleys:
Courchevel is currently reduced to Verdons, Saulire, Suisses, Sources, Chenus & Dou des Lanches lifts, with limited pistes from/linking each.
Runs back down to Mottaret are very thin, though there is still some reasonable skiing to be had on the very highest pistes (Lac de la Chambre etc).
Val Thorens is doing fine as long as you stay above resort level (bottom of Plan de l'Eau was mud/rock 10 days ago already...

Espace Killy:
Tignes - Runs back to Tignes Lac very thin, conditions on the Grande Motte are good, though there has been lots of 'snow farming' work going on either side of the pistes in preparation for the summer season. Links to Val are open (but slushy/thin)
Val - Bellevarde bowl: lots of thin patches starting to show through. Face still open, but only by the skin of its teeth very bumpy/slushy even at 10 am this morning.
Solaise bowl good, runs back to resort slushy/bumpy

Good spring snow to be skied up high, but anything dropping low needs to be treated with caution as you quickly get onto a thin breakable crust over 50 cm of sugar snow.

Les Arcs, only worth considering the 2000 bowl...
La Plagne, Bellecote Glacier area is th eonly place to go. Links from Champagny allegedly only running until 14H00 (if at all now).

If the cooler weather predicted happens and we get some clear nights then there will be some great spring snow touring to be done up high, but it is worth seeking out areas with high lift access as lower approaches will either require a long walk, or alot of tedious trudging through knee deep rotten snow.

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