The avalanche risk on Friday was 4/5 but we managed some great skiing in the trees and off the edge of the piste and with the risk at 3/5 on Saturday we opened up the Tour du Charvet in stunning snow. But Sunday was a totally different story! We had another 20-30cm during Saturday afternoon and overnight. With the wind howling at 120km/h to 140km/h the resort was once again in ‘shut-down’ mode. That makes 5 or 6 days of closures this season and it’s frustrating for just about everyone in town.
I wrote this at 10:15 on Sunday morning and I’d been to my rendezvous, ready to ski but went home as no lifts were open, hoping to go out if thing started to open. By 12:50, only the free beginner’s lifts at the bottom had opened and they manage to open the lift up Solaise as well as the Olympique and Funival around 13:00.
The road to the Fornet shut again late Saturday night and tourists staying at that end of town will have missed flights on Sunday as they couldn’t get out of town! I’ve been here 37 years now and I don’t think I’ve ever seen this much snow before, and it’s still just mid-to-late January! February is the traditional ‘snow’ month so who knows what will happen then! My daughters have friends coming to visit in the February half-term who have never been to the mountains and have never really seen more than a couple of centimetres of snow before so I’m looking forward to seeing their eyes popping out of their heads when they witness this incredible winter wonderland.
Last Tuesday night the winds on the Pisaillas Glacier were reported to be over 250km/h! The instrument that measures the wind only goes up to 250 and it was off the scale! It’s no wonder that there has been so much wind damage to cables, bubbles, chairs, and who knows what else? It is now getting more and more difficult to dig out lifts and the snow removal teams are running out of space dump snow. Fortunately, the forecast for next week calls for a calming of the snow and some sunshine after Monday so, hopefully, there will be a window of opportunity to clear snow and repair damaged lifts.
It must also be incredibly tough on the poor animals who can’t find anything to eat because of the depth of snow and I’m sure a lot of chamois and bouquetin have been killed in avalanches.
Currently, the roads to Bourg-St-Maurice and Tignes are closed, as are the schools and ski lifts. Val d’Isere is more or less cut off for the time being. This really is unprecedented.
If you’re here this week have a great time, you should have a break in the weather, which will help enormously. The resort is fairly quiet so even with the limited openings the pistes haven’t been too crowded and the skiing should be fantastic. Look out for another update on Friday!