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Cold but brilliant skiing in Val d'Isere

Fresh snow and low temperatures

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Wayne Watson | Val d'Isere Reporter | Published: 5 Feb 2018


Cold but brilliant skiing in Val d'Isere

Well, that was a fantastic weekend of skiing but it must have been the coldest three days of the season! Last week was warm enough for people to be eating and drinking outside in the sunshine and I ended up taking a layer off and was ambushed by the low temperatures on Friday.

I’d taken my team up to the Fornet, which is the coldest place in the resort when the temperature drops and we needed to seek shelter and have a hot chocolate to warm-up. The skiing was however absolutely brilliant and we skied a Lower Combe du Signal, a Combe du 3300 and by this time we were pretty cold and went in to warm-up. We then went over the Col Pers and because everyone is piling through the Gorge du Malpasset we ‘skinned’ up to the Grand Torsai, which is the normal route when the gorge isn’t open, and we had a trackless mountain in front of us with fantastic snow. It was a great result and it’s always a pleasure to have a huge area all to yourself.

Val d'Isere

It was cold again on Saturday (-17 ºC on Bellevarde) so I put on more layers, dug out my neoprene boot warmers, put on a thicker hat, and headed towards the sun in Tignes. Unfortunately, it clouded over and the sun didn’t really get through but it was a slightly warmer day and not so bitter. We had some great skiing in the Little Lavachet on our way into Tignes where we found some wonderful snow in the Sachette, skiing all the way down to Les Boisses, before finishing off the morning in the Familial.

Val d'Isere

Sunday was still cold but slightly warmer again and overcast for most of the day. There was the odd window of brightness but the light was still pretty flat. The snow was so good on Saturday that I returned and skied similar runs with variations on Sunday.

Val d'Isere

The Meteo France forecast for the week ahead is for it to remain cold with the possibility of a little snow on Monday, then partly sunny Tuesday and Wednesday and then cloudy again on Thursday. Another forecast calls for a little snow on Monday and Tuesday and the bright blue skies for Wednesday and Thursday. I definitely prefer the latter but Meteo France is generally fairly accurate so we’ll wait and see what comes our way.

Val d'Isere

The resort is slowly becoming busier and the pistes on the lower part of the mountain are starting to become firmer and almost icy in places, especially towards the end of the day. The best piste skiing can be found higher up the mountain where there is less man-made snow in the mix, and certainly earlier in the day.

Val d'Isere

On Saturday the hours changed for the lift openings so you’ll have the chance to ski an extra half-hour every day. The connecting lifts back-and-forth between Tignes and Val d’Isere are now open until 17:00 instead of 16:30, and the Olympique now opens at 08:50 instead of  09:00.

Val d'Isere

I haven’t mentioned it for a while but the pavements in town are absolutely lethal again. Do take care when walking around the resort and if you’re elderly or carrying children look into buying some crampons that slip over your shoes. They can be found in most ski shops and Jean Sports carry a good stock, and they are very effective. The doctor’s surgeries are full of people who’ve injured themselves in the street and I personally find the state of the pavements shocking, but Val d’Isere has this ‘white’ policy and don’t clear the pavements.

Have a fantastic week and stay tuned for another update on Friday morning!

Follow more from Wayne on his Daily Diary.

Ski safely off-piste

Exploring beyond the ski resort boundaries is an amazing experience for anyone who's physically fit and has mastered the pistes well enough. There are, however, risks associated with venturing outside the safety of the marked/patrolled ski area, including awareness of your actions on those below you on the slopes. Mountain guides are professionally qualified and have extensive knowledge of the local terrain, to provide you with the safest and most enjoyable possible experience in the mountains; as a visitor here we highly recommend you hiring one. Many ski schools and also mountain guides provide instruction in off-piste skiing, avalanche safety and mountaineering techniques. Make your time in the mountains unforgettable for the right reasons, ski safe!