The 7 Laux ski resort has been doing avalanche control work in its famous Vallons du Pra sector today. It clearly illustrates how fragile the fresh snow on North faces is at the moment even if France has been spared some of the recent carnage seen in Switzerland.
"This is a short warning message without giving lessons to anyone who is thinking of skiing the north facing bowls of our ski area, such as the Belle Etoile from Pleynet, over the coming days. The pisteurs secured the Vallons du Pra this morning and everything went from the Evêque to the Dent du Pra. Top to bottom. The size of the debris was very impressive. Take care on similar slopes. A risk of 4/5 seemed right today, take care tomorrow when the risk drops to "just" 3/5. In our opinion be very careful".
Gilles Brunot of Meteo France Chamonix notes that "the difference in risk, 3 or 4, depending on the mountain range is not incoherent. In some areas it has snowed more so the weak layer is more deeply buried and less sensitive to being triggered by skiers. Also realize we don't have 5 risk levels but an infinite number of levels between 1 and 5, a risk 3 in the Haute-Savoie may really be 3+ and so very close to risk 4 in the Savoie. When you've got around 1 meter or more of fresh snow, this is nearly the case now in the Aravis and Chablais, it is more difficult for a skier to trigger a slab. However the problem comes if you add wind. The snowpack is not the same everywhere. There may be 150cm in one spot, 50cm somewhere else. A skier may trigger a slab here that has enough energy to take the whole slope".