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Serre Chevalier Snow Report 2016/2017

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Did a couple of days on the bike in uber warm temps, then yesterday took a mate up Gardiole who was keen to try ski touring and we were able to park up at around 2,100m and skin from the van and more or less ski back. I cycled up the day before to suss things out.

Twas very pleasant descent, and said mate was well stoked, though I reckon we could have been an hour or so later and conditions would have been even softer.

Then went to Turin to pick OK up and was 26.5 degrees!

So back up Gardiole this morning, but I'm going an hour later as I think we'll have more options.

Then tonight grand Geeezoniare dinner at Maison de Bez, think there's nigh on 30 of us!





And some hard core Frenchie tourers going up as well, must dig my gaiters and jeans out Smile


Went to doctors day before yesterday, and back on anti bi's but he said ok to ski as long as I can cope with the pain - happens with instructors / guides all the time who spend a lot of time in ski boots rolling eyes

It's actually easier to ski tour than go on the piste on the ankle!
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Quote:

spend a lot of time in ski boots

Would getting back on a snowboard help in the meantime?
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
@leggyblonde, had the same problem when I was snowboarding with the protruding ankle bone in snowboard boots, damage is done now Sad

Weather really grim today and similar for tomorrow, hopefully some fresh up top, then back to sunshine Monday onwards Cool

Might go for a drive later and see how far the road is open over Cerievres way as definitely not cycling weather!
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Went to Cervieres and the road is open to just before the "Mur" - and was snowing heavily at 1,800m but not laying.

Could just about make out the NW/W facing slope that I toured up earlier in the season and it looked like snow all the way down to the Les Fonts road at Le Bourget, so could well be a ski tour option next week up to the Crete de Dormillouse though a bit of a hike at first.

Webcam at Bachas Monetier 2,180m showing snow along with Cucumelle cam, though down below into resort looking grim.

It really is a case of spot the skier on the runs down to resort today!
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Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Snow line looks to be circa 1,800m almost tempted but OH is none too motivated.

Reckon could be 5-10 up top looking at the cams.

And just looked at St Veran / Abries webcams and they've had a fair bit, but will probably disappear as quickly as it came.

Forecast has changed from wall to wall sunshine to showery weather first half of the week, what will be will be.................

Want more of this


http://youtube.com/v/93EOc_r6joM
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Well we did go up yesterday all be it very briefly, and as I had not put enough dressing on my ankle and was wearing too thinner a sock so was painful, and along with the viz which was pretty dire OH was not complaining when I suggested a tactical retreat.

Later on I saw a vid posted on FaceBook by some of the usual Serre Che suspects scoring very good powder so that did invoke FOMO.

It continued to rain most of the day in the valley, so would be snow up top from around 2,000m.

Had made a plan to ski tour with KenX and Kevin Byrne Tuesday but I awoke thinking that the snow but need a day or more to transform and that there could well be powder to be had today, plus it was nigh on a clear sky, so awoke OH and suggested we make a move.

We hit the Club Med rush hour at Pontillas at 09:15 and thereafter it was straight down to Vallons.

Then a hike along the ridge and a very sweet line in cold snow, I was almost tempted to do another one when I thought maybe we should head over to Yret / Cibouit as I thought a traverse off Cibouit to ski the untracked and then skin back up was an option, as no one was skiing that line as you're then committed to go all the way down and then it's a long walk out.

Instead opted for Yret and skied off right where a few people had been who then cut back into the bowl above the Cucumelle chair, we however carried on down and was a fantastic descent in our own little playground.

For sure the snow was getting heavy towards the bottom, but in a few days time will be really good spring snow, and there's still loads of it!

Seemed to have the turbo boosters on for the climb back up as we took a more direct line (less pressure on my ankle) and then once at the chair the lady liftie as ever came out to say hello.

Once back up by Vallons chair, seemed a sensible option to do another ridge hike, this time going all the way and then skiing the steep line down in still cold powder.

Finished up at Pi Mai for a refreshing drink and then back down to Pontillas where we took the gondola back down.

