October snowmaking surprises and angers locals

The snow canons at one of the ski resorts above Grenoble in the French Alps were running at full capacity all week-end. Meanwhile a severe drought in what has been one of the driest summers on record has led to water restrictions in the region.

France 3 news report - http://france3.fr/

Villages in the Gresivaudan valley have been issued with a decree from the prefet banning them from car washing, shutting down the public fountains and restricting irrigation of gardens. One angry local compared it to the horror movie the Masque of the Red Death, in this cult classic the nobles carry on partying in a mountain castle while surrounding villages are decimated by the plague.

snow making in october
Snow canons operating at les 7 laux on Sunday

Snow depths on the runs reached 40cm in places. Enough for some locals to actually get some turns in. “Nothing unusual,” says the technical director Robert Musolesi. “We test the canons at this time every year, it is just the cold snap meant the snow stayed around and was visible in the valley”. In a statement put out by the resort they pointed out they had to test the snow making equipment before the first real snows of winter as any fault would be impossible to trace and fix under a thick blanket of snow. The resort defends its water use by stating that “the water comes from our own reservoirs, not from lakes or water courses and will be returned to the water table when it melts at the end of the season, it is just air and water, we have used 5000m3 during the tests”. It is estimated that 1m3 of snow costs a euro to make. France has a moratorium on using additives, which help make snow at lower temperatures, since 2005.

A ski tour on the 23/Oct/09

Posted by on Friday, 23 October, 2009 at 07:09 AM

Her in the Ecrins we did some real ski touring the 22 of october:


Posted by  on  Friday, 23 October, 2009  at 07:24 PM

Still not quite enough snow here but I saw you had a “retour de l’est” which brought the usual early snow.


Posted by davidof on  Friday, 23 October, 2009  at 07:43 PM
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