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Chasing the sun at Brevent & Flegere

Surprisingly good snow and patches of sunshine

Today was proof that you can’t always believe what you see out of the window. The murky grey clouds that I saw this morning nearly sent me crawling back to bed but there was a promise of something brighter lurking behind them.

A quick check of the webcams seemed to give hope of some sunshine beyond the clouds, so I hopped on the bus to Brevent. From the Planpraz gondola it was obvious that the snow line is now quite high - there were a few runners trotting up the merciless switchbacks of the Vertical KM to reach the lift station without any major snowy obstacles to cross. Stepping out at Planpraz, I was not greeting with the clear blue skies and glorious sunshine that I had convinced myself was awaiting me. It was still pretty gloomy as I waited for the Brevent cable car to appear out of the mist.

Once at the top it was a little clearer, with sunshine attempting to break through a cobweb of cloud. Dry chalky snow on a firm base was the reward at the top of the Charles Bozon piste; cruising along the first cat track and passing the jagged peaks of La Breche to the first wide section of piste was blissfully quiet. The snow got a little softer on the way down but it wasn’t too chopped up or heavy.

The sun seemed to be showing through over the Cornu, so we headed there hoping for a break in the clouds. The weather today was so variable that our two consecutive runs couldn’t have been more different. The first was a disorientated bumble through swirling mist, while the second was a sunny slide under a patch of clear blue sky. The snow up at Cornu was definitely feeling the effects of the warm weather, being heavy up top and sticky towards the bottom. Cover is still good though, even the narrow cat track was free of rocks and that’s usually one of the first places to start getting sketchy.

Our attempts to ski in the sun took us over to Flegere, via the Liaison cable car. Skiing across from Charlanon, there is plenty of avalanche debris that has clearly crossed the piste at some point. There are some pretty big slides going on at the moment, so keep an eye on conditions and be aware of the risks.

Flegere delivered what we were looking for with plenty of sunshine battling its way through fine wispy clouds. We did a couple of laps of the Floria; high enough that the snow was still fairly light and dry at top and not too mushy towards the bottom. A very quick jaunt off the side of the piste revealed that there is powder but only if you are willing to smash your way through the solid crust on top, which we weren’t, so we didn’t.

By midday we headed back over to Brevent, aiming to do one more “top bin” before heading home. The clouds had now thickened and the air temperature was definitely dropping a bit - could this be a sign of more snow on the way?

Our last run of the day felt a bit like entering Mordor - sinister peaks looming out of dense grey fog, with a bouncy layer of mashed potato underfoot (Tolkien edited out the mashed potato bit before it went to print though).

Today’s lesson was to always check the webcams before heading up the mountain, it can be a whole different story to what’s going on down in the valley! Despite the warm temperatures and lack of recent snowfall, the pistes are all still really well covered and in reasonably good condition.

It is really quiet at the moment now that the busy holiday period is over and we had most of the mountain to ourselves. The weather forecast for the next few days is variable with the possibility of snow above around 2000m, keep an eye on our regular snow reports for the latest conditions.


Location: Chamonix - Le Brevent



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