The morning was nearly as warm as the day before, so Liz and I started out with two of the runs our guide Stefan had showed us. On the traverse to the bowl above the V3 run, we can see the clouds above Alagna.
The V3 piste is in morning sun while the off piste remains shaded by mountains at left.
This time we bailed out to the piste at 7,200 feet, staying above the rain crust.
We rode Alagna’s upper tram and then Indren to 10,700 feet. Liz in upper bowl there:
Red sticks show the way to the couloir if weather turns inclement.
Liz skiing Canale dell’Aquila:
On the exit trail we saw a few people below approaching the Iscikette Couloir.
Here’s Iscikette Couloir viewed from Grosseney’s lower gondola.
Stefan would have finished our Wednesday tour there except that avalanche debris had slid in there during the weekend wet storm. The snow was so nasty the skiers in the picture above are walking and carrying their skis.
We skied down to Grosseney, then rode two lifts to the 8,950 foot Col de Bettaforca to cross into Champoluc. The upper lift and an on mountain restaurant have a good view of the glacial ice below the 13,000+ foot peaks.
Here we descend the Champoluc side of Col de Bettaforca.
There was lightly tracked powder beside the pistes.
The catch was that exposure was southwest and the prior two days had been warm and sunny. Some flatter areas were soft, but once I hit a rollover and crashed when the slope became steeper and crusty.
We made our way to the 8,850 foot Serezza, the highest point directly above Champoluc, and skied a couple of runs there. The clouds are now approaching.
There is an ibex statue with view to the peaks and glaciers at Serezza.
Zoom to the glaciers above the Champoluc Valley.
You can ski with a guide the 7,400 vertical descent from Zermatt’s Klein Matterhorn through those glaciers to Champoluc. That’s the afternoon run after a heli drop in the morning as high as 14,200 feet at Col de Lys and an 8,500 foot descent to Zermatt. I inquired and evidently the helicopter is not running at the moment. Also Zermatt is still digging out from the big storms so the sketchier glacier runs are probably off limits for awhile.
The clouds are now thick in a band between about 7,000 and 8,000 feet.
This was unfortunate because the C6 piste from Serazza is one of the few sustained north facing pitches in the Monte Rosa. From above and below the cloud band there appeared to be enticing off piste to skiers left. But off piste above tree line in the Alps is futile with bad visibility.
We made our way across 3 more lifts to Col de Bettaforca. Fortunately the cloud layer over Grosseney was much thinner so the 3,000+ foot descent to Grosseney was no problem. Liz was getting cold so she walked up a hill to get into the Ellex Hotel. I took the #20 gondola so I could ski to it. We skied 9,800 vertical on the Monterosa east of Grosseney and I skied 15,200 west of Grosseney.
Champuloc’s terrain to no surprise in the Alps skis much bigger than it looks on a map. The off piste there is more straightforwardly accessible without guides and generally at a mellower pitch than in Alagna. There are access lifts coming up from Champoluc and Frachey, but most of the pistes are in a reliable altitude range of 6,500 – 8,900 feet.
All 3 valleys have a lot of sunny exposures and might ski well timing the exposures for spring corn. With a lot of wind effect the high alpine Monterosa skiing reminded me some of Mammoth and even more of Las Lenas considering the scale and big vertical.