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Serre Chevalier Snow Report 2018/2019-and useful links

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Col du Lauteret closed until tomorrow morning.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Well, the feckin wind has ripped what snow there was on the Echauda ridge off which does not bode well for elsewhere.

Reports from LG area much the same, 2cm lying around etc so going to mosey on up towards Lautaret and see if there are any obvious windblown stashes to be had.

Needless to say the snow forecast Gods are still having a laugh with the rest of the week now.
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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?
Good result this morning opted for one of our favourite sectors and there were only two other people on the mountain, and even then they did not go to the top.

Could see in other sectors (Pic Blanc / Galibier / Tette Noire) that more people were about and snow was looking very sparse on the Galibier and Tette Noire side.

We climbed up in windblown powder and put a track in following the best of it, where I had intended to go was hard pack with an icy surface and indeed that is going to be dangerous with a substantial layer or snow falling on it.

Ski down was great and we decided it was like skiing creamy light mashed potato, not at all heavy, still cold snow, but not what we'd call powder at least snowHead

Vid pretty well shows what it was like, and dogs as ever loved it Cool


http://youtube.com/v/aV6zEEt_j04

Friends in La Grave reported back "We had 3 good runs in the lift, although lower part is icy. But upper part is really good."
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https://www.ledauphine.com/hautes-alpes/2019/03/12/hautes-alpes-accident-la-grave-un-skieur-decede-dans-le-ravin-de-chirouze

Sad Sad Sad
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@Weathercam, Crying or Very sad Crying or Very sad Crying or Very sad
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All of another couple of cm's probably more up the hill but the wind has returned, though not as strong as the day before yesterday!

Gondis are closed and forecast has wind increasing but not to the levels of Monday, Fred up at the Cafe Ferme at Lautaret said it was 96km on Monday up there.

Have an ankle playing up from my touring boots so might pop down to Boot Doctor etc etc

Few more cms on the forecast then warming up big time Mad
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Oh well punters are getting excited at the current snowfall, as ever wait and see is the best strategy.

Though have to say, and no doubt as soon as I post this it will ease/stop, it's not looking too bad, but early days.

One thing is that temps are +1 and we've probably had 7-10cm which has compacted down to 5cm or thereabouts.

This has all probably come about (aka sod's law) as a result of buying in advance two-day tickets for LG rolling eyes

From friends above LG wind is really blowing hard there, so will be interesting to see if Col is open (still open at 21:00), if only for them to come over which is all a bit ironic given that we were thinking of going over there, but as ever in the mountains...

How to make God laugh?
Make a plan.


So Wait and See in the morning, OH was none too impressed at my suggestion of touring in the trees up from Boussardes.

One thing for sure having gone up the hill today for a Cafe ski I've never seen conditions so bleak and I really can't see it coming back as the exposed ground is just too warm, but at least this will help the various sectors up around the Lautaret, that is till tomorrow's wind rolling eyes

And to add salt to the wound and really being a glass half empty I see that temps are due to rise overnight / early hours and just maybe we get rain in the valley by then, I so feckin hope I'm wrong!

21:55 Just in from Team Viking in Les Terrasses above LG
By the way just heard that most guides/ locals thinks it will not open here tomorrow....
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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!
Oh well, what to do?

Probably 10-15cm of Sierra Cement in the garden compacting down quickly.

At least it did not rain, but temp outside is +5 and the wind is back with a vengeance, all the new snow is yet again getting stripped off the Eychauda ridge as I type this, and is looking pretty grim up top Mad

Evidently not too windy in La Grave though less viz than the brighter weather we have here, and the Col is open which is surprising given how windy it is, I really don't fancy driving over from what I can see.

Think best option might be to drive to Chantemerle and play in the trees as I know my suggestion of touring in the Boussardes trees will go down like a lead balloon Laughing
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Well what a feckin day, I should have gone with my gut feel and toured in the Boussardes trees on my own Mad

We went to Chantemerle and were nigh on first in the gondi queue, except after waiting for 20min they opened the chair up first so there was a mad rush to the chair and gondi stayed shut for a little longer.

