Wayne's Daily Diary

Wayne Watson

Wayne's photos

24 March 2017
Another big hit!!!

With an easterly wind blowing and it being cloudy towards the Italian border for the past 36-hours we were sure that we’d get the best possibility of fresh snow up at the Fornet so we headed into the clouds and wind. The wind was blowing pretty hard and I skied on the piste off the Laisinant and Pyramid as there wasn’t much fresh snow and it was all looking a little scratchy, but once up on the Pisaillas Glacier it was a different world. There was at least 20cm’s of powder snow and the wind was considerably less of a factor and Chris, Andreas and I all had fantastic mornings when expectations weren’t the highest. We skied three or four rotations around the Combe de Geant and one in the Combe du 3300, and then rewarded ourselves with a hot chocolate. Thomas headed towards the better light in Tignes and I’m not sure how he got on?

I gave myself another whip-lash about 200 metres from the bottom when one ski stopped dead in sticky slush while the other kept going and it spun me around and threw to me to the ground rather violently. Blimey, that’s twice this season I’ve taken a big hit on-piste while minding my own business! I’m sure I’ll be stiff again tomorrow and sometimes I wonder why I bother skiing to the bottom after a great morning off-piste when there is a warm and comfy cable-car waiting?

It’s one week today when I pick up the girls for 17-days of fun! They’re really looking forward to it with lots of family skiing , meals, swimming, shopping at the sales, socialising with friends, and an introduction to live music with the Killerbeez! I can hardly wait!

There is better light forecast for tomorrow morning which will be brilliant as we didn’t venture too far away today with the wind and flat-light, but with a bit of vis it will be game-on in the morning. Stay tuned!

PS We saw a Gypete this morning being hassled by a smaller bird while waiting for the Fornet bus. (See photos)

23 March 2017
A much needed change of scenery!

We were presented with another potentially tricky day but it turned out to be a really pleasant morning with excellent snow and in places some sunshine. After finishing at the Fornet several days in a row it was time to head to Tignes not only for a change of scenery but also because there was less wind and clearer skies. In fact in the Sachette the sun came out just as we were about to ski, which was a serious bonus! I started with the Little Lavachet, which was very good but fragile and we just got away with it, followed by a fantastic run in the Sachette. Andreas skied the Kern before heading to the Sachette while Thomas skied the Jardin du Borsat three times before having hot chocolate and finishing off the Rosolin with his ‘ladies’ team. Chris was out there somewhere but I didn’t hear from him all morning.

Snow has been falling towards the Fornet and with an easterly wind forecast we could see quite a lot of snow in that area. Fingers crossed on that one because a retour de l’est is a beautiful phenomenon that helps make the Fornet sector as spectacular as it is!

I had a band of characters over for a dinner party last night and we had a great time. It started out as a thank-you meal for Johnny Alpine, who has cooked Dave and I numerous après footie dinners this season and it ended up with Richard H, Dave C, Joe, Jim, Jeremy, John and I. Anyway, thanks John for being such a great host again this season!

The girls arrive a week tomorrow and will be staying for 17-days, which will be fantastic. I can hardly wait but must start to get things ready, and getting the timing right is critical as you don’t want to peak too early in the ‘cleaning’ game! Stay tuned!

PS I’m still unable to send emails so I’m not ignoring you!

22 March 2017
That was better than expected!

It was a murky morning with a very light freeze and at 7AM it wasn’t looking very appetising! We were all worried about the possibility of a ‘stinker’ but as usual the skiing was much better than it might have been. It helped that the sun broke through and for the most part we had excellent visibility when we thought we’d be dealing with flat-light and fog, and a dusting of snow helped to soften the surface and in some places gave us enough to leave some tracks! With the minimal freeze it was either the Motte or the Fornet and there is no doubt about what sector offers the best ambience and solitude so Chris, Andreas, Thomas and I all headed that way and enjoyed some great skiing.

We had another brilliant session at Le Petit Danois rocking to the Killerbeez. Most of my team showed up as well as Chris’ team, and Dan and Denise, Jane Seaford, Sean and a few others came along as well. That’s my third straight Tuesday night and they just seem to get better every week. I’m really looking forward to taking Millie and Katie when they arrive and it will be their first live band, up front and personal!

