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Serre Chevalier 2019 - 2020 and associated areas

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
So folks time to kick off this year's thread for our little part of the world.

For those that don't know, Serre Chevalier is valley starting in Briançon 1,250m and running some 13km up to the Monêtier Les Bains 1,495m and then beyond another 11km up to the Col du Lautaret 2,058m at the foot of the Col du Galibier 2,642.

Serre Chevalier comprises four interlinked ski stations, Briançon where there is a gondola from the centre of the City, Chantemerle, Villeneuve (La Salle les Alpes & Le Bez) and Monêtier, the highest point is circa 2,800m.

Apart from the main ski area serviced by lifts, there are numerous other areas & valleys which are readily accessible but do not have the all-important lifts.

There is also a large Cross Country ski area in the valley running from Villeneuve way past Monetier to Le Lauzer and beyond.

When the weather is so bad that many resorts have to close due to adverse conditions (wind) Serre Che often has lifts and pistes open due to the forests that run down to the valley floor, and which can offer some superb tree skiing.

Our weather here in the Southern Alpes tends to be far different to most of the French Alps, as the Col du Lautaret is a natural barrier to weather systems that will bring snow to the more mainstream resorts in the Northern Alpes.

Our best snowfalls are when the weather systems are in the South, and occasionally we'll benefit from a Retour D'Est, an area of low pressure over Northern Italy (Genoa Low).

As I start this thread we're almost in what I call the "phoney season" in that we're patiently waiting for it to kick-off, but we might well be skiing some of the areas before the official opening.

Last season saw some great early season snowfalls that saw the resort open for a weekend earlier than planned, this year that opening weekend is scheduled for 7th - 8th December and then open fully from 14th Décember 2019 to 19 April 2020.

Last season we did our ( first ski tour on 3rd November ski tour) up towards the Cucumelle.

This year the snowline is at about 2,700m, though hopefully after these weather systems crash through (note the area of low pressure over Northern Italy) and if temps are a few degrees colder than forecast by Monday morning first thing we might even see snow in the valley!



As ever we'll be doing almost daily weather blogs (actual vs forecast) along with our streaming cam that automatically pans across the valley to the pistes of Casse du Boeuf and Le Bez.

If you have any questions then there's a whole tribe of regulars on here that can answer your queries from where's the best restaurant on the piste to where should I go on a road trip to make the most of a Retour D'Est, but hey we might not answer that one Cool
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Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
It's been raining on and off, heavy at times ever since I posted above, and this morning every now and again there's a break in the low-level cloud where I can see the base of the new Côte Chevalier and the snow line is just above that circa 2,000m.

And this is the webcam at the Lautaret



Looks like precipitation continues into early Tuesday.
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
We’ll be in Villeneuve 1st week in January so will keep a close eye on here!
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Will be in Chantemerle from 7th January for the season. Hope to meet up for some skiing with anyone interested.
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@Chris.v, Very Happy
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With pics like the one below yesterday on the Serre Che Info FB page https://www.facebook.com/serrechinfos/ we thought we'd drive up to the Lautaret to see for ourselves, as there seemed like a break in the weather.



We drove up around 13:00 and temps had warmed up to 4.5 degrees as we parked up in some very slushy snow at 1,960m just below the Col where we normally park up to go ski touring to walk up the l'ancienne route du col du Galibier.

Dog's were ecstatic in all of 5cms of snow, but as we walked up all of a 100m vertical the depth doubled and then the weather closed in very quickly and we evacuated fast as a blizzard developed and temps dropped quickly, with hands getting very cold quickly with the stupid lightweight cycling gloves I had, just goes to show how quickly things could go pear-shaped if you don't respect the mountain.

So first picture of the Rando Chiens for the 19/20 season Smile


Today will be very interesting in that we are due heavy snow almost down to the valley floor from 11:00 so check out the cam from Noon onwards.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
As the owner of a Jack Russell (he's a bit ancient now, your dogs give me a bit of a time machine view) and an apartment in Vaujany (just the other side of Alpe d' from you), I really love seeing your posts. I hope the season is good for you!
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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 temps have remained at 4 degrees which some forecast models had for 1,200 although Metociel had zero so we've had a lot of rain, and does not look a lot better up at the Lautaret rolling eyes

https://www.serre-chevalier.com/fr/la-station/live/webcam.htm

Maybe this season I should keep a log of how often the forecast is right / wrong
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So temps did drop down to +3 enough for the snowline to drop some more.