Here's a little vid of the Slack Country

http://youtube.com/v/LkqTLGplEYI
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5 days to arrival. Looks like its going to be warm but chance to have some fun with my daughter in a sit ski. If you see a tall guy riding a sitski down with a teenager in the sitski dressed in pink say Hi its probably me.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
5 days to arrival. Looks like its going to be warm but chance to have some fun with my daughter in a sit ski. If you see a tall guy riding a sitski down with a teenager in the sitski dressed in pink say Hi its probably me.
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@dan100, have a lovely time.
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So yesterday opted for the bike and cycled to Nevache and then further up Haute Claree as far as I could, which as it happens was more or less a straight line over the mountain to where we live.

This GoogleEarth type video of the ride shows the perspective of the Serre and Nevache valleys really well

https://www.relive.cc/view/927713107

Then did not make a plan for today as the forecast was looking variable, and whilst I awoke to sunshine further up the valley the cloud looked ominous. So settled down to do some work then around 10:30 clouds dispersed and we had nigh on blue sky so we decided to go up the hill for maybe some slack country.

It was looking good as we went up the Casse du Boeuf and I bumped into a couple of Off Piste French instructors I know who live below me and who acknowledged could be a good move.....

Once at the top of Eychauda I went and had a look at the snow and thought maybe another half hour cooking time, so we skied along the ridge and then I noticed how the cloud had quickly rolled in and said to the OH did not think going off the back would be such a good idea, so noticing powder below the ridge we hiked up to the summit of Clot Gauthier and had a very nice line down in three day old powder that was still in really good shape.

When we were down at the Chazlet I bumped into the same couple of instructors, and whispered in one of their ears "as we English say Feck" and he thought that mildly amusing, so as I type this weather has really come in (as forecast) and I'm not too sure about the plan for tomorrow now rolling eyes
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Yesterday ski toured up to the Pic des Trois Évêchés - well just below it at just under 3,000m.

Trois Évêchés is the ridge line you can always see at the end of the valley above the Lautaret, and once up there stunning view over to La Grave and La Meije.



Coming back down the snow was reflecting the sun so much it was almost a bizarre white out as you could not make the terrain out, and I heard from others how they too were having problems with the bright sunlight.

Looks like another warm one today and then more of the same and depending on what forecast you look at could be the threat of afternoon thunderstorms, have we leaped to summer ?


http://youtube.com/v/DCNRMPqCDQs
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Looks lovely
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So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
Started off with some piste skiing with KenX and Kevin Byrne and the OH and some fellow geezonaires whilst waiting for the snow to cook.

As Eychauda was closed (pistes off it were too icy) had to work out some other options, so off the back of Col de Mea as far as the snow lasted, then climb back up towards the Col de la Pisse with a mini descent and then all the way down towards Les Combes and then climb back up to the Rocher Blanc for the last time this season as it closes tomorrow as there's hardly any snow left over that side!


http://youtube.com/v/ZlKoAntTiss

Bonkers warm later on, warmest day of the year so far and 16:00 the pistes were empty, thankfully fat skis helped ski the slush.

Now have a very silly sun tan.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
@Weathercam, you'll have to do some cooking on the terrasse.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Few posts back I mentioned.......

Weathercam wrote:

Looks like another warm one today and then more of the same and depending on what forecast you look at could be the threat of afternoon thunderstorms, have we leaped to summer ?


And although we've yet to have a thunderstorm clouds have been bubbling up mid morning onwards, and yesterday looked like some very menacing clouds around but we stayed dry.

Went up from Cervieres on the Les Fonts road yesterday to see where it was open to and what ski tour options there were.

We walked on the sunny side of the valley La Chau to Les Hugues and so many marmots around, dogs were going berserk running around in every direction.

Nice looking climb and desent, if we get the timing right.....had a chat with a nice old French couple who were in one of the chalets and we were watching a couple of skiers coming back down, and one of them was the sister of a guy I know in the CAF - now if we could stay in their place that would be great!!!

