22 Jan 2019, Blue Skies & Fresh Tracks Around Balme, Chamonix

The last day of brilliant blue skies in this current spell of superb high pressure mountain weather saw teams getting fresh tracks in all kinds of interesting places around Balme / Le Tour at the head of the Chamonix Valley.  Whilst the pistes and side country were quite average / chopped up, there is still some pristine velvet powder to be skied where the snow has not been trashed by sun, wind, or skiers.  And whilst the resort was very quiet there were lots of teams taking interesting, adventurous, steep lines…all over the place!

Velvet smooth fresh tracks on the Swiss side of the Tete de Balme. Beautiful pristine snow conditions.

We found some great snow accessed from short skinning journeys around the Tete de Balme and above the Autannes chairlift.   There were teams climbing and skiing the steep couloirs straight above the Autannes chair as well as in the next bowl near the classic Grand Autannes tour.  Very nice looking tracks in steep terrain and some teams from the latter had carried on down in to the steep couloir continuations on to the shady side of the Vormaine bowl.  Loads of tracks went down in to the Vormaine bowl from all kinds of slopes and couloirs around most of the bowl.  The lower valley looked a bit bushy both otherwise fine.

Our Chamonix Off Piste & Mountain Skills course beneath the fine steep couloirs above the Autannes chair.

Many teams had also skied the sunny face below the Aiguilles de Posettes which leads down in to the big main gorge leading back to the bottom station.   This is a serious place and often avalanches but in current conditions many teams had enjoyed some intricate skiing down here as well as the other side of the Posettes down towards Vallorcine.   On the Vallorcine side there were many tracks also above Loriaz, going up to the bowl above the hut and also up the steep south facing Col de la Terrasse.  Likewise plenty of tracks visible in the area of the Bel Oiseau above Finhault.

Ski touring on the Swiss side of the Col de Balme. Lots of good fresh tracks in the north facing bowls high above Trient.

Teams had also booted up the steep wind scoured ridge above the Col de Balme, on the opposite side from the Tete de Balme, to access the fine steep north facing bowls high above Trient.  There were plenty of good fresh tracks in there but the boot track looked like crampons and an ice axe wouldn’t go amiss!

The blue skies come to an abrupt end tomorrow with a little fresh snow, according to Meteo France, a bit more in the Aravis than the Mont Blanc Massif (10cms rather than 5cms at 1800m).   More snow then due on Saturday evening / Sunday.

We were skiing with our Chamonix Off Piste & Mountain Skills team today. The Jan & Feb courses are full but we have places on our March & April courses.  We also have places on our ski touring weekends in Feb and March and details of these and all our other skiing group courses can be found on our Chamonix Ski Courses page here.