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A quick update following the return of the sun this weekend.

 

The recent weather fronts brought with them not only snow but also strong winds.  This makes it very difficult to estimate the amount of new snow, (on average 50 to 80 cms above 1800/2000m). A small amount of snow fell at the valley level which has temporally improved conditions there. At mid and higher altitudes, the snow depth has been significantly increased but is not stable. The avalanche risk, both natural and provoked, has been high since Friday with numerous and large windslabs breaking away. Today, Saturday, the rapid rise in temperatures has resulted in the snow sliding off the sun affected slopes. Caution is needed over the coming days. BERA has put out a warning for this Sunday: “the snow pack remains treacherous at altitude”.

 

It is also difficult to assess the snow quality. Chamoniarde has not received many reports.  The snow has been compacted and affected by the wind and the variations in temperatures together with the sun this Saturday.  The snow conditions are very variable.  They are generally good on the northern slopes above 2000m but crusty below this. They are less good on slopes affected by the sun, as the snow has not yet transformed and therefore crusty and with slide/avalanche debris in places.

 

The Trapette ski tour track at Argentiere was reported to be good condition on Saturday.

For snow shoers, even though there was some fresh snow down to the valley floor, a better option is at altitude on the signposted tracks prepared by the Pistes and Paths service and the Company du Mont-Blanc. (https://www.ccpmb.fr/eau-air-nature-environnement/les-sentiers-de-randonnees/itineraires-raquette-a-neige/)   (http://www.skiplan.com/bulletin/bulletin.php?station=chamonix&region=alpes&pays=france&lang=en)

 

Following the recent weather, the conditions have completely changed.  Activity in the mountains is slowly picking up as of this weekend.  The forecast is for more clement for next week.  

 

Enjoy your outings, take care and let Chamoniarde know about them, (online at OBS-ALP , or the cahier de course, or by telephone, or a message on the Chamoniarde Facebook page.)  Thanks in advance.