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One of the best weekends of the season in Val d'Isere

Great snow all weekend long with more on the forecast

Featured in:

Wayne Watson | Val d'Isere Reporter | Published: 6 Mar 2017


One of the best weekends of the season in Val d'Isere

The weekend couldn’t have got off to a better start as Friday was one of the top two or three days of the season! We had 30 to 40cm’s of fresh snow, sunshine and for some reason not too many other skiers in our sector. 

My colleague Chris and I opened up the Grand Vallon up at the Fornet and it was absolutely stunning! The Grand Vallon is a classic off-piste run in Val d’Isere as it is wide, long and in places steep, with wonderful scenery and fantastic ambience. 

Val d'Isere

A mountain always looks its best when there isn’t a track in sight and all that perfect virgin snow awaits you! It was so good we circled around and skied it three times, which is incredibly rare on a sunny powder day when the most of the week has been overcast and people have a little cabin-fever. 

Usually after one run you come back up and there are people everywhere but we managed three runs with clean lines every time! We then went up to the Glacier for an excellent run in the Pays Desert before heading over the Col Pers and out through the gorge. Three in my group had never been through the Gorge du Malpasset before and it’s always a highlight and an atmospheric finish to any morning.

Val d'Isere

On Friday night the wind was blowing and at 6:45 on Saturday morning the wind was clocked at 182km/h! If you were on an island somewhere in the Pacific you’d see beach huts flying and it just shows how well built the lifts and buildings are to withstand that kind of force. Anyway, I arrived at the Gourmandine to meet my clients not really expecting the lifts to open but we ended up on the first Funival of the morning at around 9:05. We skied until around 12:30 before calling it a morning and everyone thoroughly enjoyed the fresh air, doing some skiing and experiencing the storm, and felt like they’d won the day as they went off to lunch.

Val d'Isere

Although no fresh snow fell Friday night it did snow and blow most of Saturday and Sunday’s forecast was for sunny patches and cloud-cover rolling in by 11o’clock. I almost took Sunday off but the chance of fresh snow and a little sunlight tempted me into phoning Jean, who jumped at the chance for a powder day and he brought his daughter Katie along. We were all surprised to wake up to clear blue skies and along with our ‘Alpine’ secretary Louise we treated ourselves to an absolutely stunning morning.

The avalanche risk was rated at 3/5 and rising to 4 during the afternoon so I thought that we’d be skiing easy meadows and having a pretty gentle morning, but once I tested the snow and felt that the mountain was still stable, we ended up having one of the best mornings of the season skiing off the Fontaine Froide, the Epaule du Charvet, the Arcelle, the Marmottons into the Marmottes, the Super-L, the Laisinant, the Lower Combe du Signal and a Pays Desert. And I’d promised Jean who turns 76 this Tuesday an easy morning!

Val d'Isere

It is forecast to snow another 20 to 40cm’s during Sunday afternoon and through the night, but unfortunately the snow will be accompanied with high winds. The avalanche risk for Monday morning is 4/5, and a proper 4/5, and with more snow forecast Monday and Tuesday it will be a delicate week on the off-piste front. A partially sunny day is forecast for Wednesday, with full sunshine on Thursday followed by another partially sunny day on Friday, but from Wednesday on is still a long way away so who knows?

Val d'Isere

So what a weekend it was! Two of the best days of the season on Friday and Sunday, and sandwiched in between on Saturday was a tough day that still had its merits. Have a brilliant week ahead and stay tuned next Friday for another update!

PS Watch out when out walking about town as the pavements and roads are lethal!

Follow more from Wayne in his Daily Diary.

NB. Some of the areas Wayne has been skiing this week are off piste and not suitable to all skiers. Wayne has 35 years experience in these mountains. If you're considering going off piste you should always take a guide with you.