We are now beginning to experience classic spring snow conditions with overnight (although sometimes only light) snow re-freeze and daytime melt, particularly below 2500/2700 m.
Snow conditions are varied: crusted morning snow following the overnight refreeze, which sometimes takes a while to soften up; some lovely soft 'winter' powder on N facing aspects (becoming harder to find); areas of 'soufflé dur' (hard smooth windblown snow) where you wouldn't want to fall and go for what Henry calls a 'whipper' (a long dangerous slide); a lot of tricky-to-ski crusted snow, but where you can sometimes find areas of lovely 'frisette' (rippled, softened snow) which can make for some lovely skiing; ; and areas of lovely smooth spring snow as the morning warms up and the snow transforms.... It's all interesting stuff and worth persevering with - though you need to walk to get to it!
We're having to do quite a bit of walking, often using touring skis and skins, if we want to find powder snow and clean smooth spring snow. It can still be found but the searching process is a matter of trial and error at the moment, even for the experts! With the current mild temperatures, the snowpack is shrinking by about 5 to 10 cm every day, and we spotted our first marmot of the season yesterday! Rocks, plants, and other obstacles are now poking through or hidden just beneath the surface.
Great Snow Even After a Week of Sunshine
James Fisher | Val d'Isere Video Reporter | published: 13th March 2014
The pistes are excellent in Val d'Isere and the snow is holding up well under the early spring sunshine. more »
Val d'Isere Snow Report: 3rd March 2014
Blue Sky to White Out but a Big Dump on the Way
James Fisher | Val d'Isere Video Reporter | published: 3rd March 2014
There has been a real mix of conditions over the last 24 hours in Val d'Isere. Yesterday skiers enjoyed perfect clear skies above the clouds but this morning the clouds are thicker and there's not much to see. more »
Val d'Isere Snow Report: 17th February 2014
A Perfect Day in Val d'Isere
James Fisher | Val d'Isere Video Reporter | published: 17th February 2014
Thanks to Andreas Bjorklund from Alpine Experience for these photos from what looks like one of the best days of the season. more »
Val d'Isere Snow Report: 13th February 2014
Some of the best days of the season this week and lots of snow to come
James Fisher | Val d'Isere Video Reporter | published: 13th February 2014
Tuesday and Wednesday have been some of the best days of the 2014 winter here in Tignes & Val d'Isere. more »
Val d'Isere Snow Report: 7th February 2014
A Perfect Day in Tignes & Val d'Isere Followed by More Snow
James Fisher | Val d'Isere Video Reporter | published: 7th February 2014