The forecast on my computer says snow for the next three days while Meteo France says cloudy tomorrow, snow on Friday and maybe again on Saturday. Let’s hope my computer forecast is correct!

PS I’m not able to send emails at the moment so if you email me and don’t get an answer it’s not because I’m ignoring you! Sorry!

21 March 2017
Bring on some snow please!

After yesterday’s early thaw Chris and I headed into the Lower Face du Charvet to test the waters and after a positive result and a good ski we circled back around to ski an excellent Tour du Charvet above the Mont Blanc Couloir. Two weeks ago there was no snow on those slopes and it won’t be too long before the fresh snow melts down and it will be back to grass again, but it’s been fun to be able to ski those slopes this past week. From there we skied some meadows on route to the Col and then a Col Pers and gorge to finish. Meanwhile Andreas headed to Tignes and skied a fantastic Sachette while Thomas took the Bevan family to the Col de la Calabourdane and the Col des Fours.

Unfortunately there is evidence of people skiing slopes way too late yesterday and many of them found ‘quick-snow’ as the tracks left behind were seriously deep. We could now use some snow to tidy up the spring slopes as well as having some powder to ski. We may get a little tonight but it looks better for Thursday, Friday and Saturday. I’m not sure how much is expected but even ten-to-fifteen would help!

I’m about to prepare tomorrow night’s dinner as I’ve invited some of the boys around and then I’m off to the Killer Beez, which has become a regular highlight of my week. Maybe see you there! Stay tuned!

PS I saw a guy skiing yesterday in a funky get-up designed to off-load weight on the knees. For those of you with knee trouble have a look at www.ski-mojo.fr

20 March 2017
Happy Birthday Muriel!!!!

We had a very interesting day and one that was completely different from what we’d planned. After a solid re-freeze I thought we’d be skiing the Face du Charvet, followed by the Tour du Charvet and more spring snow after that, but during the first run it was evident that we’d need to change our plans. The fresh snow from Saturday helped to insulate the snow against a deep refreeze and the sunny slopes gave up their support much earlier than expected. Chris and I opened with the Face du Charvet and the top was excellent, but by the time we arrived on the bottom half of the mountain we needed to get a move on as the snow was already fragile. We radioed Andreas to let him know so he and Philip had a great run down the Santons instead of risking ‘quick snow’! From there we by-passed the Tour du Charvet and went straight up to the Fornet for a guarantee of supporting and we had an excellent run over the Col Pers and through the gorge. Ali had never been through the gorge so it’s always nice to have a first-timer and although I miss the ambience of the exit the climb out is easy and the extra ski down to the Pont St Charles is very pleasant. It was another terrific morning although different from the one I’d planned at breakfast!

Chris and I were the first people on the Face du Charvet this morning but I was surprised when two parapenters flew around the corner and started skimming the surface below us! (see photos) The traverse into the Face is interesting and well done to Kasia for handling it brilliantly! When asked about her level she responded, “I’m an improver!” which I thought was a great answer and she did really well.

Happy birthday to Thomas’ wife Muriel who celebrated by skiing the Mean Martin with Thomas this morning. We all hope you have a fantastic day!

Millie won her golf match 2-and-1 after being down three holes early on. She parred the par-five 13th, which has always been a bogey hole for her and she was pleased about that. Her nine-year-old partner Jack missed a six-inch putt (that should have been conceded) and immediately started crying and saying, “I’m going to be remembered for being the boy that missed the six-inch putt!” Jack and his twin-brother Harry are a couple of real characters but being only nine they do get worked up sometimes and are pretty funny to watch! Anyway, bravo to Mils and Jack on a great comeback!

Tomorrow looks as if it will be partially sunny (the forecast says partially cloudy but…) so we’ll need to wait and see what we get up to. Stay tuned!

PS I’m really pleased about Roger’s latest triumph with a win in the final against Stan and don’t forget the Killer Beez tomorrow night!

