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.
Things started improving on Sunday 7th January. Penny was travelling back from Italy on Sunday evening when it was snowing heavily in Courmayeur.
Monday 8th January
Courmayeur and Grands Montets
Through to Italy for first lift, snow still falling, Val Veny Cable Car closed, coffee, Dollone delayed till 1030/1100 and the promise of only one chair opening drove us back to Grand Montets for a quick ski. Poor visibility limited the options but the pistes were in good condition.
Tuesday 9th January
Courmayeur after a fright
Powder in the trees
Again up for first lift. I took the dogs out early and had the unpleasant experience of being caught in the powder blast following a huge avalanche above Les Houches. Thankfully I was near the main road. The avalanche descended the Bourgeat Couloir above Route du Pont and was largely contained by the avalanche barrier though there was substantial damage to trees, the power lines and cars. The powder blast reached the main road but thankfully there were no injuries
First lift at Val Veny brought good powder in the trees but as the lifts were slow in opening it was a bit of a rush to ski the fresh snow so no photo opportunities. It snowed all day and Courmayeur is in great shape.
Friday 19th January
Cold and still some untracked snow
Although there has been no fresh snow in the valley the cold conditions have kept the northern and eastern aspects fresh. We skied from the Possettes drag down to the gorge which demands a quick skin back to the piste. The conditions were a bit variable but some nice soft snow.
Then a quick boot pack to Tete de Balme and good snow descending to the Col.
Saturday 13th January
Cold and sunny
The intention had been to skin up to Col de la Fenetre then ski back the way we came. The normal tour involves descending towards Notre Dame de la Gorge. Others had the same idea(before us) and the descent we intended was skied out so we adjusted our plans and skied a great face to the skiers right then through the meadows to Hauteluce. The snow was still in great condition and we mostly had the hill to ourselves.