For once the weather did exactly as it was supposed to. Warm, blue skies and a gentle wind. There was a very thin veil of cloud, not that it mattered. So a group of us decided to head off into the backcountry over the Col Du Palet. We had had 5-10cm of new snow yesterday, as no one had been over there yesterday we had to add another 5 from the previous day. So all in all about 15cm of fresh snow, more in the gullies. It was quite heavy and sticky, certainly not champagne powder. After a run down to Plan de Janin we set off for Col de la Grassaz. We were first, which means fresh tracks on the way down but aching muscles on the way up as you take it in turns to break tracks. But of course it was all worth it on the way down.
After that time for home. The avalanche risk was 3 today, we watched an awful lot of people on major off piste routes with no kit. It may be worth remembering that, depending on which study you read, over 50% of avalanche deaths occur at Level 3.
How can I sum up the weather forecast for the next few days – topsy turvy might be a good start! The passage of the frontal systems over the next week is going to change. So the amounts of snow we are going to get in our little part of paradise will vary every time you check your phone. One well used British one has gone from 52cm to over a metre for the next 9 days in 24 hours. It will change again. But here goes: Tomorrow will start with fast moving sunny periods, yes the wind is back, those sneaky isobars have squeezed together. Expect some avalanche work in the morning and the top lifts to be shut. The clouds will cover the sky from around lunchtime and light snow will begin down to 1500m, so it will feel raw and damp especially if you are low. It looks like the snow will be heavier overnight into Friday and the wind will be strong so expect a slow start on Friday morning as the pisteurs work their magic. Light snow showers will continue through the day, there may be the odd glimpse of the sun in the afternoon, the snow level will remain around 1500m. Currently the good news for Saturday is we are going to have lots of snow and the snow level will drop below 1200m, of course that is great for us in resort, for those on the roads – pack your emergency sense of humour. Saturday will also be windy. The wind will drop on Sunday and it looks like heavy snow showers with a glimpse of the sun in between. Beyond that is anyone’s guess!