For Savoie and Northern French Alps
Cold temperatures and a little more snowfall
With some fresh top-ups of snow (anything between 5 to 40 cm) we’ve been finding some fantastic off-piste conditions over the last few days. There’s some lovely cold powder snow still to be found, particularly on high North facing slopes. And it looks as if we’re due some more smallish amounts of fresh snow in the days to come.
In high exposed areas the surface has often been wind-hardened and crusted (sometimes blown off altogether). In other places it’s been densified by the wind, although quite skiable.
A persistently fragile snowpack developed with the very cold temperatures, particularly overnight. Henry warned about the likelihood of avalanche accidents last Tuesday, which was a bluebird day sunny day following Monday’s snowstorms. However, we did not get as much snow as was forecast in the Savoie and the Isère. There was more snow in Haute Savoie and that led to some avalanche accidents. This is because a thicker layer of new snow on the weak layer creates more instability and that, in turn
Given the relatively small amounts of snow forecast in the next few days, this probably won’t create generalised instability everywhere. However, when combined with wind, even just 5 to 15 cm of snow can be blown into an extra 40 cm or so in some places. That is enough to catch you out. E
Remember, maybe nothing happened today, but that doesn’t mean that things are safe and that the right decisions were made. When nothing happens, and we don’t get any negative feedback, we let our minds coax us into very dangerous places on the off-piste slopes. That’s when ’risky behaviour’ becomes a habit, without us even knowing it!
Avalanche bulletin 17th Jan
Danger rating is 3 above 2200m and 2 below that. The risks are greatest on Northerly facing slopes from NE to NW due to the weak layer being worse on those aspects.
The calm weather since Tuesday allowed the recent snow
Spontaneous departures: some releases may still occur during any period of bad weather.
Some windslab certainly persists above 2200/2400 m (skier triggered releases were observed on Tuesday in North to East exhibitions). The faceted grains are not sufficiently buried (angular grains) can promote a break in case of overload by one or more skiers, especially in North (North-West to Northeast).
Also there are places where 50cm deep slab can release.
Off-piste weather forecast for 17 to 24 Jan
A weak area of unsettled weather is currently crossing Savoie and Haute Savoie this will be followed by much colder weather and an uncertain weather situation for the weekend. Next week we will have high-pressure north of the alps and low pressure over the Mediterranean This means we will see a mixture of cold sunshine and clouds with a possible weak Retour d’Est on Wednesday.
Outlook beyond 27th January
Looks like high pressure is still the main influence but there will be intervals of disturbed weather. Generally very cold.
NIGHT of THURSDAY 17
Clouds predominate and some light snow showers cross our mountains with a little snow from 300/500 m (less than 10 cm to 1000 m). The wind changes to the northwest (50 to 60 km / h from 3000 m). Minimum temperatures approach -4 to -6 degrees to 1000 m, -11 to -14 degrees to 2000 m and -17 degrees to 3000 m.
Numerous clouds in the morning (from 1500 to 2500 m)
Expect sun despite some high clouds and perhaps some Cumulus on the slopes. The wind is weak from west to northwest at altitude. Temperatures remain low, moving from -6 to 0/2 degrees to 1000 m and -10 / -14 to -4 / -6 degrees to 2000 m (isotherm 0
The sun appears among some clouds, which cling to the summits, and probably more numerous in the afternoon or in the evening Maybe some light
MONDAY 21 and TUESDAY 22
Monday, the clouds prevail, with a small risk of snow to the valley floor. Colder with temperatures below averages ranging from -2 / -4 to 2/3 degrees in plain and -7 / -8 to 0 degrees to 1000 m.
Tuesday, probable return of cold sunny weather with some banks of high clouds. Wind still weak.
WEDNESDAY 23 and THURSDAY 24
Low pressure system coming from the south and east with wind, clouds, clearings and possible snow on the Italian border. Temperatures without much change.
FRIDAY 25 and SATURDAY 26
The Mediterranean depression moves away, allowing beautiful clear weather. Temperatures still very low (-8 then 0 degrees to 1000 m). To confirm.
The biggest risk
With cold temperatures forecast for the next few