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Serre Chevalier Snow Report 2016/2017

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@Chamcham, I don't think any of the regulars are actually in Serre Che this week. Looking at the Meteo France bulletin, everywhere within easy reach for an afternoon's skiing is 4/5 right now, although that of course can change on a daily basis. KenX's probably your best one to ask, and he's in Gressoney.
Not sure @weathercam is back from his trip south.
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Bulletin here http://www.meteofrance.com/previsions-meteo-montagne/bulletin-avalanches/hautes-alpes/avdept05
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@Hells Bells, Thanks for that. I've just discovered from the SOPiB thread that fifiskis' skis are in KenX's car, so we'll have to meet him anyway!
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So I'm off games again and think @Hells Bells, will understand why when she reads this, as I'm on two 500mg pills of Pyostacine three times a day and Mupiderm along with another prescription for Pristinamycine from the Doctor on Sunday at Briancon Hospital where I was having an Xray to be sure that the infection had not gone into my bone!

Luckily the infection kicked off big time early Sat morning and we had an 06:00 start so I climbed and skied in pain and thankfully there was not a long walk out (which was feared) on the final run and I was being seen by a Doctor in Nice by 17:00 who advised me that if I was two days later things could have been seriously bad!

Basically I have a pronounced ankle bone and the bursa sac surrounding that became infected with the continual pressure of the boot and being in the same sweaty socks for a week.

So weather here is summer like, and can see the pistes in front of us transforming to slush bumps in the afternoon sunshine.

OH went up and skied the "Manchester" first thing and had a Cafe stop at the Biv with numerous other geezonaires.

So Spring conditions and if I was able to, then ski touring would be the obvious option but with an early start depending on the aspect, that said guide I was with last week scored cold snow yesterday on the North face of the Combeynot above the Lautaret.

Forecast is for warmer temps for the rest of the week, and there were many cyclists out yesterday in shorts as we had lunch at Mama Mia's by the old town, so I hope to be out on the bike mid week onwards hopefully, then book an appointment with the Foot Doctor down in Briancon by the Prorel lift end of the week.

And last week was the best ever ski adventure I've ever had, I'll be doing a report laters, but we were on summits over looking the Med and could see the snow capped mountains of Corsica and the Appenines needless to say no other people or tracks!
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@Weathercam, sounds very nasty !!. However, Pyostacine is the brand name for pristinamycine, (we don't use it in the UK, so had to Google it). Are you sure you should be taking both, or have they just extended the course?
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@Hells Bells, just extended the course as Doctor increased the prescription in terms of daily amount from four to six.

My "flat mate" Pikey found some good snow today off the Pic Mea
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Had a bit of an incident today:



We got to this slope maybe a bit later than ideal and as I dropped in, the snow let go on my second turn, fortunately I was half expecting it and as soon as I felt it go and saw the snow moving at the same speed as me, did an exit stage left........
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Off Eychauda, and afternoon ?
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Eychauda around 1:00......
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@Weathercam, yes, I did read the dose as being 6 tablets a day. It's unlicensed in the UK and kept for resistant infections.
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@KenX, given the current high freezing level's, and going to be even warmer tomorrow circa 3,000m then going to have to be some very careful decision making, and maybe not have lunch!!!

If there's any mention of touring then you need to be climbing by 07:30 at least and even then monitor the snow as you're going up, or could well get away with more N/NW facing aspects for later in the day, but does all depend on the depth of the overnight freeze.

OH gone up early to ski the "Manchester" then Yoga on the patio this afternoon Cool
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
@Weathercam,
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@KenX, actually no where near as bad as forecasts, in fact was only 1 degree down here this morning so classic freeze / melt conditions for today.

Yesterday we had nigh on 19 degrees on the patio (thermometer is in the shade) and felt a lot warmer in the sunshine, in fact I was just wearing trunks as I did a yoga / stretching session and no I will not post a photo Toofy Grin

OH again went up to do "Manchester" and they're loving the Aiguillette piste for first runs as no one is over that way, and she's gone again this morning.

Fiddled with bikes yesterday and have changed pedals on my road bike so I can use my summer shoes which should be ok on the ankle as opposed to my winter cycling shoes/boots, and have booked up to see the Orthopedic foot dude on Friday, though bone still is very tender.

