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Snow drought delays French resort openings

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Three resorts have had to put back their opening weekends due to a snow drought, these are Avoriaz, Pra-Loup and Orres. Val d"Isère will only have four pistes open this Saturday thanks to heavy snowmaking. Les Deux Alpes will open the glacier and Montgènevre, which opened on the 1st November last year will open just 20% of its domain...

Snow Drought in the Alps

I must admit, the two Val Webcams don't look too bad:

http://www.valdinet.com/webcams/jpg/val2.jpg

http://www.valdinet.com/webcams/jpg/val1.jpg

Snoweye.com

The picture in the Pyrénées is much better with Ax, les Angles and Formigueres and Pas de la Cas already open on the French side. These are the piste bashers at the Tourmalet.



The Tourmalet will not open this weekend as a mark of respect following the death of an employee.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
The internet makes this kind of information much more readily available than it has been historically. I suspect that delayed resort openings are not unusual. It's quite common for snow to be thin or non-existent until well into December.

How many tour operators now offer snow guarantees? It's not something I've looked at for a while - they became commonplace after the late 1980s snow droughts.
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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?
David Goldsmith wrote:
The internet makes this kind of information much more readily available than it has been historically. I suspect that delayed resort openings are not unusual. It's quite common for snow to be thin or non-existent until well into December.


This is one thing the Internet does well but it would be great if 'official' sources were better. Still if snowheads becomes a clearing house for this kind of information why not?

It does seem that early season you really have to be quite flexible about where you go.
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All the weather forcasts are prodicting snow from monday onwards for France. Lets hope there's enough to get the season going

I'm not sking until the middle of Jan and would hope the situation is better by then.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
I try and get a week in before christmas every year, and always leave it until the week before to book, as conditions are always so variable. As mentioned in other threads, even if it does dump in November, it can still melt by December.
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For a cheapy ski trip you cannot beat end of season. I've had some brilliant weeks/weekends where the conditions have been fantastic, the pistes empty and the cost has been peanuts. The cost of catered accomadation, if booked last minute, can be very low. But need a ski more mid season to ensure that you get your fix if it turns out to be a poor season.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
davidof, of course you could be flexible - or you could all come to LDA early, as the glacier is always there and is the widest and one of the biggest in Europe!! Before Christmas - no problem. wink wink
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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!
easiski, I was of the opinion that the glaciers were closed down once the seasons underway to preserve them for the summer training camps?. I remember poor snow conditions mid season when the few pistes that were open were so crowded that your skis were often touching the person in front of you.
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I think people panic each year - or at least they have since I have been taking notice over the last few years. The snow will come we are just anticipating it a little bit early - anyone agree.
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Headplanter, the only glacier I know that used to shut down once winter commenced was the Soelden summer ski area, but it was formerly accessible only by road from the resort. However, I've a feeling there are few other Austrian and Italian glaciers that don't do business in the winter, for similar reasons, or simply that they're not linked into busy ski areas which can feed traffic onto them.

The majority of European glaciers are in business through the winter, though some of the summer draglifts become snowed in until the following May. Of course, glaciers can be extremely cold from now until February, if the wind is blowing from the depths of north/east Europe.
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Paul Mason wrote:
I think people panic each year - or at least they have since I have been taking notice over the last few years. The snow will come we are just anticipating it a little bit early - anyone agree.

Yes.
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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.
The internet has caused the sking obsessed to panic about snow cover. Before the net we would get our information from the national press and they would not publish snow depths before mid Dec.

Ten years ago would there be punters from the UK on the piste before Xmas, or was this the reserve of only the locals or a select few?
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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
Paul, it's not just the Brits who get worried, from the end of Nov onwards just about every conversation in La Ros is about the snow depth and will we be able to open in time. In the 5 yrs that we've been here the resort has never failed to open on time, in fact I don't think its ever missed its due date. We are, however, perfectly positioned to catch every anti-cyclone around Mont Blanc.


Last edited by 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 on Thu 25-11-04 20:01; edited 1 time in total
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Paul Mason, I agree completely. Every year it's the same!

