Off-Piste Snow & Weather 7 - 15 March 2019
Off-Piste Snow and Weather 7-13 March 2019

For Savoie and Northern French Alps A stormy week ahead with snowfall! Expect a period of snowy unsettled weather, with significant snowfall. Some days this may be just a few cm, but next week it will become quite widespread even down to 1500 m. One snow report, for example, suggests up to 51 cm at the higher altitudes in Val d’Isère over the next few days. The biggest risks will be N facing shady slopes above 2400m Over the past week, we’ve […]... Read More


Off Piste Snow & Weather
Off-Piste Snow and Weather 1st – 6 March 2019

For Savoie and Northern French Alps ‘Winter’ returns with snowfall & cooler temps. The last 3 weeks have been very warm, dry and sunny. Many wet snow avalanches have occurred in the last week in the very warm temperatures. But we are expecting cold temperatures and considerable new snow every day next week from Monday. The whole of March looks like it will be colder with regular snowfall and some sunny breaks in between. We’ve recently been enjoying all ... Read More


Off-Piste Snow & Weather Report for Savoie & N French Alps 17 - 24 Jan
Off-Piste Snow and Weather Report 17-24 Jan 2019

For Savoie and Northern French Alps Cold temperatures and a little more snowfall With some fresh top-ups of snow (anything between 5 to 40 cm) we’ve been finding some fantastic off-piste conditions over the last few days. There’s some lovely cold powder snow still to be found, particularly on high North facing slopes. And it looks as if we’re due some more smallish amounts of fresh snow in the days to come. In high exposed areas the surface has often been wi... Read More


Henry Schniewind Snowpack update
Snowpack update French Alps 14 January

Real risk of remote triggering, danger rating is now level 4 nearly everywhere Henry explains in this video Recently we have experienced some very cold weather -20C and colder at 2000m. This has rotted the old snow and created a very weak layer of faceted grains. In the past 24 hours we have seen between 20cm and 1m of new snow in different parts of the Northern French Alps due to snowfall and wind. This is now very unstable and the avalanche […]... Read More


Localised-natural-avalanche-on-W-facing-slope-Chris-Radford-photo
Off-Piste Snow and Weather Report 28th Dec 2018

For Savoie and the Northern French Alps Looks like a sunny start to the new year! Happy new year everyone! After a spate of gloomy mild weather with a rain/snow limit around 2500 m, the sun has made a welcome reappearance over the last few days. We could see some cloud over the weekend, but then it should turn sunny again from Monday. Some pretty nice off-piste conditions up high. Wayne Watson photo High altitude resorts above 1800 m are faring much […]... Read More


NOTHING HAPPENS… most of the time

Off-piste skiing and touring can be surprisingly safe (about the same risk as driving a car for one hour) if we regularly apply the risk reduction measures we learn in avalanche training. If we do not apply these measures, it can be surprisingly dangerous according to renowned avalanche expert, Bruce Tremper. At HAT, more and more, we emphasize that learning and knowing is only half the battle. The applying of our knowledge and experience is what really counts. It’s no... Read More


Avalanche banane
Off-Piste Snow and Weather Report 14th Dec 2018

Savoie and Northern French Alps Watch out for the dangerous weak layer! Henry warned us on Monday that Tuesday 11th December would be risky with a persistent weak layer under the new snowpack from above 2400m. So it proved. We have seen considerable evidence of recent avalanche activity in the past two days. This has been most apparent on NE facing slopes above 2400m. All the signs are there that there is a considerable risk (Rating 3), especially on these slopes. Keep [&hell... Read More


Ellis Brigham Discover Backcountry
Safety is Freedom in London & Manchester coming soon!

I’ll be delivering the ORTOVOX off-piste awareness talks in London and Manchester this coming week as part of Ellis Brigham’s ‘Discover Backcountry’ initiative – anticipating a great couple of evenings!   Complementing my talks next week on how to have fun and be safe off-piste (see below), Ellis Brigham Mountain Sports in Tamworth and Glasgow are running introductory sessions to backcountry skiing over the next two Saturdays.   These ... Read More


Glide cracks mean snowpack stability
Glide Cracks Mean Snowpack Stability….

…. but they need to be treated with care, all the same Over the last few years we’ve been emphasizing that over 9 out of 10 off-piste accidents occur due to victims triggering the avalanche themselves. This usually happens because they weren’t applying basic accident prevention risk reduction measures at the time of the accident. We talk about ‘recent avalanche activity’ as a clue of instability. By this, we are referring to recent cold dry slab avalanc... Read More


Snow & Weather Report 22 to 28 March
What is the Risk of Riding in Avalanche Terrain?

This is the title of a blog posted by Bruce Tremper in 2009. I am planning to examine this question in more detail this week by attending the International Snow Science Workshop (ISSW) in Innsbruck. I hope to be posting more about this whilst I am there. Here is a link to Bruce Tremper’s blog where he raises some powerful questions. https://utahavalanchecenter.org/blog/15826 In the introduction, he observes Our lives revolve around risk but it’s a concept most of us ... Read More