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Clear skies & some clouds in Val d'Isere

Surprisingly sunny this week in Val d'Isere

Featured in:

Wayne Watson | Val d'Isere Reporter | Published: 9th February 2018


Check out this Clear skies & some clouds in Val d'Isere

Monday morning dawned and the Foehn wind was howling. It was totally overcast meaning visibility was poor, and it was cold. I wasn’t expecting too much but headed into the teeth of the wind up at the Fornet knowing that, if we could get over the Col Pers, we would be in the lee and protected.

The Fornet in those conditions is the only place where we might find a little fresh snow as well so it was worth a gamble. We ended up with a fantastic morning in pretty tough conditions

We ‘skinned’ up to the Glacier Pers near the Italian border and, although we couldn’t see much, the terrain was relatively smooth and even of the easier and safer places to ski when the visibility is poor. It did snow between 5 and 10 centimetres and the snow was excellent top-to-bottom, so we enjoyed a really great morning out when expectations weren’t the highest.

On the way out through the Gorge du Malpasset, we had a couple of lovely wildlife sightings as we spotted three chamois just above us in the gorge and then two bouquetins a little further down

On Tuesday it was a couple of degrees warmer and the wind wasn’t quite so vicious but the biggest surprise was that there was much more sun than forecast. We ended up having another really good day on the mountain when, again, expectations the night before were low. I returned to the Fornet because of the fresh snow and skied the Combe du 3300 and the Pays Desert before going over the Col Pers and exiting via the Grand Torsai instead of the gorge.

Wednesday was another pleasant surprise as it was forecast to be cloudy all day but we had clear blue skies for most of the morning. I returned to the Fornet again because it had been so good, and Wednesday was no different. We did a ‘double-skin’ in the Pays Desert and found some wonderful snow, especially down low, before going over the Col Pers where we ‘sniffed’ out some nice clean pitches all the way down. Because the Gorge du Malpasset is full of snow, the Col Pers is seeing about ten times the traffic that it normally does so it becomes tracked-out quite quickly and one needs to use the imagination to find clean snow.

On Wednesday night I drove down to Lyon to pick up my wife and two daughters, who’ll feature in the weekend’s photos, as well as their two friends. I didn’t get home until 01:15 and into bed later, so I was very pleased with another sunny day on Thursday. After several days in a row at the Fornet a change of scenery was needed so we headed towards Tignes and enjoyed some good skiing off the Grande Motte.

The Grande Motte cable car is still being repaired after the wind damage from the last big storm so we needed to ‘skin’ up about 20 minutes on what would normally be the piste to access some clean snow. We finished the morning down the Piste Perdue, which is a favourite with the children’s groups. It’s narrow and sometimes extremely tricky but, if you like a little scrambling and adventure, it is pretty good fun. I would suggest that only competent skiers think about it and, even then, there are a couple of places where you need to take off your skis and crawl or walk. If I’d known about a couple of the difficult sections I would have taken off our skis at least once more.

The pistes continue to be a great shape and Saturday is always the best piste day of the week as it’s change-over day. The weather shows sun on Friday, partly sunny on Saturday and snow on Sunday so it should be a fantastic weekend. Have fun and stay tuned for another update on Monday!

Follow more from Wayne on his Daily Diary.

Ski safely off-piste

Exploring beyond the ski resort boundaries is an amazing experience for anyone who's physically fit and has mastered the pistes well enough. There are, however, risks associated with venturing outside the safety of the marked/patrolled ski area, including awareness of your actions on those below you on the slopes. Mountain guides are professionally qualified and have extensive knowledge of the local terrain, to provide you with the safest and most enjoyable possible experience in the mountains; as a visitor here we highly recommend you hiring one. Many ski schools and also mountain guides provide instruction in off-piste skiing, avalanche safety and mountaineering techniques. Make your time in the mountains unforgettable for the right reasons, ski safe!

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