Another Bluebird Day Across the Alps
6th December 2021
Last modified on December 20th, 2021
The season of 2021/22 is getting off to a cracking start with storm after storm rolling through. The latest storm has seen around half a metre in places. And one of those places is Les Menuires, where PlanetSKI is for a week long stay. UPDATED
Friday 17th December
We have reported extensively from Les Menuires and Les3Vallees this week, so what about elsewhere in France?
La Clusaz to be precise.
Our reporter, Tord Nilson, is there.
“It was bluebird today in La Clusaz and with the snow that has fallen the pistes were fantastic and we could find some powder in pockets too,” said Tord.
And one of our readers is in the Pyrenees.
“Like everywhere fabulous skiing here in Andorra,” said Duncan Gilroy from Absolutely Snow.
See here for our earlier article that contained information about Andorra:
And back in Les Menuires?
Another bluebird day.
It has been quite a week for our reporting team of Tashie Cove and Jack Johnson.
There was now the routine checking of Health Passes.
See here for my earlier story on the reality of pandemic skiing.
We started the week with powder days after the series of storms passed.
The temperture then rose and we have had blue sky all the way – more like skiing at the end of the season than the beginning.
Locals here are talking about it being the best start to winter in recent years.
And what better way to end our week-long visit to Les Menuires than an evening ride up the mountain in a piste basher for dinner at Le Chalet du Sunny.
And so it comes to an end and we’re heading home to the UK for Xmas.
Sadly UK skiers and snowboarders are unable to head out to Les Menuires for Xmas due to France closing the border from the UK to tourists.
I will be posting a detailed and day-by-day blog which will be posted on PlanetSKI when it looks like France will once again be open to British skiers and snowboarders.
Les Menuires has been a revelation and comes highly recommended by me
Hopefully I’ll be sharing my thoughts very soon, so you can see for yourself.
Au reviour Les Menuires……
Thursday 16th December
Before we update our rolling snow report from the French Alps lets not forget Norway.
“In Norefjell and all over Norway the conditions are amazing,” said a statement from Norway-Home of Skiing to PlanetSKI.
“All of the Norwegian resort has got fresh new snow that has made the slopes soft, smooth an makes everyone ski like champions.”
And it’s looking good in the nearby resort of Hafjell.
PlanetSKI is planning to ski in Norway at the beginning of January – fingers crossed!
In the meantime we are in Les Menuires in France.
It is yet another fabulous day with great skiing under blue skies.
People have been asking us what is like skiing with the Covid-19 restrictions in place.
Here is the answer from PlanetSKI’s Tashi Cove in Les Menuires, with further input from reporter, Chris Moran.
Wednesday 15th December
“High pressure will remain in charge of the weather in the Alps,” said Fraser Wilkin from weathertoski.co.uk.
See here for the full weather report on weathertoski.
“Most areas are again expected to see plenty of sunshine, although some lower valleys will see cloud trapped under temperature inversions, and the far eastern Alps may again see some more general areas of cloud at times.
“It will feel pleasantly mild at altitude in the western Alps, with freezing levels reaching or even exceeding 3000m, especially out of the easterly breeze that is set to dominate this week.
“It will be colder in both the eastern Alps and any shadier valley bottoms, however.”
A team from PlanetSKI remains based in Les Menuires in Les3Vallees and we will be updating later direct from the slopes.
We can report that the authorities today are checking that people have a Health Pass.
It is required to use the lifts and slopes.
We will also be updating on what the Covid-19 measures are and how they impact on people’s ski day.
The short answer is “surprisingly little” according to PlanetSKI’s Tashie Cove.
Today she will be looking at the rules on the lifts, on the slopes and in shops, restaurants, bars and other resort facilities.
Tuesday 14th December
The temperatures have warmed up in Les3Vallees as the snow storms have passed.
In Les Menuires and other parts of the area it is well above zero.
Elsewhere in the French Alps conditions are similar.
“Snow conditions are simply exceptional,” said PlanetSKI reader, Nadine Chevalier, from the Isere region in the southern French Alps.
Many of the resorts in the region around Grenoble are opening to some of the best early season conditions in many years.
“Over a metre of snow in the ski resorts and now the weather is beautiful with great blue skies and we have seen some cold temperatures.”
Another of our regular readers is the race coach, Phil Brown.
He is back on the slopes in his home resort of Pila in the Aosta Valley in Italy.
Conditions look excellent.
Monday 13th December
It’s another blue sky day in Les Menuires and across the Alps.
Apart from the lucky ones on holiday out in the Alps at the moment many of the ski events have been delighted with the change in the weather.
The weather turned from the heavy snow, high winds with many lifts closed and freezing temperatures of last week to something altogether more pleasant.
Here’s Val Thorens:
Here’s Val d’Isere:
We will be updating you from the slopes of Les3Vallees and other parts of the Alps later.
Do check back…
Sunday 12th December
It has been a bluebird powder day across the Alps as the latest storm passes.
The team from PlanetSKI in Les Menuires was in the powder for much of the day.
“It was knee-deep powder off piste and on the groomed runs the slopes were exceptional,” said PlanetSKI’s, Tashie Cove.
It all boded well first thing on Sunday morning, and so it turned out to be.
