Currently, there is a high avalanche risk in the French and Swiss Alps. Since last week, the snow cover is unstable, with the large amount of snow that has fallen, the chance of large (spontaneous) avalanches is present. After Friday's snowfall, nice weather is predicted for the weekend. This often turns out to be an explosive combination. After a year with little skiing by many, the powder stress will be high. If you are in the Alps this weekend, remember: "better safe than sorry".
For Friday avalanche danger 5 is expected in the Chablais (a.o. Châtel). The rest of the French northern Alps is avalanche danger 4, in Switzerland in some places avalanche danger 4 and elsewhere avalanche danger 3.
The Swiss SLF writes for instance around SIon: "As a consequence of new snow and a sometimes strong wind, extensive wind slabs will form from the second half of the night. These are prone to triggering. Natural avalanches are to be expected. Avalanches can be triggered in near-ground layers and reach very large size. This applies especially on west, north and east facing slopes above approximately 2000 m. Exposed parts of transportation routes can be endangered occasionally. Extensive experience in the assessment of avalanche danger and great restraint are required."
The under layers in the snow are weak, we find a lot of weak layers and on top of that a lot of snow has fallen, often in combination with a lot of wind. This makes the chance of triggering avalanches very high. Also at a distance.
Should the danger subside a little in the coming days, with the weak lower layers it is important, if you are going off-piste, to stay far away from slopes of 30° or steeper. It is possible to trigger avalanches from a distance. Always keep an eye on the avalanche bulletins if you want to go off-piste. And remember: 'better to be too careful than sorry'.