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Serre Chevalier Snow Report 2016/2017

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Have any of you been along to Montgenevre to see how the conditions are?? I'm swithering about trying it for the first time and it looks quite close to Briancon.
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@mckeann, the further you go into the Milky Way so the snow gets progressively better.

If you have a car then go to Sestrierre.

That said today, after yesterday, seeing that with a wee bit of effort there was still a lot of good untracked to be had did the first "Slack Country" of the season.

Going off the back after having a quick rethink and changing direction we scored some cracking snow, and had a sublime 3.7km run.



Might not look steep but that shot is taken at the bottom as you don't really want to hang about on that face, and shot below is zoomed in on the face from afar.

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@mckeann, drove through Monty this morning on my way to pick up from the airport. Looked really good over there, and almost deserted.
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cheers folks, my Girlfriend will be very happy. We're looking to book for the 7th of Jan, but its good to know it has a good base at the moment. We normally do Tignes or Cervinia in Jan but fancy a change
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Mmmm not the best of days with various factors both meteorological and domestic conspiring against us!

And various lifts closed due to high winds, though once they'd eased off lifts did not reopen, but understandable as so empty up there and Xmas.

In the end went up with one daughter and was almost Spring like on piste.
Nice Xmas day drink at Pi Mai but temps plus 12 which makes me think all that nice powder we skied yesterday will be sludge Sad

Pistes in fab condition and so empty, daughter loved the conditions though light was very flat at times.
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Mmmmm what a difference a day can make along with a substantial increase in skier numbers rolling eyes

Yesterday was skiing around the resort with one of my daughters and I think I encountered just one hard icy patch and on the whole pistes were in fab condition and not too busy (Club Med was not teaching) though by mid afternoon there were a lot more people about.

Became very obvious last evening that people were arriving in large numbers and this morning bore witness to increased numbers of cars in parking areas.

I decided to pass on skiing and chose the bike instead and cycled up to the Lautaret and had a couple of chats with various ski tourers who reported hard icy conditions - though they were coming down circa 13:00 and me thinks that's more the time to go up as the next couple of days should see snow transforming - so plan for tomorrow is to ride as far as I can up the Granon tomorrow and investigate how far you can drive up, then in the afternoon drive up if one can get to a decent height and then hike to snowline to see what it's like in preparartion for a ski tour en famille Thursday

Daughter and OH went up and I met them in Monetier on my way back down, then I took the van whilst they skied back to Aravet for hot yoga with me meeting them there with the necessary gear but being typically French the timing of the sessions was not what was publicised, so they've gone back for a later session Puzzled

They too confirmed my suspicions that pistes were no longer glorious Sad

With this glorious weather can't see the restaurants complaining though and for those in Serre if you want a feel good factor check out how cold it is during the day in resorts in the Northern Alps!
Tignes http://www.meteociel.fr/previsions/27558/tignes.htm
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@Weathercam, much colder today than it has been earlier in the week though. We've been over as far as Serre Ratier then back to Monetier this afternoon. Pistes still not bad, but a noticeable change since yesterday. Queues for lift pass office was massive this morning. We needed to sort the remaining half-price day passes for no 1 son (PITA not giving discount codes this season to use online). We had 3 left and 4 days skiing to come, so bought one full price one online while we had a coffee which left us feeling rather smug at avoiding the wait.
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After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Avoiding the hordes "Day 2" - ride up to the snow line on the Granon to see what was happening with the snow re timings and transforming then road trip to Italy for another one off the bucket list.

Twas an area I was cycling in last summer and I thought we'd be in sunshine all afternoon and maybe would not be busy.

So as you can see right on both counts, this was 16:35 !!



Off piste potential huge along with spring skiing due to aspect.

Then en-route back to Briancon thought would stop for an early dinner as did not have any lunch, but did not realise that majority of restaurants do not open till 19:00 - especially our favourite "Mama Mia" so had to find a bar in the old town, and that too was not that easy!!!
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Avoiding the hordes Day3. Pontillas at 08:50 to buy Loulou's ticket, then nigh on first lift up, down to Vallons chair for three runs (first one empty) before it started to get busy with one off piste before "elevenses" at Pi Mai then back down by 11:30. Then zzzz's in the sunshine on the patio.


