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I'm a rain magnet! Wet first days skiing

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Not really any great purpose to this topic, just thought it was mildly (get it?) interesting...

I was reading another topic earlier where a poster pointed out their OH's status as a snow magnet - wherever they went to ski, heavy snow was guaranteed to fall just before they arrived. That would be nice... thinking about our own trips to the Alps, I've come to the realisation that I am a rain magnet Toofy Grin ...it has rained, without fail, on our first day's skiing for every one of our trips to the Alps! This is despite always going mid-season, though often to quite low resorts.

- early Feb 2014 (Soll): greeted by rain for our first day skiing. Fortunately it was snow higher up (and progressively lower as the day went on). A fairly good trip despite white ribbons amongst green fields lower down, and mostly sunny for the rest of the week.
- mid Jan 2015 (Alpe d' Huez): again, rain at resort level (1850m) at first and higher lifts closed due to wind. Again, the snowline lowered through the day and the sun eventually came out. Overall a disappointing week with over 50% of pistes closed (a bit better on our day trips to Les 2 Alpes) and lots of windy weather leading to further lift closures (stopping access to the higher areas with good snow). More rain and wet snow on our last day skiing, followed by heavy snow on the day we left, finally providing a base for the rest of the season.
- late Jan 2016 (Les Carroz): rain to nearly 2000m on day 1 meant a soggy welcome to the Grand Massif. Happily things improved for the rest of the holiday with a couple of decent snowfalls overnight, though still quite a few lower runs closed. An excellent week overall though.
- late Mar 2017 (Belle Plagne): a high resort minimised chances of rain, but this time we had rain to about 2300m on our first day! It soon stopped however, so didn't spoil things. Sunshine and high temperatures for most of the rest of the week, and generally plenty of snow except on the lowest pistes. A good week.
- late Jan 2018 (Notre Dame de Bellecombe): rain at resort level (1150m) for day 1, but over at slightly higher Crest Voland it was all snow, so we had a great powder day in the trees there instead. Day 2 was worse - heavy rain almost to the top of the ski area, all day. Fortunately there was already deep snow cover and the rain didn't impact (piste) skiing for the rest of the week, which was sunny. An excellent week.
- late Mar 2018 (Ponte di Legno): rain at resort level (1100m) on the first day, but we drove up to higher Passo Tonale and skied in the snow. The temperature lowered overnight and so did the snowline, followed by a week of brilliant blue skies, low temperatures, and fantastic snow conditions. Our best week to date.

So, Day 1 has been rainy on all 6 of our trips to date. Often choosing low resorts is a factor, but bad luck on top of that? Have you experienced similar? Is it becoming more common?

Despite the rain, we had a great week on almost all of our trips. Alpe d'Huez was the only (slightly) disappointing one, due to lack of snow, wind and rain. It's made me wary of booking trips earlier than late January (by which time the first lasting snowfall almost always seems to have arrived), and also cautious about booking resorts with a lack of trees / sheltered runs early in the season.

Also, so you know where to avoid this year:
- late Jan 2018 (St-Gervais): who knows what will happen? Twisted Evil


Last edited by Poster: A snowHead on Thu 6-12-18 20:53; 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
.
Many people who think they are a rain magnet are in fact Rain Gods, as explained by Douglas Adams.

“And as he drove on, the rainclouds dragged down the sky after him, for, though he did not know it, Rob McKenna was a Rain God. All he knew was that his working days were miserable and he had a succession of lousy holidays. All the clouds knew was that they loved him and wanted to be near him, to cherish him, and to water him.”

― Douglas Adams, So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish
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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?
Laughing
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denfinella, that does sound a little unfortunate, but then again a week is a long time in the mountains and it's not unusual for there to be a variety of weather during that period.

But regarding your last two hols: rain at 1100m is not "rain on my ski holiday" Laughing. Of course it rains at 1100m in the French and Italian Alps all winter! 1100m is practically sea level in the context of those mountains (and in the Pyrenees where I ski - where most resort towns are at that altitude or even lower). Rain at 1100m is something to be celebrated - it means that it's (usually) snowing up in the ski station! snowHead
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Aside: I think there's a general misconception in non-Alpine countries that those picture-postcard photos of mountain villages covered in snow are representative of the conditions that occur all through winter. I'm sure I used to think that, before starting to spend much longer periods in the mountains! They're definitely not representative though, at least for resort towns which were real villages... Imagine those poor folks from centuries ago, spending their winters at 2000m Laughing . No, real villages tend to be much lower, precisely so that they didn't get snowed in every 5 minutes but got rain instead. Typically only purpose-built resort complexes (usually nasty eyesores) are up at 2000m.

Ski-in ski-out places are lovely for a holiday I'm sure, but the local people - who are the ones who are the lifeblood of all ski resort except for the handful of real international players - don't stay in those; they stay in the villages lower down and drive up or take a long gondola ride. And there's nothing at all wrong with that; you usually get to explore a real traditional village centre and get a feel for real life in the mountains instead of an (albeit lovely) theme park.
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@TCSC47, beat me to it wink
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Hmm, been to Mayrhofen over a dozen times, low altitude, always snowy (except at Easter).
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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!
Mayrhofen is in the Eastern Alps. Totally different altitude-climate relationship. In some senses you can regard it as being a completely different mountain range.
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moosepig wrote:
@TCSC47, beat me to it wink

Douglas is definitely one of my most favourite authors. Always the unexpected, like publishing the Hitchhikers guide Trilogy with four books in it! Love it. He is sadly missed.
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If we are talking about weather here, I have to mention Les Arc last Easter. Went skiing there with my granddaughters last Easter. (Had to be in school hols of course) I didn't expect much snow being right at the end of the season, but it was fabulous, almost as good snow conditions that we would normally find mid February. Down side, crowds from the French who can respond much more quickly to the conditions than we can of course and turned out in force. --- I'm trying to suppress the envy but not succeeding very well.

But a great time all round. The granddaughters are turning into excellent skiers. And the resort would have been pleased with the business.
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