Since the week's worth of snowfall on the 20th November, we have been given some epic on and off piste skiing conditions.
I’ve been out ski touring in the L’Aguille Du Pércée, Aguille Du Chardonnet and Toviere regions of the hill before the resort opened which had given some fantastic conditions for those that were willing to work for their turns, before the lifts began running on the 28th November.
On the 30th November I headed up to L’Aguille Du Pércée and skied the south / south-westerly face from the summit of L’Aguille. Due to the aspect of this face, there are some rocks starting to poke back through the snowpack at the top section of the face where the snow is melted from the recent mild weather.
However, once in the bowl itself and down from the top 50 metres, the snow is still in brilliant condition, giving us some excellent turns so early in the season - this was a great introduction into the Tignes off-piste for the season!
There is still an easy traverse back to either the Aguille Rouge or Marias chairlifts from the summit of L’Aguille, just cut back skiers left once you reach the bottom of the bowl and a little rock hopping will lead you to the pistes back to the chair.
Since the lifts have started running, I’ve been lapping some of the classic Tignes / Val d’Isere off piste runs including the Chardonnet Couloir and Little Chardonnet Couloir (on the 2nd December) which gave some absolutely fantastic cold powder on the northernly aspect which has been kept out of the sun for most of the day.
The Chardonnet Couloir currently has an extremely easy entrance which allows for a simple slide in with some amazing fresh all the way down the couloir, although this might change over the next few days. As we came round to do our second lap in the Chardonnet bowl the snow was becoming slightly tracked out and heavy as the sun came round onto the face and more people were lapping it.
I also got a sneaky lap down towards La Daille in Val d’Isere by skiing from the Toviere bubble down ‘Familiale' which has excellent snow coverage and then down ‘The Hidden Valley’ which has seen a lot of snow melt due to the recent mild conditions with rocks, branches and tree roots becoming a common sight from around 2000m. It is still offering a fantastic ski all the way back down to the La Daille bubble lift with a little hop over a stream at the bottom - early season conditions are looking great!
Heliski operations at Val Heliski are beginning from the 6th December due to the great early conditions we are experiencing. If you’re interested in Heliskiing departing the Espace Killy region then send us a message from the above website to secure your seat.
After a massive dump of snow on the 20th November, the snowpack has slowly begun to settle and consolidate after a period of settled weather following the dump. However, recent high winds have led to a build up of windslab, particularly on north to east aspects, where you will notice much firmer feeling snow and will look like much more of a ‘flat’ white. After a period of warmer temperatures and no significant recent snowfall, there are some hazards within the snowpack - watch out for rocks that are still not fully covered.
The avalanche danger was reduced from category 3 to category 2 on 1st December but you still need to be aware of the possible dangers lurking in the snowpack. We are going to see more settlement and consolidation of the snowpack (due to fine and dry conditions in the forecast) particularly on lower elevations, but it’s also worth remembering that we may see some persistently weak layers lingering due to the lower temperatures higher up.
NB: Skiing and snowboarding off piste can be dangerous. The opinions expressed in these articles are very much time and condition specific and the content is not intended in any way to be a substitute for hiring a mountain guide, undergoing professional off piste training and/or the individual's own back country decision making.