What a week it’s been in the N French Alps full of fresh snowfall, sometimes rain, high winds and fluctuating temperatures.
Above 2000 m, off-piste snow depths are now about normal for the time of season (and a lot better than they were a month ago). You can now ski off-piste down to around 1800 m, and even to 1500 m in some areas.
The week ahead looks much calmer and sunnier – though remaining cool – with some lovely off-piste skiing to be had (with decent visibility for a welcome change) above 2000 m.
Image above shows Meteo France off-piste snow depths for the Haute Tarentaise area of Savoie on 1st April
Sometimes, like during last week’s extreme weather conditions, the most appropriate thing for off-piste skiers is to go into areas with no slopes of more than 30° steepness. You can find some great conditions there, have a lot of fun and be completely relaxed that you’re skiing in safety (from avalanches at least).
The current avalanche danger is a “considerable” 3 out of 5 on the colder N’ish facing slopes above 2200 m. These are the sort of slopes where a persistent weak layer(s) of unconsolidated ‘sugary’ snow developed, particularly during the cold clear nights. The instability is tenacious and will continue for weeks to come – thus the official term ‘persistent weak layer’.
With a mainly calm and dry week from Monday, we suspect that the danger rating will go down to a “moderate” 2 out of 5 next week though.
Weather forecast 3rd to 8th April onwards
A calm and sunny week with temperatures remaining coolish. Mainly dry, with just very occasional light show showers in the mountains.
MONDAY 3rd April: Sunshine in the mountains during the morning. Clouding over in the afternoon, possibly bringing a few occasional snowflakes. 0° C at 1600 m. Light to moderate NE wind.
TUESDAY 4th April: A sunny morning in the mountains. Some possible cloudy spells again in the afternoon. 0° C at 1600 m. Light to moderate N wind.
WEDNESDAY 5th April: Another beautiful sunny morning. Cloud building up in the afternoon bringing possible sprinklings of snow above 1200/1400 m.
THURSDAY 6th & FRIDAY 7th: Calm dry and sunny weather with temperatures remaining cool for the time of season.
SATURDAY 8th April onwards: Coolish, dry and sunny.
Meteoblue’s 14 day forecast for Val d’Isère
Tip of the Week
Now is a great time to practise measuring slope angles of 30 degrees.
Check out our video below, plus other methods including FATMAP, which provides a map overlay with different colours to depict the steepness of the slope. Great for off-piste skiers, it’s really easy to make out which slopes are steeper than 30°, that critical angle where avalanches can come down.
“Safety is freedom”