Off Piste Skiing: First day of winter

Sat, 5 March 2016


Distance: 17.5 km

Slope Aspect: East

Trip Reports

Vertical Climbed: 2,320 meters (7,612 feet)

Vertical Descended: 2,320 meters

Avalanche Risk: 4

Snowline: 970


Surprising season. The long range weather reports in the autumn warned of a warm Jan/Feb with a return to winter in March and so it is. There is around 80cm of new snow at 1800m, maybe 30cm at 1000m but very dense, maybe 300kg/m3 so skiable to low levels. So we decided to go to our local resort of St Hilaire for a bit of piste and off piste skiing.

Junior was keen to ski the upper phantom village but I was not so hot. There is a track down from the top of the ski lifts but it is steep and narrow in one place and this really needs going off into the trees. Something tot and I have done in the past but it always requires a lot of coaching on my part. The powder was very dense and not so easy to ski, a real spring dump rather than the light powder of winter. Bizarrely a snowplow had been round all the abandoned roads that lead nowhere and as the route crosses these it meant some faffing.

After doing some piste, the Combe was closed due to the avy risk we did a couple of nice laps of the lower phantom village.

Weather: Sunny, some snow showers

Access: Clear

Country: France Area: Chartreuse Trailhead: St Hilaire du Touvet