HIGH avalanche danger in the French Alps


By meteomorris on 29 January 2015 · 0

HIGH avalanche danger
HIGH avalanche danger

The French avalanche services increased the avalanche danger up to four (HIGH) on a scale of five. PowderAlert #9 will bring one to two meters of fresh snow to the French Alps.

Experts know that in such quantities critical amounts of snow (in normal English, too much fresh snow in a short time) are exceeded and the avalanche danger is there. For that reason, the avalanche danger is set on four in the Haute Savoie, Savoie, the Isère, the Hautes Alpes and the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence. It's expected that the avalanche danger for western Switzerland will also rise rise to four the next couple of days.

Avalanche danger 4?

When the avalanche danger is four you have to take spontaneous medium and even large avalanches into account. These are avalanches that ski areas, roads and even houses can threaten. A very dangerous situation.

Source: Avalanches.org
Source: Avalanches.org

Problems on the roads

Saturday is traditionally a so-called 'changeover' in the French Alps and the local authorities will do everything possible to keep the main roads open. However, it can (and probably will) be that certain roads will (temporarily) close due to avalanche danger. Are you driving that direction this weekend check the actual road conditions in advance. For France, check out Bison Fute and the TCS website for Switzerland. It is also good to keep an eye on the site meteoalarm.eu, so that you are aware of current weather conditions.

Closed (parts of) ski areas

Besides road closures also (parts of) ski areas will be closed due to avalanche danger. Inform yourself before your departure about the conditions to expect in your local area and adapt your plans to it.

No knowledge = on the marked slopes!

With such amounts of fresh snow it can be very dangerous in the backcountry. Stay on the marked slopes and that's definitely not a punishment. There is so much snow that you can also ride freshies on the slopes. Please check if the slope isn't closed. If it's closed, it's closed for a reason.

Knowledge? Go for treeruns that aren't below steep faces

If you're going to the Alps the next couple of days, be alert. Check your local daily avalanche bulletin, make sure you have the right gear with you and that you have the right knowledge. With the right knowledge, it is still possible to ride beautiful tree runs. The avalanche danger is expected to be less high lower in the valleys and as long as you choose tree runs that are not under below steep faces you ride with less risk. Be alert while in open areas, trenches and so-called avalanche chutes.

No knowledge? Are you not sure? Say no to off piste and wait for conditions to improve. The season is still long.


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