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Serre Chevalier Snow Report 2018/2019-and useful links

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Oh dear, he's not going to like today's update Laughing

We never got the overnight / early hours snowfall that was forecast, and this morning was very cloudy, and looking at the piste map Vallons and Yret / Cibouit were not scheduled to open, so I was half thinking about going out with the dogs up towards the Granon then at 10:00 I saw that Vallons was open, so hastily got my "new" gear together, which is actually the antithesis of the new Salomon Shift binding, which many are flocking too, in that I've gone with Marker F10 Frame touring bindings on another pair of Black Crow Atris, logic being I can ski with my Alpine Downhill boots and if needs must for whatever reason can still climb up using skins.

And skiing yesterday's chopped up powder my legs were quite tired so I was curious to see the difference this setup would have.

The first descent was the trees on Pikey's shoulder and that was pretty good (last run in the vid below) which then took me down to the Vallons and I was pretty spoilt for choice of lines to ski.

Viz did keep coming and going with the cloud rolling in, and I did three runs to the right of the lift traversing more across each time, then a quick pit-stop at Pi Mai.

Going back up on the Vallons chair, the cloud had rolled in and I was trying to decide whether to traverse and skin up to the Col du Grand Pre or hike the ridge which would be considerably easier.

By then it was around Noon and it had been pretty empty earlier but now was devoid of people.

I opted for the ridge and I as I hiked along it the wind was really strong and it was almost quite dark, but you could see that there was, if patient a good chance the sun would come back out, as had happened earlier.



Patience was rewarded with a great run.


http://youtube.com/v/EtgZI5G6Ab0

Earlier at the Vallons lift, I skied past this dude who sort of looked familiar, though under goggles and hat/hood it's always difficult so as I carried on he called out my name, and it was my good guide friend Per, who was with his client for the week, a fit 75yr old American so we took the chair up and had a nag and then went our own ways.

And "new" gear was very sweet, though skiing on your own you do not stop so much so still managed leg burn skiing all the way down to resort, though pistes are officially closed, but let's not have that debate rolling eyes
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Let others roadtest the new released bindings, I know my knees are more important, so tried and tested bindings for me at the moment.
Looked nice conditions, being a seasoned Scotland and Wales skier I'm used to no sun and grey skies Smile Oh and sometimes less snow and more rock haha
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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?
Quick update - hopefully from noon onwards through to the early hours we should see another 20 - 30cm in the valley as we have an area of low pressure sitting over Genoa, and when that happens the Southern Alps tends to get better snowfall, though there can be substantial differences in accumulation over 40km with Italy and the Queyras doing better.

For those coming out this weekend, that's all good news, though currently for next week, from this Friday onwards temps will be above freezing though little sign of any more precipitation.

With the temps well below freezing, they have had the cannons blasting and making huge piles of snow, though here in Villeneuve all the pistes back down are officially closed, though skiable if careful, I would think that they will all be open come the weekend. especially as Club Med opens so Pontillas will open.

From what I can see from here they still have not opened up the Cross Country and yesterday while driving up to the Lautaret I could not see the XC from Le Casset open either, but again should imagine that those too will open for the holidays.

So keep an eye on the bird table in the garden today via the Cam if bored and you should see it snowing and piling up.

There's also an amusing blogette from what happened yesterday Laughing

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

We leave the valley Friday heading back to the UK and aim to be back here 28th Dec.
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Yet another great morning of powder (must do a tot up) here, and the last for a week or so Sad

But I know I should not complain due to the plight of others.

Hooked up with a good friend who I do not usually ski with and his daughter who is a pretty neat and tidy skier as you'll see in the vid.

After they had to leave us we bumped into my friend Per again with his 75-year-old client, who skis so well, economically and tidy.

