Not sure that the Pet Shop Boys were thinking of Tignes and Val D’Isere when they sang ‘The Calm Before the Storm’, but it seems a pretty apt title. There was a milky sun this morning and a few more centimetres of snow so the pistes had a nice covering and off piste was anything from light powder to frozen sastrugi, a mixed bag. The picture is a shot of the Grande Motte area mid morning.
Inexorably the light faded and the snow started and since about 1pm it has been honking down at over 5cm an hour. The avalanche risk is already 4 and some areas of Tignes are ‘confined to barracks’ whilst avalanche blasting takes place. It is now snowing a long way down the hill and the traffic is building up…… The snow will continue through the night and the winds will pick up shortly to gale force. These winds will drop to manageable levels by breakfast time tomorrow but the snow ill continue all day, luckily it is going to be a bit cooler than forecast yesterday and the snowline will remain obligingly just below Les Brevieres, it might be a bit sleety around tea time. So tomorrow will be a very slow start with avalanche blasting from dawn and lifts opening progressively. I will be taking a Sunday lie in! Monday will also be snowy and windy, the snowline will creep up to 1800m in the middle of the day. All in all I can easily see another 60-90cmby Monday afternoon. But the good news is that Tuesday now looks quite nice with fluffy clouds and sun in the morning and sun in the afternoon. Wednesday looks fab, blue skies and sunshine.
The biggest issue tomorrow will be getting out of Tignes in the morning (Val may not be too bad). They are setting up a convoy system from 10 tonight and the road may close at midnight depending on the amount of snow. The road down to Boisses will be closed for avalanche control from 4-7am and maybe longer. A wise tour operator would be taking you down the hill tonight if you have a morning flight (or getting you up at an unfeasibly early hour). Once down the valley the traffic will be light but snow chains will be mandatory to leave either resort. There is again a chance of sleet at almost all the UK airports and the ones over here, so again you may need deicing. This sleet may turn to snow at Leeds, Stansted and Luton (and possibly others) – its one of those days where a degree or so either way will make all the difference.