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Huge late-season dump of snow in Alpe d'Huez

Fresh snow just in time for Easter

Featured in:

Rob Wood | Alpe d'Huez Reporter | Published: 5 Apr 2019

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Huge late-season dump of snow in Alpe d'Huez

As followers of our dump alert service will be aware of, we had a cracking dump of fresh snow on Wednesday into Thursday this week when around 30cm fell in resort and a whopping 40cm fell on the higher slopes at 3300 metres.

This fresh snow sets things up perfectly for the last three weeks of the season and the Easter holidays, which get underway back in the UK this weekend. It goes without saying that conditions have dramatically improved after the recent snow, it is quite unusual to get such a decent dump so late into the season.

The snow was brought about by a dramatic change in the weather which had been incredibly warm and settled for the past couple of weeks, when barely a cloud had been seen in the sky. Gone were the spring-like temperatures of late when 15ºC had been a regular occurrence. These were replaced by more wintery temperatures on Wednesday as the cold front carrying the snow approached.

The snow fell all the way down to an elevation of around 700 metres, meaning that all of the pistes of the ski area received at least 20cm of lovely fresh snow. This week's wintery hiatus looks set to be replaced by more spring-like conditions. The sun returned today and the weather looks settled in the main in the build-up towards Easter, although there is the possibility of a further 10cm of snow on Sunday.

After this week's great amount of fresh snow, the on-piste cover now stands much replenished at:

  • Alpe d’Huez (1850m): 160cm
  • Pic Blanc (3300m): 200cm
  • Auris Station (1650m): 60m
  • Auris Signal (2176m): 150cm
  • Villard Reculas (1500m): 70cm
  • Vaujany (1250m): 90cm
  • Oz Station (1350m): 100cm
  • Montfrais (1650m): 120cm
  • Dome-des-Rousses (2800m): 200cm

As you would expect after a decent amount of fresh snow, the higher slopes above 2800 metres were closed until late morning on Thursday and the avalanche risk immediately rose from 1/5 up to 3/5, where it still remains. This will, no doubt, reduce over the weekend as the pisteurs continue to make the ski area safe.

The past couple of weekends have been busy as locals make the most of the season but the general pattern has seen very quiet mid-weeks with lift queues virtually non-existent of late. The ski area still boasts 86 open pistes and these are still being served by 58 lifts. Of the 86 pistes, 29 are green, 28 blue, 21 red and 8 are black.

The famous Sarenne black run is in greatly improved condition for its entire 16km length and is ever popular. The infamous black run Tunnel is still super-mogully as is not for the faint-hearted. You can still ski all the way to down to 1500 metres in Maronne, Huez and Vaujany, which is quite a luxury as we are now into April. The fresh snow has massively improved the conditions of the lower slopes in particular.

Off-piste snow depths now stand at:

  • 3000m: north - 280cm, south - 200cm
  • 2500m: north - 240cm, south - 160cm
  • 2000m: north - 150cm, south - 110cm
  • 1500m: north - 90cm, south - 20cm

We still have 31km of Nordic cross-country ski trails open, as well as the whole 28km of walking trails. Like the ski pistes, their condition has vastly improved thanks to this week's snowfall.

In line with the UK and the rest of Europe, the clocks went forward here last weekend. This gave us some great bright evenings with almost 13 hours of lovely daylight.

As widely reported in the UK's news feeds, the “gilet jaune” protests continue here in France and are now entering their 21st week. Although they are no longer happening daily, they are still taking place on and off, especially on Saturday mornings (transfer day) – nothing to worry about,  just be aware of the delays they may pose to your drive or airport transfer.

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