Tag Archives: off-piste

Winter 2021-2022 start in Verbier

Lucky us to have gotten snow relatively early this year all the way down to the valley floors. The skiing was deep this early December. The avalanche danger was a high 3 because the layer on the ground had turned to facets. This is not an unusual situation. It happens when we get early snow in the autumn then cold, dry weather afterwards. Because the ground is relatively warm, around -.1, and the air is cold, -15 in the alpine areas, this shallow layer of snow grows into faceted crystals that can’t support the weight of new snow. As the winter progresses, it gets covers with new lawyers of snow which eventually bond to each other and create a bridge over this weak ground layer. When we have a lot of snow, this bridge insulates our impact on this weak layer. So you’ll understand what the avalanche forecasters have been writing about these past two weeks:

These avalanche prone locations are to be found especially in little used terrain and at transitions from a shallow to a deep snowpack.

The WSL Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research SLF today

The weather forecast calls for sunny weather for another week, then possibly more snow and higher temperatures. 

Fi and I skinned above Bruson the first week of December. Still not much coverage, but a warm and cold spell gave us a thin base of ice to keep us off the ground.
The skiing was actually surprisingly good!
A week later, we got close to a meter in a few days, even low down, which was a huge bonus. The tree on Place Central looked beautiful.
The off-piste skiing was simply perfect when the weather cleared.

Alps Winter 2016 Start

It rained at my house here in Verbier @1600m all day and turned to snow early this morning. 20cm of wet snow lays around me now, and looking at the data for Attelas @2700m with 45cm of new snow, leads me to believe winter has arrived. Yeehaw!


Verbier, November 21, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-11-21 at 07.09.10

Automatic measurement of 45 cm of fresh snow on Attelas

The forecast is calling for real cool temperatures over the next few days. Precipitation should peter out through the weekend, with another front from the NW passing through Wednesday. I’m guessing Televerbier will open next weekend.

This autumn in the Alps gave us a fine, extended, indian summer, providing lots of opportunities to bike, climb, sail and hike. I hope you were able to profit from it, enjoying that fine feeling of contact with Mama Nature through movement and touch. My rehab gave me lots of excuses to work on strength and flexibility through sport.

Biking above Verbier, November 18, 2015

Biking above Verbier, November 18, 2015

The knee is feeling great, ready for more fun in the snow. Wanna go for a skin this morning?

There’s lots planned for this coming winter and next summer. I hope I get a chance to share some of these experiences with you. From Avalanche Courses, Off-Piste around Verbier and neighboring little resorts, to Ski Safaris, Haute Route and Greenland Heliskiing, there will be lots of opportunity to share and learn from each other. Next summer’s planning is well under way for fun alpine climbs up and down this Alpine Chain. Send me an email or give me a call to book a private trip or join a group with myself or one of the fine guides working with me.

Italian Powdah!

We went south to sample some of the Italian stuff. And it was really nice to be there. Though it was cold on the upper slopes, maybe -30 with wind chill, the skiing was fine. We had an entire valley to ourselves, room enough to lay down some fresh tracks…

The back of Mt.Fort was supreme the day before. It was good fun laying first tracks in these lift access couloirs. I took no camera, as it looked to be a white-out day. But the sun shone for a few hours, in time for us to ski another untracked couloir and bowl back to Verbier.

Pierre-Alain Luisier promised me it will not be this cold and snowy again over Easter for the next 25 years! The forecast is calling for variable weather for the next few days, with sun in the afternoons and warmer weather from Friday…

Spring Time Winter Powder

I took the camera again today.

The 50cm of fresh snow and sunshine was photo inspirational. We left Verbier right away this morning to find deep powder and no crowds. The snow was nice, though a bit upside-down. One had to keep the tips up! The first 2 photos are of our Chalet and Verbier. A dramatic change from the summer ambiance of 3 days ago!

The forecast is calling for variable weather for the next few days. The avalanche danger should settle down a tiny bit. Maybe a run off the Mt.Fort tomorrow? So many places to go and discover
with the new blanket of snow!