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Piste skiing is still excellent in the Espace Killy this week

With more sunshine on next week's forecast

Featured in:

Wayne Watson | Val d'Isere Reporter | Published: 23 Dec 2016


Piste skiing is still excellent in the Espace Killy this week

After a few really tough days on the mountain the sun returned in all its glory on Thursday! On Monday it was windy and cold, with flat-light and -16C at the top of the Tommeuses lift in Tignes, and without any new snow to speak of we struggled to find much off-piste. 

On Tuesday it was even worse as the entire resort was shut down due to extremely high winds (gusts to 126km/h), except for the Funival and Les Etroits chairlift at La Daille. I spent the entire morning with my off-piste group working on technique, which I haven’t done in years and the skiing was fantastic, especially for the first couple of hours before people started to realise that a couple of lifts were open.

skiers in the mist

On Wednesday it had warmed up considerably and we managed some off-piste skiing up at the Fornet, but due to power cuts and the Pisteurs securing the slopes with dynamite blasting, it was a slow and at times frustrating opening. But Thursday the sun was shining, the lifts opened on time and we had a stunning morning! We were first over the Col Pers and had fantastic snow top-to-bottom.

Even though we haven’t received much snow there are isolated slopes in the lee that have taken 30 to 40 cm’s, and then lower down there are nice strips of wind-compressed snow that ski beautifully. After our trip over the Col we had a great run in the Combe du Signal followed by a nice run in the Grand Vallon to finish. The resort is still fairly quiet but there are more people about that last week so the easily accessible snow has now been skied and we’ll need to walk with our ‘skins’ tomorrow and next week.

wind sculpted snow

The piste skiing is still excellent with the upper slopes being soft with natural snow, and the snow-making lower down assures that skiers/boarders can get to every destination in the Val d’Isere/Tignes area. We are so lucky here to have such a good snow record along with the snow-making system, and I met a guide from Chamonix the other day who was skiing at the Fornet and another today from Val Thorens who had come to Val d’Isere to ski off-piste with her clients. That says a lot about our situation here when professionals are coming from those types of high-class resorts!

a skier ni the mist

My wife Gill and two daughters, Millie and Katie, arrived last night and are here for the next 11-days so I’m really looking forward to skiing with them and I’m sure they’ll feature in next weeks photos!

It looks as though the sun is back for the next week with perhaps a few high clouds floating about, but it seems we are back under another high-pressure system. Hopefully this one won’t take as long to break down as the last one which lasted about four weeks!  

Enjoy the sunshine, have a brilliant weekend and a very Merry Christmas! And stay tuned for another update on Monday.

Follow more from Wayne in his Daily Diary.

NB. 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