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Chamonix Snow Report 21/22

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
A nice top up last night there must have been a foot of fresh above 2000m. An amazing day when the weather broke mid morning.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Not much on here. So for those arriving for half term madness.
The snow in Le Tour was good on piste. A bit hard and Ice occasionally but generally small areas .
Off piste- just crusting on the sun facing slopes but not unskiable. Some wind effected snow where explosed but again fairly easily skied. Cover is pretty good and a good base. Out of the wind and sun the snow is great - even some fresh untracked in small areas. So good to be back Eh oh!
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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?
Went to ski the Vallee Blanche over to Italy today and the normally reliable Vierge descent.

This report is second hand due to the fact that my binding broke half a dozen turns under the Midi. I had to slog 250 metres back up the arete.

Those on more robust equipment suggested that I wasn't entirely unlucky. Most of the descent on the Italian side was a few inches of dust over concrete sastrugi. More than one accomplished skier went over the handlebars onto a very hard landing.

The descent from the Gros Rognon looked much nicer
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@HammondR, yikes!
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@HammondR, Which binding on what ski? I'm calling at Jon's on Wednesday, and then flying over a week today, if you need any bits collecting.
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@midgetbiker, it was a Dynafit Superlite 2 purchased some time ago from himself on Salomon MTN 95! Second one that has gone in the same heel part (U bar) in 2 years. Not sure what to do.

@under a new name, my thoughts exactly. First time at altitude this year and almost sick walking back up.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
@HammondR, speak to the oracle, he might have an idea of an alternate heel to swap out across the pair if the Superlite2 is proving problematic.
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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!
HammondR wrote:
Went to ski the Vallee Blanche over to Italy today and the normally reliable Vierge descent.

This report is second hand due to the fact that my binding broke half a dozen turns under the Midi. I had to slog 250 metres back up the arete.

Those on more robust equipment suggested that I wasn't entirely unlucky. Most of the descent on the Italian side was a few inches of dust over concrete sastrugi. More than one accomplished skier went over the handlebars onto a very hard landing.

The descent from the Gros Rognon looked much nicer


Sorry to hear that, HR. Your equipment failure could have been disastrous so it's good that you made it back ok.

It is rather alarming to hear about serious equipment failure like that.

I've read a few times on here of similar failures in lightweight bindings, which could, in the wrong place at the wrong time, become life threatening Shocked
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Les Houches nicely freshening this afternoon with steady snow from mid afternoon. A touch wetter towards lower sections of runs but should be decent piste ski tomorrow.
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Probably a general 10 cms this morning, up to maybe 20cms in places depending. On piste still firm and obvs getting quite lumpy quite quickly. Off piste good but not quite enough snow for excellent. And after nearly 3 weeks of not really doing any exercise + rugby weekends, etc. we were neither of us too energetic Embarassed

Surprisingly not busy but ENG 1/2 term not coinciding with scandis, etc. which is probably why. But quite a few boarders Puzzled
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@HammondR, I've got two brand new Superlite 2.0 Z10 heels plus a single u-bow sitting in my shop if you want them? Carl from Whitedots delivering skis to me tomorrow morning and can take them to bring out to you next week. Let me know.

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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.
Vallorcine pretty good but agree with above not quite enough for excellent but that is more the base than the quality of snowfall.
Definitely a bit heavier on lower pitches but not enough to cause knee alarm!
I think tempo must have crept up in mid afternoon. Went over Le Tour and still good snow. Home run iffy at end of day been a bit warm later in day for that to be any good .
Hopefully the snow last night looks as though its been packed down nicely so any top up should be looking excellent next day or two.
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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
Primo conditions in Chamonix on Weds/Thurs, everything in the sun was warming fast, but everything vaguely shady was very very good!



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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Does anybody have any recommendations for good Chamonix-based off-piste / touring courses (not beginner)? I have the week of April 10th free and I'm looking for something fun to do.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
A surprisingly excellent day side piste Flegere showing a chum round. Now knackered. Wall to wall sunshine and intermittent chalk and spring snow.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
We flogged over the Col de Beugeant today then went right to the Col de l'Encrenaz. I was hoping to post a smug report about hidden untracked softness and whatnot. Fortune favours the brave and so on.

Underwhelming ski. What wasn't wind affected was sun affected apart from the nifty gully half way down. Couldn't recommend it to enyone.

Goodness knows where to try next. Les Marricotts on Sunday after a good lay down?
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Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@HammondR, Les Marécottes - likely to be a bit busy Sunday with families?
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@under a new name, not the little 3/400m climb and ski we have in mind, I don't think.

Actually, skiing through families has to be better than yesterday.

Has anybody any secret pockets of loveliness? I promise not to tell anyone else.
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Actually I just remembered that some friends went down the Nant Noire to Trient two days ago and said they had some super snow, particularly lower down. Have to keep a close eye on avalanche risk down there though.
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@HammondR, ha ha, nice.

Huge difference side piste Flegere between Thursday and yesterday. Feeling a bit un-enthused today.
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Les Marecottes it was. The website custodians may not be happy with the resort being bunged in with Chamonix but I don't know any better.

Don't know the name of the route, but we (along with many others) trekked up the 250m slope directly above the top chairlift. The ski down from there to the reservoir was the best snow we have encountered for about 8 days. Soft pretty even snow all the way with lots of scope for fresh tracks even now.