As I raised the blinds I was greeted with this beautiful scene, and also managed a glimpse of the top of Eychauda drag 2,659m and that has a very good covering indeed!



Cloud has now rolled back in as you can see on the cam .

Tempted to get in the car and drive up the Granon road and get the skis out, but think I'll wait for clearer weather as this time last year I had two abortive attempts and was beaten back by cloud rolling in.
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@Weathercam, nice photo!
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:d :d :d
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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.
Love the pic. Can't wait for January!
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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
snow lovers take a look at the serre che website - lovely pictures of first heavy snowfall - lov it
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Yesterday made the most of a break in the weather, though we could never be too sure until we were in the van heading up the mountain, and it turned out to be Another Hard Day in the Office for some Laughing

Here's a pic.



And more on yesterday's ski tour and the trials and tribulations of being a Jack in deep snow here

The forecast(s) seem to have been well out on the freezing levels and every time I looked at a thermometer it seemed to always be +4, that said the FL did come down, and this morning was the first severe frost with temps -1.5.

And that's the theme for the next week or so with well below zero temps.

As for the all-important white stuff that's fallen, whilst for sure it's looking great and the depth of snow now I think is greater than this time last year it was a tad challenging to ski as was very wind affected, but for the vast majority what matters is that it looks like they are preparing the pistes at altitude now.

The good news is that even though we've had very strong winds at altitude, I can still see a good covering on the Eychauda ridge and draglift from here and last season that was not the case.

Maybe some more snow Sunday, now it's a case of trying to work out if they'll be another opportunity to get out in reasonable conditions.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Sweet dreams are made of this Cool


http://youtube.com/v/T7usuHMdPRM

Check out the cam to see how much is falling/has fallen

https://stylealtitude.com/serrechevalierweathercam.html
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Poster: A snowHead



Cockle warmer Very Happy
Off to Turin to collect @byrt who is staying out here for the season!
Hope the Col du Montgenevre isn't too bad.........
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Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Ding-Dong - sun breaking through the low cloud and it's looking good, decisions, decisions as to where to go?


http://youtube.com/v/qiOp5KFVGAg
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@Weathercam, @KenX, looking pretty good out there, can't believe I've still got over 2 months to go before we're out this year.
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@Hells Bells, it'll fly by!!!
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@KenX, @KenX, make sure you just don't ski it all out. wink
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The sun did appear as forecast, but not so much in Serre Chevalier but up at the Lautaret / Galibier, as you can see from the image below. So we headed up that way and I think the Granon was engulfed in cloud all day!



As ever does seem to be some disparity as to snow depths, with Serre Che on social media saying well over a meter yet the Avalanche Bulletin for both Pelvoux and Thabor giving only 35cm on both N and S faces at 2,500m



I'd estimate 50cm at most, and we encountered so many gulleys and torrents still flowing, and you can see the snow depth.



This is looking up towards the Col du Galibier and the Cafe by the tunnel.



But hey it's not even mid November and was not too long ago I was cycling up there!
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Webcams are not all being shown on Serre Chevalier TO site just yet, but discovered Cucumelle is working.

https://serrechevalier.roundshot.com/cucumelle/

QUite a few touring up there this morning when I last looked.
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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!
@Hells Bells, yes did notice that they don't have all the cams listed on the TO site.

Ironically found the others from snow-forecast.

This is the Ratier cam link

https://serrechevalier.roundshot.com/ratier/

And looking at the Cucumelle you can see why I question the "hype" concerning the snow-depth that is being bandied about.

Just look at those torrent gulleys leading into the main ones, last year we ski toured up there around the same time and those gulleys were not so visible, likewise been ski touring around the valley this week and again with @KenX, today and we both agreed that it's 50cm absolute max!