Once off the chair there was nothing else open so into the trees, and snow was heavy and down to the drag and a couple of runs in the trees then became obvious it was going to be hell up there as the hordes arrived, we all decided to call it a day and twas carnage on the Luc.

My fellow skiers should have packed skins then we could have climbed up the closed pistes!

Once back down could see that some lifts had opened in Monetier so maybe that would have been a better bet?

But again snow was probably heavy by then.

Then had messages pinging back and forth from LG, so maybe should have gone there rolling eyes

Back home I was frustrated, and then had a light bulb moment as all the lifts were shut here why not skin up the piste with the dogs as loads of untracked, and might be ok and not too heavy as they had pisted it?

So out with the dogs and I was thinking "result" as there were only a few tracks, ironically on the way up met my neighbour who is an ESF / Guide with two clients, and I always seem to bump into him well away from the hordes though I was confused as to how he got there?

From Chantemerle he'd taken the Bois chair which had opened and then hiked up and was able to cut across.

Then at the new chair went for a photo opportunity that sort of back fired as Beanie did not want to trust me to pull her off the roof, much to the lifties amusement who were loving this break in their otherwise boring day.





From there it was up the Cucumelle / Vallons and luckily a few snowmobiles had gone up so I was able to skin in their tracks.

There was a fair amount of avi debris (probably controlled blasting) on the piste and I did my best to give that a wide berth.



Snow was looking great and I really thought I'd struck gold with no-one around and loads of untracked, but God can be cruel.



So we made it to the top of Vallons much to the lifties amusement too. and some of the gusts that came through!

And as ever when I'm on my own was pretty quick doing 1,100m in just over a couple of hours.



And so the ski down, well I did have some sweet turns but they were overshadowed by the Serrement I encountered, 25-30cm of it!

And then back down near the Vallons it was obvious from all the skiers around that they had opened up some lifts so had to be careful with the dogs but on the whole, in the sludge, they could keep up with me and most were heading for the Cote chair and back down to Pointless was just a slush fest.

As ever though was another memorable day, though I think I might switch to cycling soon Laughing
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Some advice please from people who are in SC today!
We are in Puy saint Vincent and we’re thinking of driving over tomorrow. Would arrive about 10:30/11am. Prob parking in chantemerle.
What’s the snow like? Is it worth it?
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Oops sorry for the double post
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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.
@Snowysarah, FIFY Very Happy
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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
Thank you. Had to google what that meant!
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
@Snowysarah, Laughing
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
@Snowysarah, hopefully not too late, but it's going to be very busy as its the Grand Prix. Over 1900 entries starting in Chantemerle.

And as a PS to weather conditions yesterday. Friends in a motorhome said it rained for around three hours in the early hours which explains a lot!
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 Poster: A snowHead
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We’ve decided to stay in beautiful Puy. It’s out last day, it’s quiet here, we’re tired. Hope everyone has a fun day!
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Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@Snowysarah, FIFY (again) Very Happy
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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?
Well after the crazy weather of Friday yesterday was nigh on perfect for the Grand Prix.

I decided to stay away from the slopes and said to myself if temps hit 12 then out with the bike, in fact by the time I returned home after stopping off in Monetier to take in the Grand Prix finishing vibe, temps were 18.5, I then put the sensor in the sun on a black table and it reached 33 !!



I passed on going out to watch the rugby and instead upset the dogs by shouting at the TV a lot Laughing

Temps dropped very quickly and with the clear sky I wondered what it would go down to, which was around +1 which meant that there could well be a bit of freeze going on.

So for the first time this year I headed for Eychauda drag with an eye to either dropping off the back there or further along off down the Gauthier ridge.

I was very conscious of the avalanche risk off the Eychauda summit as it's steep and very prone to slides, the snow was really good spring snow, and looking back you could see where there had been a number of slides.

The picture makes it look ridiculously short and not at all steep!



Where it flattened out snow was tricky to ski then it was a case of picking the route carefully as snow was very patchy in places, though there were still some nice line further on down the valley and into the trees though get it wrong and you'd be back in Serrement.



