What a difference two days makes. After four days of deep blue skies, thick fog yesterday turned into snow clouds by evening.
The flakes fell feebly at first, then during the night winter returned with gusto.
Today we awoke to an almighty 50cm of fresh snow at valley level – and it was still coming down.
The fogged-in valley echoed to the sound of blasting, and as we clicked into our bindings 50 yards from our chalet, we could hardly believe it – late-April powder, on the final day of our trip, after nearly a week of wonderful spring conditions.
The temperature was zero in the village.
At first only the nursery slopes were open but at 10.40am the Solaise Express cranked into action and dozens of rucksack- and headcam-clad powder hounds piled on up.
The air was filled with ear-splitting yipps as the first tracks decorated the fresh stuff.
Up top it was way deeper than 50cm – closer to a metre, we reckoned – and people were sinking to their waists, tumbling about, losing skis, shrieking with joy.
We dipped into the trees lower down and thought we were in Canada.
Weight on both skis, quiet body, middle position, gentle up and down motion – it was a chance to practise the powder style, but sometimes we sank so deep it was easiest just to follow the fall line.
Bellevarde opened around midday and we headed there next, doing a circuit towards La Daille (the Face was closed). The sun was pushing through and after we stopped for a bite at Triffolet the lower stretches were getting heavy.
By the time we crossed back to Solaise at 3pm conditions were a bit porridgey – no wonder, as the temperature had risen to six degrees.
Our last run, nevertheless, was still brilliant, on a blanket of powder somewhat melted and shallower than morning, but powder still.
As I write, snow has begun to fall again, thickly, properly, and there’s another 15cm expected overnight.
Val d’Isere is open for two more weeks – I think it’ll be an end-of-season to remember.
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