After last weeks dump of snow we’ve had an amazing week of off piste skiing in the Espace Killy. We’ve had some absolutely epic days on the mountain in the past ten days with blue skies and bottomless powder!
We have had quite a mixture of weather ranging from bluebird days to complete white-out with very poor visibility and high winds. Last Saturday after the big dump of snow we were fortunate enough to have clear skies for the whole morning which meant we could take advantage of some of the best snow this season in near perfect conditions.
Although the snow was incredible the avalanche rating was at level four so mellow pitches were the name of the game. We ended up doing several laps underneath the Grand Prix lift which was really great fun with plenty of wind lips to take advantage of. We skied Epole du Charvais which although was closed offered some really deep light snow.
Monday was a similar story with blue skies and high avalanche risk so tree skiing at lower altitude was a good option. Tree skiing both under the Laisanant Lift and Fornet Cable Car offered up some excellent untracked snow. In particular the White Hare in Le Fornet is definitely a lot more skiable with a lot of fresh snow to be found. The Signal Lift also opened this week which in turn opened up access to the Grand Valon area above Le Fornet which during the week was full of fresh snow and heaps of terrain to cover.
Today was by far one of the best days of the season with a dump of around 20-30 cm of snow in Val d’isere itself and a further 10cm on top of that in Le Fornet where I skied all day. We were first to ski the White hare this morning and were treated to bottomless powder and fresh turns from 09:30 to about 2pm when my legs finally gave out. I can honestly say that I think the skiing today was some of the best tree skiing I have ever done in Val d’Isere! With blue skies forecast for the coming days we should be set for even more amazing conditions throughout the week.
Some of the most dangerous slopes are still steep north facing slopes above 2500m where the weak layer of snow still exists where the freeze thaw process has still not taken effect. These slopes should generally be avoided. The avalanche rating was bumped back up to level 4 today which means the snowpack is generally unstable in most places and avalanches can be triggered from very low additional loads. Hopefully the avalanche risk will settle down as the week progresses and we can start accessing some steeper lines.
Most weather forecasters are predicting a week of sunshine so for those of you arriving this weekend you should be in line for a great week of skiing some of the best snow we have had all season alongside some excellent weather conditions! ENJOY!
NB: Off piste skiing and mountaineering are dangerous. The opinions expressed in these articles are very much time and condition specific and the content is not intended in any way to be a substitute for hiring a mountain guide, undergoing professional mountaineering training and/or the individual's own back country decision making.
Location: Val d'Isere Valley