• The Chatel Snow Report

09/11/2019: Today's Updates... A Trip To The Ski Area... 7.45pm...

7.45pm:

Temperatures are dipping below freezing in the the valley this evening, though whether conditions will be suitable for snowmaking on the ski area, remains to be seen.


Todays trip up into the ski area found a thin covering of snow at the bottom of PLJ, 20cm to 30cm at Plaine Dranse and 40cm to 45cm towards the top of Rochassons. Despite taking alot of measurements between 1800m and the top of the Rochassons chair, only once was 50cm registered, so at these elevations the 40cm to 45cm range appears more appropriate. So a decent, if modest start, but as mentioned earlier the cover was such, that pistes could be in a state to open above Plaine Dranse, so with some more snow and with the addition of some man made snow, the signs are promising for the potential limited opening at the end of this month.


As far as fresh snow is concerned, there is very little in the forecast for the next few days, with Tuesday evening / night having some potential, however, the snowier charts from the models are for the back end of the week. For what it's worth, the GFS model shows very little precipitation over the next 7 days, however, we are not as pessimistic as that. Hopefully, the next day or two should see some charts firming up on the potential for a useful or significant snowfall within 7 days, so fingers crossed on that one.


Most models are showing the temperatures staying subdued over the coming week, with perhaps one or two milder blips, but there is no blow torch, snow melting scenario showing at the moment - and hopefully it will remain that way.


Next update early (ish) tomorrow.


Photo below - Slide on Linga today...



3.50pm:

Today was the first chance to get up into the ski area. The winter trail shoes came out of summer hibernation and after a drive to PLJ, the route taken was up the Belette road piste to Plaine Dranse, then up the Rochassons piste to the top of the Rochassons chair, then back down to the bottom of PLJ down the piste rather than taking Belette again.


There is a bit of snow at the bottom of the Pierre Longue lift, with just enough for the ski tourers to be able to put their skins on right from the start.


Here's the view towards the top of the Belette, looking towards Plaine Dranse.


At Plaine Dranse, there was between 20cm and 30cm of snow, with the highest reading of 30cm found on the terrace of the Bois Pin restaurant.


... and the view up the Reine piste...


Heading up from Plaine Dranse and the cover was generally excellent and there was enough snow for pistes to be made. There were plenty of tracks here and there, coming down through the areas of powder.


Looking back down to Plaine Dranse...


At the top of the Rochassons chairlift at 1925m, the views were winter views...




Heading back down, there was ample cover on the section from Plaine Dranse down the snow factory...


The snow factory was the only place where man made snow was seen.


Lower down, there was still just enough snow to slide on.


Will post some further thoughts from this trip and snow depths higher up on a post this eve...



10.45am:

The weather is overcast here in Chatel this morning and there have been one or two flakes drifting down, but it is a basically dry scenario. Although a few flurries are possible over the coming days, the drier scenario may last until Tuesday night at least. The models are showing low pressure affecting Europe at times next week, however, at the moment there is no consensus as to when the next snowfall will arrive in this area. GFS and Arpege suggest the chance of a snowfall on Tuesday night, whereas the ECMWF model is not so keen on that scenario. What we can say is that as the outlook has not been nailed by the models, we could see snowfalls reappear on the forecast in the relatively short term, depending on the behaviour of those lows and fronts, so watch this space.


In the meantime, we'll be looking out for colder overnight temperatures which may allow snowmaking to take place, which is a crucial part of the early season base building process.


Photo below from this morning and next update later after a trip into the ski area.



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