Guess what? Yep. It's snowing again ....just for a change!
31st January 2012
It started snowing very gently at around 8pm last night with those very tiny flakes you get when it's cold. I assume it snowed on and off all night as we had 12cms of fresh snow by dawn, here in Le Praz at 1300 metres. Looking at our webcams it’s a complete whiteout at all levels so I’ve made the sensible decision to stay indoors in the warm and watch it all happening through the window.
The temperature is down at -14°c at the top (…and due to get colder as the week goes by with a major cold front sending even colder air from the Arctic in our direction). This snowfall is likely to continue through this evening with clearer skies tomorrow but yet more snow on Thursday.
Those of us who are superstitious should watch the weather on Thursday as it is February 2nd, also known as Candlemass or more well known as ‘Groundhog Day’. This is a sort of St Swithins Day ….in reverse.
The ‘theory’ goes something like this…. February 2nd is almost exactly middle of the winter being half way between the Winter Solstice (Dec. 21st) and the Spring Equinox (March 1st). On that day, groundhogs (a type of ground-bound squirrel …but fat due to the lack of exercise) emerge from their burrow and if they see their own shadow (because it’s sunny) then winter will continue for the next 6 weeks and they nip back into their burrow for a few more weeks of kip. If however they don’t see their shadow (because it’s cloudy) then an early spring is on the cards and they hang about and do whatever groundhogs do in Spring.
There are many ceremonies throughout the world with celebrity groundhogs like ‘Woody the Woodchuck’ and ‘Susquehanna Sherman’ but of course the most famous is ‘Punxsutawney Phil’ a groundhog resident of Punxsutawney in Pennsylvania and star of the film Groundhog Day. Punxsutawney Phil fans say that there is only one Phil (all the other groundhog weathermen are imposters), and that he has made weather prognostications for over 121 years as of 2011(even though groundhogs typically live for 14 years maximum). They say that every summer, Phil is given a sip of the mysterious Groundhog Elixir, which magically lengthens his life for seven years. According to the Groundhog Club, Phil, after making the prediction, speaks to the Club President in "Groundhogese", which only the current president can understand, and then his prediction is translated for the entire world.
We await his prediction with some trepidation!
My skiing forecast based on looking out of the window and never, ever having seen so much snow is that this is going to be the greatest skiing season ever in the Greatest Ski Resort in the World. It doesn’t get better than that for a recommendation does it?
Photos today are a few shots of the pretty village of Le Praz (aka Courchevel 1300) as I wandered about in the snow this morning. Hopefully they give you a feel for the amount of snow we have.
Conditions at time of reporting: