Snow Report - 28-02-2017


Risk: Medium

Daily Update


The snow began to come down around 6:30am and by 8am we had about 4cm here in the village.

Things are already getting slippery out of town and chains are required, even to get to Tignes. It looks like it will be a white out all day with the snowfall getting stronger as the day goes on. Max temps are 2° at 2000m and -6° at 3000m, however we've already hit them and the temperature will drop off over the course of the day so the snow will become really nice and dry, especially at higher altitudes. Unfortunately the snow will also be quite wind-blown as we're expecting strong winds on the mountain with gusts from the W/SW of up to 70km/h at 2500m.

Tonight the temperature here in resort will fall to -8°. The wind, turning to come from the NW/W, will remain violent at altitude. The snow will continue throughout the night and we should have a fresh 20 to 45cm by the time the morning comes.

Tomorrow the snowfall will stop for a while but the skies will remain cloudy all day. Tomorrow night we could see an extra 10 to 30cm. That means between 30 and 75cm in the next 36 hours, with Météo Morris from WePowder calling for 124cm on the glacier by the end of the week!! (We're not fully convinced of that but hopefully he proves us wrong...)

Ski Report:

The wind might cause certain lifts to close over the course of the day. Heavy snowfall could close certain pistes due to avalanche danger from above. Be sure to stay off closed pistes.

Snow Depth : 92cm of snow on the pistes at resort level, 184cm on top of the Solaise.

Fornet: The Cognon and Foret homeruns will stay closed. The Mangard is the lone homerun in that sector.

Solaise: Everything is open. Bellevarde: The piste Triffolet will remain closed, the Boarder Cross and Snow Park will likely stay shut.

The avalanche risk is up to a 3 out of 5. If you do plan on going off-piste please make sure you have all the necessary equipment and knowledge of where you're going. Météo France is warning of new slabs forming over the course of the day, notably from the NW around the N to the E.



Henry's Avalanche Talk



We don’t have a full picture from the investigation as yet. But it is possible to identify some lessons that we can learn based on what we do know about the Tignes avalanche accident.

This post makes no comment about the decisions and actions of the victims as we do not know anything about their discussions and consideration.  We do know they were fully equipped to go off piste. The official investigation will cover that.

This post is to help everyone who goes off piste to make better decisions on how to stay safe.  It is also to encourage skiers that it is still possible to stay safe and have fun off piste.

A description of the avalanche

This Tignes avalanche was big. The avalanche released at an altitude of 2460m just under the cliffs and rocks at the top of the Lavachet wall See data avalanche for details (and photo below).  The crown break was 100m wide and 40cm deep.  The slide travelled a distance of 1150m which involved 400m vertical descent.  We do not have accurate information on the depth of the snow that piled up at the bottom, but we heard reports of rescuers probing 6-8m depths in the search. (see photo below).

We do not know how far up or down the slope the victims were when they triggered the avalanche. However the topography means must have been lower down the slope than where the crown actually broke.  The avalanche was triggered by the victims’ weight on the snowpack and then released above them bringing snow on top of them, taking them down the slope and making it impossible for them to escape.  It is a feature of these dry slab avalanches that the trigger point is underneath the skier and this trigger sets off a physical chain reaction that causes the avalanche to release further up the slope often on a steeper pitch that where the victims are located.  We do not have the exact slope angles in this case.  But from the photos it looks like 35 to 40 degrees. The snowboarders were on crossing the slope on a similar or less steep pitch some distance further down

This video report from TV5 is the most comprehensive we can find and shows the nature of the accident and the avalanche (it is in French)

Here are the top 3 lessons.

1 Read the avalanche bulletin...

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