We were met with thin cloud just around the peaks this morning – luckily this burnt away by the time we had made it to the lifts to leave yet another day of blue skies and sunshine. I did a couple of hours and the pistes are still very good – as it was a warm night they were a bit softer this morning. I did try a little bit of off piste to the side of Tignes’ Paquerettes piste – the less said about the hard snow strewn with rocks the better, I think we’d better wait for the new snow.
Now for the difficult bit – nailing the weather over the next 3 days. Tomorrow will start like today but the clouds will gather after lunch and the winds will pick up, closing the higher lifts early I would think. Might be a day to be back in your own valley by lunchtime – especially if it is your last day. However, for the 22,000 cars escaping, the weather should pose no problems. Likewise the 27,000 arrivals – unless your timing coincides with the start of the light snow just after dark. Now Sunday looks wild, though I would still prefer the front to come another 50 miles south to give us a reasonable amount of snow. The snow line will start at 1400m and rise through the day to 2100m by close of play. The high lifts will be closed because of the wind, but bear with it as low resorts such as Meribel are going to suffer heavy rain. My best guess for Tignes and Val d’Isere is 10-20cm of snow – resorts to the North will get more, those to the South will lose out again. The wind will also change direction through the storm compounding the challenges for the pisteurs on Monday. There will be further showers and wind in the early hours of Monday but by morning we should be left with a few clouds, little wind and the sun will come out by lunchtime. It will be crazily warm during the day with the freezing level at 4000m. Tuesday will be much more benign with a sunny morning and cloudy afternoon and the freezing level dropping to 2000m. Wednesday and Thursday look showery but with a snow level well below Tignes Les Brevieres (loud cheer!).
And the travel – the first issue is whether all the aircraft will be in the right place tonight for the early departures, especially Manchester and the North, as overnight it is going to be shocking. There is a chance of diversions in the heavy gusty winds, an airline planner’s nightmare. Likewise if you are on an overnight/early ferry I hope you have a decent pair of sea-legs. However, once morning comes the strongest of the winds will have abated, though it will still be a bumpy ride and a wet walk across the carpark. This becomes more and more applicable the further north your airport is. Also Manchester, Leeds and the Scottish airports may suffer from snow or sleet showers through the morning – this could mean a bit of runway and aircraft de-icing if they get a large shower. Over here it will be much more benign in the morning which means there is a chance of patchy fog at Chambery, Lyon and Geneva but the winds will soon increase and disperse this. So it may slow things down a little if it forms and maybe the early flights for Chambery will delay a bit to wait for it to blow away. For the later flights it will be wet and bumpy as the weather travels south.
So all in all it will be bumpy at one end or another so ‘belt up’. Bon Voyage.
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