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Fantastic end to the season in Verbier

Late dump ensures great skiing across the 4 Vallees

Featured in: | Barnaby Bos, Verbier Reporter | Published
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After a long spell of warm and sunny weather, and with the season coming to a close, we thought our powder days were all but over for the season. However, after a sudden dump of 50cm over last weekend here in Verbier, we’ve been treated to some excellent late season conditions.

I managed to get out early in the morning to enjoy the half meter of fresh powder straight after it had fallen, and headed straight for the trees and ridge line above Tortin and Col des Mouche. In places you could feel a slight crusty layer underneath the fresh snow, but for the most part this was proper, deep and amazing powder. It honestly reminded me of some of the epic conditions we experienced back in January.

Even the off piste to the sides of the runs down from the top to the bottom of the Mayentzet chairlift were fantastic, and remained relatively untracked throughout the day providing a large playground of fun, playful, and easy-going terrain. Another day later and the snow had kept in great shape, especially higher up on many of the fantastic freeride routes you can reach from the top of Mont Gele. Following a short traverse and a twenty minute hike, we reached the top of Super Mouche, a wide and relatively steep couloir. It had only two tracks down it and was one of my best runs of the season, feeling like something of a gift to ski in such great condition so late in the winter.

Since the last snowfall, the temperatures in resort have stayed surprisingly low, keeping the conditions on piste fantastic for this time of year. The snow on piste seems to be quite icy in the morning as the cold temperatures overnight are freezing the afternoon slush from the day before. However, as soon as the sun hits the piste this quickly turns into a perfect layer of soft and grippy snow.

Both the Savoleyres area and the runs on the Verbier side are surprisingly well conditioned for this time of year, likely a testament to the excellent work that the piste grooming team have been doing all season to keep the runs in good nick. While many of the south-facing slopes are now looking to be quite bare again, there is a vast amount of terrain in resort that is still holding up excellently for adventure seekers, especially those who are willing to put in a tour to reach the wilder parts of the area. Patches of grass are starting to appear on the lowest slopes in resort, such as the Le Rouge piste, which sees a lot of traffic towards the end of the day as skiers head to their notorious apres-ski parties. However, above 1800m the base is still holding up strong, all two meters of it at 2200m in fact.

There are signs of multiple small slides on many of the South facing slopes, particularly around Savoleyres, the Attelas bowl and Col des Mines, but for the most part the rest of the resort is quite stable, with the avalanche risk currently 2/5. Looking ahead to the coming week, we’re likely to experience much of the same weather we’ve been experiencing over the past few days, which means a mixture of sunshine, clouds, an occasional light dusting of snow with mild temperatures. No big snowfalls on the short term forecast, but things can change very quickly in the alps.

Last year there was a large dump of snow in May, so we’re not ruling out the chance of it happening again this year. With the afternoon sun and warmer temperatures consistently softening the snow beyond 11:00, this is a great time to come skiing, as you don’t need to rush to get out so early in the morning. One can take a relaxed approach to the day, getting up later and skipping a morning of icy conditions in favour of a lie in and late breakfast. With the sun setting around 21:00 at the moment too, there’s also lots of time to enjoy an apres beer in the hazy evening sunshine.

NB: Exploring beyond the ski resort boundaries is an amazing experience for anyone who's physically fit and has mastered the pistes well enough. There are, however, risks associated with venturing outside the safety of the marked/patrolled ski area, including awareness of your actions on those below you on the slopes. Mountain guides are professionally qualified and have extensive knowledge of the local terrain to provide you with the safest and most enjoyable possible experience in the mountains; as a visitor here we highly recommend you hiring one. Many ski schools also provide instruction in off-piste skiing, avalanche safety and mountaineering techniques. Make your time in the mountains unforgettable for the right reasons, ski safe!

Off-piste skiing and mountaineering are dangerous. The opinions expressed in these articles are very much time and condition-specific and the content is not intended in any way to be a substitute for hiring a mountain guide, undergoing professional mountaineering training and/or the individual's own backcountry decision making.

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