By Meteo Mike
Another cold and crisp morning broke on this palindromic day (7/1/17), so the three musketeers decided to have a big day out in Val D’Isere. After a quick scoot down into La Daille and the bus to Val centre we launched into the Cugnai, literally. The traverse in for the first 30 metres was a lunge and hope! With heartbeats down into double figures we paused for photos.
Note that we are not knee deep in powder and the small sastrugi (waves of snow caused by the wind). We had all sorts of conditions from the sastrugi, hard pack, pockets of powder to riding out very old avalanche debris, it was quite an adventure but as the second photo shows it was not crowded.
So we did it again! This time we aimed up the entrance to Col du Four where the snow was better and the exit easier, but navigation is more tricky and there are a few hazards, so as they used to say on kid’s TV, Don’t try this at home!
As each circuit of Cugnai takes an hour it was now time for lunch in Le Fornet followed by a trip round Pays Desert. The sastrugi were about 30cm high. Luckily they have not done a thaw freeze cycle yet so there was some give, but not much. To describe the run down I will hand over to the Beach Boys: Let’s go surfin’ now, Everybody’s learning how, Come on and safari with me. There were a couple of turns in soft stuff at the bottom to make it all worthwhile! Home was via Rhone Alps into Val, all I will say is you need sharp edges and more than a modicum of skill!The next few days are going to be a roller coaster, and timings are going to vary as the synoptic charts look like a whirl of multi coloured spaghetti. The cloud will continue to thicken this afternoon, and whilst we sleep there may be the odd cm or 2 of snow, this may continue to mid morning. With the cloud cover it will be warmer overnight. We should then be left with sunny periods in the afternoon, and a sharp breeze on high. Monday will be much more pleasant, sunny all day with gentle winds and temperatures more mild than of late. It then starts getting complicated. Tuesday will start OK then deteriorate to light snow showers in the afternoon. These will continue into Wednesday morning, when the wind will pick up a bit. The rest of Wednesday and Thursday will see sunny periods with some showers of snow. Currently, Friday looks like being a wild one, a real snow storm with very high winds and appreciable snowfall (but standby for this to change).
For those flying tomorrow there is a chance of fog almost any where in the UK (currently the exceptions are Heathrow, Gatwick and Leeds) so if you are unlucky and catch it there may be delays. Over here is a little more complex. There is a chance of snow showers at both Chambery and Geneva. Providing they are light Geneva will continue to operate, but you may have to wait for the shower to clear before the visibility at Chambery improves enough for a safe approach. Lyon and Grenoble may also have snow showers, but they are also forecasting a chance of freezing rain which pilots hate, and is a problem on the ground as you would have to be de-iced as the rain will freeze onto the cold aircraft surfaces. This will lead to delays if it happens.
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