So soon as temps hit double figures (which was around 11:00 yesterday) out with the bike hopefully, as I'm getting bored now and suffering from FOMO rolling eyes
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Cloudy morning, and increasing winds. We stayed over Monetier side, and witnessed the evacuation of 56 people from the Eychauda chairlift. http://www.ledauphine.com/hautes-alpes/2017/03/18/serre-chevalier-56-personnes-evacuees-du-telesiege-de-l-eychauda
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Photo of yesterday's rescue.
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Met up with Greg and Rich this morning to ski the Grand Area peak at 2869m, parked up on the road up to the Col du Granon at around 2000m and met up with @Weathercam and the OH; after a brief discussion of the route, WC and OH made their way up La Gardiole and we skinned up the Grand Area. Beautiful climb, just a bit exposed, and we descended via the E couloir which was around 35 degrees and in great shape : D
Got the conditions for the ascent just right, the snow was softening and would've been way too hard earlier, still needed knives for the skis......



At the summit with Rich:



And the downside to having soft snow on the way up, is sometimes it's got a bit too warm on the way down........



Fortunately, after a previous near miss earlier in the week, I was wary of the conditions and traversed just under the rocks at the top of the picture, but it still went, about 2m deep at the bottom........
I'm guessing this spate of wet snow avalanches (and I'm sure I'm not the only one) is due to the highish temps, around 5 or 6 degrees at midday, but not really freezing at night, it was about 5 degrees in the valley here last night......
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Actually we did a new route to the Crête de Cristol with stunning views to the Nevache / Buffere valley.



https://www.strava.com/activities/907403514

And twas a very pleasant (mellow) ski, though would not liked to have been any later!

Plus that's a cracking good descent back down that valley to the Refuge, but in actually more or less the same amount of vertical, and then you'd have the killer run-out from the Refuge and then long walk out to Nevache, so maybe not such a good idea.

Ankle still not good though so a few more days off me thinks and one boot back to Ben at Feet & Fit, ironically it's the other foot that was never that bad but he tweaked it and now my ankle has a pressure point on that one rolling eyes

Weather now looks to be all over the place.
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@Weathercam, looks nice Very Happy
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Cycled the uber steep Croix de Toulouse yesterday overlooking Briancon with stunning views whilst riding did hear some big bangs going off and did think was it avy control.

Riding back up the valley had a good tail wind behind me, and at the various bus stops heading up the valley there were a fair number of skiers, and then the one nearest us and closest to Pontillas had a good thirty or so skiers which had me thinking that the link to Monetier must be closed, but did not think it was that windy.

Then once back home there was more blasting going on and that must have to do with the potential of wet slides which are very high at the moment (though risk is only 2) with the warm temps and lack of a major overnight freeze.

Then in the evening was shown pics of a big slide from near the Balme couloir than nearly came on to the piste, hence they closed the Vallons and were controlling all the area, so hence the skiers at the bus stops!

In for a fair selection of weather over the next three or so days, though keeps changing, and we now have sun back again early next week when yesterday was looking like winter.

Could well be on for a road trip to Abries - check out the forecast http://www.meteociel.fr/previsions/1750/abries.htm though will be wet in the valley.
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Was planning on touring up the Petit Peygu from Le Laus this morning with KevinByrne, but it was looking a little thin:



So decided to skin up the road to the Refuge Napoleon via all the shortcuts and enjoy a hot choccie Very Happy

Looks like snow's a-coming so may actually be able to use lifts to get to it !!!
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Heard more bombing going on today and heard a heli, then had a WhatsApp confirming that they were bombing Cucumelle by heli !!!
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@Weathercam, Shocked
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@KenX, Jules has been up there this afternoon on a lesson with @GavinCrosby, nothing to report when they were there just after 2pm.
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I know it's the Serre Che thread but planning road trips from here to Queyras Fri and Sunday as they close after this weekend, and forecast is looking very good indeed, though could well be whiteout tomorrow but have friends staying here (leaving Sat) and I've promised to take them down to maybe ski Abries in the morning and St Veran (as it's so pretty) in the afternoon as you can ski both on the same pass.

But the above is dangerously close to a plan and they always go tits up in the mountains Toofy Grin

Here in Serre looks to be quite windy in the valley and I can just about make out the top of Clot Gauthier.

@Hells Bells, my mate posted me that re Cucumelle 15:27
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As someone coming out on 8th April like the look of the forecast for this week and the following weekend. Would be great if long range forecast was accurate for once.
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White out at the top of cuccumelle at 16:30
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Took a gamble on the road trip and was a bit of a washout.

First off we drove to St Veran which was in fog, and no real snow had fallen out of the 30cm that was forecast overnight / early morning.