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And following on from the above, with KenX Kevin Byrne my OH and of course Les Rando Chiens - superb ski tour today.


http://youtube.com/v/SBMqWbQbya8
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We had a 7:30 start in Briancon for this and drove to halfway between Cervieres and Le Bourget, parked up and started our walk in:

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@Weathercam, @KenX, Looks like a great day Smile
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@Weathercam in creamy snow Very Happy

http://youtube.com/v/89YKEvspApE
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Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@Chamcham, it was indeed!
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And thanks to KenX for shooting this footage, makes a change to be back in front of the lens Cool


http://youtube.com/v/FxVKp5dV65A
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Sort of stuttering to an end now, most of the pistes down to resort are pretty grim and or closed. That said possible to ski Marteau then Casse back.

I went up yesterday over Yret and the last day for there is this Monday. I went off the back but snow cover was patchy and amazing how much has disappeared since we were last there.

Climbing back up thought might be worth giving the back of Col de Mea / Roche Gauthier a go as it was W facing, so all the way back down Vallons which was dense slush, then up the Col de Mea drag (they'd closed the long one) and put skins on at the top to climb up the rest of the way and around the Roche Gautier, then had a cracking descent down.

Only issue was then having to ski Vallons at around 14:30 think I was the only one out!!

I then took the Frejus gondola back down.

Looks to be a lot colder next week but forecast keeps changing.

Most geezonaire talk is now about the Tour / Etape week rolling eyes

I've been out on the bike twice this week, Sestrierre and Col de Vars, and Vars is still open!
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
So back to Le Bourget and this time target was the Cima Dormillouse at 2,908m.

Again amazing how quickly snow has gone in the last three days since we were last there. Though now you can drive a little further along the valley road, but the payback is that you have more of a climb before you can put the skis on to start skinning.

So as it's Easter I had to find a Cross Toofy Grin



Start of the climb from Cabot.


OH on the long climb up from the valley floor below


And another image taken from the same spot but zoomed in to Vallons / Cucumelle




And lower down snow getting patchy
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Sort of rest day today.........

Serre Che regulars will recognise where I went with Les Rando Chiens Cool



And how we got there



Only had to walk over the snow in a few places where it was the remnants of snow cannon snow all natural snow has just about melted on the trail up to Frejus.
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Last day of slack country as lifts we use are closing Sad

We went up late as the face we were going to do would be best after 14:00 - so it was up Col de Mea and then climb up around the back of Roche Gauthier - and descent was superb, it's also pretty steep!

Then skin back up to the Cucumelle lift and say goodbyes to the ladie liftie there who always admires what the Brits do - they were preparing to close up removing the netting and other paraphenalia and then the same true by the looks of things with the Vallons closing up Sad

And then last night drinks at the Cocoon saying "Goodbye" to Crystal who will not be here for the summer Sad

So even though the season comes to an end next weekend it's all happening very quickly.

And have it confirmed that the TDF finish will be on the junction just up from the Frejus Hotel and Frejus Gondola!!

And this is the last vid of this season's slack country, and twas pretty damn good Cool


http://youtube.com/v/Ph1Ifnzu2po
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Well final day for the resort today and a very social ski was had on nigh on deserted slopes in super spring snow ending up at Serre Ratier and a couple of pints.

Then still had the challenge of skiing down the Casse, well the top is shut so you have to take the Marteau and as you can see snow was a tad sketchy in the run in to the Chazelet Toofy Grin



And have you seen the forecast for mid to back end of next week, and I was hoping to do a lot more on the bike !!!!!

That said Col Echelle is now open so looks like the Bardonecchia loop tomorrow as weather looking good.
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Took some new found friends ski touring today for their first time, and KenX if you're reading this he was that very handy skier doing the 360's in the pink one piece in the FB video from the Serre Chevalier Race day a month or so back!

Took them up from the Lautaret up to the Galibier road where they were well into clearing the road - and what was bizarre was that there was a whole section that had not been touched, and yet further on a good couple of km had been chiseled out by some machine but no obvious signs of tracks as to how it got there, unless it had come down from the Galibier, very strange.

Galibier road snow plough at this point it's some 3km from the Lautaret




And descent on the N/NE slope was pretty good!

