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First weekend of the 2017/18 season

A great start of the 2017-18 winter in Val d'Isere

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Wayne Watson | Val d'Isere Reporter | Published: 27 Nov 2017

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First weekend of the 2017/18 season

Welcome to the 2017/18 season of snow reports! I’ll be posting two a week, every Monday and Friday, unless there are unforeseen circumstances that do occur from time to time. I’ll be keeping you posted on conditions both on and off-piste, as well as what to expect weather-wise and some news on what’s going on in town. All the posts will include photos and I hope you enjoy them.

Val d’Isere habitually opens the last Saturday in November, and the 25th is a pretty early start date, but the season kicked off as scheduled and conditions are decent for this early in the season. There is a lack of snow but we still have enough to open, as well as the link to Tignes. This Tignes link greatly adds to the options and skiable domain and is incredibly important at this time of year, so that is fantastic news.

Val d'Isere

Fortunately, it is cold enough for the snow cannons to be running 24-hours a day and the pistes will improve with each passing day. At the moment many pistes are fairly narrow due to lack of snow but, with the snow cannons blowing snow around the clock, we should have brilliant piste skiing by the end of the week. Once the pistes have been laid down and groomed, we can have some of the best piste skiing of the season before Christmas, largely due to the fact that the pistes are empty. The early-season texture on the pistes is much softer and ‘grippier’ than at Christmas, when the crowds polish the pistes to a hard icy surface so, if you have a window of opportunity, don’t hesitate to come out before the Christmas rush.

Val d'Isere

The season kicked off on Saturday and it was a bit of a tough day as it was drizzling rain in the village with wet snow further up the mountain, the visibility was poor and the wind was blowing hard enough to shut lifts down by noon. Still, people were so happy to be skiing again that everyone seemed to have a pretty good time. Sunday was a totally different story as the sun was shining for most of the day and, although it was -16ºC at the summit of Bellevarde, the visibility made for some great skiing.

Val d'Isere

As for the off-piste, conditions are extremely limited. There is such a thin snow-cover that rocks are lurking just under the surface and, unless you know the terrain intimately, I definitely recommend that you stay on piste until we get some snow. There are gullies that work, as well as some strips of wind-compressed snow and the odd grassy meadow but pickings are slim and the rocks are a cause for real concern. If you do ski off-piste ski slowly and under control because you don’t want to be falling head first!

Val d'Isere

That said, my team had a wonderful morning powder skiing but we benefited from short walks to access Bonnevie’s Slalom Stade, which is normally a piste with very few rocks. It was left un-skied because all the normal lifts accessing the run were closed.

Val d'Isere

Be careful walking around town at the moment because yesterday’s rain has frozen hard and the pavements are extremely slippery and treacherous. If you’re worried about falling over you can buy little studded crampons that slip over your shoes or boots and they make an enormous difference.

Val d'Isere

Monday is forecast to be sunny and perhaps Tuesday as well, but we may get some light snow on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, which would be seriously good news. Have a fantastic week and look out for the next update on Friday!


Follow more from Wayne in his Daily Diary.

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