Avalanche reports: what is the risk in the French Alps this week?

Telegraph Ski and Snowboard
Check the latest avalanche reports from the mountains - (c) Andrew J L Holt www.andrew-holt.com VCI 44AH44

Staying safe when skiing or snowboarding in the mountains is crucial – an important part of that is being aware of the risk of avalanche where you are, being prepared when heading off piste, and knowing what to do should an avalanche happen.

The Telegraph Ski & Snowboard has teamed up with Henry Schneiwind from Henry’s Avalanche Talk, to provide up-to-date avalanche safety reports from the Savoie region of the French Alps, which includes popular resorts such as Courchevel, Méribel, Val Thorens and Les Menuires in the Trois Vallées as well as Val d'Isère, TignesLa Plagne, Les Arcs, La Rosière and La Tania.

Henry Schneiwind: A high-pressure weather system is now in place over the Northern French Alps, bringing dry sunny conditions until the end of March.

What is the current avalanche risk in the Northern French Alps/Savoie?

The avalanche danger rating is down to 1 below 2,500m and 2 in some places and it is likely to remain that way until we see significant warming or new snow. There are a few slabs on high north and north west facing slopes above 2,500m.

What does this mean for off-piste skiers and snowboarders?

With this nice sunny weather ahead we’re hoping for lovely smooth ‘spring snow’ conditions to come into place very soon. They’re already appearing on sunnier slopes at low altitude, but we could do with some more intense heat in the day, followed by good overnight refreezes, for the lovely smooth conditions to become more widespread. Fingers crossed.

Where is most at risk at the moment?

There is some risk of slabs releasing on north and north west facing slopes above 2,500m. There’s also risk on south facing slopes later in the afternoon where snow can become unstable.

What is the likely avalanche activity this week?

The avalanche rating is currently low but south facing slopes in the warm afternoon sun can become unstable.

How does the forecast look for the coming week?

Friday 22 March

A beautiful sunny day, getting warmer in the afternoon. Overnight will be more or less well starry with some passages of fine clouds.

Saturday 23 March

Expect good weather all day with a foehn wind weakening to 40 kmph and a freezing level up to 3,000m.

Sunday 24 to Thursday 28 March

The high pressure continues. The temperatures remain spring like reaching 9ºC at 2,000m and 0ºC at 3,000m. The sun continues to shine all week.

Tip of the week

Enjoy and learn how to ski the lovely smooth spring snow to make the most of the great weather.