All we had up there was the occasional light snow flurry, and viz was pretty bright though does seem to have closed in a little now.

Oh and they're now totally smitten with ski touring!!

Fred who runs the restaurant at the Lautaret doesn't think we'll see much in the way of fresh snow Sad
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
Weathercam wrote:
......Fred who runs the restaurant at the Lautaret doesn't think we'll see much in the way of fresh snow......(


Tempted to ring Fred up and ask him what's it like up there Toofy Grin

As this is in the garden this morning Cool

And check the Webcam out, not that it will stay that long


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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Check out the webcam !!!

Crazy weather again!

Saturday we ski toured up from the Lautaret, though did get very stressed out as in the end all that feckin mountain and I had two groups, one French and one Italian following us.

Couple of times I'd take a different direction thinking I'd loose them and that they would carry on the more regular routes and then 5mins later they too would turn and follow, and then the bastardos actually stopped where we were going to descend and then followed us, though in the end I'd had enough and waited which I should have done right at the beginning rather than go in front, big lesson learnt!

But was a very pleasant ski Cool

Then yesterday rather than risk the weekend warriors again we headed South and I cycled round Lac Serre Poncon whilst the other half ran up the hill with Les Chiens then a very pleasant lunch at Savins de Lac.

Great interactive video of the route around the lake. The Etape du Tour and Tour de France stage will be doing the first 15sec of the ride, then we carry on to Barcelonnette then up and over the Col de Vars, dropping down into the Queyras then up to the finish on the Izoard.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Heads up for anyone who may be around.

As I was riding yesterday along the rescue road to ADH saw various signs advising of road closures for next Sat for the Criterium du Dauphine - and on checking the route I will have to make the trip over as they're going to be climbing up to ADH but via the Sarenne (the road up from the damn).

Should be really good (weather allowing) with many a TDF contender and will not be too rammed, especially with feckin camper vans as they will not be allowed up there.

http://www.letour.fr/criterium-du-dauphine/2017/us/stage-7.html
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Weathercam - I sent you a pm, I am hoping you can offer some advice on Serre Che!
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@irbis, plenty of us on here to offer advice. How can we help?
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Hiya

Quick serre che query

Milan Malpensa .... looks a viable airport ... am I right.

Lined up some great flights for New year if so

Thanks
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@kingwhite, it's just over 3 hours if you don't catch the traffic.
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Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@kingwhite, Turin's a better option if the prices suit, about 90 mins.......
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You'll need to Register first of course.
There's a lot more choice from Turin next winter too I believe.
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@Hells Bells, 45 quid return from liverpool to malpensa .... for new years thats crazy cheap

3 hours .... similar to a bergamo - livigno trip .... so not too bad


i'll give it a whirl Very Happy

not been to serre che for about 7 years ... be good to be back
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Had to return unfortunately to the UK for a mates funeral and as we left at the end of June the valley was just starting to open up did say that when we return it would be a totally different vibe and so true!

I had a bit of a nightmare journey coming out with a three hour plus delay courtesy of Euro Tunnel which saw us arriving at 01:00 instead of 22:00 but was actually not too bad as no traffic so could hammer it, but my journey was no where near as bad as my mates who did Portsmouth Le Harve - they disembarked 07:00 and took well over 12 hours as everyone was leaving Paris for the long Bastille day weekend!

This weekend we see over 15,000 cyclists arrive for the Etape du Tour on Sunday and temps look to be hot and I'm not good in the heat no matter how much training I do plus I've lost the benefits of being out at altitude* Sad

And next week as most cyclists depart on Monday we see the hordes arrive for two stages of the Tour de France and rumour is that Macron will be here for a couple of days along with road closures!

This morning taking it nice and easy up to the Galibier with a group of friends to get used to altitude, then later on down to the Etape Village in Briancon and the exhibition etc to register.

And tomorrow morning I've been invited to help present the route to over 750 cyclists at the Casino!

*I'm lining the excuses up now
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Enjoy the atmosphere, it will be a great week, road closures aside. Get the fridge full, and the tables booked.
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