It is a pain in the bum to get back to the resort with endless polling past the dam and a half hour cresta run down to the long walk to the road and further to the bus stop. Failure to navigate some of the berms could be extremely unpleasant.

Depending on your speed, a 3/4 hour day with 30 minutes of gentle blissful skiing in the middle.
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Is there a currently a marked hiking route to the old top station of Grands Montets and the black runs from there treated as open pistes? Going up there tomorrow but will be on my own and don't know the area so while I am keen to go to the top would only really want to if there is marked and open route down. Thanks
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@rambotion, I don't think it's marked in any way and pretty sure not patrolled ... but pretty busy last year when I went up (haven't bothered with GMs this year, for whatever reason Twisted Evil )
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@rambotion, no. As @under a new name, points out it is not marked or patrolled. It's not pisted. It is just a mountain side, glaciated in its upper reaches. Anyone can ski there. You just have to understand the environment you are entering.

The skinning track up there is very well established and it is impossible to lose your way in current conditions. It is a little icy when you reach the Col des Rachasses so ski crampons recommended for thar bit. How far you go up after the Col is up to you.

As for the ski down, it is all pretty well skied flat down the safest route following the old Pointe de View.

If you want safety like a Piste or itinerary then this isn't the place for you. If you fancy a little adventure, with relatively small risk (it gets much more dangerous turning right and descending the Rognons Glacier) then give it a go.
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One further thought. When you say "hiking route" you don't literally mean to walk up? You either need touring equipment or (yuk) snowshoes.
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Well, despite extremely warm temps, and overnight, it's all holding up remarkably well.

Have bro and niece out for 2 weeks and obvs they want to ski every day Shocked but so far so good Happy
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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.
Skied down from the Autanes above Le Tour today, to Trient. We were at the top for about 12:00 but had to eat tartiflette and drink tea for over an hour while the snow softened.

The main part of the descent was on very good spring snow, keeping skiers left as much as possible. Further right was crusty.

The bottom part is getting very thin and rocky. I wouldn't fancy it much after midweek with the dry sunny forecast.

The ski down from the Col Du Dards Thursday rewarded an early start with good spring snow to Lac Blanc. A bit more like porridge after there.
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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
Have any of you Chamonix locals heard how the Vallee Blanche is after last weeks snow / can you shed any light on whether the new snow is likely to make it wonderful or even more dangerous due to concealing crevasses?

I haven't skied it before and from a non local perspective Sun/Mon look wonderful conditions to ski it (with a guide of course). Just wondering if anybody has skied it recently/has any info.

Cheers!
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
@Francis.S, I am not there but Cham will get plastered this weekend. If the guides are going on Sunday or Monday (avi risk is currently very high) you would likely have amazing conditions!
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
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@Francis.S, my chums went down it a couple of times this week in the good weather and were in deep untracked fresh snow. I missed out due to injury.

I think their last run was down the Vrai VB which was in fantastic condition.

It is chucking it down in town at the moment (sleet in Le Buet I am advised). As noted above Sunday and Monday could be good. There is likely to be an additional 2 to 3 feet of snow at higher altitudes by Saturday.

Hopefully it gets a bit cooler as forecast for Saturday morning which should ensure agreeable snow on the lower sections along the Mer de Glace.

The well traveled routes will only be safer with this extra snow from a crevasse point of view.

If you want a recommendation, particularly in view of the volume of new snow, I would opt to ski it from Helbronner in Italy. The Vierge descent and Italian side of the Grant Icefall should be fantastic when things settle down.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
@Francis.S, don't know if you got your Vallee Blanche on?

I took my own advice and went down from Helbronner today (Monday) and it as grand after a bit of sun crust at the start. Lots of fresh tracks to be had.

Then went most of the way up to the Col du Tacul. If you choose your aspect carefully there was creamy fresh snow all the way down through the moraine to the Mer de Glacé.

On a general point everything is much improved down the VB in terms of snow cover and no longer looking like the Sahara.

Everything quickly becoming sun affected but spring conditions might evolve soon.
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You're amazing! Thank you. I actually had to be in Chamonix and had never skied the VB at all so went up the aiguille du midi but the Helbronner side looked beautiful.

We managed to get fresh tracks for the first few steep sections towards Petit Envers. It was brill. Thanks so much for your advice and encouragement.

Next time i'll definitely try the Italian side.

Glad you had a good day out. It really was a stunning day up there wasn't it.
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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?
@Francis.S, glad you got it done in half decent conditions.

It was good.
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Skinned from Bochard with good intentions - partners knee decided it had to bail about 50 minutes out but had a few very lovely turns on the return.

Still fun to be had.
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Any reports on the snow conditions on Les Grands Montets?Piere a ric skiable to bottom?!
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@harvey13, p a r skiable
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I know that St Gervais isn't exactly Chamonix but that's where I was today. End of the season for me. Brought forward by a few days due to the rapidly vanishing snow and a close shave.

We went to ski the east face of Mont Jolly early today. From the summit my chum made 1 turn on fairly shallow ground which triggered a narrow full depth avalanche below his feet. That rapidly propagated into a 40m wide monster which swept 5/600m down the east face.

Not looking for a critique on why we shouldn't have been there. Just a gentle alert to the off Piste and touring community. Be careful.
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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!
Wow, lucky escape. By full depth you mean to the grass?
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@8611, at the top where triggered, yes.
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