“There is nothing quite like throwing open the curtains on Day 1 of a ski trip and seeing this,” said PlanetSKI’s, Jack Johnson.
As the sun rose the views simply got better.
“There is so much snow, and it’s not even the middle of December. We’ve had 42cm of fresh snow here in Les Menuires and I’m told there is a base of almost 2m at the top of the resort,” said Jack Johnson.
He will be looking in detail at the current snowfall across the Alps once the storms have passed.
Some say it’s the best start to winter in more than a decade.
It is a similar picture across the Alps with a bluebird powder day after all the fresh snow.
Another of our reporters, Chris Moran, is in Les Arcs.
Resorts in Austria are preparing to open on Monday after the national lockdown ends.
The ski resorts in Austria have similar conditions.
And lets not forget the snow closer to home.
The Lecht in Scotland to be precise.
PlanetSKI’s Scotland reporter, Rod Frazer, has been making a few turns.
View this post on Instagram
With his partner Dianne, Rod Frazer runs the company Where Stags Roar that offers a selection of superb self catered properties.
Winner of the Highlands & Islands Tourism Awards ‘Best Self Catered Accommodation’ award 2018.
Saturday 11th December
Our reporting team of Jack Johnson and Tashie Cove arrived in Les Menuires on Saturday afternoon with light snow falling, after some serious snow in the past 24-hours.
“It has been a bit of hassle with all the Covid-9 testing and worries ahead of travelling, but the journey has been smooth and it’s so great to arrive in resort with a Bens Bus transfer from Geneva airport,” said Jack Johnson.
“I’m please to say the snow blowers have been out clearing the snow.”
“There is nothing quite like arriving in a resort to be greeted by these scenes.”
We will be reporting from the slopes of Les Menuires later so do check back.
Friday 10th December
The conditions are very good for early December in many places.
Some would say they are exceptional.
Both the Alps and the Pyrenees have excellent amounts of fresh snow.
It’s not just the Alps, if anything the situation in the Pyrenees is even more extraordinary with 1.5m of fresh snow expected in places. pic.twitter.com/ZuksesF9ik
— weathertoski (@weathertoski) December 10, 2021
Here is the latest from the Isere region in the southern French Alps.
La Laponie ? Non, non… Oz-en-Oisans ! 🤩❄ pic.twitter.com/gyXg74dLJe
— Oz-en-Oisans (@oz_en_oisans) December 8, 2021
And in the Pyrenees….
📹Refuge Wallon, Cauterets (65), 1 865m d’altitude dans la vallée du Marcadau. pic.twitter.com/a09s3z0cU3
— Météo-France (@meteofrance) December 9, 2021
And how about some other images from around the mountains?
Morzine opens this weekend and conditions could hardly be better for an opening.
We will have reports from Morzine as the lifts start spinning.
One of our regular readers, Dan Charlish from the charity Snow-camp is currently in Switzerland and says “Greetings from snowy Crans Montana. Site visit underway.”
And what is the site visit all about you may ask?:
We have been reporting on all the snow falling in our rolling weather blog with our reporters and readers out in the thick of it.
Wednesday 8th December
A reporting team from PlanetSKI will be in Les Menuires this coming weekend.
There’s much to look forward to.
It’s looking tasty in neighbouring Val Thorens too.
— French Mountains (@FrenchMountains) December 8, 2021
However the snow has also brought tragedy with three ski tourers dying in an avalanche in Austria last the weekend.
All people are urged to exercise caution off piste in some unstable early season conditions.
In past of the Pyrenees the avalanche danger has been at 5 on a scale of 5 on occassion.
In Italy an avalanche has buried a skier in La Thuille in the Aosta Valley.
The person was rescued.
Tuesday 7th December
So, what about the current situation in the Alps?
Who better to turn to than Fraser Wilkin from weathertoski?
“After another short weather window on Thursday, Friday will then see yet another storm from the north-west reach the Alps,” he said.
Fraser points to areas in the Alps doing well:
- The whole of the northern French Alps (e.g. l’Espace Killy, 3 Valleys, Grand Massif, Portes du Soleil),
- The western and northern Swiss Alps (e.g. Verbier, Jungfrau region, Engelberg, Laax)
- The northern and western Austrian Alps (e.g. Lech, St Anton, Kaprun).
Many resorts in Austria remains closed due to lockdown restrictions, but preparations are well underway for openings on December 13th.
To keep bang up to date with the latest check out weathertoski.co.uk
And lets not forget the Pyrenees that has seen huge amounts of snow:
Difficile de reconnaître 📷 la Station de ski de Gavarnie sur ces images… des cumuls énormes pic.twitter.com/xv5vVTdIxg
— Météo Pyrénées (@Meteo_Pyrenees) December 6, 2021
Or indeed England:
Weardale Ski Club’s members have already enjoyed three days of skiing/snowboarding on real snow ❄
Brilliant photos from yesterday.
Chairman Steve Lumb: “Any skiing before Christmas is a bonus for us. We also got two days in November which makes it a great start to the season.” pic.twitter.com/3lsMBiRFOo
— Snowsport England (@SnowsportEng) December 6, 2021
Here at PlanetSKI we will be updating this rolling snow report so do check back…