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Late season top-up for Alpe d'Huez

Fresh snow to see resort through to the end of season

Featured in: | Rob Wood, Alpe d'Huez Reporter | Published
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After last weeks’ pleasantly surprising huge dump of snow, we saw the return of spring for a couple of days before a bit more snow at the weekend. In total Saturday and Sunday delivered a further 5cm of snow - nothing massive, but a nice little late season top-up never the less, plus there is some snow in the forecast as well.

The next few days (Wednesday to Friday) may well bring us somewhere in the region of a further 13cm of snow on higher slopes as well, and this will be perfect in the lead up to the busy Easter period.

The past couple of days have been gloriously sunny and the snow is being brought to us courtesy of an approaching cold front that should deliver the precipitation, although with a freeze height of around 1800m, it may unfortunately fall as rain on the very lowest of slopes. That said, the higher slopes should receive a nice bit of fresh snow. Next week looks like being a bit unsettled, with some sunshine and the chance of some precipitation as well, with temperatures remaining mild for the main.

After last weeks’ big snow fall and the weekends little top-up, on-piste cover now stands impressively for mid-April at:

  • Alpe d’Huez (1850m): 130cm
  • Pic Blanc (3300m): 190cm
  • Auris Station (1650m): 30m
  • Auris Signal (2176m): 140cm
  • Villard Reculas (1500m): 20cm
  • Vaujany (1250m): 80cm
  • Oz Station (1350m): 90cm
  • Montfrais (1650m): 90cm
  • Dome-des-Rousses (2800m): 180cm

After an initial rise to 3/5, the avalanche risk has now thankfully dropped back down to 2/5 thanks to the sterling work of the local pisteurs. Even with a bit of fresh snow it is likely to stay at 2/5 across the whole ski area.

For the past week or so the temperatures have been lower than they were at the end of March, and this is definitely helping to keep the pistes in better condition as the days go on, but things definitely have that lovely spring feel to them at the moment.

With the UK schools now on Easter holiday there are definitely more British families in resort, but nothing like the peaks we see in February and thankfully lift queues remain nice and short, as they have been for the past few weeks now.

Impressively for mid-April, we still have a whooping 85 pistes open across the ski area, and of these 28 are green, 28 blue, 22 red and seven black, and as has been the case all season there’s still plenty of variety for skiers of all abilities.

The famous black run Sarenne is in great late season condition for its entire 16km length and is ever popular, although the infamous black run Tunnel is still super-mogully, is not for the faint-hearted, and carries its usual “good skiers only” caveat, and this really should be borne in mind on this very steepest of pistes.

Amazingly for so late in the season you can still ski all the way to down to 1500m in Maronne, Huez and Vaujany, which is quite a luxury as we are now well into April, and last weekends fresh snow has kept the conditions of the lower slopes in particularly good late season nick.

Off-piste depths now stand at:

  • 3000m: north - 260cm, south - 180cm
  • 2500m: north - 240cm, south - 150cm
  • 2000m: north - 110cm, south - 80cm
  • 1500m: north - 60cm, south - 10cm

The off-piste conditions are still pretty good, and the best lines are to be found towards the Pyramides from the top of the Pic Blanc at 3300m, but to find the very best of the late season powder a bit of ski-touring is required. As is always the case when venturing off-piste, be careful.

We still have 31km of Nordic XC ski trails remain open as well as 12km of walking trails, and like the ski pistes they remain in good late season condition. We are into the second week of French summer time over here now, and with sunrise today at 07:02 and sunset at 20:13, we had well over 13 hours of lovely daylight.

Although diminishingly reported in the UK news feeds, the gilets jaunes protest continues here in France, and are now entering their 22nd week. Although they are no longer daily, the protests are still ongoing sporadically and they tend to target Saturday mornings (transfer day) – the protests are entirely peaceful and are nothing to worry about, but just be aware of the delays they may cause to your drive or airport transfer.

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