That said people in the tour party that had not visited St Veran found it interesting and could see the potential and we then stopped off at a Gite I know and there they confirmed that Abries would indeed have more precipitation than St Veran.

Then took a turn up the Agnel road to see the ski tour terrain that I know and unfortunately snow cover is pretty dire, in fact we passed a two couples walking back down, though not too sure what they were doing.

As we drove towards Abries so indeed the rain was far heavier, and as we neared the parking to the lift so various groups were getting out of vans wearing plastic sheets over their packs and indeed themselves, conditions would test so called waterproof fabrics to the max today!

Glad to report that all members of the tour party were not at all enthusiastic about getting up the mountain to the snow, not least as it's not that high and lifts and skiing would be very limited, along with a dense white out.

So back in the van and maybe keep an eye on what's happening for the rest of the day / tomorrow and a return trip Sunday?

On the way back bit more sight seeing, the friendly marmots were out at the base of Mont Dauphin and then we drove up to Mont Dauphin and had a wander around there which is really impressive, and blew @KenX, away a little.

I'd been up there before but had never walked over to the SE flank / wall with the gorge of the Guil running below, which you can not make out from the road which then makes the fortress all the more impressive.

So back to Serre and raining heavy in the valley, mate on his last day says he's going to brave it and he might well score some fresh.

Dogs on the ramparts, I suspected that there might be a drop on the other side.


Oooooopps
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Raining down below this morning, and we could see the snowline rising, so as we needed everything to be dried out by 1.30, we gave the skiing a rain check, and did the odd jobs instead rolling eyes and packed the gear up. all packed ready for off at 9 ish in the morning. not back now until end of August.
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Well what great day. skied every variety of snow you could think of. It snowed all day so there was boot deep fresh on most runs above 2000 metres. Passed huge avalanche debris next to the exit run from the top of the aiguillette. (end of the boulder field)
Also the top of the couloirs black run on the prorel has a huge pile of avalanche debris covering it as far as the crocus run. If you are coming out this week and your favourite runs are the celvan,frejus green,briance,marteau,or route des espangols, you will be disappointed. But you can still ski to most of the base stations.
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Link to monetier closed this afternoon due to avalanche risk snowed all day again. Snowing now in monetier cars are geting a good covering of snow. snowHead
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Skied with @Weathercam, today to try and find the location of his lost ski from earlier in the season, think we found it (location, not the ski) so carried on down and ended up walking out about a mile as there was no snow left!!! It was snowing (just) above 2000m, but raining below, went out later with WC and dogs to meet some friends and it was puking in the valley, fingers crossed for a good day tomoz Very Happy
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Clocks gone forward, an hour less sleep, bit woozy after last night, then I pull back the curtains:



Oh, go on then Very Happy
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If you must Cool



click on the link below to play around with the cam
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Well a damn fine morning - arrived at Frejus lift to find many of the usual suspect ahead of us in the queue as Casse de Boeuf had not opened due to the weight of fresh snow on the chairs, or something like that.

@KenX, and I opted for the Barres drag over the Crete which nearly backfired as the drag although running was closed when we arrived so we patiently waited and ended up doing four or five laps of untracked before snow started to get a little too heavy and we dropped down the last time through the trees and out on to Vallons then up the chair.

As snow was getting heavy we opted for the ridge hike rather than the off piste below Cucumelle as we knew the slope aspect below the ridge would have better powder, and we were not disappointed.

Think we did three or four hikes with the last one going nearly all the way to the top before dropping down in through the rocks and the snow was superb.

Whole morning we did not cross any other tracks, apart from when we went back on the piste.

Once down on the piste it was really heavy and I was struggling with my sore ankle so I think we called it a day around Noon.

@KenX, trying to decide on the best untracked line, actually he was on top of the avalanche cannon trying to go for his hatrick Toofy Grin


You can make out the cannon at the top of his tracks.






A picture paints a thousand words Cool
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@Weathercam, dropping in to the bowl beneath the Balme/Cucumelle ridge Very Happy

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And again, skirting the rocks beneath Balme :

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@KenX, @Weathercam, Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy
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Mmmmm damn fine day topped off with a couple of pints at the Grotte (well had to walk Les Chiens) with the usual suspects and then rude not to stop off at the Cocoon for a demi rolling eyes

So ski touring Tues onwards and then currently back end of the week / weekend looking promising, but watch that all change.
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not listening, not listening, la la la la , not listening.
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