Off Piste Snow Report : 26th – 30th March 2016

By Henry's Avalanche Talk. Photo by Wayne Watson

Off Piste Snow Conditions

Off-piste snow depths remain good for the time of season. In our Haute Tarentaise area of Savoie, we can still ski on S facing slopes down to 1500 m, and on N facing ones down to 1100 m.
For the last few days, snow conditions have been becoming quite spring-like up to about 2700 m, depending on which direction the slope faces. We've often been finding some great spring skiing, by walking. Touring skis have really been a 'must' as we're having to walk further and further afield to find any untracked snow.
The snow has often been hard and crusty first thing in the morning due to daytime melting and overnight re-freezing. It's sometimes been wind-hardened in places. Some of our first traverses in the morning have been pretty 'crispy', to say the least, and couteaux (ski crampons) have sometimes been useful. As the day goes on, the snow has been melting in the sunshine, becoming humidified and heavier.
With the cooler temperatures and probable snowfall ahead, these spring-like conditions could disappear again for a while, and we may well be back to 'winter' for a short snap with some powder snow around again.

Snow Stability

The snowpack is now generally stable on most slopes. With the recent warm temperatures and sunshine, the main risk has been of natural avalanches/slides later on in the day as temperatures rise and the snow becomes heavier as it re-humidifies. These could also be triggered by skiers passing by on sufficiently steep slopes. Over the last few days the avalanche risk has been around a 1 to 2 on the European scale. This will rise if we get any signiicant change in the weather/snow conditions (high wind, snowfall, etc). See our HAT advice for what all the avalanche danger ratings mean: http://www.henrysavalanchetalk.com/avalanche-forecasts-danger-rating. There is some risk of skiers triggering windslab, particularly on high-altitude N facing slopes and near the French/Italian border.

Tips of the Week

Changes in snow stability will occur when there is a change in the weather (such as high winds, snowfall, etc). Keep checking our Facebook page to get our latest updates: www.facebook.com/HenrysAvalancheTalk
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