19 March 2017
Less 'fresh' than expected but what a morning!

After all the wind with snowflakes in the air most of the day yesterday I really thought we’d have a decent accumulation of fresh snow today, and with North-westerly winds I thought I’d be heading to the Motte this morning. There was a minimum freeze last night in town but snow was in the trees above 2200 metres so at the last moment I decided to head up to the Fornet for the ambience and to stay away from other people, and although there was very little new snow the skiing was excellent. We followed avenues of creamy snow blown in by the wind in the Pays Desert before heading over the Col Pers for a brilliant run. We skied chalky winter snow up high followed by clean and smooth spring slopes at the bottom, and then headed out through the gorge where we had chamois and bouquetin above us at the entrance to the gorge, and it always adds to the occasion when we spot wildlife. Towards the bottom at the moment of truth I left my team and went down to check the exit of the gorge, and I can now say that the final snow-bridges are finished! I radioed back to Andreas and he started walking everyone up towards the summer path while I ‘skinned’ back up to meet them. It was a cracking run top-to- bottom and with the mild temperatures I didn’t really think we’d make it through the gorge when I left for the Gourmandine this morning! We finished a terrific morning with a play above the ‘L’ before a blast down to lunch. Chris was skiing with Sandy and Suzanne while Andreas was skiing with his brother and some of his golfing mates. Henry ‘skinned’ up towards the Glacier Pers with his team and all the boys had a great ski.

Millie has a golf match today so I wish her and her 9-year-old partner luck. They’ll be on about the fourth hole as I write so do the business Mils!

Sun is forecast for tomorrow so we’ll make the most of that before and iffy day or two with some snow forecast towards the end of the week. Fingers crossed and stay tuned!

PS It’s Roger and Stan in an all-Swiss final in California, come on Roger! And I’m sure you’ll have noticed that I haven’t subjected you to too much Hammers news of late!

18 March 2017
A predictably tougher morning!

After a week of sunshine conditions were much tougher today with a punchy wind, driving snow at times, some patches of fog, and the rest of the time it was just plain old flat-light! At 7AM it looked like we had a chance of some sun but the clouds rolled in much earlier than forecast and Chris and I had a tricky day to deal with. We skied some piste, then the sunny bowl off the Col de Fresse, before more piste en-route to the Sachette. The wind was howling while be climbed into the Sachette but once in it was much calmer, the snow was good, and we had flat but decent light most of the way. It was a pretty good result on a day that was never going to be easy, but everyone was pleased to get down for lunch and a serious afternoon of sport!

I’m really looking forward to the match at Johnny Alpine’s as England go for glory and then dinner afterwards. Thanks in advance John!

Andreas played a couple of excellent numbers at the Pub Moris with Mike last night and had a pretty good ‘Alpine’ crowd come and cheer him on.

Light snow is forecast this afternoon with a partially sunny day tomorrow, so we should have more to work with and better conditions. Stay tuned!

PS Enjoy your golf lesson Millie!

17 March 2017
Great spring snow but we need a fresh canvas!

We had a clear night and a really solid refreeze and with clear blue skies it was another day of great spring snow. There aren’t a lot of options due to tracks, and timing (meaning snow is too hard mid-to-late-morning on certain exposures), and in some places such as Mont Roup the slopes we’d normally ski in spring snow have avalanched to the ground and there isn’t any snow left! Anyway, the good news is that we’ve been able to ski the Face du Charvet, which is always impressive, and the steep slopes in the Tour du Charvet, which are equally fun and interesting. I skied both today before skiing the ‘L’ en-route to my first Kern of the season. The Kern was surprisingly good considering it was 11:45 and the team was really pleased with that detour en-route to finishing in the Alti-port/Familial. Chris headed straight to Tignes to ski the Sachette, while Andreas followed him after skiing the Face du Charvet first. Thomas was around the Charvet/Manchet sectors and Henry went off on a Tour.

It’s a bit of an iffy day tomorrow on the weather-front so we may have a tricky morning while praying for some snow in the afternoon. We’ve had a stunning week of spring skiing but could really use some fresh snow to clean up the tracks and give us a few powder mornings as well.

