With all the freshies I thought it was about time I got out into the mountains. Unfortunately (or fortunately I’m working up in Geneva now so the only chance was a rapid sortie after work. I knocked off at 4pm and drove up to my favourite ski hill of the Dome de Pravouta. The roads were icy from 1000m and things only got worse from here:
You can see the wind action even in this relatively sheltered spot. I parked up at the col du Coq. Everyone coming down had put their chains on. It had been a bit of a struggle even with winter tires and I wish I had taken my wife’s go anywhere Fiat Panda. I stepped out of the car an sank into fresh snow up to my knees. It was better than I had expected.
The climb up to Pravouta is around 400 meters and fortunately someone had already made tracks. Normally its me who does this but that is the advantage of going so late in the day.
The trees were looking wintry and the sun even made a brief appearance. Towards the summit snow depths reached 80cm. Pretty good for mid November. The weather was cold with a strong wind from the west which was taking snow off lee slopes and building cornices. Not necessarly a big worry at this altitude
but given the intensely cold weather at altitude (-20C) and thin snowpack one could see quite a few slabs being in place now on north to east facing slopes sitting on a weak layer. As I approached the summit the snow changed from ice to wind blown to slabby where there were some accumulations.
Which way to descend? The Pravouta can be skied in any direction with a choice of slopes. Although billed as a beginners mountain all of the aspects would be at least reds if they had prepared slopes. My usual favourite of the west ridge was out, no snow. However the snow had all been piled into the south-west bowl. This doesn’t get skied much for some reason. People prefer to ski over the summer walking routes. The bowl was completely untouched
and despite limited visibility was just as good as it promised. Light “Colorado” powder on a firm based. There was even enough snow to play the fool skiing through the trees at the bottom.
It was now 5pm, I climbed back to the summit to ski the south-east face and the car. This slope has some natural terraces which need a lot of snow to fill in the relief, otherwise they can be a bit unpleasant. The snow was definitely not as good on this face. It had caught more of the wind and had a slight crust close to the ridgeline. It was now late and I had to ski by my head torch.
Detouring into the open woodland a bit lower down for some “glade” skiing. All in all a taste of America, autumn snow, gentle open slopes and super light powder.