13/12/2018: Today's Updates... 5.20pm...
The clouds have moved in this afternoon and there have been one or two flakes falling out of it and there are still expected to be some snow flurries during this evening / tonight, though probably amounting to very little. Our interest in terms of the next snowfall is the period from Saturday night to Monday morning - but rather than comment further, this will be looked at on tomorrow morning's forecast page, as well as the outlook into next week, which has been showing a bit more promise, according to some model runs today. It would be really nice to see those promising signs for next week continue... so fingers crossed.
Late this morning, the destination was the Barbossine sector - or rather the lowest section of it. The plan was to run to Mouet, but the snow shoe trails were a bit soft above the halfway station of the Petit Chatel / Barbossine chairlifts, so the final destination ended up being the Col du Saix.
Below are a selection of the views from up there and note the snow cannon mounds on the first photo looking across to Super Chatel
Snow depths at the halfway chair stage on Barbossine were 25cm - 30cm, with similar amounts, but mostly a touch above 30cm up at Saix.
Avoriaz opens tomorrow and Chatel opens on Saturday... can't wait... and the plan is to have several updates from the mountain during the weekend...
A visit to a different sector today - report expected approx 5pm...
Thanks to further tippers since yesterday evening who have used the PayPal tip button - and especially to the gentleman in Aberystwyth, who we have tried to contact by email - but the email bounced - so if you are reading this - diolch yn fawr iawn!
Snow continues to pour out of the snow cannon this morning, continuing the sustained period of snow making this week. This is great news and something that was absent during some of the poor starts to the season in recent years.
On this morning's forecast page it was mentioned that there were signs for optimism next week. This mainly comes from the GFS model suite, including the new GFS parallel run. This parallel model is being tested as a complete replacement for the current GFS operational model - so the apps and automated websites powered by GFS data will change to this new model - IF - the update is verified in the coming months. For model watchers, this is like having a completely new model to look at - which can help to show which way things are heading - or just add to the general chaos and uncertainty!
The charts below from the excellent Meteociel.fr website show the 3 main models operational runs. At 120hrs we have a block to the east and a deep and large area of low pressure to the west. By 144hrs, the question marks start. There is a hint of ridging of high pressure to the west of the deep low, however the charts then diverge. At 144hrs it looks as though the ECMWF and GFS charts are moving in a similar direction, however, the low on the ECMWF does not penetrate into northwest Europe, as is the case on the GFS model run. This results in major differences for us on the ground next week with the GFS solution looking chilly-ish with the potential for snow and the ECMWF option much milder. So, if you have looked at the latest automated forecasts this morning which are based on these models - eg the Norwegian site which uses ECM data in comparison to the plethora of GFS data using sites, then you will see completely different outcomes.
It is too soon to know which model is on the right track. The potentially more favourable GFS run has some backing from its ensembles and also from the parallel run, whereas the ECMWF also has some ensemble backing from its own model suite - so it could be a case of being a 50/50 call at the moment.
Snow making continues this morning across the ski area and the shot below shows the cannon on at the ESF Piou Piou area a short while ago, down in the Marmottons area. With these cold temperatures, we do see that very localised mist hanging around in the valley bottoms, close to where the cannon are operating, from time to time.
6.50am: Bonjour from Chatel - today's updates will appear here. The forecast page should be updated around 7.45am.
It's a cold start, with temperatures of -13c just down the road...
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