Off Piste Snow Report : 5th – 9th March 2016


Atmospheric mountains. Always an adventure, whatever the weather. Wayne Watson photo

Extended Weather Forecast (as reported by Météo-France, Savoie) for Savoie and the N French Alps:

Wintry weather with frequent snow showers, cold temperatures and light winds. Could make for some great off-piste skiing although the visibility may not be so great!

Saturday 5th: Cloudy and cold. Snow showers in the mountains, and sometimes in the valley bottoms too.

Sunday 6th & Monday 7th: Continuing cold and cloudy with snow showers in mountain areas. Fairly light winds, with a few occasional gusts.

Tuesday 8th & Wednesday 9th: Continuing the same.

Off Piste Snow Conditions

Again, we’ve been finding varied off-piste conditions this week, including a lot of very good skiable snow! There’s plenty of powder snow around, sometimes light and fluffy, sometimes a bit more variable. It’s often denser at higher altitudes, and near the French/Italian border, and is often wind-blown near mountain tops. A few lucky places, like Val d’Isere, have recently benefited from a lot of fresh snow (50 – 120 cm) due to the ‘Retour d’Est’, a phenomenon where significant amounts of snowfall occasionally spill over the mountainous Italian border into some of the neighbouring French resorts.

For the whole of Savoie and the Northern French Alps, we’re promised continued snow showers over the next few days into next week, along with colder temperatures. This should make for some very nice light powder skiing, even though the visibility may not be so good! Let’s just hope the wind doesn’t pick up too much!

Snow Stability

Strong W to NW winds on Thursday and Friday will cause new areas of windslab snow to form, and areas of snow accumulation. A lot of snow will be blown over to the E to SE facing slopes.

Natural (potentially large) avalanches could occur, particularly where there is so much deep snow near the French/Italian border.

Below 2200 m, where it’s been a lot less windy and has seen some rain, the avalanche risk is lower. See our HAT advice for what all the avalanche danger ratings mean: http://henrysavalanchetalk.com/avalanche-forecasts-danger-rating. It seems to vary mainly between 2 and 3 at the moment (occasionally going up to a 4 when the snowfall has been particularly heavy, or the wind has been particularly strong).

Tips of the Week

Don’t be a fair weather skier! Get out there and have an adventure, even when it looks grey and miserable from your bedroom window. You never know what you might find!

Check the daily avalanche bulletins on this link: http://www.meteofrance.com/previsions-meteo-montagne/bulletin-avalanches, by clicking on the mountain area you’re in.

We’ll be updating our blog as much as possible if conditions start to look unstable, or if we have some nice photos from a great ski on www.henrysavalanchetalk.com/blog also on Twitter @HenryOff_Piste and Google+. Keep checking our facebook page for updates too: www.facebook.com/HenrysAvalancheTalk

Ride Hard! Ride Safe