Les Gets Snow Report
Les Gets Snow Report - the last 24 years - Les Gets normally gets excellent snow fall and the pisteurs are recognised as amongst the best in the world.
Taken overall, conditions have been good to very good for most of the time. Since 1998 conditions have generally been excellent with the one exception of 2010-11 ski season. Ski season 2011-12 was outstanding. Although Les Gets is not one of the high skiing villages, it benefits from heavy snow fall, of having outstanding pisteurs and, being in the Northern Alps, often has deeper snow than the high resorts. This section gives a year by year overview of the snow and piste in Les Gets.
The start to the ski season was challanging - we had the worst Xmas for 40 years and this is not expected again for another 40 years! However, on the second Friday night of the ski season there was a massive dump of snow. Many people could not get to their resorts on the Saturday and the police were not allowing anyone without snow chains to drive up to the mountain villages. New Year was brilliant. The rest of the ski season was average however the end of the season was not quite as good as normal as a 'base' had not built up as would be normal. The best weeks for skiiing were mid January and March.
Just before the start of the ski season, the snow was not great - so only a very few lifts opened early. A few days before everyone arrived for the first week of the ski season, there was a few massive dumps of powder and the snow was great for Christmas and New Year.
Whilst the base was weak, there were regular 'dumps' throughout the ski season, so the piste was generally good through the season. The weak base and the very late end to the ski season meant that the piste was not so good in the last week of the season, but generally good apart from this.
The Ski season 2012-13 was even better than 2011-13. The ski lifts opened early, for a few days, conditions for Xmas and New Year were outstanding, half term was very good and the lifts could easily have stayed open for another week or two after the end of the ski season. The snow cointiued so long that the opening of the mountain biking, at the end of May, had to be delayed due to the snow.
Outside the ground floor apartment at Chalet Hastings, the snow was even deeper than the previous season, and stayed around 2 metres deep through the whole of the season. Overall, this was a fantastic season.
Report - Season 2011-12
The 2011-12 ski season in Les Gets had the best snow for around 30 years. Up to mid December, we had hardly any snow at all - and then in the third week in December we had the most amazing dumps of fresh snow. Christmas and New Year were both excellent. Outside the staff apartment, the snow was around 3 meters deep for most of the season - towards the end it was may be 1.5 to 2 meters deep. In the middle of the ski season, we had temperatures as low as -26 degrees C overnight. There were still extraordinary amounts of snow falling each night, even after the ski lifts had closed. Susan waved off the winter staff who were driving home on 21st April with thick snow on the ground. The day the lifts closed, the staff went for a last ski/snowboard and came back glowing saying how fabulous the snow had been. Our staff reported that it was like skiing in January on fresh powder - on the last day of the season!
Report -Season 2010-11
This was a poor year for the whole of the alps, however, Les Gets still had good piste when compared with many other resorts, we had a number of clients come to us who had skied at much higher resorts who said that the pistes in Les Gets were much better - they said that the piste groomers knew how to make good pistes out of thin snow whereas in many other resorts, although the measured snow depth was deeper, the quality of the piste was much worse, they also explained that in Les Gets, the snow does not get blown off - as it does in higher, bleak resorts.
Report -Season 2009-10
Overall this was another brilliant year for snow in Les Gets. The season started off with good snow right at the start of the season, on a couple of days between Xmas and New Year, the whole of the alps had poor weather however, after this, the season was again excellent.
Outside Hastings, snow was typically one and a half metres deep and you could ski back for most of the ski season.
Report -Season 2008-09
The snow was outstanding this season in Les Gets, the problem was keeping the steps to Hastings cleared so clients could get into the Chalet! Snow started in October, conditions were excellent before the lifts opened and were good right through to the end of the season.
Report -Season 2007-08
We visited Les Gets in mid December, February and March.