We said goodbye to them as we embarked on the long climb up to Balme Crete. It looked like someone had already hiked it, but in fact were skin tracks, however as Elaine had not brought her skins with her I had to boot pack as it would have just been too hard for her, and what a feckin hard workout that was, with the rattle so nearly getting thrown out he pram, as would have been ideal to test my new setup!

I had to keep telling myself it was better than doing the Cucumelle hike and ski over the other side as a good couple of groups had already done it and where we were going we'd be the first as the guys that skinned it had taken another route.



http://youtube.com/v/yTRh_9FtfcI
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I liked that Balme area, not been in Serre Che for ages - do I recall they removed a lift from there?
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surface hoar crystals on that slope, will be a persistent weak layer, make mental note about that Smile
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rogg wrote:
I liked that Balme area, not been in Serre Che for ages - do I recall they removed a lift from there?


Yes, used to be a lift up from the drag lift area to the south, less easy access to the off piste there, but flip side is less people going there, so for a relatively short hike there's normally some fresh to be had Very Happy
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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!
Merry Christmas everyone Very Happy

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Merry Christmas @KenX!

I’ll be there with the family from the 27th to the 5th... looks like
I’ll have to settle for sunny days and no fresh... given the temps do you think there may be a chance of spring snow touring?

(And will the pistes hold up well?)
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Could well be classic spring conditions looking at those temps! Pistes should be good mid-station and up, maybe ok lower down too as most are N facing Very Happy
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As long as winter comes back soon. It’s December. Plenty of time for spring skiing in spring.
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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.
Got my feet up after a hernia op last week, not missing the lack of snow Laughing Back on skis New Years Day!
Spring skiing was pants last season, warm temps, but no night freeze.......
Real shame because we had a shed-load of snow, so should've had great conditions up till June.......
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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
KenX wrote:
Could well be classic spring conditions looking at those temps! Pistes should be good mid-station and up, maybe ok lower down too as most are N facing Very Happy


Thanks, and let’s hope so! Good recovery from your op!
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Colder than expected yesterday, but pretty icy on the pistes towards the bottom as the sun disappeared.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Is cross country open yet from Pointless to Monetier, pass Giblets ?
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
@Weathercam, I'll look when we go out, there's plenty of folks about on XC equipment, but website says they are all shut.
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Slopes getting busier by the day, but still plenty of good piste skiing. Lots of XC skiers about so assume it is open.
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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?
Have any of you locals been up to Montgenevre recently? I just wondered how conditions are, but you probably have no need to go there. Thanks anyway.
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Just bought my XC season pass and digging out the lycra - one way to avoid the hordes on T WAT Friday.

And a link for XC pistes
https://www.nordicalpesdusud.com/domaines/serre-chevalier

Might go off the back tomorrow if more sunshine to see if there's any decent spring snow etc
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Anybody out there know how well the pistes are holding up, are they managing to make snow at night? Thanks
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@jakemanc, well from what I can see from my window, the two main runs down into Villeneuve / La Salle, Casse du Boeuf and Le Bez look great - and well groomed first thing.

Because we did not get the rain the Northern Alps did the valley is still looking great with around 10-15cms on the valley meadows as you can see from the pic below I took this morning when out on the cross country piste.

Obviously, the Southern hillsides are bare to around 2,000 (right of pic) but there are no pistes on that side of the valley.

I'm going up the hill tomorrow for a ski and will report back, then I'm taking a family around on Monday so will probably rack some Kms up doing all the main runs

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@jakemanc, pistes are holding up well. Some snowmaking going on from what I can see from my terrace at night which overlooks the pistes. Everything well groomed.
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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!
That time of year again when it's gridlock on the roads along the valley.

Only happens this time of year not even in February do you see it like this.

Long string of lights in front of us and Google maps showing bouchon all the way to Briancon
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@Weathercam, hope you don't get breathalysed after last night's antics................... Laughing
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@KenX, I was just feckin relieved didn't end up in the 1420 again after Thiery's


God only knows how I managed to XC this morning, must have still been a tad pickled
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@Weathercam, @ Hells Bells thanks for the updates guys out on the 19th Jan and can’t wait !!
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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.
Bit of dual screening whilst I watch ET, though just realised as he's running away at the beginning from the guys with torches he sounds (screeches) more like a fox!

Finally went up the hill at lunchtime, but only after another XC up to Monetier, leaving Pontillas circa 09:30 and the car park was quite empty considering the carnage on the road yesterday, more on that later.

And what a difference in 24hrs, the beautiful piste of yesterday was hard and difficult to get an edge and there was a strong headwind at times which did not make things easy.

Up at Monetier it was slowly coming to life (French don't like getting up early) and there was no queue at the main chair. I bumped into my namesake an instructor and we talked about the traffic last night and he was in the jam for well over an hour as he has to drive to Briancon after finishing for the day.

Was great to see the local kids Serre Che Club cross country skiers out doing a whole load of different training on classic skis. They all looked so cool in their club gear.

With the wind behind me I hardly had to pole and flew past Les Guibertes, there were many more people out on the track so had to be careful as one can't quite perform an emergency stop that easily. There were also many a muppet pedestrian on the piste and I saw one father letting his kids actually walk in the tracks with one lady skier getting most agitated.

Back at Pontillas the car park was nigh on 80% full.

After a break at home, I headed back to Pontillas just after Noon, this time armed with alpine gear, though I was packing skins and my semi touring skis which I theoretically can use with my downhill boots and that's what I wanted to try, as well as seeing what the snow was like over the back, though with the cold wind I didn't hold out too much hope.

So this was the first time this season that I had used Pointless to get up the hill, and indeed it's even more Pointless as you now have to ski all the way back down to Frejus, which was shut due to the high winds along with Aravet, so it was up on the Casse chair.
have to say no queues at all, though it was lunchtime, that said I did find the pistes very unnerving with those that were skiing, just so paranoid of someone doing something stupid.

From the Casse down to Clot Gauthier and they now have that "Joy" aisle for those that have paid for the app or extra on their ticket so that they don't have to queue, and no one was using it, last season it was for singles and that worked really well filling up the chairs. I've just tried looking on the Serre Che site and there's no mention of it, or it's really well hidden rolling eyes

After the Clot down to the double drags and then up and over the Col, and as you can see snowpack was varied indeed, with windblown powder, slab, crust etc etc and no spring, though I suspect that was probably lower down however I was not going to take a chance plus I had not actually tested my gear in climbing mode, and it was actually not too bad, but would not really fancy more than an hour in the boots.



Ski back down all the way was pretty good and pistes were in good condition though the run back down from top of Pointless was getting hard so the best option was to ski the side of the piste.

I'm meant to be showing a group of people around tomorrow morning and can't say I'm looking forward to it.

Maybe the day after tomorrow depending on the head I might take a look at touring conditions up towards the Gardiole but from La Salle.
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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
Can find out more on &joy here. https://www.enjoyserrechevalier.com/
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
@Hells Bells, oh well have signed up for it as they are looking for "beta testers" so suspect it could be a bot of a ball ache.

I'll let you know how it progresses, but I'm not optimistic.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
@Weathercam, I think I got an email about it a week or so ago.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
First day up on the hill for almost 3 weeks after my hernia op Very Happy
Pretty easy day cruising' with LynnX, went up over lunchtime same as Weathercam and next to no queues!
Pistes were firm, but in really good shape for December, day off tomorrow so as not to overdo it and working back up to full strength for when (if) the snow comes in a couple of weeks......
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Pistes tip top for us week skiiers.

Only problem seems to be a severe lack of towels and sheets in chantemerle in a couple of hotels .... has a contract cleaning company gone under??? Laughing
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
@kingwhite, which hotels?
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Fortunately, friends could sort of work out that maybe I was not looking forward to showing them around and OH came up with a cracking excuse in that she has no piste skis plus they did say that they were going to chop and change gear so I was let off the hook.

Trouble is I can't really sit still so suggested to a mate who has just arrived a run, so the OH & I ended up doing Monetier with the dogs, and now I'm nursing/icing a very sore calf muscle, and my mate cut short his run and his last 2km he limped home with a sore knee, the joys of being 60+

Have to say with the glorious sunshine even the walking trail was the busiest I've ever seen it and great to see so many people out enjoying the valley, and many a well to do Marseilles lady blinged up Laughing

As Serre Che does have so many second homeowners from the cities of Aix, Toulon and Marseilles plus Italians from Turin that is why it seems busy, but not in the same way as the big Northern Alps Ski factories where they bus them in from Saturday to Saturday.

Here many simply do not bother skiing or if they do will just be to get to a restaurant hence lunchtime, or first lifts, is such a good time to ski and by Wednesday a high % will have returned home.

After the strong winds of yesterday, I did suggest to some people who wanted some advice on where to tour that Combeynot, the big North facing face up at the Lautaret could be good and many a track will be covered I'd imagine with those winds, so yes you can still probably score cold snow, and will be interesting to find out how they got on.

As for fresh snow, the outlook is pretty bleak and I can't see anything that would suggest a change in the next ten days.

After the festivities and recuperation of tomorrow, and with it being less busy I might have another attempt at sniffing out Spring snow, but then Thursday we plan to spend some time in Turin City as I'm collecting from the airport late afternoon. IKEA here we come Laughing
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
I never have a lot of confidence in forecasts more than three days out, however there are some of us who are looking at forecasts in a desperate hope that there might be some fresh snow on the way!

This chart does show a glimmer of hope from 12th Jan but it's way too far off to be sure, and it really is clutching at straws.



And this just in from a friend on Social Media.

Lovely day. Shame about the ants and lunatics on the slopes which caused an early retreat on the grounds of health and safety. Once we get New Year and consequential hangovers out of the way, is anyone up for a walk up to the Refuge Napoleon for lunch and sledge or ski down? Seems to be an option while the weather is nice and the slopes are full of nutters.
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@Weathercam, we went up late morning and down by 2pm. Monetier less busy but still packed on higher pistes. Quick lunch and a walk along to Le Casset with the dogs. Some of our Aix-marseille neighbours went home this morning.
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@weathercam - horizon described the snow conditions on the North facing Combeynot side as breakable crust. He also used the word frozen. In the same sentence Smile
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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!
Snow conditions remarkably good today, although the moguls on the Cibouit Noir are absolutely massive. Shocked . Not for me, but it is always entertaining watching the carnage as you go up on the chair. Crowds were elsewhere today, and we stuck to Monetier.
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Weathercam wrote:
I never have a lot of confidence in forecasts more than three days out, however there are some of us who are looking at forecasts in a desperate hope that there might be some fresh snow on the way!

This chart does show a glimmer of hope from 12th Jan but it's way too far off to be sure, and it really is clutching at straws.



And this just in from a friend on Social Media.

Lovely day. Shame about the ants and lunatics on the slopes which caused an early retreat on the grounds of health and safety. Once we get New Year and consequential hangovers out of the way, is anyone up for a walk up to the Refuge Napoleon for lunch and sledge or ski down? Seems to be an option while the weather is nice and the slopes are full of nutters.


Do you think maybe there is a snow dance we can do snowHead

I have until 20th January to decide whether to go to Serre Chevalier or change plans. My first week in 3V can’t be changed I really, really need to have somewhere snowy for week 2. Sometimes I feel like I’m a snow curse Sad
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Raven wrote:


I have until 20th January to decide whether to go to Serre Chevalier or change plans. My first week in 3V can’t be changed I really, really need to have somewhere snowy for week 2. Sometimes I feel like I’m a snow curse Sad


I think you should change plans in that case, don't want you here Laughing
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