UKC

Sand in the alps ?

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 mike123 17 Mar 2022

Has anybody heard about sand falling from heaven on the pistes ? I heard half a story about this and can’t see anything on here or the beeb ?

 yorkshireman 17 Mar 2022
In reply to mike123:

Saharan sand is being blown up from Africa but mainly to the west over Spain so is affecting the Pyrenees more. 

I'm near Grenoble in the Alps and am looking out my window at the various pistes around the valley and although it's a bit hazy, there's no red dust in the air. Last year we had the same thing and the sky was red and the sand was all over the (closed due to COVID) pistes. 

Webcam from the nearest (but not highest) ski slopes. 

https://app.webcam-hd.com/lans_en_vercors/vertige_des_cimes

Post edited at 08:55
 RX-78 17 Mar 2022
In reply to mike123:

Yes, it was in the guardian, i am in lyon and we had a rain of sand as well a few days ago

cb294 17 Mar 2022
In reply to mike123:

Bavaria here, and my car looks as if I was through the Dakar rally! Tue afternoon the sky was dark yellow, so that the automatic lights at the heli landing pad of the hospital went on and a bit later it was raining mud.

https://cdn.prod.www.spiegel.de/images/1f8d716c-1670-410d-8072-df74d5e97c1a_w718_r1.4992269037495167_fpx66.62_fpy49.87.jpg

https://image.geo.de/31705580/t/ag/v3/w960/r1.5/-/saharastaub-in-frank-73087949.jpg

edit: the second picture is from the French Alps, not Bavaria.

Post edited at 08:46
 Jim Lancs 17 Mar 2022
In reply to mike123:

Not so much carried on the surface winds, but higher up (this is for 10,000 ft) there was a strong air current from the western Sahara, over the Pyrenees and across to the Alps during the early part of the week. I think the temperatures on the slopes have been quite high as a result as well.


OP mike123 17 Mar 2022
In reply to Jim Lancs: thanks all . Pondering a mid April ski trip , not sure wether to be put off 

 HeMa 17 Mar 2022
In reply to mike123:

> thanks all . Pondering a mid April ski trip , not sure wether to be put off 

Mid April is still a month away.

So a lot of things can happen.

And the worst outcome would simply be, that you get a free basegrind .

Honestly I don't think it will be that big of an issue. Sand is darker and thus melts quite deep into the snow (provided sunny weather). So not a big deal...

But then again, I'm more of a pragmatic when it comes to skiing.... The old proverb I heard an older skiing legend once say has also been my mantra... it goes something like this "all skis are rock skis"... You buy the skis for the enjoyment of skiing them, not to worry about them too much all the time. So use the skis, and if you get scratches or coreshots on them, learn how to fix 'em and continue to use 'em... and when they are so beat up, that they are un-usable, get new ones... Or get multiple skis... once to take out when damage is likely (i.e. rock skis), and then skis for when damage is less likely

 galpinos 17 Mar 2022
In reply to HeMa:

Tools not jewels.....

 yorkshireman 17 Mar 2022
In reply to Jim Lancs:

> Not so much carried on the surface winds, but higher up (this is for 10,000 ft) there was a strong air current from the western Sahara, over the Pyrenees and across to the Alps during the early part of the week. I think the temperatures on the slopes have been quite high as a result as well.

Temps have been crazy high. My house is only at 1100m but it was lunch in a t-shirt on the patio yesterday. Our local big hill is technically open until Easter Monday but not sure I'll be squeezing out my season pass that long.

My best local XC trails are saying they've got 70cm base of spring snow still and most trails still open  but I think next week might be the last time I use my skis this season. 

 supersteve 17 Mar 2022
In reply to mike123:

We live just south of Paris and my white car was turned orange earlier in the week with the dust

 Doug 17 Mar 2022
In reply to yorkshireman:

Not much sand here either.

I'm just back from a couple of hours on our local downhill pistes. The snow is surviving but by 10.30 was getting very soft - comme sorbet said one of neighbours. Not much xc skiing left here, just a loop of some 5 km & can't see that lasting much longer although officially they'll stay open till the end of the month.

 John Ww 17 Mar 2022
In reply to mike123:

I’m in La Rosiére, and we got it the day before yesterday - almost impossible to make any downhill progress without coming to an unexpected but abrupt halt. The sand isn’t the problem now however, it’s the warm weather, poor visibility and crap snow. Such is life with outdoor sports.

Post edited at 11:14
In reply to mike123:

It's seems to be everywhere  - our garden and car is covered in it.

 Aigen 17 Mar 2022
In reply to mike123:

My Car is covered in yellow sand. I came two nights ago. I am based in Austria. 

In reply to mike123:

Sky was pretty yellow in England yesterday. Same problem, apparently.

https://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/weather-london-sky-orange-tinge-saharan-dust-cloud-met-office-b988422.html

Post edited at 13:30
In reply to mike123:

Lots here with yesterday's rain.  Excellent satellite animation of the spread of it here https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=282979530578389&ref=sharing

Post edited at 17:38
 Pinch'a'salt 17 Mar 2022
In reply to mike123:

As per lots of the previous replies yes it is a moderately regular occurence (can think of a fair number of occasions over the 23 winters i have been in the Vanoise). Last winter there was a thicker layer still over here (March time as well from memory) - we missed the worst of it this time but looks like CH and Spain got it really thick.

Skiing has stayed reasonable - good spring snow down to about 2100m last couple of days and still cold snow to ski on North aspects to about the same level if you can find slopes that stayed sheltered from (or in-filled by) the Foehn wind...

 yorkshireman 20 Mar 2022
In reply to yorkshireman:

> I'm near Grenoble in the Alps and am looking out my window at the various pistes around the valley and although it's a bit hazy, there's no red dust in the air.

Went out for a few runs at my local resort (Villard-Corrençon) this morning and noticed red dust on the non-groomed pistes and the side bits over 2000m. Guess the sand must have mostly blown over us and just the higher parts being caught.

Post edited at 14:35
 Xharlie 06 Apr 2022
In reply to mike123:

For the first time that I can recall, I found official mention of sand in the snow-pack in the German avalanche report for my area, yesterday, which read: "Zudem stellt die 'Saharastaubschicht' eine potentielle Schwachschicht dar,..."

Translated, it says that a layer of dust from the Sahara is a potential weak layer in the snow-pack.


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