Johnny Alpine’s friend Billy texted him a ‘proverb of the day’, which I thought was quite funny as I never went to church regularly again after we started skiing as a family. Billy texted, “It’s better to go skiing and think of God, than go to church and think about skiing!” Nice one Billy!

Thanks to Geoff for a great dinner and football on Monday night, and to Johnny Alpine for a lovely curry and football on Wednesday night. And I’m sure all you rugby fans will be glued to tomorrow night’s game as the Irish try to spoil England’s Grand Slam bid and well as their attempt at the World Record for consecutive wins.

Millie has a golf lesson tomorrow followed by a match on Sunday and Katie may have a riding lesson. Fingers crossed on the weather girls!

Andreas may play tonight at the Pub Moris around 6:30 so do drop in. Stay tuned!

PS Congratulations to John Sadowski and Bridgette who have had another baby boy. Blimey Chief!

16 March 2017
Another superb morning of spring skiing!

We had a better refreeze last night but with clear blue skies it heated up pretty quickly this morning so we needed to get at it straight away. I haven’t seen Henry in ages but we both opened with the Face du Charvet from the top, which was excellent, and then we had a fantastic run in the Tour du Charvet above the Mont Blanc couloir. From there I didn’t want to ski firm snow or go through the gorge so we skied the L, which was great before skiing the Alti-port into the Little Lavachet and then the Alti-port onto the sunny slopes in the bottom of the Familial to finish of another brilliant morning. Thomas was out there as well but his radio was dead so we didn’t hear much from him and Chris had a touring private so he did the Col de la Calabourdane and the Col des Fours, while Andreas went down to Ste Foy to ski the sunny-side and had a terrific morning and lunch with his team.

My forecast calls for another sunny day to fill our boots with spring snow tomorrow and then snow on Saturday and snow again from next Tuesday for a few days. Sounds good to me!

I’ll sign off now as I’ve my Valdinet blog to write as it’s due this afternoon/evening. Stay tuned!

PS And what a performance by Roger Federer as he beat Nadal 6-2,6-3 in 68-minutes yesterday for his third straight win over Rafa. Wow!

15 March 2017
A lovely day out in Ste Foy!

After a stunning day of classic Val d’Isere spring slopes yesterday Chris and I headed out of town to Ste Foy for a change of scenery. We ‘skinned up to the Foglietta, which was more technical than normal and called for couteaux so the walk up took us longer than it normally would. With a high thin cloud cover it took longer for the snow to soften but having taken 1.5 hours to reach the summit we did need to play with exposures to avoid making a mess in snow that was already too soft, and we ended up skiing a line that we’d never taken before. It was excellent top-to-bottom and we then circled back around through the Monal and other little hamlets en-route back to the resort for well deserved beers. It was a great day out with fantastic scenery, great snow and the feeling you get when you’ve worked hard and deserve your rewards! Meanwhile, Andreas and Thomas skied ‘classic’ spring slopes and with the cloud cover needed to delay their timing in order to get the snow just right, and they had some great skiing around the Charvet.

We had a wonderful evening last night rocking to the Killer Beez at the Petit Danois. Representing Alpine was Derek, Paul, Peter, Cormack, Colin and his brother Stephen as well as their Dad and Uncle, Emmett, Geoff, Johnny Alpine, Joe, Richard F, John D, Jim and Andreas and I. Alex, a friend of Gill’s, read about it on my blog and she showed up as well and it was fantastic! Dick came along and I believe he might have signed them up to play in his bar in the south of France this summer. These guys are seriously good and great fun and I’m looking forward to next Tuesday already!

Katie had a great time at Gym Club last night but more importantly her team representing her school Broadwater came 3rd out of 9 competing in a Maths Competition, and there was a couple of pretty fancy schools involved! Well done Katie and well done Broadwater who’s year-nine team came first!

Andreas has an Ice Hockey match tonight, which he’s really looking forward to. It’s a home game in La Rosiere so he won’t be home too late tonight!

We have two more days of sunshine in store before the possibility of some snow on Saturday. Fingers crossed on that meteo and stay tuned!

PS And well done to Emmett who ‘skinned’ up without any couteaux. What a performance!

