By Meteo Mike
A glorious morning again, with mainly clear skies. So following my own advice we headed up the Col de Ves (just 10 minutes after the lift opened) for some great off piste/by the side of the piste skiing. Quite deep and settled a little bit from yesterday. Riding the lifts was a salutary reminder of the dangers of avalanches, not that many people took any notice, there was a lot of ‘powder fever’ and general buffoonery going on. We then tried Col du Palet. Each aspect was different here, almost corn snow on the sunny aspects. After a sneaky run down the (closed) runway there was also a lot of nice snow down to the top of the half pipe. By this time the wind had picked up and Lanches had closed, meaning everyman and his dog was waiting in the queues at Val Claret, so a bus to Lac eventually led us to the Eye of the Needle and a run down the front face. By this time the light was starting to go, the wind was picking up and Friday Fever was starting. So the final descent of the day was to Bourg!
Hang on to yer hats – its going to be a wild one. The wind is going to increase in speed through the evening, reaching 3 figures (kph) by midnight in the villages. Up top – crikey! Light snow will start about the time Jack’s Club is kicking out and will continue through the day. The heaviest snow will be around midday and the snowline will start at 1500m and will be down in Seez by mid afternoon, chains will no doubt be obligatory and the mountain roads are going to be tricky. The wind will die down in the afternoon. Sunday will be a game of two halves, it will be nice with sunny periods in the morning, but then the wind and the snow will return in the afternoon. The links may well close early in the afternoon. As for the morning, the pisteurs will be very busy, so it will be a frustrating day. The avalanche risk remains at 3 for tomorrow but it is 4 just to the south of us. Windy, grey and snowy sums up Monday, in one word a whiteout. As ever, with the rapid passage of weather fronts, it will change but Tuesday appears to be fast moving heavy snow showers with a hint of sun in between and then a more settled period of warm spring weather for 3 days, sunny spells and gentle breezes. Bikinis may be the order of the day for Friday!
Now, it is 11 years ago today that we had the big storm, with a metre and a half of snow in just over 24 hours. All the transfers spent a night in the gym at Bourg as the road closed in the middle of the day and didn’t reopen until Sunday. Its not going to be that bad, in terms of snow depth, but with 32000 cars leaving tomorrow it will only take one clown without chains to cause havoc. For the 31000 cars coming up, the heavy snow will be around peak arrival time. Its going to be slow past Bourg!
For those flying, in general the UK is going to be showery, the only problems I can see may be at Leeds with early morning hill fog and the same at Newcastle, other than that you may get damp crossing the car park but nothing to worry about. The wind will be the issue over here, it is difficult to predict the precise speed and direction of wind so I can’t be sure but Lyon looks OK (but there may be a thunderstorm in the afternoon which could result in a few ‘holds’). Its more tricky at Chambery, as the forecast is for strong southerly winds, that is OK for landing, but as aircraft have to take off on the northerly runway (thanks to a badly placed mountain) it may be beyond the limits of the aircraft for a time, ie a delay. If the airlines don’t want to risk that, you may find yourself elsewhere. It will be a screaming crosswind at Grenoble, but just within the limits of most aircraft, expect a bumpy arrival. Now Geneva is forecasting winds of up to 30 knots with gusts to 45 in the afternoon. It is straight down the runway at the moment, if that changes there could be trouble. You are also getting close to maximum operating limits for aircraft and ground equipment (stairs, luggage containers etc) so again there may be delays. Good luck, fasten your seat belts tightly and smile, after all there is loads of snow up here!
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