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Unsettled weather continues in Alpe d'Huez

Fresh snow as the UK half-term week approaches

Featured in: | Rob Wood, Alpe d'Huez Reporter | Published
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It has been a case of four seasons in one day in Alpe d’Huez recently – we have had everything from snow to sun, rain and high winds, with equally variable temperatures as well. The unsettled weather has been in the main due to the remnants of Storm Ciara that battered the UK for several days last weekend. The imminent arrival of Storm Dennis in the UK will have further effects on the weather in the Alps over the next day or so.

We had some welcome snowfall last Wednesday (February 5th) when around 20cm fell in resort (1850m) as well as a further light dusting of around 5cm on Sunday into Monday. Around 10 to 15cm have fallen on the slopes on Thursday night, perfect as we approach the busy half-term week as on-piste conditions remain really good.

What are the snow conditions like on the pistes?

On-piste snow cover across the ski area currently ranges between 250cm at the top of Pic Blanc (3300m) and 45cm in Auris (1650m) and Vaujany (1250m). In Alpe d'Huez village (1850m), the snow depth reaches 130cm. These decent snow depths are in the main thanks to the very snowy November and December, while some more fresh snowfall would be most welcome.

We are well into the busiest month of the season and the resort is operating at virtually full capacity with 100 pistes open (out of 101), being served by 60+ lifts (out of 67). With virtually every slope open, there really is something for everybody, including 31 greens, 30 blues, 26 reds and 13 blacks.

What are the snow conditions like off-piste?

Off-piste conditions are a bit tracked out and the high winds have tended to drift the snow a bit. This said, the area from the top of the Pic Blanc towards the Pyramides and Clavans still offers a bit of variation but, again, this too would benefit from some fresh snow. Avalanche risk currently stands at 3/5. Off-piste depths range between 265cm at 3000m and 125cm at 2000m.

Where to go to avoid the half-term crowds?

Lift queues are not too bad at all, with the busiest moments being at 09:00-09:30 when ski schools are about to hit the slopes. The slopes over in Auris, across the “Scare Chair” from the Les Bergers lift station, are much quieter than their main resort counterparts and it’s well worth a spin over there to avoid the masses. The area towards Vaujany, away from the main bowl, also offers much quieter slopes and shorter lift queues.

What to do away from the slopes?

Away from the slopes, the resort's entertainment programme is in full swing and one of the attractions not to be missed is the weekly floodlight ski show, torchlight descent by the instructors of ESF and firework display at the Signal on Wednesday evening – this is one of the main treats on the events' programme and should not be missed. The leisure centre hosts its usual wide array of activities, including swimming pool, climbing wall, table tennis, crazy golf, gym, fitness classes, squash and tennis to name but a few.

What does the weather forecast say?

This weekend looks, thankfully, like being fairly settled with light winds and plenty of sunshine. Next week will have a mix of sunshine and snow showers, which may be the case right through until the end of the month. The variance in temperatures will likely continue as well, with a chance of 10ºC in resort over the weekend, dropping down to -3ºC by Wednesday as a daytime high – so bring a wide assortment of clothing with you! The days continue to lengthen as spring approaches with sunrise today at 07:41 and sunset at 18:00.

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Our Alpe d'Huez reporter, Rob, spends his winters in the mountains and his summers on Broadsands Beach (South Devon, UK) where he runs a watersports company. If you want to go kayaking, canoeing or stand-up paddleboarding check out his website.