After another week of unstable weather things finally improved slightly yesterday in the Northern Alps and today was a superb day for skiing with a good overnight refreeze although skiers found conditions “crusty” on west facing slopes. There was still powder to be found on north sector slopes above 2000m although this lacked much cohesion. The week was marred by a large avalanche at Tignes on Thursday which killed two British season workers and an avalanche at Gourette in the Pyrenees that killed a skier.
The snow over the last week brought between 70 to 110 cm of new snow with most snow in the pre-Alps and close to the border with Italy. Snow conditions are good in the Isere and Haute Savoie in mid-mountain areas, poorer over 2000 meters. It is still possible to ski to around 1200-1500 meters on north and west slopes although this will change with the warmer weather and rain over the weekend with the arrival of a moderate but strenthening warm foehn wind from the south-west. The zero isotherm tomorrow will be around 2300 to 2500 meters.
The snow from the last week has largely stabilized and purged with the warmer weather on Thursday and especially Friday. Some north sector slopes may purge on Saturday with the new rainfall below 2000m. There are a few slabs at avalanche above 2300/2500 meters at altitude close to ridgelines and cols, the danger is greated close to the Italien border which has seen the majority of the recent snow. Some small slabs may form with the fresh snow on Saturday under the influence of the southerly winds.
This information is a summary of current conditions and is provided for information only. It is based on direct observations and information from the following sources.
Météo France issues daily avalanche bulletins for the French Alps, Corsica and Andorra. You should ideally consult at least the previous 5 days bulletins prior to your trip in order to have an idea of recent conditions.
Weather information is complemented by the USAF Public Weather Charts
Henry’s Avalanche Talk publishes a daily translation of the Météo France bulletin for the Savoie area.
Les Sybelles Tourist office also has an English translation of the Savoie area avalanche bulletin.