We didn't do this classic route at all last season, and since we last did it they've taken out the old Rocher Blanc and replaced it with the new one, which adds another 150m to the climb from Les Coombes aiming for a welcoming drink in Chalet Serre Blanc.

You can just about make out a red dotted line from the obvious summit in the centre of the picture down the valley then the skin back out through the forest.



Maybe a bit of fresh snow tonight up around the Col and a couple of potential Spring snow touring days, then by the middle back end of the week looks like more clutching at straws as it's going to be too warm for any overnight freeze
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What's the state of play now? I'm coming up on Saturday with the missus. Smile
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@king key, pistes are still in great shape, if a little firm, off-piste is well......................
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Thanks, that's fine for us. My wife is a one week beginner, so I'll be with her on the gentlest slopes for a week trying not to lose my patience. Laughing
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Following on from my last post @KenX, and I scored a good day in La Grave on Monday and then the rest of the week saw various excursions culminating in the best Spring Tour, at long last of the season today.

La Grave Girosse glacier


Going up the Granon Road with the pistes of Serre Che in the background.


Along with the French Army


Then making the most of the XC trail to get access to Le Bourget for ski touring


Then a night in the superb new Refuge above La Grave 90mins skin from Chazelet, Refuge du Pic du Mas de la Grave.

And all though the wind blew overnight we still scored.


http://youtube.com/v/nsGc67YFoHw

And then today, finally a good Spring Ski tour

More pics etc here

As for the coming week, looks like more of the same, though I'm going to have a rest tomorrow as I'm pretty shattered.

And again another big shout out for the best restaurant in the valley where again we had the most stupendous dinner!

It's a tad pricey, but we'd rather not eat out for three or four weeks and then go there.

http://www.restaurant-chazal.fr/
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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!
@Weathercam, we really intended to go there to eat this time, but the lurgy got the better of us. One for another time.
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Couple of questions on travel from Turin, how long does it usually take to get from Turin to serre?

Where would be a good place to stop for lunch?

Is there a good sized super market on the way (sat afternoon)?
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@Little Martin 2 hours at the most, usually less. Cesana is a good place to stop for lunch, and there's a large Casino Geant as you come into town.
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Hello. Can anyone tell me how the pistes are holding up. Is it ski through to a late lunch type conditions. We are in the Var this w/e and are thinking of coming up on Sunday night to ski Monday & Tuesday. Most of the weather apps showing Monday as ok but Tuesday a bit iffy. I normally trust Bergfex the most. Any views? Not been to SC for 29 years so excited at the chance but need to convince the family that the weather and conditions are worth a 3hr drive.
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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.
@Dorset Mogul, pistes are still in really good shape, obviously slushy on the lower slopes after 13:00 or so, your plan is a good one Very Happy
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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
@Hells Bells, thanks, arrive on sat just trying to plan our journey
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You know it makes sense.
@Little Martin, Claviere is another consideration for restos, we go to the 'l Gran Bouc a fair bit, as well as Mi Chi (great pizzas and other grub). Grand Bouc is just behind Mi Chi see Google Map image

https://goo.gl/maps/oSeVSqcVg1m

If you're a serious foodie then 1.5km before you get to Cesana is the fab Cantina Degli Alpini

And if arriving Sat I'd stay well clear of Geant as it will possibly be mobbed with Eastern European coaches, better and cheaper to go to the supermarket in Oulx which is quite easy to find, or E.Leclerc in Briancon

And this Saturday in Fenils about 5km before Cesana is some foodie festival and more at the Agriturismo La Gerla which is meant to be great, and we're probably going to make the trip to there.

https://sagritaly.com/it/promo/piemonte/agricoltura-agriturismo-piemonte/agriturismo-la-gerla-cesana-torinese-to
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Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
@Weathercam, thanks, plenty to look for
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So past week, more of the same.

Monday I did rest the legs, as it was blowing yet another gale.

Then Tuesday decided to take some old Retro skis out for a spin and hook up with some Geezoniares down from the Prorel for a BBQ and again was blowing a hoolie and skiing in nigh on 30yr old skis was a tad of a challenge Laughing



Then Wednesday went exploring a new sector that's been on my bucket list for a while.

