After one month without any snow to speak of the Christmas/New Year’s crowds have arrived and I’m incredibly impressed with how the Val d’Isere/ Tignes resorts have dealt with the added pressure.
The piste grooming and maintenance has been first-class and considering how little snow we have had you can ski to the bottom everywhere! I must stress that the earlier you ski the better, stay at altitude in the afternoons, and unless you’re seriously fit, technically sound and have super sharp edges, take the lifts down at the end of the afternoon!
The off-piste has been tracked and wind-blown and our options are seriously limited, but we’re still putting on a good show and the skiing has been much better than most people expect. We have some nice soufflé, which is smooth wind compacted snow that skis beautifully, strips of soft frisset, and patches that are pisted by skier compaction, and we’re skiing some wonderful places with stunning scenery, and great ambience. In fact, we’ve being skiing through the Gorge du Malpasset the past couple of days and it has been fantastic. Some seasons there isn’t enough snow to fill in the gorge that has the start of the Isere River flowing through it, and we need avalanched snow to build snow-bridges that keep us above the free-flowing water underneath. It is actually fairly rare that we can ski through the gorge safely and many of our clients have never skied through it, so it has been a lot of fun with a great atmosphere. It is safe enough at the moment that I took my 11-year-old daughter Katie through on Thursday afternoon and she absolutely loved it!
There is a chance of some snow next Monday and Tuesday and anything that falls out of the sky would be greatly appreciated. Times are tough but the skiing is still so much better than anyone arriving from the UK expects, and the glorious sunshine isn’t too hard to take. If we can get some fresh snow it will set us up nicely and soften up the pistes and open up our off-piste options again. Fingers crossed but in the meantime enjoy the beautiful clear blue skies!
I hope you’ve all enjoyed the festive season and are looking forward to the New Year. When it comes to resolutions remember to not make promises that your body can’t keep! Stay tuned for another update and photos on Monday.
Follow more from Wayne in his Daily Diary.
NB. The areas Wayne has been skiing this week are off piste and not suitable to all skiers. Wayne has 35 years experience in these mountains. If you're considering going off piste you should always take a guide with you.
Location: Val d'Isere - Centre