Val d'Isere Snow Report: 3rd April 2014
Spring Time Conditions on and Off Piste
Today's Snow Report comes courtesy of Avalanche Expert and Off-Piste Guide Henry Schniewind.
No. of Pistes Open:
Date Last Snowfall:
Depth Snow - Upper slopes: cm
Depth Snow - Lower slopes: cm
Highest temperature: °C
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.
Learn more about the conditions and Avalanche Safety from Henry's Avalanche Talk
Thanks to Alpine Experience Off-Piste Ski School for the Photos
Location: Val d'Isere Region