Lots of snow finally arrived in the Northern Alps, in Abruzzo and all the way down to Mount Etna in Sicily. Unfortunately in the South of the Alps, including the Dolomites,it’s been still very cold and dry.
Last Saturday I was back on the road to Piemonte, for a 3 day off-piste skiing and ski touring around Sestriere and the Monginevro Pass. What we found was pretty difficult snow conditions, those warm days around Christmas and New Year, plus the strong wind from the North that came after, they all worked on the snowpack a lot. Anyway we enjoyed some very nice sunny days, and we were lucky enough to find some soft snow in the woods and down the sheltered slopes. Sestriere is a ski resort with great opportunities for off-piste skiing, with some steep couloirs very close to the higher lifts, like those from the Monte Sises (you can find some pictures of our run down the Galassia Couloir in the gallery). At the Monginevro Pass there are lots of open bowls, easily accessible from the lifts or with a short approach on skins. Here you can also combine some off-piste with ski touring, Lago Nero can be reached via Colle Bercia (in Claviere) and the summirt of Cima Fournier is a very nice short ski tour you can do around there.
The most beautiful descent of these three days was down Pitre de l’Aigle, a peak not far from slopes around Col Basset, you need less than an hour of skinning. The descent to Pragelato is very nice, an open bowl at the beggining followed by a larch trees forest. We were able to ski all the way down to the big tram in Pragelato following some patches of snow at the very bottom, it was great fun!
Here you can find my gps track of this off-piste run from Pitre d’Aigle.
Next weekend I will be back “on the road” looking for some good snow. Stay tuned :)