By Henry's Avalanche Talks. Photo by Wayne Watson
Off Piste Snow Conditions
Off-piste snow depths are excellent for the time of season (e.g. in the Haute Tarentaise area of Savoie we currently have over 2 m snow depth on N facing sloes at 2500 m). We can ski off-piste down to about 1000 m altitude on N facing slopes, and from about 1300 m on S facing ones.
The best quality snow is on the high N'ish facing slopes, where some old powder snow can often still be found. On slopes facing other directions, the snow is often crusted.
Snow StabilityGenerally, the snowpack is now pretty stable on most slopes, and consists of thick, resistant, cold wintry snow. (See our previous blog to find out why a thicker snowpack is often more stable than a thin one). There have certainly been fewer reports of avalanche activity over the last few days. There are a quite a few glide cracks around, particularly on sunny slopes under 2200 m. These look a lot more dangerous than they really are, but pose a problem for the ski patrol as it's extremely difficult to predict when they'll release. Just don't hang around under them too long or walk up underneath them! There is some risk of skiers triggering windslab, particularly on high-altitude N to NW facing slopes and near the French/Italian border which has recently been blasted by high Foehn winds. See our HAT advice for what all the avalanche danger ratings mean: http://www.henrysavalanchetalk.com/avalanche-forecasts-danger-rating.
Tips of the Week
With little, if any, fresh snow on the forecast this week, touring skis and skins will continue to be the way to find the best snow. Easily accessed areas are now all tracked out.
Changes in snow stability will occur when there is a change in the weather (such as high winds, snowfall, etc). Keep checking our Facebook page to get our latest updates: www.facebook.com/HenrysAvalancheTalk
Check the daily avalanche bulletins on this link: http://www.meteofrance.com/previsions-meteo-montagne/bulletin-avalanches, by clicking on the mountain area you're in.
We'll be updating our blog as much as possible if conditions start to look unstable, or if we have some nice photos from a great ski on www.henrysavalanchetalk.com/blog also on Twitter @HenryOff_Piste and Google+. Keep checking our facebook page for updates too: www.facebook.com/HenrysAvalancheTalk
Have fun and be safe!read more