WOW!!! What a day! We had clear blue skies, and above 2400m about 15cm of new powder. Regular readers will know that I do not use that term lightly, but because of the relatively light winds yesterday and the low temperatures (-10 deg C) it really was powder snow (not tourist office/tour op/ski school definition of powder for marketing). This is quite rare up here in Tignes, maybe 2 or 3 times a season. You could bang your ski pole into it and it would just fill in the temporary hole you had made. There were times when you hit the crust underneath, jarring bits of the body, but just fabulous.
So it was not a bad choice of day for an off piste adventure with Evo 2! After a quick warm up and safety briefing from Jean we started with the side entrance to the Chardonnet Bowl to allow Jean to assess the group. After that we negotiated Couloir du Lac du Chardonnet to practice on the steep. It was then the Chardonnet Bowl from the top, the entrance was a little tricky, 15cm was not enough to cover the old moguls, but once we were in – heaven. So much so we did it again – the hike in takes your breath away and uses up a number of calories. So after that we were all ready for lunch in Le Lac. Following lunch it was la deuxieme of Les Trois Murs, again a little thin at the top, but once in- fresh tracks for all. Because 15cm is not enough to cover the areas previously uncovered we had to take a high exit before a skate down on piste into Brevieres. From the eye of the needle we skied down the front, a little thin here, and finally La Combe de Militaires, again boot deep powder.
On a more cautionary note the avalanche risk is rising to 3 tomorrow. We did see one on the Lavachet Wall, so please be careful or use an instructor/guide and ensure you are armed with the kit (and I don’t mean a camera on a stick)!
The sky is now obscured by cloud and we may get a dusting this evening. Tomorrow morning will be a tease, the sun may be visible as it rises over the peaks, but it will cloud over through the morning. The wind will also pick up, like it did today, but hopefully not until late in the afternoon below the level of the glaciers. Light snow should commence after lunch and it will get heavier as the evening goes on and the wind will start to howl after dinner.
Friday will be a whiteout with moderate to heavy snow all day and winds in Val Centre and Tignes gusting to 80 kph, it will be a day for the hardy, I expect the links to be closed and only the lower slopes to be open. With the wind chill it will be barkingly cold. Saturday will be more of fast moving sunny spells and light snowfalls in between, for those arriving by car the amounts of snow will be well within the capabilities of the snow ploughs, but as it is so cold the roads will remain white and chains will be a must for those without winter tyres. Sunday will be similar but the winds will be lighter. After that its all a bit unpredictable, but next week is looking frigid, so much so that if you have a diesel vehicle I would not park it in an outdoor car park, the mercury could easily plunge to -20 deg C overnight .