Spring has come back with a vengeance this last couple of days with blistering sunshine and rising temperatures that are set to hit 20 degrees Celsius by the weekend. The fresh snow that fell last weekend helped to give the off piste faces a freshen up and on the higher shaded slopes and it is here that the best snow is to be found.
The higher off piste free-ride runs that are in the shade, such as Chassoure and Gentianes, are covered in very big bumps at the moment. Off piste free-ride runs, such as Col de Gentianes and Mont Gele are also bumpy but the conditions are really spring like, with icy bumps in the morning and slushy snow by the afternoon. The risk of avalanche has stayed at 2 out of 5. As the temperatures continue to rise the snowpack will come under much more stress, particularly by the afternoon on lower sun facing areas, such as the face from Attelas all the way to Croix de Coeur.
On piste conditions are superb, with well groomed, smooth pistes in the morning and slushy bumps by the afternoon. The crowds were out Sunday to ski the pistes, enjoy the warm weather and relax on the terraces of the many mountain restaurants and bars. These crowds will quieten down as we slip into the week and the part of the season that is between February madness and the Easter period.
Over at Savoleyres it is even warmer but the shaded slopes down to Tzoumaz are still in great shape. In the morning I took some time to explore the south facing slopes that are on the Verbier side. These runs are gentle and rolling and are rarely busy. At the bottom of Tzoumaz the snow is starting to get very slushy and there are some patches of brown coming through but this is no different to the runs down to Medran and Le Rouge.
In town the big walls and piles of snow that built up over the season have all melted away which is great news if you are a driver or have been waiting for your terrace to melt. The resurgence of spring means that, very soon, we will be able to go rock climbing and biking in the valley whilst still having the treat of a mountain covered in snow too. That is why spring is my favourite time of the year.
At the moment the warm weather has allowed para-gliders to get up in the air and play in the gentle spring time thermals and at times there are as many as twenty spiralling effortlessly through the clear blue sky.
Sun is set to continue with very warm temperatures and light winds. The freezing level is expected to rise up to 3000m which will certainly help spring to continue advancing.
Avalanche Risk: Level 2