14 March 2017
Fantastic slopes and great spring snow!

After a warm sunny day yesterday and another good refreeze last night the spring snow is setting up beautifully and we had some quality skiing this morning on steep and clean slopes. Chris, Thomas and I started with the lower half of the Face du Charvet and it was so good we circled back around and skied it again as the Super Santons looked a little rough. Next up was a stunning run on the big steep slopes above the Couloir du Mont Blanc before cutting to the right for some clean shots above the rocks. (we gave the couloirs a miss because it was pretty messy!) Because the Cugnai was still frozen and not particularly clean we headed over the Col Pers for some lovely winter snow up high and supporting spring down low. Last time I said, “this is my last trip through the gorge” was about 12 trips ago as conditions improved and Chris and I have continued to pass through it, but today just might be my ‘last trip through the gorge!’ It was a little trickier than yesterday and there is enough water running now with the warmer temperatures to push someone under a snow-bridge if they fell into the last hole so it’s time to start climbing out before the last couple of bridges. Thomas, Chris and I all passed through today without incident but enough is enough!

Meanwhile Andreas’ team wanted lunch in Les Brevieres so he skied in Tignes to meet up with Colin’s Dad and Uncle for lunch. They tried to ski the Glacier Suspendu but Andreas pulled out when he became uncomfortable with the conditions when ‘skinning’ up. Well done Andreas, it’s always better to be safe than sorry!

It’s Tuesday night so I’m heading back to the Petit Danois to see the Killer Beez again. Derek’s team is coming along with Andreas, while Geoff and Jim from my team are looking forward to it as well. It should be quite a sight as a room full of old guys play air-guitar and sway about! Stay tuned!

13 March 2017
Blue skies, great skiing and a bit of adventure!

We had a clear night and a solid re-freeze and with sun forecast for the next five days at least we will be in for some excellent spring skiing. I had a combination of spring and winter snow as we skied the meadows off the Borsat while waiting for the big slopes around the Chalet des Gardes to warm up. We ‘skinned’ up for ten-minutes from the Grand Pres to access clean snow and had an excellent run down in spring snow. From there we headed over the Col Pers and had a good mix of winter snow and then clean but firm spring snow on the lower slopes en-route to the gorge. The gorge has changed yet again with some debris to climb over and ski through and the extra snow avalanching down at the exit has actually made it trickier instead of easier! There are now a couple of uphill ramps where you need to get your speed just right so you don’t start sliding backwards, and if you go too quickly the compression at the bottom of the ramp is a factor. Anyway, it was cracking good fun and my team had four falls between them to spice things up a little but everyone made it through safely and dry!

Meanwhile Chris, Andreas and Thomas all headed to the Col des Fours via the Col de la Calabourdane and I’m not too sure how they got on but they’ll have had a great morning out.

Hort, can you please send me your email address as my brother wants to come and play golf with you at the end of March. I lost your address when I threw wine on my computer! And Stretch’s as well please. Thanks!

It’s that time of year when the snow gets slushy and sticky so I’m about to wax my skis before heading to the gym. Stay tuned for more news tomorrow!

12 March 2017
Sun for the next five days at least!

We had a minimum re-freeze last night and with slightly overcast skies it wasn’t going to be the easiest of days. After two weeks of pretty aggressive skiing I had a nice relaxing day with Geoff and Penny as we skied some immaculate piste followed by a nice trip through the Sachette. The skiing up high was a little trickier without the visibility, but the mid-altitude north-facing spring snow was lovely and we then cut out early due to the lack of freeze. Andreas had a more adventurous morning as he had the Peter, Paul, Derek and pals show and he did a great job skiing the Little Lavachet, then had a little play under the Palafour, followed by the Sachette and then finished off around the Jardin du Borsat and Spatule. Meanwhile Chris ‘skinned’ up to the Col des Fours and had a pretty good morning as well. All in all it was a pretty good day for a potentially tricky one and everyone was happy with their various outings.

I had an excellent afternoon working on technique with John D. Conditions were almost perfect and the pistes were pretty quiet, which makes it much easier to concentrate when trying the various exercises. Well done John!

Sun is forecast for the next five days so we should have some great spring skiing coming up. Tomorrow might be one day early but we’ll be out there hoping for the best. Stay tuned!

