Another winter season comes to an end, with a few chilly days ahead. Fingers crossed for a return to nice off-piste skiing & touring spring skiing conditions as we move into May.
This season’s last off-piste snow report: 13 – 19 April, Savoie & Northern French Alps
Snow depths are still good for off-piste skiing and touring in high-altitude Val d’Isère, Tignes and other similar resorts especially near the French/Italian border. Elsewhere, they’re well below average for the time of season.
Following a long spate of very mild weather, it’s suddenly become really cold with a bitter N/NE wind. It will warm up a little again in the next few days, but then become colder again and snowy from the middle of next week. In many places, the snow has become very hard and icy, with a danger of sliding a long way if we don’t control our speed and edges. Ski crampons, used in conjunction with skins, are very helpful when ski touring up firm icy slopes and traverses above 2500 m. As they dig into the hard snow as we walk up, they give us a lot more security and stability and make it a lot easier.
The avalanche rating is currently very low due to regular melt-freeze cycles (especially strong overnight refreezes). See our summary on smooth spring skiing and melt-freeze cycles henrysavalanchetalk.com/ski-smooth-tips-spring-skiing-off-piste The rating will increase if we get any significant amount of precipitation (snow or rain), or if there is a minimal/lack of refreeze at night. The few natural avalanches that have occurred have been quite large in volume, and have happened on steep slopes that have been in the sun and heat for several hours. Recent snow profile tests have revealed a weakness in the deeper layers of the snowpack. This won’t be a problem as long as temperatures stay cold and the snow refreezes. However, when it warms up again, this weakness will be something we need to watch out for especially after a night or two of no freeze at higher altitudes (e.g. no freeze as high as 2500 m).
Detailed weather forecast for 20 to 26 April
Thursday 20: Very cold for the time of season, -10° C at 2500 m in the morning, warming up only slightly as the day goes on. Sunny with just a few high altitude clouds. E to NE wind 10 km/hr at 2500 m, 20 to 40 km/hr at 4000 m.
Friday 21: Remaining sunny. Still quite cold in the morning: 0°C at 1500 meters. Warming up a bit in the afternoon. N wind at high altitude with gusts of 40/50 km/hr at 3500 m.
Saturday 22: A good overnight refreeze. Becoming milder as the day goes on. 0°C at 2500 m. Sunny with a few rare clouds in the afternoon.
Sunday 23: Sunny.
Tuesday 25 & Wednesday 26: Unsettled colder weather coming in again, with snow showers. Snow/rain limit 1500 m on Tuesday, and down to 1200 m on Wednesday.
Come to our Skiers’ Summit in London on 11 November! This exciting day-long event will help you ski enthusiasts get the best day on the mountain, especially anyone who feels like they are on a bit of a plateau with their skiing. Our inspirational speakers will show you how to ensure you get the very best out of every day’s skiing!
Check our Facebook page, for more more updates about this and all our other events to help you have more fun off-piste: facebook.com/HenrysAvalancheTalk
Have a great summer, everybody. Hope to see you next season or at our UK events this Autumn!