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A great week of skiing ahead of the snow storms

Lots of snow heading our way this weekend

Featured in:

Wayne Watson | Val d'Isere Reporter | Published: 12 Jan 2017


A great week of skiing ahead of the snow storms

We’ve had a surprisingly good week of skiing as a couple of little top-ups of snow made a massive difference to our off-piste conditions. Twice with the help of the wind one to two centimetre snowfalls turned into 10 to 20cm’s in gullies and on the lee slopes. 

We had a superb morning on the Grande Motte on Wednesday when we were treated to at least 25cm’s of cold, light, perfect powder, and we skied two 100-turn pitches! We were expecting a storm on Thursday but it never materialised and we profited from a bit of a bonus day, but by 15:45 on Thursday afternoon the snow started to fall and with any luck we will be in for a season-changing snowfall.

four happy skiers

In fact it is forecast to snow all-night on Thursday, and continue all-day Friday and into Saturday. Hopefully the wind won’t be too cruel as snow without wind is fairly rare these days. The avalanche risk, which has been unseasonably low so far this winter, has gone from 1 to 3 this week, and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if it hits 4/5 at some stage this weekend.

dumping on Thursday night

The piste skiing has been excellent again this week as the resort is very quiet. It makes such a difference when you can ski somewhat peacefully without having to worry too much about the people behind. Even though the Espace Killy is empty I’m surprised at the difference in quality between the snow first thing in the morning when the snow is groomed to perfection and by noon when it has already started to be polished with icy patches showing through. The best snow is always found early on so if you’re not a party person I suggest you get out and take advantage of the early-morning conditions. (But I guess a proper party-person should be able to get themselves up after a night out and rock-on!)

fresh tracks in val disere

In Val d’Isere all the instructors and guides need to do some community service in exchange for free ski passes. You can help with the World Cup Races, do torchlight descents, serve hot-wine on Thursday nights when there is animation in the streets, or take the local school children skiing in the afternoon. My colleague Chris and I always sign up to ski 4 afternoons with the school kids and this week we’ve just finished our first two sessions. We were wondering what we’d got ourselves into on Tuesday when these tiny little people started to file off the bus. They’re only four-years-old and can barely carry their ski poles let alone their skis, and their goggles were on sideways and helmets were askew and it looked like it was going to be seriously hard work. But they are fantastic little characters who are so much fun, and it gives us a feeling of doing something beneficial for our service. Anyway, you might see us out there next Tuesday and Thursday afternoons and thank you to those who stopped this week to help pick up kids who’d splatted at the back, or helped to take children up the lifts!

Have a great weekend and don’t forget your goggles as it looks like you’re going to need them. And look out for another update on Monday!

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