Sunshine, good pistes, and backcountry powder in Chamonix today!
The sunshine is back with us for a few days now, since Sunday, and the conditions are pretty good for ski touring.
With all the snow that we had last week, the skiing and riding conditions in Chamonix are excellent: well covered pistes and off-piste, snow all the way down to the valley bottom, and some good snow in the backcountry.
It kept snowing on Friday night, and we had an unexpected sunny spell on Saturday morning, before more snow Saturday night and into Sunday (another 30cm at Grands Montets)! The avalanche risk has stabilised a bit now (it is still level 3, which is considerable), so today we went on an exploratory ski tour above the Grands Montets to where the top station is (but cannot be accessed by cable car this year). This area is unmarked and uncontrolled, and outside the ski area, while we wait for the cable car to be rebuilt, so hiring a mountain guide is a good idea.
There was some strong northerly wind on Sunday night, after the storm, which has affected snow on north facing aspects, so there are variable conditions in the backcountry, but some great snow to be had in places.
Yesterday we went for an adventure on the Vallée Blanche from the Aiguille du Midi, which is in pretty good condition, as long as you are with a mountain guide, who can guide you through the crevasses! (see photos above). The ridge is equipped with one double rope right now and is in pretty good condition.
The weather is probably stable until Thursday, and then we may have some more snowfall heading our way. It is hard to know, because the accurate weather forecasters at Meteo France are on strike, protesting against the government, who want to close down the local Chamonix office, so we may lose our best weather outlook in the future!