11 March 2017
In-between but great skiing and adventure!

We have a bit of ‘in-between’ conditions at the moment after last week’s ‘powder extravaganza’, but after a good re-freeze last night the slopes at lower altitudes were safe and it gave us some more options. After a test off the Verte I decided that the Little Lavachet would work and we had an excellent run down into Tignes on lightly supporting spring snow with just enough of a wintery surface to give it a soft touch underfoot. It just worked as it would have been un-skiable yesterday but it was a good result and an adventurous start to our morning. From there we skied the Sachette with some winter snow up top before turning to spring snow the rest of the way down to the bottom. We ended up skiing the northern slopes as they held better and were smoother than the sunny-side, and it was a cracking good morning. Meanwhile Thomas ‘skinned’ to the Col des Fours and he was very pleased with his result as they had winter snow most of the way down and of course great scenery and ambience. Chris took his team to Italy for day and I’m sure they’ll have had some nice spring snow and a fantastic lunch, which is half the reason for going to Italy!

Andreas had the day off after his gig at the Moris last night, and it was a terrific evening. Mike and Ritchie are always great and good fun and Andreas did three numbers in the end and did a brilliant job!

It looks like a sunny week ahead and it seems strange that after last week’s 4/5 powder blitz that we are now talking spring snow! Sad but true, but mind you it could be a lot worse! Stay tuned and enjoy the rugby as the English and Scots have it out and come on you Hammers!

10 March 2017
A potential 'stinker' avoided!

It was overcast all through the night and there was no re-freeze in town so it was a bit worrying this morning about dealing with a possible ‘stinker’! There were two choices, return to the Fornet or head towards the Motte in Tignes. I didn’t want to deal with people so I decided on the Fornet and when the ream voted for ‘adventure’ I headed over the Col Pers and everyone was ready to deal with what we found and to make the best of it. It turned out to be a cracking good morning with good enough snow, solitude and wonderful scenery. Barnaby brought Aaron along and Aaron had never been over the Col so it’s always nice to introduce someone to that part of the world. Chris and I ‘skinned’ up to the Glaciers Pers and I thought it was pretty jolly good considering what was on offer today. Thomas went down over the Col and skied out via the Grand Torsai and radioed to say that it was shocking, so Chris and I took my ‘funky’ exit, which was a great option and very atmospheric . Thanks Thomas! Meanwhile Andreas needed a change of scenery with his team so he headed up to the Motte and then skied around the Col du Palet sector, and they had a good morning as well. I thought the team did really well today because with a nasty heat-crust covering most of the mountain it could have been a really difficult day.

Don’t forget Andreas’ gig with Mike and Ritchie at the Pub Moris tonight. The show starts at 5:30 and Andreas should take the stage around 6:30. See you there!

Good luck to Millie who has part 4 of her French GCSE exam this afternoon. Do you business and good luck Millie!

With a clear night we should get some sort of freeze tonight with sunshine forecast again for tomorrow. Stay tuned!

PS And a big happy birthday to Richard Finlay who turned 71 today!

9 March 2017
A total change of conditions and possibilities!

It was very warm overnight and water was dripping from the terrace above me this morning so it was no surprise that the avalanche risk below 2500 metres was rated at 4/5. Above 2500m’s the risk was lowered to 3/5 and it was definitely a morning for staying as high as possible and the entire team decided on the Fornet over the Motte. The Signal remained closed (just as well really) and we all spent a great morning up on the Pissaillas Glacier skiing a couple of Combe du 3300 before heading out into the Pays Desert. The T-bar closed due to a technical problem so we ‘skinned’ up for ten-minutes for a second run and had the Pays Desert to ourselves. The wind and warm temperatures have changed the snow drastically over the past 24-hours but it was still excellent skiing, although more ‘educational’ than we’ve had over the past four or five days. It’s amazing how quickly people move on from the stunning snow and skiing of the past five days and embrace the new conditions and thoroughly enjoy themselves. Bravo everyone for such good attitudes and understanding of how each and every day is different and how each day has its own merits and possibilities.

