Le Tour today

Very cold with windblown powder. The snow depth was inconsistent making commitment difficult but still super enjoyable. Pistes are great and the resort was empty. Off piste below 2000 metres was unskiable crust. All in all a pretty good morning.

Depression Lifting Snow is on the way

As soon as New Year week ended things began to improve. The crowds disappeared and we even had a little snow. The depth of the new snow varied throughout the valley with Le Tour receiving about 20cms – heavily windblown- and Les Houches perhaps 10cms. The weather then turned clear and exceedingly cold.

We ventured out to Le Tour pretty much for first lift on 10th January. It was -10C in the car park and with a very strong NE wind it must have been -30C at the top of Autannes Chair. There were pockets of good powder side piste but the overnight wind had ruined many of the faces. Nice to have some powder turns though. The pistes were in excellent condition, well covered and cold grippy snow. We only lasted about an hour and a half due to the extreme cold but went home pretty happy with the improvement in conditions.

Due to continuing freezing conditions we had a quick piste ski on 11/01 at Les Houches. Conditions pretty good with huge amounts of man made snow being pumped out.

Today we had a quick skin to ski an area which is pasture in the summer. 10cms of cold snow made it worthwhile.

Snow due to fall from tonight with reports of up to 75 cms in the next 48 hours.

The Season Draws to a Close

Its that time of year and the sun has been shining to close off the season in the Chamonix Valley. It has been a long season and looking back it is nearly 5 months since I first put on my skis. I am going  to try and make it a full 5 months and to do that I will need to ski on 2nd May. With Grand Montets closing on 1st May that may demand a short tour with no lift access being available other than the Midi. Continue reading “The Season Draws to a Close”

A Brief Glimpse of Spring

The weather has continued to be problematic. I was hoping that March/April would bring a settled high pressure period with cold nights, blue skies and warm days leading to spring snow and some touring possibilities. Alas no. As I sit here it is very warm, a bit overcast and the valley is suffering from a Föhn wind period. Not great for anything really. Continue reading “A Brief Glimpse of Spring”

Chamonix-the last few weeks

Ski resorts throughout France have been  inundated with holidaymakers but, thankfully,the holiday season is over and the valley has returned to normality.  Those who have visited in the last four weeks have had a very mixed bag of weather varying from Sun to Siberian and  to pouring rain  to powder.

The Midi from Brevent summit with cloud to the valley floor

To be honest our skiing has been limited(mostly by weather)and when we ventured out conditions have varied from awful to sublime.

On 25th Feb we headed for Brevent with a view to touring in the large bowl towards Aguilletef des Houches but although sunny at Brevent Summit, a large cloud had enveloped everything below us and we were limited to a no visibility run home on hard pistes. Probably the worst ski of the year

The snow depth is greater than it has been for years promising great skiing in March and April.

A well laden hut in Hauteluce

Saturday 3rd March we skied perfect  empty pistes in Les Houches.

On the morning of Sunday 4th March Le Tour was blanketed with fresh snow. Unfortunately  the snow was heavily wind blown on the Vallorcine side and variable on the Le Tour side  so I headed home after a couple of hours. Two separate avalanches claimed two lives that day in this area – the avalanche risk was 4/5.

Monday 6th March we headed to Bettex and couldn’t get into the car park. Not to be put off we drove to St. Nicholas de Vorace and easily gained access to the area from this sleepy village. 90% good piste skiing with some powder turns still to be had on northern aspects.

Megeve Powder

Fresh snow on Tuesday and Wednesday provided  some great skiing in Les Contamines on 9th March. A cold sunny morning with  good fresh snow provided some great runs in the sun

 

Penny Hautluce side

 

Contamines side

After that work interfered with time on snow until a return trip to Les Contamines on Tuesday this week. Some restricted visibility but good powder. Hayley was thrown in at the deep end for her first day but enjoyed her first day on  snow for a year.

Wednesday back to Le Tour for a bluebird powder day and for Hayley to try out her new touring set up.

First time for H on her new touring set up with our tracks in the background

 

Le Tour side piste

 

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Chamonix Week 2 – 2018

The less said about week 1 the better. After a snowy and cold December the weather deteriorated with at least 3 days of torrential rain accompanied by substantial snowfalls at altitude and storm force winds. A few intrepid skiers ventured onto the mountains but I wasn’t one of them. It has been cold and clear for the most this week and it looks like a return to winter conditions next week with the promise of a metre of fresh snow. Continue reading “Chamonix Week 2 – 2018”

Tuesday at Le Tour

Tuesday 19 December

Weather: Sunny , cold and windy

Snow: perfect pistes, 25 cms powder (heavily wind affected at altitude)

Charamillon Skiers right

After the best part of 10 days of snow we decided to visit Le Tour for the first time this season. The lifts at Le Tour have been slow to open early season but we hoped more would open today. The Gondolas from Le Tour and Vallorcine, Autannes chair, Tete de Balme chair and  the Plan des Reines poma opened providing access to the majority of the area Continue reading “Tuesday at Le Tour”