In December, the snow was excellent, the February outstanding and at the Easter Holidays, the snow was so good that the opening of the lifts was extended for a week, the only disappointment was that the lifts could have been kept open for at least two more weeks beyond the official end to the season. We went to Avoriaz on a couple of days, but the conditions in Les Gets we felt were much better – with softer snow and much better weather. Through the season, it was never really cold, but the large amounts of snow that fell ensured the skiing was always very good.
We are grateful for Tony, who ran the Chalets1066 business up to Summer 2008 for much of the following report – this is a practical perspective from some one living in Les Gets:
Report -Season 2005-2006
For the first time in 5 years the snow came very early. After a mild and dry autumn the hard cold hit mid November prompting the resort to fire up the snow cannons depsite the lack of water available - snow is critical after all in ski resorts........They need not have bothered. Consistent snow began falling at the end of November leading to opening the ski lifts for the first two weekends in December, and heavy snow in the middle of the month followed by very cold termperatures gave fantastic conditions for the festival period. Snow continued to fall throughout the winter, despite a quite period at the beginning of February, and temperatures of -12) or less for over two months ensured it didn't melt. When further cosnsitent and heavy falls came late February and well into March, the site of people scrambling onto rooves in order to reduce the weight of snow became commonplace. There were some warmer periods allowing for snow to melt, but inevitably succeeded by cold snaps and temperatures of -14°C in mid March! However, eventually the sun came out again, amidst perfect skiing conditions, giving an exceptional winter. The walls of snow were very high, the depth on the piste consitent all winter. Les Gets has a snow record to match anywhere.
Report -Season 2004-2005
Dry conditions are always worrying, and it didn't seem too cold prior to Christmas. In early December it was possible to fire up the snow cannons, even get a piste ready, but nothing to inspire confidence. but who needs confidence? 17 December and no snow and little forecast. 18 december - 30 centimetres, 19 December - 20 centimetres, 20 December - 50 centimetres. The season began thus with 70 centimetres packed down on the pistes, perfect!! Further falls before New Year meant a superb festivities period and the snow stayed fine until late January. Whilst many resorts began to suffer, Les Gets continued to have over 90% of the ski area open, before substantial falls and very low temperatures all but meant the season was assured. By mid February more heavy falls followed by more bitter and freezing temperatures led to many clients claiming their finest ski holiday ever. The lift company issued a number of warnings to protect children properly in the cold, typical warnings that you would expect in Tignes or Val Thorens, but not Les Gets. These warnings were still around into March when on 5 March temperatures of -22°C were recorded. Eventually the cold weather eased around mid March, leaving its place to radiant sunshine with impeccable snow cover. Easter was once again a top ski period in Les Gets, albeit with somewhat dull weather - it actually got better as April progressed.
Report -Season 2003-2004
The remarkable record breaking heat of the summer of 2003 continued on through the autumn with above normal temperatures, and hardly any rain sparking fears of a water shortage for the snow cannons. A cold week at the end of October saw the parking blocked for a couple of days, and there were other sporadic falls that enable Avoriaz to open early, but most melted away in an Indian summer that endured right up to Christmas week.
The Les Gets pistes opened on 20 December in a small part, whilst no one skied the next day as torential rain battered the area to 1800 metres before turning to snow in blizzard conditions and -10°C. Bitter cold then preserved near perfect pistes for a week. Maginficent Christmas! New year is a very cold and snowy week, very little sun, and Janaury starts well before 3 days of very heavy rain around 10 January (filled the lakes up nicely for the snow cannons though....). This is then followed by weeks of snow and cold temperatures and almost perfect conditions. However, the sunny weeks of the previous season are only to be repeated for a couple of weeks in February as the snow continues falling, albeit much lighter, right into April, when it starts to get heavier and colder. More snow in May!!! No one complained about the snow conditions, this time not enough sun!! No pleasing some people.
