Thursday, 26 January 2012

Massive snowfall in the Alps

It's been a snowy week in Vallorcine, my adopted village. Saturday saw Vallorcine cut off from the world (well, from France anyway) with the road closed and the train rather embarrassingly stuck.
But things soon improved as conditions stabilised and we've been treated to some great snowshoeing and skiing conditions.
 The general consensus is that we've not seen such heavy snowfall for a good few years - and that there's now enough to last for a while.
Once the sun comes out it really is very beautiful.

And for the moment there are very few people around so there's lots of untracked snow which makes for great walking and running down.
Although there is a little less snow further south, conditions are still reported to be good.

Next stop for me - another week in the Val Clarée (Dauphiné Alps) early February. They claim 300 sunny days a year there so let's hope we don't hit any of the other 65 days.

So it's goodbye from Vallorcine where all the women are strong, the men are good looking and everyone is enjoying the snow.

Friday, 20 January 2012

Great snowshoeing in the Dauphiné and in Vallorcine

Photo Sandy Parker

We were extremely lucky to have a full week of blue skies and sunshine for our Val Clarée Snowshoeing. Having siad that, Briançon (the nearest town) boasts 300 sunny days a year so I suppose that's how it's going to be but nevertheless we felt that such conditions in early January were a real treat. 
The snow was good too and we just had a blast!
Photo Sandy Parker

Chamois in their dark winter coats

Sandy demonstrates the TITA Snowshoe Roll

Back in Vallorcine for a few days conditions are also very good and until today we had blue skies. But now it's snowing quite heavily which is no bad thing as will cover up all the old ski and snowshoe tracks and we can start all over again!!

The Oberland from the Mont Arpille

Full on winter conditions in Vallorcine

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Snow in the Alps and a little bit in Provence (but only a VERY little!)

Photo Patricia Loffi
After all that stress in November when we worried about "no snow in the Alps", once it started falling mid December it doesn't seem to have stopped. 

Photo Patricia Loffi
The road from Chamonix to Vallorcine has been closed at the Col des Montets numerous times lately due to avalanche risk which certainly caused some fun with all the holiday makers over Christmas.
Of course this makes for great winter conditions, doubly so when we're getting reports from the US of very lean winter conditions in many resorts.

Angèle, the highest peak in the Provençal Baronnies sporting a snowy cap
 In Provence we don't want snow really, except maybe on Mont Ventoux so they can open the ski area, but coldish temps & some precipitation recently have left a sprinkle on higher ground.
The beautiful Dentelles de Montmirail
However, in general conditions are dry & sunny - just how it should be.
Time next weekend to saddle up the old raquettes and head east to the Val Clarée near Briançon, home to some of the best snowshoeing known to woman or cat!

Waiting for action!