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Snowsure for Easter weekend in Alpe d'Huez

Still over a metre of snow in resort

Featured in: | Rob Wood, Alpe d'Huez Reporter | Published
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It may well be the penultimate week of this fabulous season here in Alpe d’Huez, but we still have over a metre of snow on the lower slopes around resort at 1850m, which is very impressive as the busy Easter weekend approaches.

The weather for the past week or so has been fairly settled in the main with very little precipitation, although over the weekend we saw a little more cloud than you would normally expect this far into April.

The forecast for the last week of the season looks mainly sunny and settled, although we may get some precipitation towards the end of next week. Easter weekend itself looks like being wall-to-wall sunshine with lovely mild temperatures, with afternoon resort highs look like reaching 14C for the whole of the holiday weekend.

After a snow free week, on piste cover still stands impressively for late-April at:

  • Alpe d’Huez (1850m): 105cm
  • Pic Blanc (3300m): 150cm
  • Auris Station (1650m): 15m
  • Auris Signal (2176m): 120cm
  • Villard Reculas (1500m): 15cm
  • Vaujany (1250m): 40cm
  • Oz Station (1350m): 65cm
  • Montfrais (1650m): 90cm
  • Dome-des-Rousses (2800m): 160cm

Avalanche risk now thankfully stands mainly at 2/5 across the majority of the Grand Domaine ski area (1/5 in parts), and it should remain at this level for the remainder of the season, which draws to a close on Saturday April 27th.

For the past week or so the temperatures have been lower than they were at the end of March when the mercury got up to 18C for around a week or so, 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, and the best of conditions are definitely to be found in the mornings and as the days go on up on the higher slopes.

All the ski areas remain open, and with decent snow cover they should remain sop for the rest of the season. But it goes without saying that the best of conditions are to be found above 2500m in the Pic Blanc area. As you would expect for this stage of the season, the very lowest of pistes, those lower than resort itself, have now closed, so you can no longer ski down to Huez at 1500m.

The north facing runs from the Pic Blanc down towards Vaujany are probably in the best condition of all the pistes, as they are less susceptible to the lovely spring sunshine. With the UK Easter holidays ongoing there are definitely more British families in resort, and this weekend will no doubt see the arrival of many French families taking advantage of the penultimate weekend of the season. But thankfully nothing like the peaks we see in February, and lift queues remain nice and short as they have been for the past month now. Impressively for late April we still have a whooping 69 pistes open across the ski area, and of these 22 are green, 23 blue, 18 red and six are 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 remains in great late season condition for its entire 16km length and is ever popular, although the infamous black run Tunnel is still super-mogully and is not for the faint-hearted, as it carries its usual “good skiers only” caveat. This really should be borne in mind on this very steepest and moguly of pistes.

Off-piste depths now stand at:

  • 3000m: north - 220cm, south - 130cm
  • 2500m: north - 210cm, south - 120cm
  • 2000m: north - 110cm, south - 50cm
  • 1500m: north - 20cm, south - 10cm

Although we haven’t had any snow for the past 10 days, the off-piste conditions are still pretty good, and the best lines are still 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.

As the season begins to draw to a close we still have 16km of Nordic XC ski trails remain open, as well as 10km of walking trails, and like the ski pistes they remain in good late season condition, and they are truly spectacular in the spring sunshine. The days continue to lengthen here in France, and with sunrise at 06:43 and sunset at 20:24, we have almost 14 hours of daylight here in resort. Bargains are a plenty here at the moment as virtually every shop in town is offering end of season discounts of around 50%, so it really is a buyers market at the moment.

Although diminishingly reported in the UK news feeds, the 'gilets jaune' protests continue here in France (although they have obviously been over-shadowed by the terrible fire at Notre Dame Cathedral), and are now entering their 23rd 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 pose to your drive or airport transfer.

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