Report -Season 2002-2003
One of the more remarkable seasons. Heavy snowfalls in December, but high temperatures saw it all melt by Christmas. It then rained over the holiday period for 2 weeks, almost non stop, particularly hard over New Year. It was totally unskiable. I discussed with Christian Berthet how awful it could be, to which he replied how it could all pick up, a bit like 1994/5. And so it did. As the last hordes were leaving from the festive season so it snowed, and stayed cold. It then snowed again in January, still staying cold. It snowed well into February and was cold until 19 February when the snap stopped and was gradually replaced by a very hot March. The result was a season with either sun or snow (after 3 January), and the long cold spell, allied with the snow canons, had provided an extraordinary base which was to last well into April. In all, only just over 4 metres of snow had fallen, but the cold had maintained perfect conditions for as long a period as anyone can remember, especially accompanied by lots of sun ! You just had to feel sorry for those who came for Christmas and New Year, whilst the higher resorts would have been very bitter.
Report -Season 2001-2002
A bitterly cold November and December (-17°C) was dry until the Friday before the first Saturday, then it dumped it down. It then dumped a good part of the week providing for perfect conditions over the holidays, especially the sunny New Year. January saw very little and by early Feb conditions were getting poor, if skiable still. A solid dump for a week in mid-Feb saved the season and kept us going into April.
Report -Season 2000-2001
Well, it was good whilst it lasted. Lots of snow in November but temperatures of 20°C and more in early December put paid to the start of the season which was only possible thanks to snow canons. Not an inspiring winter, snow came for New Year, end January, bit in Feb, and lasted until March when it rained 19 days and in a month that normally sees 4 days of bad weather, this time was to see 4 days of sun. Generally a dismal and mild winter. Just about got by thanks to the base prepared by the snow cannons which provided the feature of white pistes surrounded by green.
Report -Season 1999-2000
Quite remarkably, the lifts opened early again, this time on 16 November ! ! and the 4th time in a row before Christmas. Plenty of snow up to Christmas day, but then the end of Millenium hurricane hit closing lifts and just about everything. When it had passed, rain had come but also snow to leave a more than ample cover. The snow wasn’t always perfect in Les Gets but there was plenty of it and most of the time quite good, plenty of sun and snow, not too cold. Again the snow persisted until end April, as we now saw seasons in Les Gets close at around 22 April, helped partly by the snow cannons. This represented a considerable change on 15 years before.
Report -Season 1998-1999
The winter that was…… The early snow came, then more, then more, then still some more. Lifts opened early. A perfect Christmas with perfect snow. New Year also had very good snow. In January conditions deteriorated a little (still OK) and we hoped for more snow. On 25 January we got a good metre and the cover was fine. In early February the forecast was for a front to pass north of the Alps – it hit the Alps full on and 2-3 metres fell in a week with heavy avalanches. The season was secure. The following week showed huge piles of snow everywhere but was calm. One week later more heavy snow saw an astonishing level of snow cover. Insurance companies contaced their clients to advise them that they would not cover over 2 metres of snow on the rooves, hence the sight of bodies all over the Alps clearing their snowy rooves. People arrived at their chalets to a wall of snow 3 metres high and 1 metre wide. The snow continued into March , still cold, until a two week break eased things up. Then it came again, and again into April. Snow cover at the end of April was still up to 2 metres at 1500 metres altitude. In all, 18 metres had fallen in Les Gets. Even 1995 was totally eclipsed.
Report -Season 1997-1998
The ‘Houdini winter’. Snow before Christmas but had all melted by the first weekend of the season, except at Tignes, but snow on the Friday night left us enough to begin with. Our ski instructor guide informed me at the beginning of the winter that he had heard of a mild winter coming. And it was, at the end of the first week the snow was gone. It arrived again on Saturday, and lasted a week, and the pattern followed until 25 January when a metre fall more or less stored up the season. It became very hot in March and the snow melted but somehow we got away with it.
Report -Season 1996-1997
Snow came early this year, and by mid November most of the pistes were covered in Tignes and also Les Gets. The lifts opened early in November in Les Gets, but in the week 22-28 November almost two metres fell, 80 centimetres in one night. At the end it became wet before freezing which resulted in a two metre solid base. Apart from a fall at Christmas and New Year, and a fall of almost 1 metre the first week in March, that was it for the winter. Amazingly we were skiing on November snow at the end of March.
