Alps Weather 2023

Tony Crocker

Administrator
Staff member
ChrisC, when will you be in southern Alps, Serre Chevalier, Alpe d'Huez etc.?

We will be with James in Serre Chevalier Jan. 29-30, likely remaining in Briancon area but skiing other places a couple more days. Alpe d'Huez/LesDeux Alpes are likely sometime Feb. 2 or later. We fly home Feb. 9.

During the westerly storms while sbooker was in Tignes and Les Arcs, Alpe d'Huez/LesDeux Alpes got hammered with 40+ inches. I'm pleased to report that the recent storm dumped 18 inches in the Milky Way so even though we were a bit beat from our first two days skiing in France, we scored some serious pow in Sansicario today: a nice way for Liz to hit the 200 ski area milestone.

There is no new snow predicted in the southern Alps for the next 10 days. However the last two weeks of weather plus not so much rain back at Christmas should mean overall decent conditions. Upcoming snow sounds like mainly Austria, but its season has been lean so far so I wonder how much base there is.
 

ChrisC

Well-known member
ChrisC, when will you be in southern Alps, Serre Chevalier, Alpe d'Huez etc.?

We will be with James in Serre Chevalier Jan. 29-30, likely remaining in Briancon area but skiing other places a couple more days. Alpe d'Huez/LesDeux Alpes are likely sometime Feb. 2 or later. We fly home Feb. 9.

The only thing definite so far:
Sestriere - Jan 28 (if things go right?! Lift tickets are cheap so maybe just a few runs)
Serre Chevalier - Jan 29

Otherwise, I just have some parameters:

  • I know I am doing a day at Alpe d'Huez. And Likely Les 2 Alpes.
  • Then seeing if I can get into a La Grave guide group (?) or perhaps an Alpe d'Huez guide group (?). I might get my own guide as a treat ($450) to go out in Alpe d'Huez and/or La Grave since conditions, visibility and stability are really good. Joining a group is $150 - why not just go private?
  • Alternatively, might head to La Thuile/La Rossiere before arriving in Courmayeur the night of Feb 1st.
  • Need to see how much I like Alpe d'Huez, and if I want to do 2 days there.

We could meet up in Serre Chevalier for dinner or so. However, I am trying to ski as much of Serre Chevalier in one day, so I might be a little too taxing to ski with.


Wished I had purchased this book ......maybe I can find a copy in Serre Chevalier:

La_Grave_Alpe_d_Huez_Les_2_Alpes_Off_Piste_Skiing_Guide_Book.jpg
 

Tony Crocker

Administrator
Staff member
James has arranged a guide for Serre Chevalier Jan. 29. Want to join? Yes we might slow you down, but OTOH with a guide you'll learn your way around and learn efficiently what you might want to hit on your own.

We had a great day in Sestriere today, but the conventional wisdom is that its business is highly weekend concentrated. Lifts and slopes were fine today there was a 40 minute line to buy a lift ticket. I don't know if you can buy online in advance. Terrain is mostly intermediate. That was good for wandering off piste between runs for the powder. Current conditions are too risky for terrain with avalanche exposure. Maybe that will settle down in a few days with no more snow expected.

One of my 2008 La Grave guides was Joe Vallone. He is still around. The website has a sign up form. I did not find an e-mail for inquiries. For ChrisC's type of skiing, Joe is exactly the type of guide he would want.
 

ChrisC

Well-known member
James has arranged a guide for Serre Chevalier Jan. 29. Want to join?

If I had multiple days at Serre Che, I would join. Basically, I just want to do a single on-piste day and cover as much of the area as I can - with minor off-piste forays.

We had a great day in Sestriere today,

Would you pick a different Milky Way resort? Each are about 2:20-2:40 from Milan Malpensa. Also, I could push onto Briancon/Serre Che in about 2:50.

One of my 2008 La Grave guides was Joe Vallone. He is still around.

