Tignes Pisteurs crown crack headwall

Tignes Pisteur measuring the depth of headwall on Grande Motte

Snow conditions in the Alps are exceptional for mid-November! This off-piste snow report bodes extremely well for the opening of the winter ski season.

The fresh snow looks awesome, and we’ve heard some great reports. No doubt some of you who are already in the alps will be tempted to get your skins out for some pre-season ski touring.

Tip 1 of the week

We do not agree with some people’s view that you shouldn’t go out on the mountain yet. However, with very limited avalanche bulletins currently available, we strongly advise the following:

Unless you really know what you’re doing, stay away from any slopes of 30° or more.  Especially after the next snowfall. (Check out our video for how to measure a slope angle: 30° is roughly the steepness of a ‘red’ run)

Off piste snow report

off piste snow report 18th Nov

Meteo France: off piste snow report 18th Nov



There is no avalanche danger rating being issued by Meteo France as yet, but they are highlighting wind slab above 2500m from winds that blew from the W N and E.  They also mention natural wet snow avalanches from risging temperatures and rainfall below 2400m.

There are some excellent reports on the weathertoski website.

Tip 2 of the week

Meteo Ski AppDownload the Meteo Ski app to your phone.  It will give you fast access to the Meteo France weather forecast for all French resorts and even more importantly, you will get immediate, easy access to the avalanche bulletins without having to fight with the Meteo France website.  The app is refreshingly lacking in adverts and seems to be focused on what the off piste skier needs.

Weather Forecast

Val d’Isere website is predicting 5 to 20cm of snow for Friday night and more through to Saturday mid-morning. The variation in this forecast is due to uncertainty about the exact passage of the weather system coming in from the west and north-west.  Also, we are unsure at what altitude the snowline will end up.  We are expecting snow above 2200m initially but the snow line should drop to 1400m by the morning.

The weather will clear up Saturday lunchtime and Sunday should be a nice fresh day with sunshine and freezing levels around 1900m

The next week looks set to be dominated by weather systems coming up from the south.  Expect a lot of high clouds and intermittent snowfall from 2000/2400m.  This will create more snow but mainly around the Italian border.  The biggest snowfall is likely to be Thursday.  We are not expecting so much in the rest of northern French Alps and it looks very warm further North.  However, the weather maps look very messy suggesting uncertainty about where and when the snow will fall.

This intermittent southerly pattern looks set to remain in place until 1st December with moderate to weak intermittent snowfall, rain below 1800m and quite a bit of cloud, milder southerly winds and some nice sunny spells in between.

Longer term weather forecasts (hmm! believe this if you will)

There is a very good chance of some nice weather and great snow conditions for the opening weekend in Val d’Isere.  Intermittent light snow over the weekend plus clear spells and lighter winds and a bit cooler.

If you can believe medium term weather models then it looks like another big dump of snow sometime between 1st and 5th December. The weather charts show some very disturbed and wild weather. This will be followed by a prolonged drier colder spell in December, this could last right up to the New Year.

The snow has definitely arrived for the winter.

Looking forward to having more fun (and staying safe)