Had my plan for touring thwarted this afternoon to go up the Granon, as OH and daughter went up again in the afternoon (taking the van) and was a different story with it being way busier and big queues, and horrible evidently back to Pontillas.

This was the queue to the Cretes drag under the shitty chair !!!
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@Weathercam, monetier office let us buy the day passes in advance so we've managed to skip.the queues. We avoided the drag too.
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Avoiding the hordes day four and return of Les Rando Chiens.

Bit of a repeat of yesterday getting first lifts and having the corduroy of Vallons to ourselves for a couple of runs.





Then played around away from the piste trying to get my daughters confidence back as it was on a little kicker she did her ACL.

Then elevenses again at Pi Mai and then in the afternoon I went out with Les Rando Chiens, driving up the Granon Road to the snowline finally making the most of my 4x4 van Cool

Have to say it was busy up there with many cars and people making the most of the mid to late afternoon sunshine up there whilst the resort is in shade. Must have been around twenty or so ski tourers and many on snow shoes hiking up to the Granon.

I opted for La Gardiole which is at 2,753 so that had my lungs working!

Descent was far better than I was expecting though the plan was to leave it late to make the most of what freeze/melt might be going on, but think you can say snow pack was variable rolling eyes





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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Any news on Monty? We are heading over there end of Jan but from what I've heard and seen from the local area the snow already looks fairly decent?
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@Fridge03, fine for piste skiing
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Hi

My friend and I are currently booked to go to Alpe D'Huez on the 22 January 2017 for a week. From looking at reports etc it would appear that Serre Che actually has better snow and with currently nothing substantial in the forecasts we are considering decamping from ADH to SC.

Could you give me a quick overview of current conditions. Realise that the 22nd January is still some way out but at least SC seems to have a slightly better starting position with good coverage up top.

Many thanks
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Weathercam wrote:
@Fridge03, fine for piste skiing


Two little dogs appear happy enough with life anyway!! Very Happy
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Some good photos.

Have a soft spot for Serre Che. It is very French without being too French.
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@Griggs, right now pretty much the whole resort is open, with the exception of the home run to Briancon, the snow cover is great and the pistes are in good shape!
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Thought a quick update - strong winds today have closed many of the upper chair lifts that I can see and the Frejus and Arravet gondolas, though chairs are working though should imagine it's very cold up top.

Been fairly howling in the valley as well.

Just as well we did what we did yesterday, and that was with KenX and Hells_Bells and associated other halves and friends along with seven dogs (!) we went up to the Refuge Napoleon just below the Izoard from Laus.

Some hiked up and others skinned taking anywhere between 1.5 and 2hrs and was nigh on 7km one way!

After a good lunch (inside as very cold) those that were not skiing back down, and those that felt up to it grabbed a toboggan from the Refuge and proceeded to slide the 7km back down!

I have never seen so many smiles / happy faces on Geezonaires Laughing

Twas a great day out!

My OH getting chased down by one of Hells_Bells dogs.

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KenX many thanks for your update on the current conditions. Based off the webcams from Alpe D'Huez and Serre Chevalier and your observations as the SH on the ground we have decamped to SC for our 22 January 2017 trip. Pretty sure we have made the right decision and with the cold temps now over the Alps and some snowfall (albeit small amounts) hopefully on the cards SC will I am sure give a better week's skiing.
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Arrived back yesterday from Serre Chevalier as one of the 'hordes'. Had a great trip and a resort we'd seriously think of going back to. What is there to do in the summer as the wife has an idea of maybe heading that way early July?

As for the skiing, we tried to avoid the worse of the crowds and the cut up pistes by being some of the first up the mountain, lunching early and quickly, then usually being back down by 2:20-3pm. Our last day was Monday and it was a real taste of how things can be when most of the hordes have departed. A pity we're very much confined to skiing school holidays. Weather was fab though, can't beat skiing under wall to wall blue skies and light winds for 6 days (unless that also includes overnight snow).

