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Conditions are holding up well after last week's warm spell

Good skiing up on the pistes around the Pic Blanc

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I don’t know about spring conditions, it was more like summer at the end of last week here in Alpe d’Huez!

Temperatures last Friday (17th March) got up to a whooping 24degC over in Vaujany (1250 metres) and even up to around 15/16degC in resort (1850 metres). It was sunny and warm all last week and things finally got back to normal on Saturday.

Since Saturday temperatures have returned to a more “spring-like” levels of around +4degC in the mornings and +9degC in the afternoons in resort and between -6 and +4degC up at the top of the Pic Blanc at 3300 metres in the mornings and afternoons respectively.

Last weeks’ temperatures were due to a huge area of high pressure (around 1028mb) that covered the whole of the Alps and brought with it the glorious weather. Since the weekend barometric has dropped to around 1012mb and should stay at around this level for the next few days before creeping back up to around 1020mb by the early part of next when the sunshine looks set to return.

It’s been a bit cloudy for the past couple of days and the wind picked up a bit this afternoon which led to the closure of a couple of lifts, but widening isobars over the next few days should see these winds drop right off.

The last reportable snowfall here was on 7th March and with any luck we may get some snow at the weekend. It may start snowing on Friday but more likely on Saturday afternoon/evening when between 15 and 30cm may fall. The current freeze level of around 2300 metres looks set to drop to around 1600 metres on Saturday, so if the precipitation does arrive it will hopefully be more snow than rain – fingers crossed. 

This precipitation is due to a weather front coming in from the Iberian Peninsula, and as such there is a possibility that the Pyrenees will get most of the snow before the front gets here, let’s hope that’s not the case.

Last weeks’ high temperatures did have an effect on the snow cover on the lower slopes, but thankfully those really high temperatures didn’t last too long.

On-piste snow cover currently stands at:

  • Alpe d’Huez 1850m – 115cm
  • PicBlanc 3300m – 215cm
  • Auris 1650m – 10cm
  • Auris 2176m – 80cm
  • Villard 1500m – 30cm
  • Vaujany 1250m – 0cm
  • Oz 1350m – 30cm
  • Montfrais 1650m – 50cm
  • Dome des Rousses 2800m – 80cm

Off-piste depths are:

  • 2500m North facing – 190cm
  • 2500m South facing – 90cm
  • 1500m North facing – 20cm
  • 1500m South facing – 0cm

There are currently 59 lifts open (out of 69) and these are serving 102 pistes.

The pistes are:

  • Green – 39 (out of 40)
  • Blue – 27 (29)
  • Red – 25 (31)
  • Black – 11 (16)

Avalanche risk across the whole of the Grande Domaine ski area currently stands at 2 MODERATE.

The lower runs “below” resort to Huez (Village and Huez) have now closed, the snow cover to these south facing lower slopes literally seemed to vanish in a few hours last Friday afternoon.

Likewise, the really low slopes through the Foret de Maronne over in Auris, down to around 1500 metres have now closed. The “bowl” area around Auris village is still open but snow cover is down to around 30cm and it does cut up and get patchy in the afternoons. There are still 40km of cross country ski trails open and also 34km of walking trails.

As you would expect by the end of March conditions are well and truly spring like now, this means crusty in the mornings and slushy later on in the days. The best of conditions on the lower slopes are between around 10.30am and 3.30pm, when they’ve warmed up a bit and before they get to soft.

The best skiing is still to be found up between 2700m and 3300 metres on the Pic Blanc, these pistes are on the whole in better condition than those between the Marmottes 2 and 3. Tunnel is, as it has been all season, very mogully and is marked for “good skiers only”.  The Sarenne is still in great condition too.

It will be a busy week here in resort next week both on and off the slopes with resort hosting the British Universities ski championships, with around 2,600 students set to descend on resort over the weekend with races taking place all next week.

Take a look at the latest weather forecasts

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