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First week back on the slopes in Val d'Isere

150cm snow on the summits of the ski area

Featured in:

Wayne Watson | Val d'Isere Reporter | Published: 2 Dec 2016


First week back on the slopes in Val d'Isere

Welcome to another season of updates and I hope you enjoy my regular Friday and Monday posts. I’ll keep you informed of snow conditions both on and off-piste, a bit of local news, and of course photos.

For the first time in 35 years I missed the opening weekend to spend a few more days with my wife and children but I arrived Monday night and have skied off-piste the past two days. The snow has been touched by the wind but is still very skiable, but the good news is there is a couple of metres of snow on the upper half of the mountain and even rocky areas seem to be covered. You can still find rocks if you try hard enough but the snow cover at altitude is the best we’ve had for many years and the base bodes well for the season ahead.

a skier in val disere

There was 50 centimetres of snow in the village but unfortunately two days of torrential rain washed it all away and the lower half of the mountain is no better off than it was last year, when we had very little early snow. Many people in town have had floods in their basements, garages and caves as half-a-metre of snow plus a deluge from above adds up an enormous amount of water. (My cave was flooded but I haven’t had the courage to go downstairs and have a look!) Fortunately Val d’Isere and Tignes have perhaps the best snow making in the Alps and it has been cold enough for the snow cannons to be working full-time and the lower slopes to the villages should be open any day now, which will make for fabulous piste skiing in the weeks leading up to the Christmas period.

tops of mountains in val disere

With a lack of snow in America Val d’Isere has taken on some extra races and is now hosting 8 World Cup races over the next three weekends. The eyes of the skiing-world will be on us over the coming weeks and the resort is working flat-out to make snow, prepare the pistes and generally put on a good show. Unfortunately Lindsey Vonn is injured and I don’t think she’ll be racing, which is a shame because she is fantastic with the public. She’s always on hand to sign autographs and pose for selfies and Lindsey definitely adds some spice to the awards ceremony. (Especially when Tiger Woods was hanging about a couple of years ago!)

I you’re a snow worshipper you’re in luck as clear nights and wall-to-wall sunshine are forecast up until at least December 9th and there is a nasty rumour that the sun will shine for at least two weeks. Although we could use some snow at least we can enjoy some stunning weather and fantastic views, and the skiing is pretty jolly good as well as the open pistes are in great shape and the resort is empty. Have a great weekend and stay tuned for another update on Monday!

Follow more from Wayne in his Daily Diary.