But hey no complaints Cool



Pic from todays tour



More here https://snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewtopic.php?t=149336
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@Weathercam, agreed. There's some more photos on the Ski Serre Chevalier forum too. https://www.serreche-ski.net/topic/1197-saison-20192020/
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So folks the snow has started, various forecasts have differing accumulations, so what will we have circa this time tomorrow.

Windscreen wipers are up, Sorrels are in from the garage, shovel in the van, and I did check my chains, though they are really too small and are only a get out of jail card, 5 or so meters (van is 4x4 with snow tyres).

I've changed the panning of the cam, so now takes in the patio and the bird table and driveway.

Yesterday was one of the best ski tours of the year, and I do mean 2019!

Write up is here https://snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewtopic.php?t=149298

Maybe tomorrow we'll be skinning up Le Bez past Club Med up to Frejus and beyond?
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Well, I certainly hope that was not it as it's eased right back, or actually stopped!

Though that is what some of the forecasts have, with slight snow till the heavy stuff comes back at around 16:00.

Anyway, have had the first sounds of snowploughs this season along the road.
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Woken up at 5:30 by the village snowplough for the first time this season Very Happy

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Cloud clearing, we're on the starting blocks for a 10:30 ski tour from just in front of us up the piste by Club Med up to Frejus and beyond.

Check out the CAM in our garden below
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You know it makes sense.
Started the ski tour today bottom of the piste at 1,400m at Pontilas (Pointless) must have been 15-20cm on no base.

Climbed up helped by piste basher track at times so I was not having to break trail with a good friend who knows her onions when it comes to snow (hubby top LG guide), and she commented how we could well be going through to the base as snow was just so light. I replied saying that once we get to 2,000m there will be much more snow and sure enough at 2,100 we decided to transition as looked as the cloud was coming in.

She was quite excited at her potential line, deep powder to the side of the rat-track on a steep section of a red run 25%+ (photo as ever does not show steepness), I had my doubts and I decided to ski the rat track to get some speed up to launch into the powder (what you do in Japan cat skiing).

Needless to say, we both came to more or less a stop and had to pole out as it was so deep Laughing



Lower down on the fresh snow 20-25cms was way better Cool

Was hoping for a clear sky tonight to help snow pack as it consolidates but that does not look to be the case, and now tomorrow does not look sunny either, so might not bother and leave all the weekend warriors to it, though we imagine that Lautaret will be bonkers busy, so if one were to chance the snowpack then Montgenevre would be the better option maybe?


http://youtube.com/v/Flvef9Yzy54

Snow keeps coming and going for Sunday/Monday and next week looks like warm in the valley with a lot of rain = --> snow at altitude
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Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Looks like we had another four or so cms overnight judging by the table in the garden, see cam link below

The idea this morning is to skin up to Cucumelle for the hell of it as I know that a rat-track has been up there.

Does look like cloud is coming and going so will wait another couple of hours as the forecast has it clearing a little.

Not expecting too much of a ski from the top if it's anything like yesterday Laughing
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 Poster: A snowHead
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I was hoping that the snow fairies had been working hard overnight and into the early hours to transform the nigh on unskiable depth of snow of yesterday where we were stuck on 25%+ slopes into better powder.

Target was the Col de la Cucumelle (top of the Vallons lift), and being on my own I was climbing quite quickly at around 500m per hour, and there are quite a few flat sections.

Twas a gamble to go back up to where we'd been yesterday but I couldn't be arsed to deal with the weekend warriors up at the Lautaret and Italians at Montgenevre Laughing

Thankfully after the rat-track ran out just above the steep part of the Vallons where they're working on a snow cannon there was a decent skin track and I reckoned that there were four of five in front of me, so not exactly busy.



As I was on the flattish section before the last steep bit before the Col the other skiers came down and I was happy to see that even on the flat bit they were having no issues.

At the Col I opted to climb just a little more to the left at the start of the ridge just up from the weather station as there was a steeper line to be had (centre of the image below).

Total climb was 1,150m in just over 2hrs 15m



Then once in descent mode it was a case of waiting for the cloud to roll away and skiing the line in the good viz.


http://youtube.com/v/sUeTKrl_g1c
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ooooh
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Avalanche just above the new Eychauda chair lift in Monetier

http://www.data-avalanche.org/avalanche/1573837376198
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