Monday, 17 March 2014

Steep Vanoise day 1 - 3 Valleys (inc conditions report)

"Reports of winter's demise have been greatly exaggerated"

This misquote of a Mark Twain misquote pretty much sums up the current situation.

Despite what you may read elsewhere there is still plenty of snow on the hills (and right down to resort level), and actually some reasonable conditions to be found off piste, and with more snow due this weekend & early next week we should be well set for a little while longer...

Today was the first day of this year's Steep Vanoise week, and we headed up into the 3 Valleys for a 'warm-up' day.

High up in Mottaret true North and also North-East aspects still held some nice chalky snow along with some patches of soft old powder:

It was all going horribly wrong for a pilot in Val Thorens - missing the runway and clipping a load of marker poles before nearly going down a stream hole and finally coming to a stop!

Val Thorens and Orelle were quite wind-affected and it was harder to find good cold snow, but a few of the good old 'secret spots' still had some great spring snow.

Vadim & Rod in the Epaule Bouchet couloir:

Vadim opening up the gas on some good corn snow:

In general sunny aspects are well transformed, though the Sahara layer from a few weeks back is very obvious and seems to have affected the surface layer which is very featured (even where it hasn't been skied). Timing is everything for spring snow, and it is definitely worth putting in the effort to get away from tracked snow at the moment. High and North in Mottaret is currently very good. Pistes in general seem to be holding up well, and the run back into Mottaret was in good shape at 4pm today.

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