The next big panic will be when someone states that there is plenty of accomodation available in the resort for last minute deals, but that there are no flights available outside of christmas and new years eve weeks.

Headplanter, my experience has been that the weeks before christmas, it's the same "old hands" year in year out. Single rooms at the Moris in Val d'Isere book up about two years in advance for the first week of the season. Not sure whether this has been the case for the last ten years or not. I would highly recommend a ski trip before christmas, all the staff are fresh faced and enthusiastic, with the attitude of the "jaded seasonnaire" yet to set in.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
David@traxvax,
Quote:

We are, however, perfectly positioned to catch every anti-cyclone around Mont Blanc.

Is that good or bad? As a sailor, I understand Atlantic weather pretty well, and expect an anti-cyclone to supply still weather often cold and dry on the eastern edge. Does it work the same in the mountains?
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Chris, what happens is that our prevailing weather comes up from the South West, warm moist winds, hits the bisggest massif in its path, Mont Blanc and then circles round and round. When the wind shifts to the North, we get a good blast of cold air and hey presto a major dump right over the Col de Petit San Bernard. That s how it was explained to me by a local and it does go some way to explaining why La Rosiere does have such a terrific snow record despite being south facing and usually sunny. For a better explanation call Michael Fish!


Last edited by Poster: A snowHead on Thu 25-11-04 21:04; edited 1 time in total
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Not Michael Weather then? wink

Hope you're right about that David.....not that we're getting nervous of course!
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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?
David@traxvax, not to cause you any blushes, an anti-cyclone is a high-pressure system - typically blue skies. For snow you need the opposite.
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Mark, I have it on good authority that there will be snow on Sunday. I can't tell you who told me of course, but our friend is still in La Rosiere, probably crouched over the entrails of a chicken at this very moment.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
David@traxvax, Is there snow equivalent of a 'rain dance', and can you hear the chanting across the green French valleys?

Are the folk who man the lifts etc, employed on a casual basis, ie. no snow, no pay? , or will they get payed anyway?
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If there is, then Masque will be doing it. As I said, La Rosiere has never failed to open on time as far as I know. It's usually about now that the pisteurs begin work, marking out the pistes, putting up safety fencing etc.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
There is a snow eqiuvalent of the rain dance, known funnily enough as a "snow dance". It has to be performed wearing your ski boots, and is usually to the tune of "Mustang Sally". Much Jaegermeister/toffe vodka/schnapps has to be sacrificed for it to be successful, if it is not it needs to be repeated on a daily basis.
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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!
Quote:

ski boots


or the more comfortable and dancing friendly snowboard boots. Both, hopefully have the same desired effect though.............i'm already making my sacrifices to the snow gods!
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 You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
Quote:
dancing friendly snowboard boots


I'm afraid that they completely miss the point of the snow-dance, which is uncomfortable dancing of a very poor quality. Of course if we were wearing dancing friendly footwear, then we would be sooooooo much more coordinated. wink
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If you wouldn't mind, please stop what you're doing and take another look at the instruction manual. It was supposed to be raining/snowing when I woke up this morning, not a drop yet.
Dan, are you sure about the quality of your sacrifices? Madeye-Smiley
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PG, don't you have a spare child that you could sacrifice to the snow gods? Twisted Evil
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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.
There are five resorts due to open in the Alps this weekend (4/Dec/2004) including l'alpe d'Huez, and Courchevel in addition to the five already open. L'Alpe d'Huez says it has 25cm of snow on its resort level pistes, thanks partly to 720 snow canons. With a stagnation in French visitors French resorts are increasingly turning to an international clientelle with guest from Britain and Eastern Europe leading the way. La Plagne, the number one French resort will see around a third of its guests from Britain this coming winter.

Fresh Snow Kicks Starts French Alps
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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
According to Courchevel's website this evening they are only opening two slopes this weekend........
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Anyone know what's happenned to Ros's webcams - perhaps they don't want us to know its ALL GONE!!!!
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Just this one seems to have been working this morning..... http://www.larosiere.net/webcam/webcam1.html
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