Thanks. The guides in La Grave are around $400/day. Alpe d'Huez guides are $450/day. See who has availability. I would be very happy to do a couple of more big lines at La Grave. There is likely better snow today than when I skied it back in 2006. You basically want stable weather for this terrain.
 

Tony Crocker

Administrator
Staff member
I doubt any of the Milky Way resorts have much of the steep terrain that ChrisC enjoys best. There may be some way off piste but it’s probably not safe yet.

So it’s likely to be a cruise around day similar to your Serre Che plan but the slopes are not as well integrated. Sestriere isn’t that big by itself so you want to base by that gondola for easy access in addition to Sauze d’Oulx where we are skiing today.

And you REALLY need to figure out a way to get an advance lift ticket because that gondola base is where we waited 40 minutes yesterday. Or else get there super early.

While surface conditions at La Grave are likely good, I have no idea whether coverage is yet adequate for its famed technical skiing. There’s a reason Extremely Canadian went there in March. Hopefully guides can tell you about that before you sign up for $400 per day.
 
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Tony Crocker

Administrator
Staff member
Recent storm was very localized. The 18 inches was just from Milky Way north to Bonnevillle Sur Arc. Moving west and north it was 7 inches at Val Cenis, Val d’Isere and Serre Chevalier. Farther west and north at Alpe d’Huez, Valloire, Le Rosiere, Les Arcs, the Aosta resorts, nothing.
 
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ChrisC

Well-known member
I doubt any of the Milky Way resorts have much of the steep terrain that ChrisC enjoys best. There may be some way off piste but it’s probably not safe yet.

So it’s likely to be a cruise around day similar to your Serre Che plan but the slopes are not as well integrated. Sestriere isn’t that big by itself so you want to base by that gondola for easy access in addition to Sauze d’Oulx where we are skiing today.

And you REALLY need to figure out a way to get an advance lift ticket because that gondola base is where we waited 40 minutes yesterday. Or else get there super early.

I am more than happy to check out an Olympic mountain. (For example, I would love to detour to go see/ski Garmisch-Parchekierten one day. Not steep, but a glacier and historic town). I will only be there for a half day - 31 Euros. Looks like no advance online purchase, but I doubt there will be much of a line mid-day.

While surface conditions at La Grave are likely good, I have no idea whether coverage is yet adequate for its famed technical skiing. There’s a reason Extremely Canadian went there in March. Hopefully guides can tell you about that before you sign up for $400 per day.

I skied La Grave in late January 2006 - looks like the same conditions. Great surface conditions, bases not quite deep enough. Waiting for a response back, but I've done a lot of the close-in lines/couloirs. But the secondary surface lift is still not open - like the glacier has a lot of open crevasses.

Looks like Alpe d'Huez has received more snow. I'll ski a day there and then chat with guides before committing to a possible outing.
 

Tony Crocker

Administrator
Staff member
You'll like the terrain better at Sauze d'Oulx where we skied today. Use that gondola from Sestriere up to La Fratieve, ski its north side alpine terrain on chair 12. You can inspect the south side while riding the gondola. Most people ride the gondola down to return to Sestiere. The #46 piste is not open. The #82 piste looked ungroomed but somewhat skier packed. You get there by skiing through the tunnel halfway down the #34 and 35 pomas. #82 goes to the gondola midstation and you still have to download from there.

If you have some limited time in Sestriere, spend it on the 2,200+ vertical #18 lift from Borgata. The upper surface lifts #20 and #29 at Sestriere were closed, as were lifts #3, 4 and 6 at Sauze d'Oulx.

Our guided day at Serre Chevalier is Sunday the 28th. We could meet you that evening or Monday morning and let you know what we learned from the guide.
 

Tony Crocker

Administrator
Staff member
The 28th is tomorrow/Saturday in the Western Hemisphere.
Yes, I was confused by my impression that ChrisC would be in Sestriere Sunday. I reread and now see he's there today and all of us are in Serre Chevalier Sunday the 29th.
 
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