16 / 12 / 2012
What a difference a year makes
This time last year we were all considering the possibility that we may not have enough snow to open the lifts on time. A white Christmas seemed more likely in the UK than it did 1500mts up the Italian alps.
Well this year I’m glad to report it’s a totally different story. We have fantastic conditions thanks to several very nice snow falls. We have already had more snow this season than we had all of last season. Officially the snow depths are 140cm on the upper slopes and 80cm on the lower slopes but I reckon you could add another 20cm to those figures.
The last 3 or 4 years we have always had snow towards the end of October and normally it’s within a day or 2 that it starts falling each year. This year was no exception, the only difference was the amount it put down. Trucks were called in to take the snow out of the village there was that much.
October set a trend that continued in November so as December started we were treated with the lifts opening 1 week sooner than originally planned. Visibility wasn’t great on that first day but it sure felt good to be skiing on 100% natural snow on the 1st December.
On that note about natural snow we were a little concerned here in Sauze d’Oulx that an ongoing dispute concerning the running of the snow cannons might not get resolved and we would be facing a season with no artificial snow. Those that read my blogs last season will understand the importance of the cannons last year. I’m glad to report that the parties concerned came to an agreement on the 5th December and as and when conditions allow we will have the cannons topping up the natural stuff.
For now though I’m loving the feeling of natural snow under foot. The pistes are in fantastic conditions. We have been blighted slightly with high winds just as we were last year at this time. Today the links were open so the whole of the Via Lattea was available however yesterday Fraiteve was closed partly because of the wind but also because of the high avalanche risk.
With great snow conditions comes the increased danger of avalanches and already tragedy has struck in the area as an avalanche claimed the life of an Italian skier last week. Take extra caution if you’re due out over the next few weeks. Always take notice of the warnings. If you do venture off piste then only do so with the correct gear and if you have a good understanding of the conditions.
To finish on a more upbeat note we have more snow forecast for Monday and Tuesday. Wednesday and Thursday should be clear before more snow is due on Friday. The long term forecast says that we’ll have snow on Christmas eve so if you’re out for then head down to Moncrons bar for Christmas carols and mulled wine in the snow.
Here’s to great season and hopefully just like last year I’ll bump into a few of you in the bars.
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