It is certainly shaping up to be an epic winter. Here is some more information on on the Puy Barbier avalanche in the Massif Central
The snow is causing a lot of problems. At Val d’Isere there is 150cm at the bottom of the slopes. The weather conditions caused the Ski World Cup to be cancelled. The avalanche risk as at Extreme (5/5) which means ski runs and buildings are threatened. The village of Fornet was cut off by the “Branches” avalanche which was 3.5 meters deep.
Scot Mark Wilkinson who runs a shop in Val d’Isere was surprised to return to his bedroom to find it had been invaded by an avalanche of snow. Memories of the catastrophic winter of 1970 when 30 school kids were killed in the UCPA chalet while eating breakfast. “Wilky” had forgotten to shut his special avalanche proof shutters.
Many thanks to Henry Schniewind ( http://www.skioffpiste.co.uk/ ) and Mark Wilkinson for this report. There are some more photos on TGR - http://www.tetongravity.com/forums/showthread.php?t=143825
Avalanches and snow drifts have also blocked the roads to Val d’Isere and Tignes. The highways department is working around the clock at the moment. Snow chains are mandatory for all vehicles leaving Bourg St Maurice for ski resorts.
In the Queyras an avalanche has damaged a number of houses and also part buried a 12 year old at the bottom of the ski runs. In the Maritime Alpes four houses have been damaged by an avalanche. No one was hurt by the slide.
The situation doesn’t seem to be improving with 80cm of fresh snow in Tignes and more heavy falls expected on Tuesday and Wednesday.