Thursday, January 02, 2020

Skiing conditions are fantastic for the end of the year.

Florence gets good conditions on Les Grands Montets

It lashed it down for what seemed like weeks, then it snowed and everyone was happy.  Then along came the Foehn wind in its most aggressive and form.  It ripped up trees around Chamonix and even blew over the newly erected Christmas tree in the centre of town.  The temperatures were weirdly high.  I passed through Grenoble on my way back from Alp d'Huez and the car thermometer read a crazy 20c.  The meter of snow which had fallen in the garden had entirely gone.  Meteo France described it as "remarkable."  It might have been remarkable but it was also depressing.

The ski school and  the Chamonix resort were in full panic mode as Christmas and particularly New Year approached.  The ESF in Chamonix seemingly lost the plot and , sent out an order to all their ski instructors to head down to Les Plannards beginners area and help trample and pack down  what little snow they had so that they could stand a slim chance of having a patch of snow to work on.  The reason for doing this by foot and not by piste-basher was because there wasn't enough snow for it to move on without churning all the snow into mud.
Perfect Christmas Day conditions.

Yet at the 11 hour it snowed .  All was saved.  We got some brilliant off-piste skiing in Courmayeur and then the next day in heavy snow we enjoyed some even better off piste skiing in St Gervais.  Then the high pressure came along cloudless days freezing nights and perfect conditions in the Chamonix Valley and around.

Over 2 meters of snow on the roof in Courmayeur.
St Gervais powder skiing.

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