Report -Season 1995-1996
A lousy and wet Christmas was followed by a slightly snowy New Year. All winter we were to get by, but never was it really convincing, frequently overcast and mild. There were 2 snowy weeks with heavy falls at the beginning of February which maintained the season and remained its highlight.
Report -Season 1994-1995
No snow up to Christmas,. It rained all week in Les Gets to 1800 metres and looked like being a lousy season. However, on 30 December it turned to snow, and it snowed, and snowed, with breaks, but regularly for most of the winter, staying mainly cold except for one week in January, and exceptional snow conditions. Over 10 metres fell in Les gets, on a par with Canadian resorts!!
Report -Season 1993-1994
Excellent early snow in December made for what would look like a perfect season, but one of the most unpredictable elements of our planet was to play havoc with emotions leading up to Christmas. Good snow from 12-18 December left us with perfect conditions. From 19-21 December it rained non stop to 3000 metres and cleared the pistes below 2000 metres. It then snowed for 3 days non stop leaving almost 2 metres of fresh snow, just in time for the Christmas Saturday. More snow followed on a regular basis throughout the season. It snowed in Tignes almost non stop over New Year and high winds prevented people skiing, and it was cold. This was a time to be at a low resort.
Report -Season 1992-1993
Another mild winter, snowed in mid-December, but thereafter was mild. Les Gets suffered as in the third week of January temperatures reached 17°C and it rained non stop for 4 days from 2300 to 2800 metres altitude. No snow left below 1800 métres. It did pick up a little in February and did enable us to maintain something of a season.
Report -Season 1991-1992
The winter of the Olympic games. Cold and snowy, but not that convincing in early December, but on the 17th it snowed 2 metres in 4 days - this was followed by 2 weeks of sun, with ideal snow cover. Not bad. The winter had mild spells, but also snowy spells, a warm March, and generally could be termed an ideal winter.
Report -Season 1990-1991
Heavy snow in November ! ! Well, half a metre and cold. And more on 22, 23, 24, 25 which meant lifts could open on 25 November. A cold spell meant great skiing in early December and a Christmas assured of snow, at last. This winter, it stayed and snowed regularly enough to maintain the base and provide for good skiing until April.
Report -Season 1989-1990
A bitterly cold November ended on 16 December when it warmed up considerably and we all expected snow. Instead it rained for a week and at Christmas everywhere was bare except 3 runs in Avoriaz. The situation stayed terrible in January until 24th when it snowed a little, enough to open a couple of runs in Les Gets and a couple more in Avoriaz. No snow cannons didn’t help and the Mayor was sacked in Les Gets for not understanding the situation, whilst employees were paid by social security as businesses floundered. The snow did pick up slightly in February, including one sunny week with good snow cover and temperatures of 16°C, but again, in the busiest week it poured with rain again, before snowing at the end. However, this time the snow was thin, although Avoriaz and the higher resorts had plenty now. It was also warm in March which led to dreadful quality snow. It snowed again quite a lot in April, but far too late to salvage an awful season. Very much a season for the higher resorts and it would take several years for lower resorts to regain their popularity.
Report -Season 1988-1989
Wet snow fell in the village on 1 December, more came later and it was cold and icy. By mid December there was 50 centimetres in the village. However, by New year the lower slopes were almost bare. It snowed lightly the first week in January, but then was dry and sunny for 6 weeks ! during which conditions became poor and led to many cancellations. Strangely, the week where people cancelled there was a substantial fall of snow and good conditions in mid Febraury. However, the following week, the busiest of the season, it rained all week and washed away all the snow. End February and no snow. However, the next week produced 2 metres of perfect snow and the rest of the season went off quite well. It snowed a lot in April. The lifts closed on 16 April at Avoriaz in a blizzard, whilst conditions were still very good. Strange season.