Skip to content

Global Warming

March 12, 2023

One of the reasons we chose Alpe D’Huez for skiing was its high altitude, with slopes as high as 3300m. We wanted a snow sure resort that would guarantee snow for our whole trip.

This turned out to be a good decision as February has been one of the worst winter months for snowfall in history. Only 5cms of snow fell on the slopes throughout the whole of February. The normal expectation for this part of the Alps is around 62cms, so we are way off the average.

Ski Run in Auris de Oisans

Not only has there been a lack of snow but almost every day since we arrived has been a blue-sky day. Curiously the ski areas and the immediately surrounding valleys have been clear of clouds but the valleys moving away from the Alps have been filled with thick cloud nearly every day. Some days we’ve seen a real cloud inversion in the surrounding valleys, which tends to clear by lunchtime.

Ski Lift over fields (Where’s the snow ?)

The impact of this weather, with highs of 14C (the highest temperature I have seen while skiing in February), means that a lot of the snow cover from earlier in the season is melting. The pisteurs have been doing an amazing job at keeping the pistes in good shape but despite this, some of the lower slopes are now closed, several of them are surrounded by exposed grass and those that are open are becoming narrower by the day.  Having said that, it is still possible to ski down to the lower lying towns of the ski area, it’s just that the ski conditions are what you might expect towards the end of the season, not at its peak.

Home Run to Alpe d’Huez

There is no doubt that this hasn’t (so far – I’m still hoping!) been a great season for skiing in the Alps and while this may be a freaky one-off warm snap, I worry that this is a sign of things to come. For now I am just grateful to have had the opportunity to spend time on the snow.

Ski Run down to Vaujany

It is not all doom and gloom though and the top of the resort, over around 2500m, is still in good condition with cold temperatures and full snow cover.  The pistes are icy in the morning but soften as the day progresses, this softening does hasten the formation of moguls but these are kept under control by the pisteurs overnight, apart from on a small number of unpisted runs which are kept that way.

Afternoon Moguls on Sarenne
No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: