Meteo Mike is now in residence and will be bringing daily weather updates from now on. Since my last report the snow below about 2400m has been gobbled up by the rain and the warm winds (foehn, retour d’est, Lombarde – call it what you like it has pinched a lot of snow). Last time I wrote, I mentioned the jetstream doing a loop of Gibraltar. Well, it went further south with the swallows to North Africa where the air warmed up even more before blowing from there to here. Practically speaking, the slopes in Tignes are just about skiable down to the village, down to Boisses is very patchy and Breviere is a bit thin.
However, there is some better news to come. Today will again be windy so expect the high lifts to be closed again. We can expect showers of snow down to about 2100m, which will be OK. Friday is going to be critical for the resorts for the early season. There is going to be quite a lot of precipitation lasting all day. The snowline will start at about 2000m and then fall to about 1600m. It will be very windy early on – this will abate but again I expect whiteout conditions up high. Given the unpredictable nature of Friday I will not hazard a guess at snow depths, but it will be significant and resorts just to the south will get a lot more at height.
So for the opening day on Saturday, the pisteurs will be busy but as the resorts open gradually I am expecting good runs above 2000m. The glacier will of course have the greatest depths but watch out for great runs from the top of Toviere down Creux to Tommeuses in Tignes and around Fontaine Froide/ Santons in Val d’Isere which may be less crowded with race teams when compared with the glaciers. Also be patient, as the resort runs will need some snow moving about to fill all the ditches and dykes in – it may look white but there are a lot of hazards out there.
For Saturday and the next 3 days we are expecting sunny periods with fluffy clouds on the peaks. It will gradually cool down but still be mild for the time of year. It will be at least Sunday night, if not Monday, before it will be cold enough to use snow cannons down to the lowest parts of the resorts. Sadly, like Scottie in Star Trek, they cannot change the laws of physics.