@Griggs, I can very much confirm that, baring an unlikely disaster, conditions on piste will likely be fine for your trip. Even with the New Year hordes they held up well in all but the busiest of areas.
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@Ravelin, @Ravelin, there is tons to do in the summer. As much or as little as you like. Swimming in the local bio-pools, relaxing at the spa, white water rafting, hiking, VTT and road cycling, Briancon has a medieval festival in early July, and there's also Via ferrata, climbing and lots and lots of walking. Chairlift/gondola open in each village to get up the mountain.
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@Weathercam, it was indeed a great trip. Dogs are very quiet today.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
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@Hells Bells, @Ravelin and do not forget the Tour de France comes to the valley 19th - 20th July so will be a great atmosphere as well.

Plus Electric Mountain Bikes are becoming very popular now, for nigh on the price of a summer lift pass ticket you can rent one that will let you really get into the mountains and do some great routes.

I'm currently in the process of putting together a very detailed cycling guide, first part is done featuring all the road routes you can do from Briancon / Serre Che http://stylealtitude.com/cycle-routes-briancon-serre-chevalier.html

Second one will be focused on off road itineries / old military roads to the many forts etc and third one on Cols further away like Alpe D'Huez
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@Weathercam, will think of hiring an electric bike when I'm here in the summer.
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It looks like lots of lifts and pistes have been shut today - can anyone confirm if that is still due to high winds or have snow conditions worsened? Heading out there tomorrow and really hoping to see a bit more of the ski area opened up Confused
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@huntlethLooks to be wind, I'd very much doubt the ski conditions will have worsened by any amount, and certainly not enough to close so many runs/lifts.

Thanks to everyone for the advice, a summer trip is under consideration.
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@huntleth, defo the wind - feckin howling and very cold, temp has not gone above minus 1 all day chez moi and that indeed is very rare with the sunshine so I'd imagine the windchill to be huge as wind is coming from the North.
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@ravelin @weathercam - thanks both, I had assumed that was the case but getting increasingly nervous about the weather! Pistes look to be in good nick on the webcams though so hopefully the wind will die down by saturday morning. Can't wait to come back, had a great trip to SC in 2015.
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@huntleth, don't think you'll be disappointed, and should not be as cold.

This is what I think is the best forecast site http://www.meteociel.fr/previsions/1900/la_salle_les_alpes.htm and will also give you ten days, for what it's worth http://www.meteociel.fr/tendances/1900/la_salle_les_alpes.htm and that looks to be a tad variable, but hey it's January!
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@Weathercam, very windy, and very cold. Along to Chantemerle with KenX, and so windy when we got there, I didnt even bother putting my boots on, but J and K had a couple of runs before all but one lift closed. Ended up in Eau de Petit Pont with a damn good lunch.
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@Hells Bells, my neigbour just popped in and said how they shut Casse de Boeuf chair as well and then they were stuck over in Ratier and had to get the bus back from Chantermerle, presume she's not up to skiing back down ????

I'm full of feckin cold again - never get like this in the UK !!!
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@Weathercam, the Luc was full of idiots when J skied back down, although Marteau 'should' have been OK.
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@Weathercam, no snow in the immediate forecast although does appear to be staying cold which should preserve the existing snow and assist in the production of the man made stuff. My friend and I have decamped from ADH for our trip on the 22 January. Visited SC a couple of years ago and really enjoyed it so good to see that up top the pistes do appear to be in good condition. Fingers crossed for at least a little more snow before we arrive Very Happy
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Was windy as hell up there today as said above, but one benefit was skiing 10cm of windblown powder down from the top of the Combes chair! Every cloud etc etc Very Happy
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@KenX, that doesn't count as a powder day Toofy Grin
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I'd count it snowHead wink
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A bit of a blast around the pistes today. Cold and wind getting up again this afternoon, but a glorious sunny day and the pistes were in amazingly good nick. A couple of closed lifts (Yret, Cote Chevalier) due to wind, but otherwise almost everything open. Couple of stones about, but otherwise perfect.
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@Hells Bells, Toofy Grin
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We arrived at 4am this morning (well we parked up up 40 miles away for a kip). Got on the slopes around 10:30. Piste conditions are really good, tad windy in places but can't complain at all and looking forward to our first full day tomorrow.
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@huntleth, hope you enjoy it, we've got some of the best piste skiing around right now and snow due hopefully Friday Very Happy
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