I was busy skiing over the weekend so didn’t get a chance to do any updates but there was a lot going on with three avalanche deaths in the Savoie and Haute-Savoie. Saturday morning was a mix of fire (on east sector slopes) and ice (on north sector slopes). There was a thick ice crust between 1500-2000 meters caused by the recent rain. This was on top of old cohesive snow which didn’t look great, hopefully the crust will bridge this. The surface of the crust was incredibly icy, even low angled slopes were treacherous and I had to tackle 100 meters of 35 degrees (thankfully with no exposure). Hop turns in those conditions are not my cup of tea.
On east slopes, even at 10am, the going was soft although the skiing was good. There was skiable snow down to 1100 meters. My tour brushed with the domains of the Roc d’Enfer and Pras sur Lys/Sommand and the conditions looked very good on piste with plenty of fresh snow above 1500 meters.
There was a serious avalanche on Friday on the Aiguille Rouge above les Arcs.
as well as some minor incidents elsewhere. Avalanche risk was Considerable with the north-westerlies earlier in the week loading east facing slopes especially above 2300 meters (the snow/rain level on Wednesday).
On Saturday two experienced ski tourers from les Houches were killed by a large avalanche.
I’m surprised the risk returned to 2 so quickly in the Haute-Savoie at that kind of altitude given the fresh snow. Still 2 (Moderate) is not to be ignored. As Claude Rey once said “globally things are good, locally there is a risk of death”.
Given the fresh snow down to 1100 meters on Sunday we decided to spend a day off piste in le Hirmentaz above lake Geneva. The snow was sticky at the bottom of the pistes but higher up there was good powder on a solid bases for some low angled stuff between the trees. The strong north-westerly continued with a lot of snow being moved onto east sector slopes again. We stuck to skiing west faces. Great thing about these small resorts is that no-one can ski powder so you are left making freshies the whole day.
Overnight the snowline seems to have been down around 1000 meters judging by the cover on the Saleve above Geneva.