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.
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.
Japan lived up to hopes/expectations. We arrived to significant, even by Japanese standards, new snow. I think about a metre and a half fell in the first seven days. It is not just the quantity of the snow but the quality.-10/10.The cold air and continuous light snow provides the best snow I have ever skied. It carried on day after day. It was nice to have a couple of days of sunshine to see the mountains but to me Japan is about skiing open tree glades whilst the snow falls. On one day skinning on the north side our skin track was almost filled in each 40 minute lap.
Ski, eat, sleep repeat. If you can it is a trip you must make. Some photos…..
A long trip back to Chamonix left me with man flu. Completely debilitating -couple of days in bed feeling very sorry for myself followed by 2 more on the couch (feeling equally as sorry for myself). Penny managed out for some good powder on a bluebird day – having to be on first lift with the English school holiday crowds and also a small tour with Ziggy .
It was this week before I ventured out.. surprisingly good snow on Tuesday on the Vallorcine side of Le Tour. We returned the next day with the intention of doing a couple of short hikes to ski the last of the powder but high winds and freezing temperatures sent us scuttling home by 11. Next, a morning skinning in Les Contamines delivered some solitude and a nice walk but not the best skiing.
Despite the snow depth we could do with some fresh snow. The pistes are in great condition if a little hard. There is little by way of easily accessible off piste available.We are promised some of the coldest days on record for this time of year and hopefully some fresh snow
Cal and I are currently in Japan and I intend to write a full report when I get back to Chamonix. It is difficult to comprehend how much snow falls here