Last Saturday, most of the ski lifts in Chamonix valley and Les Houches closed for the day due to the exceptionally strong Foehn wind.
The Foehn is a wind local to Chamonix valley caused by warm air being pushed up through Italy, over the top of the Mont Blanc massif where it gets pushed down through Chamonix valley. It can even carry Saharan sand, and leave the normally white glaciers with a distinct red tinge. Unfortunately, because it is a warm wind, it melts the snow.
It can be a very violent wind. It blew the sledges all over the garden. It blew some of the decorations off the house. It blows all the shutters if they are not locked shut. Annoyingly, it blows the icicle lights up onto the roof where they get stuck (very frustrating!).
and it leaves a big mess. Everywhere. On the piste, on the driveway, pieces of twigs and branches everywhere. It was such a disappointment to have debris all over. Worse, all the lovely powder melts and transforms into gloopy heavy snow and ice. It was a bit disappointing to have a strong Foehn before Christmas, especially when we had such an amazing start to the season.
It happens unfortunately, and we can’t do anything about the weather. Hopefully though, with such a strong Foehn so early in the season, it will mean less debris the next time there is a strong Foehn wind!
Thankfully though, we woke up this morning to find it snowing again…. A good 10-15 centimetres overnight… and it is forecast to snow on and off for the next few days….. which means the pistes will recover their lovely clean Daz white look again. Excellent news.