Katy Dartford skiing powder in Crans Montana
© @awe365
Katy Dartford skiing powder in Crans Montana
Tumbling headfirst into a huge pillow of snow I curse my skis for being totally inappropriate for the conditions. Too long, too skinny. After digging out a ski buried in thigh-deep powder, I resolve to exchange them for something more suitable.

Crans Montana, the Swiss ski resort stretching from the Rhone valley to Plaine Morte Glacier at 3000 meters is said to be the sunniest place in the Alpine country. And today it's certainly lived up to its reputation.

Yesterday, however, the destination that was once the home to former James Bond star, Roger Moore, was grey and cold. Its views over a string of mountain peaks that unfold from Bietschhorn to Mont Blanc via the Matterhorn, blocked by non-stop snowfall, leaving little distinction between skiing on or off-piste.

This week much of the Alps and the Pyrenees have experienced similar conditions: "best snow ever," I hear all around me; "it's dumping down!" others cry.

Record snowfall

It's not every day you start the ski season with what's reaching record snowfall levels for this time of year. It seems we are being rewarded for having to hang up our planks last season, as ski resorts around Europe locked down.

Although this heavy snowfall may be more to do with the Storm Barra weather system.

"We've had about 82cm," Benoit Python a wiry, sun-weathered ski instructor from the Swiss Ski School Crans-Montana says. "And over in Chamonix, they've had nearly 85cm!"

According to The Chamoniarde, Chamonix Mountain Prevention and Relief Society, France's world-famous freeride destination, that's just over 90km by road from Crans Montana, has not seen snowfall like this since 1966:

La Chamoniarde

1013 aDecSiem87be07or1n at 19:o3e54d ยท

We are getting closer to the record of snowfall recorded in 1966 (85 cm) with 82 cm on the ground measured today in Chamonix (town) since the beginning of measures in 1959 (for December 10)!
In short, be careful!

Risk of strong avalanche for tomorrow Saturday! Enjoy the clues but be safe! Don't hesitate to get closer to the trackers.

"I shovelled snow outside my house for 3 days on the trot," said local mountain guide, Andy Perkins, confirming the reports. "I skied some exceptional powder down to very low altitudes on 11th December".

"I was out today (14th December) at one of my regular pre-season snow test sites around 2400 metres, and the depth is more than 100cm greater than what I've seen on average in previous years!"

(Read more here)