As you drive out of Briancon on the Gap road it's the huge Massif on the horizon, which you could see really clearly from the BBQ area at the Prorel and I had a couple of chats with people, one being the CAF guy I've done a fair bit of touring with.

It was only an exploratory trip to see how far one could drive up the road as the actual tour is circa 1,700m.

You drive pass Argeniere and on up to Champcella and then from there to a little hamlet, Le Ponteil.

Snowline was circa 1,500m getting out of the forest at around 2,000m, and we skinned up to around 2,300, still some 800m shy of the summit, we managed some good turns but the ski down the trail was horrendous as so icy and pitted, not at all good fun.



Next day went with some Scandi mates up the Jumelles from Les Boussardes and managed some sweet turns, but everywhere with the lack of any recent snow, combined with hot temps and resultant lack of snow getting really hard to find untracked and just so many people it seems concentrated into our area.

And ended up again at Chez Jano in Fontenil which is a place run by an ex-guardian of some of the high altitude refuges, and he was in demob mode as was off on holiday going to Lyngen Alps so when he found out my mates were Norwegian, they ended up booking a taxi for him from Tromso airport.



Then was back up Trois Évêchés again, this time with OH, dogs and @KenX, along with handful of kiters as the wind was in the right direction although the feckin wind had a chill to it and did not help the all-important cooking of the snow, but again some good turns were had.



As you can see slightly easier for the kiters to get up, however, they don't seem to really make the most of the descent, opting for traversing as opposed to packing down and then skiing/boarding (ripping) back down.



So four tours past week and nigh on 4,000m so today was off to Italy, however, I was given a bum steer about that event in Fenils, not only was there no event, but the restaurant was shut after I rang them up because I could not find it.

We went to Oulx and went to drive up to the Refuge Chardousë but there were some rather official signs saying the road was closed, and we did not fancy a major hike.

So light bulb moment and we drove up pass Cesana on the lower road which I often cycle up and found a great Trattoria open near Bousson.

Tratorria del Centro, so after a great Anti Pasti, salad, two cokes and tow cappuccino for less than €30 I drove up a road I've always wanted to explore to the Thures Valley where we parked up and then walked half an hour to the hamlet of Rhuilles.



What's interesting about this valley is that it's at the bottom of a ridge we ski tour to from Cervieres and I've often wanted to ski off the back, and we did have a chat to a few ski tourers so that's one for the future.



And then there's what might be coming weather wise for next week, however, I don't think I've ever seen forecasts/accumulations/ temps changing so much, we'll just be happy if we get another 10-15cm up at the Lautaret, let alone here and next week is the LG Derby so that rules out LG Wed- Fri, and you should check the forecast out for LG next Wed / Thurs Shocked

Oh well wait and see
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
We're in wait and see mode.

Lot chillier than of late which is a good thing for the incoming precipitation and the approaching cold front and then it's meant to stay cold, so not too good for touring or cycling!

Looking at rain radar I'd guess rain in the valley this afternoon hopefully turning to snow late evening / early hours.

At altitude, looking up at the Eychauda drag and ridge there's a dusting already and I'd estimate possibly 2-3cms maybe more.

And on the La Grave Webcams nothing there yet at 3,200m on the terrace outside the resto

https://www.la-grave.com/winter/webcam.php

Hopefully this time tomorrow will be able to report more than a dusting.

Have moved the position of the webcam as I have moved the bird feeders and bird table (loads of Gold Finches now) due to feckin cats, though dogs are having a great time chasing them, though one cat quite enjoys the chase and winding the dogs up, and keeps coming back for more Laughing

https://www.stylealtitude.com/serrechevalierweathercam.html

Resort astonishingly quiet with many hotels and cafe's now closed as they're all in need of a holiday having worked so hard the last three or so months, bless them rolling eyes
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Valley looking beautiful with circa 40cm of fresh, however.......

More in the Janvril thread
https://snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewtopic.php?t=142749
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