Val d'Isere Snow Report: 18th January 2013
Alt. High Temp.1550m
Latest ConditionsThe sky will be overcast during the morning but sunny during the afternoon.
Apparently, there’s an old saying that goes: if you don’t like mountain weather, wait 5 minutes because it it’ll change. It has taken us a while to figure out just what has been going on this week, but that sounds just about right! It’s official; we are currently experiencing some severe weather whiplash here in l’Espace Killy.
Our week started off with some beautifully settled snow, reaching up to 30 centimeters in some places. Everything in the lower elevation was tracked by noon on the first day as most lifts higher up were closed due to avalanche safety concerns. The next day, the sun had come out, making our first tracks in Grand Vallon even better than ever imagined. While the secret was soon found out, people were pumped, cheering each other on with each new pow turn. Face shots galore! The day after was another bluebird but this time it was one spent on the piste as most of the good off piste spots had already been hit. Heading over to Tignes, we made it all the way down to Tignes Les Brévières on the black Sache, a tricky slope to maneuver in early or late season. Thankfully, it was absolutely perfect and even gave us the chance to rest our legs at one of the cute restaurants all the way at the bottom of Tignes, under the lake!
The weather took an unexpected turn the next day with low-hanging clouds bringing in poor visibility and a drop in temperature. Solaise was covered in clouds all morning while Bellevarde kept getting surrounded throughout the day. Snow was coming down here and there but it wasn’t consistent enough to give us much hope for another powder day in the near future. With that, we stayed on pistes lower in elevation on Bellevarde to maximize on what we could actually see. After a couple of runs, we called it a day, leaving the mountain a little unsatisfied.
Thankfully, the weather turned again the next day! That night, the wind blew even harder than before, moving snow all over sections of pistes and off pistes. Additionally, with about 10 centimeters of snow coming down throughout the day and night before, most tracks in hors piste were completely covered. The temperatures had also dramatically changed, dipping to -24 in many spots, not taking wind chill into account. With these low temperatures, the snow was perfectly preserved in most places, giving us the opportunity to head into the backcountry without too many concerns. This also meant that most people wouldn’t be caught dead waiting for certain lifts to open or be looking to spend absolutely all morning out. We hit up Grand Vallon, the Fornet trees, the side of the Laisinant, Pays Désert on the Pissaillas Glacier, the Col de la Madeleine, and finally Cugnai! It was an absolute free for all with incredible snow and a high sun in a cloudless sky.
In the afternoon, after a nice rest with a Chevallot sandwich and a hot chocolate we headed back up, sticking to the piste this time. We raced through l’Arcelle twice before losing the rest of the group to freezing toes and fingers. With temperatures as low as -30 in some spots, we could sympathize. Wanting to get the most out of our day, we rode up and down another Glacier Express, headed back onto l’Arcelle and finally called it. Le Plan was in perfect condition as a final run so we had no qualms about finishing our day at 15:00 instead of when the lifts close a little later.
With this continuous weather change, its been a confusing week for all snow-goers and powder lovers. So much so, that some have even taken to dressing in costumes to cope with the craziness.
Can’t wait to see what the coming week brings!