The high, open pistes lack the contrast required for orientation during white out conditions and slope and sky can blur into one.
However, there are certain runs that offer more contrast providing vast amounts of skiing/snowboarding when the flakes are falling. The trick is to head for the pistes that are tree-lined, as they help provide definition when everything else seems to be white.
Keep in mind that the low lying areas can be covered in an all-encompassing fog, but the top of the mountains can be bathed in glorious sunshine (check out the webcams). Also, if it’s lashing down with rain in the valley, it means it’s snowing up top, giving you the best and freshest powder you’re likely to ski on! And because it’s a bad weather day, chances are, you’ll have the mountain to yourself.
Bad Weather Skiing in Avoriaz
If you’re staying in Avoriaz the closest sheltered runs are down to the Secteur Linderets and onward down to the Ardent gondola.
The latter is a perfect place to park if you are staying in Les Gets or Morzine and have your own transport. Alternatively access the area via Super Morzine, Express Zore, and the telesiege Seraussaix. This will place you above Avoriaz and Linderets itself and offers up multiple options.
One of the best places when the clouds move in and the snow is falling is The Stash snowpark. Lined by the Lindarets trees and with multiple route options, you can easily spend all day in here without getting bored.
In terms of piste, the Combe a Floret and Les Tannes are fairly enclosed runs offering the shelter required and have multiple off piste cut-throughs for more advanced skiers and boarders. To repeat the various options use the Express Linderets to return you to the top. Further along the same mountainside the Express Prolays lift opens up more reds and blues again sporting multiple lines and cut-throughs off the pisted runs. The edges of the piste throw up many opportunities to get briefly into the trees and back to the piste without running the risks of hitting more demanding terrain further from the marked runs.
On the opposite side of the valley, the new express version of the Chaux Fleurie will whisk you up to the exposed Col du Bassachaux where you can avoid a whiteout day by dropping down the multiple lines under and near the lift line. Caution, some of these lead to some smallish cliff drops putting this off-piste out of reach for the less experienced who would be advised to stick to the Grand Plan blue and Chaux Fleurie red converging at the bottom of the aforementioned lift.
Don’t ignore the home run down to TC d’Ardent, the Parchets blue, although not a demanding run, it is extremely entertaining with playful areas on each side of the piste. In particularly bad conditions it’ll keep you entertained for multiple runs without having to freeze on an exposed chairlift in between.
Bad Weather Skiing in Morzine
Morzine has many runs accessed via the Pleney telecabine and a number of chairlifts; TS de la Crusaz, TS des Mouilles, TS d’Atray and TS des Fys.
The runs are an even mix of blues and reds, the latter spanning the intermediate ability levels whereby some would maybe constitute black status if they were not running directly into resort but luckily they are all lined by trees making them ideal for poor visibility days.
The Pointe de Nyon Is a little high and exposed but the runs beneath the peak that run down from the Nyon Plateau to either the Charniaz bowl or to the base of Nyon itself are also lined with trees and make for some good snowfall skiing.
Bad Weather Skiing in Les Gets
Above Les Gets the off-piste run under the lift line of the TC des Chavannes provides a number of lines that all reconvene at the bottom of the telecabine. The plus is that rather than being exposed to the elements on the neighbouring Chavannes Express chair, the bubble allows you to keep warm in between runs.
Still within the Les Gets ski area but a little further from resort is the Chavannes bowl. This large ski area offers multiple lifts from the same point and multiple runs; blue, red, black and off-piste, all converging on the same lift area. To reach the Chavannes bowl you’ll need to brave the long Chavannes Express lift but this is a much better option than the TC des Chavannes followed by the TS de la Croix which decants to the same place. The latter lift vies with the Belvedere at the Pleney for the slowest lift in the world and is not the place to be sitting in a snowstorm. Upon emerging from the Chavannes Express take the Violettes blue all the way down to the centre of the lift system. This, like all the runs in the area offers lots of little cut-throughs off to the sides of the piste near the trees to gain the contrast required in whiteout conditions. And failing that much adventure, the edges of the piste offer up multiple little kickers and drop-offs to keep you entertained.
To really get up close and personal with the trees in the Chavannes bowl use the TS Rosta, Grains d’Or Express and the Ranfoilly Express to spy out the off-piste cut throughs accessed directly from the end of the lifts or a little way down the pisted runs. For the less experienced the latter are all tree lined and are a good way of getting into un-groomed areas down the edge of the piste without getting too far afield or too tight into the trees where making that turn is compulsory, not optional. Your friends can get together at the lifts gathered at the bottom of the bowl, emanating like spokes from a wheel hub, making it difficult to permanently lose anyone from your party.