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February 2013 Snow Conditions
Posted: 14 February 2013 09:53 PM   [ # 16 ]  
Total Posts:  2234
Joined  2003-10-24

There was an avalanche on the Pointe de la Combe Bénite @2400m altitude above Aime la Plagne involving 7 off piste skiers. They were on the south face. One skier was buried up to his shoulders, the other under 150cm of snow. Recovered after 20 minutes under the debris thanks to her avalanche transceiver she was “only” suffering from hypothermia. The party was lucky that both the PGHM and guides were training nearby.

An 18 year old was killed skiing between open pistes at Bernex when he fell and his head struck a rock.

Some fresh snow is expected in the Northern Alps this Friday followed by sunny weather over the weekend. Avalanche risk between 2 and 3 tomorrow in the Northern & Hautes Alps depending on the mountain range and altitude. Still High risk in the Pyrenees except at lower altitudes where the risk will drop during the course of the day.

P1060641.JPG height=600 width=800
Chartreuse @ 1000m. today

According to Meteo France the snowcover is remarkable and abundant in all mountain ranges and altitudes both in terms of quantity and quality. There is 40 to 80% more depth than average at this time of year and is +100% at 1200 m. altitude. Records have not been broken but for example at the Col de Porte in the Chartreuse (1325m) there is 205cm of snow which was last seen in 1984.

At 1000m there is between 70-90cm of snow, a little less in the Maurienne, Haute-Maurienne and Vercors
At 1500m there is around 160-180cm; 100-130cm in the Maurienne, Haute-Maurienne and Vanoise and between 200-240cm in the Beaufortain, Chartreuse and Belledonne. This is reflected in the higher avalanche risk seen in these ranges over the last few days
At 2000m there is between 230-260cm; a little less 180cm in the Vanoise, Maurienne and Haute-Maurienne and 300cm in the Chartreuse, Belledonne and Grandes Rousses.

On Monday Lionel Tassan reported 19 days of snowfall in the Chartreuse.

In the Pyrenees it is like the heady days of the 1970s all over again with 200cm of snow at 1500m with record snowfall in the Haute-Bigorre (Bareges), Aspe-Ossau, Couserans and Orlu. The record snow cover has built up quickly since the start of January over 2000m and mid January at 1500m thanks to a succession of storm cycles. Since the start of 2013 2.5 time the quantity of snow has fallen compared to what would normally fall in the whole of the December to February period (3 months). Snow cover at 1500m is 4x normal. There is less snow in the East which has been reflected by lower avalanche risks.

Some figures:
Lac d’Ardiden (2450 m) 422cm (previous record since 1996 : 397cm in 2003)
Cauterets (1850 m) : 465cm (previous record since 1971 : 430 cm in 1972)
Val-Louron (1450 m) : 165cm (previous record since 1978 : 150cm in 1986)
Arette - La Pierre Saint Martin (1650 m): 300cm (equal to the previous record since 1971 set in 1981)
Boutx - Le Mourtis (1400 m) : 235cm (previous record since 1978 : 220 cm in 2005)
Port d’Aula (2150 m) : 420 cm (previous record since 1996 : 328cm in 2009)
- Ascou – Pailhères (1500 m) : 275cm (previous record since 1986 : 220cm in 2005)
- Guzet (1400 m): 220cm (previous record since 1983 : 172cm en 2005)

[Note: Sorry I’ve no Internet access at the moment, this was sent from my phone and the upload rate is catastrophic (like being on a 300 baud modem - merci Free/France Telecom]

[ Edited: 14 February 2013 09:58 PM by davidof]
Posted: 16 February 2013 09:04 PM   [ # 17 ]  
Total Posts:  2234
Joined  2003-10-24

On the 14th a Ski Tourer triggered a small slab on the Rochers du Parquet in the south of the Vercors range. Destabilized he was taken down the couloir he was skiing and had to be rescued with a knee injury.

A 70 year old skier suffered multiple injuries after blowing a turn off piste at Vélière in Champagny-en-Vanoise.

Posted: 17 February 2013 09:22 PM   [ # 18 ]  
Sr. Member
Total Posts:  139
Joined  2005-05-06

Still great powder off the sunny slopes, still stable too.

tracks from this am

These photos taken on the Pt. de Marcelly, 1999m at Praz de Lys today.


Posted: 19 February 2013 10:22 PM   [ # 19 ]  
Total Posts:  2234
Joined  2003-10-24

Your photo makes it look very flat. I’ve toured the Pt de Marcelly, great area for touring.

We toured to the Pointe de Gargotton today. There is a big difference looking West to the Combe de Savoie (Bauges/Chartreuse)

P1060645.JPG height=600 width=800

compared to East and the Maurienne

P1060648.JPG height=600 width=800

remember that the Combe de Savoie is at 300m. altitude and the Maurienne more like 600m.

I’ve heard things are worse over the border on the southern side of the Alps. A friend was near St Moritz last week and said it was very dry.

Posted: 26 February 2013 09:20 PM   [ # 20 ]  
Total Posts:  2234
Joined  2003-10-24

I’ve been skiing with junior on piste doing our fleche training the last few days. However I made it out with Anny today in the Belledonne, to the col du Loup. We’d last skied here in Dec. 2005. Conditions were crusty on SE thru to SW slopes, settled powder to deep powder elsewhere. Some surface sluffs but no big slides visible but I did see some deep slabs in the Chartreuse yesterday.

Avalanche risk 4 in the Central Pyrenees and Corsica at the moment with more snow on the way from the Mediterranean.

I can’t see these photos online because I’m posting this from a phone with a poor Internet access.

Col du Loup, West facing slope
P1060687.JPG height=600 width=800

Grand Colon, NW
P1060698.JPG height=601 width=800

W slope on the Col du Loup
P1060684.JPG height=600 width=800

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