It’s May and some roads in Alpine France are buried under 15 meters of snow. Consequently some mountain passes may open 15 days later than normal in Savoie and Haute-Savoie. At Cormet de Roselend, in the Beaufortain, snow removal operations have begun. In some places, the road is covered with amazing 50 feet of snow. Never seen before!
Mountain passes usually reopen to bicycles and cars early May. But this year, after late and exceptional falls, some roads are still covered by several meters of snow and their reopening will be delayed.
There is still up to 6 meters (20 feet) of snow at the small Saint-Bernard and snow removal will not begin until May 7. Same for the Iseran and Croix de Fer passes. At the Galibier Pass, snow removal operations have been stopped because of the risk of avalanches.
15 metres (50 feet) of snow at the Cormet de Roselend
The Cormet de Roselend could be one of the first pass to reopen to traffic. Snow removal operations have begun May 3. But in some places, the road is still covered with 15 meters of snow.
“In the 17 years I’ve been here, I’ve never seen this much snow! Even the oldest people say they’ve never seen this!” It will take three weeks of work to clear the road.
In total, nine teams have been mobilised to remove the snow from different passes in La Tarentaise. Sometimes, aerial reconnaissance is necessary to find the road. Avalanches, mudflows, landslides and rock falls are additional dangers as explained in the video below:
The street workers are struggling with the snow in the French Alps. Such exceptional winters will become the new normal!
These French pictures remind me of the otherworldly 17-meter-deep snow corridor on Japan’s Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route.