A chance of small top-ups of fresh snow!
A few windy days ahead, maybe bringing small amounts of snow with them. Look at our weather forecast for a longer term outlook and possible snow after 3rd February
Off-piste snow report – 26 January to 1 February
Off-piste skiing is always an adventure. Venture out – you may just get an unexpected bonus! On the Pissaillas glacier this week, we were unexpectedly greeted by 10 cm of fresh snow. We also found pockets of fresh snow across sheltered spots off Borsat around Val d’isere and off Genepi in Tignes. It had somehow blown across the French/Italian border. What a rush! We’re hoping for more little episodes like this in the next few days.
High winds continue to affect the off-piste snow. At high-altitude, the snow surface is wind-hardened, sometimes scoured off altogether. In more sheltered spots like gullies, it’s possible to find nice areas of cold soft winter powder. There are also areas of very ‘skiable’ firm naturally packed snow on high steep N facing slopes.
At warmer lower altitudes, the snow has been humidifying by day and refreezing overnight. This has resulted in a crusty surface first thing in the morning.
The main avalanche risk for skiers is of triggering windslab, above 2000/2500 m. High altitude areas near the windy French/Italian border are particularly affected. New areas of windslab continue to form. Those weak layers ‘sugar snow’ persist (and are still forming with the cold temperatures) on steep N facing slopes. The weight of one or more skiers on steep slopes could be enough to trigger windslab lying on top of this weak layer. Watch out on steep high-altitude slopes facing N through W to S. The current avalanche risk is 3 above 2500 m, and 2 below this. This may decrease as the week goes on. See Meteo France’s daily avalanche bulletins on www.meteofrance.com/previsions-meteo-montagne/bulletin-avalanches, entering your mountain area.
Detailed snow and weather forecast – 26 January to 1 February
Thursday 26 January: Strengthening Foehn, Lombard and S winds, with gusts of 80 to 100 km/hr above 2500 m and along the French/Italian border. Sunny with some high cloud. Maximum daytime temperatures: +1° at 2000 m, -8° at 3000 m (feeling colder due to windchill).
Friday 27: Strong S winds accompanied by gusts of Foehn and Lombard (70 to 100 km/hr). High cloud, particularly thick over the French/Italian border. Hopefully, areas near the border (such as above Le Fornet in Val d’Isere) may see a bit of snow coming across on the wind from Italy. Fingers crossed!
Saturday 28: Cloudy. Very small amounts of snow possible above 1000 m near the French/Italian border. Slightly milder.
Sunday 29: A few scattered showers, bringing very small amounts of fresh snow.
Monday 30: Mixture of bright spells and cloud. A few isolated snow showers in the mountains.
Tuesday 31 & Wednesday 1 February: Unsettled weather with light showers. Rain/snow limit around 1500 m.
As the avalanche danger diminishes we tend to get more complacent. So remember to apply our Off-Piste Checklist. This will reduce your chances of having an accident (and help you to have more fun): www.henrysavalanchetalk.com/off-piste-quick-reference. Avalanche risk 2 means moderate with specific risks in specific places. Read the bulletin to see where those risks exist.
Pay attention to the wind and where the wind has blown, this will show you where to find dangerous wind slab and where to locate the best snow. The bulletin shows you where the wind has been blowing for the past 7 days.