Sunday, 5 January 2014

Off piste conditions update - Courchevel 5 Jan 2013

A quick update on conditions around Courchevel and the Vanoise currently:

On Saturday it was mild and wet, with rain up to about 2000m, but snow falling above this. By this morning the trees were white down to St Bon (~1000m). I had a couple of hours in hand and headed for my old stomping ground of Courchevel 1650 to test out my new work-tools compliments of Whitedot Skis :

Review to follow...

Snow conditions were good in the 1800 - 2100m bracket with ~20cm of light powder, above that the snow was still good, but with evidence of wind during the fall - lots of 'duning' visible (not to mention soft snow slides on almost every aspect):

Around 2300m pretty much everything had fallen off during the morning's PIDA blasting - though there was still some takers for the bits in-between!:

A good day for some mellow runs & meadow skipping:

High winds were visible on the crests, and although the avalanche risk forecast has dropped from 4 to 3 care will still need to be taken on steeper slopes as there is a persistant weak layer lurking from the early winter. Additionally the snowpack remains thin, and there are definitely plenty of rocks just under the surface, particularly near ridges and any convexities where the wind has worked the snow a bit.

The scenery is still good though:

Around the Vanoise friends reported wind-affected powder up above the Refuge de la Vanoise, Val Thorens & Orelle reportedly even more wind-affected than Courchevel, and a ski instructor and his client had a lucky escape in an avalanche incident in La Plagne (Les Bourtes area) losing nothing more than their equipment fortunately.

Current advice - keep it mellow, and watch out for (invisible) rocks!

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