Spring snow skiing conditions get better every day!
Off-piste snow report: 13 – 19 April, Savoie & Northern French Alps
Val d’Isère and Tignes (high-altitude resorts near the French/Italian border) continue to fare much better for off-piste snow depths than most others in the N French Alps. Val & Tignes still have snow depths of 200+ cm above 2500 m. Unfortunately, the picture isn’t so rosy elsewhere, with snow depths more like what we’d expect for May.
Snow is transforming rapidly in the warm weather and sunshine, giving us some beautiful spring snow skiing conditions, with melt-freeze cycles well in place. Marmottes are out, and spring has well and truly sprung!
There are just a few isolated high-altitude N facing slopes above 2400 m where the snow is colder. Here the snow may be wind-hardened or possibly lighter and a bit crusted on the top. Generally, the snowpack has now stabilised well, with the avalanche risk a low 1 or 2 on the European scale of 5. Check out the daily avalanche bulletins from Meteo-France before you go off-piste.
Risk of natural avalanche activity increases slightly as daytime temperatures rise and snow humidifies, getting heavier. We need to adapt our timings and choose our slope directions carefully to make the most of these spring snow conditions. If we do this correctly, there is some amazing smooth, clean snow to be found. When there is minimal overnight refreeze, the snow becomes fragile a lot more quickly and we need to stop skiing off-piste earlier in the day. See our previous blog for how to choose your slope directions and timings right.
This season’s spring snow skiing seems to get better every day. These skiers, enjoying a morning’s introduction to off-piste skiing with Henry, are using plenty of ‘skidding’ in their turns to avoid damaging the delicate snow surface by over-edging!
Detailed weather forecast for 13 to 19 April
Thursday 13: Sunny with just a few thin high clouds. Strong gusts of NW wind in very high mountain areas, especially near the French/Italian border. These will die down as the day goes on. 0° C at 3000 m.
Friday 14: A re-run of Thursday!
Saturday 15: Some sunshine in the morning. Clouding over in the afternoon. A few weak showers during the afternoon and into the night, bringing possibly up to 10 cm of snow above 2100 m. Snow/rain limit: 1500/1800 m. NW wind, strengthening from the afternoon onwards on the highest peaks, near the French/Italian border, and over the Vanoise glaciers. 0° C at 2100 m, falling to 1700 from evening onwards.
Sunday 16: Strong NW winds. Clouds will clear away as the day goes on. Temperatures rising again to 0° C at 3000 m.
Tuesday 18 & Wednesday 19: Winds dropping and becoming cooler. Tuesday: Mostly sunny again, with some cloudy spells. Wednesday: Cooler with a few showers.
Learn how to get your timings right when skiing spring snow: henrysavalanchetalk.com/ski-smooth-tips-spring-skiing-off-piste
See our Facebook page, where we have lots of great info and updates on events that can help you to have more fun off-piste: facebook.com/HenrysAvalancheTalk
Enjoy this beautiful spring snow everyone!