If you’re in the resort don’t forget to come to see Andreas play a couple of songs with Mike and Ritchie tomorrow night at the Pub Moris. Andreas will come on around 6:30 and I can guarantee that you’ll have a brilliant time. Mike and Ritchie start around 5:30 and if you’ve never seen them they are fantastic. See you there!

My lovely wife has been hit with viral labrynthitis again. She had it several years ago and has unfortunately contracted it again, which is a serious pain as taking care of the girls on her own while feeling rotten is no fun at all! It also makes working near impossible and fingers crossed that she gets over it much more quickly than last time. Courage Gill!

Sun is forecast for the next couple of days and hopefully we’ll get a good freeze tonight, which would help to stabilise to lower slopes and open up some more options. Stay tuned!

PS Thanks to Adrian and Al for a fantastic evening in the Baraque last night!

8 March 2017
What outstanding skiing in a Winter Wonderland!

The resort got exactly what we needed today and that was a calming period with some visibility so the pisteurs could secure more of the resort. With the sunny weather they were able to throw dynamite from helicopters and did some serious blasting that brought down some huge slides. Having some sunshine also meant we could see but with it comes a lot of other skiers off-piste that don’t ski off-piste in the poor visibility.

I started off with a couple of easy runs off the Verte to work into the morning while waiting for the Fontaine Froide to open, then Thomas and I had a fantastic run off the Fontaine Froide and decided to keep going down the Epaule du Charvet. With a risk of 4/5 we weren’t going to venture too far away and Thomas skied the left-hand side of the piste while I took the right, and it was wonderful top-to-bottom. It was pretty quiet and enticing so we circled back around for another run and still found great lines without exposing ourselves on the steeper sections. From there we decided to head to the Manchet, which was closed and because it was closed it was also peaceful, so we had a brilliant run down and pushed out before circling around for a second to finish off a wonderful morning. Meanwhile Chris and Andreas skied off the Bellevarde before working their way towards Tignes. Chris mentioned some great skiing in the Familial and a couple runs in the Campanules, and they both had excellent mornings. Chris had a run-in with a guide from Tignes who cut up his group and Chris had a real go at him, but he isn’t going to let that wreck his morning!

Louise has been telling me for ages about the Killer Beez who play every Tuesday night at Le Petit Danois, so Al, Adrian and I went last night to check them out. Peter and Yvon also stopped by as well and we were all extremely impressed by what a brilliant band they were. They make a lot of music for just three band members with an excellent guitar player and bass player, as well as a fantastic drummer. They were seriously good and I’m already planning to return next Tuesday night for more Clapton, Johnny Cash, Pink Floyd, Beatles, Stones, Bowie, Eagles, Don Henley, Don McLean, Men at Work, Byran Adams and more. It was great to see young girls of 18 (maybe younger) grooving, dancing, and singing only to be outdone by a bunch of older folks with grey hair and wrinkles. And Jim was rocking with the best of them! Thanks Lou!

It’s snowing lightly at 3:10pm and a partly sunny day is forecast for tomorrow. We had sunshine all morning right up until about 12:30 when the light started to flatten out a little, but it was great to be able to see today and fantastic for the pisteurs to be able to throw some dynamite about. Stay tuned to see what tomorrow brings!

PS Adrian and Al can’t believe the skiing as usually when they’re here we seem to be ‘skinning’ most of the time. They can’t get over the non-stop powder! And we miss you Ian and Frans!

PPS Blimey, I forgot to mention Katie’s Gym Club last night. She achieved a new skill, which was an aerial, and when someone achieves a new level they ring a bell and then perform the new skill for the entire club. She said it was nerve-racking performing with everyone watching but Gill said she beamed all the way home. Bravo Katie!

7 March 2017
Slow opening but a fabulous morning!

Another 50cm’s of snow fell overnight and we’re now talking about a serious amount of snow! Chris and Suzanne (naughty people) had to ski down into town because the road to the Fornet was closed to all traffic, as was the road to the Chatelard and the place went into a mini-shut-down as the school buses didn’t run and many holiday-makers and staff were snowed in at the Laisinant and the Fornet.

It was a predictably slow opening and I bussed down to La Daille and then ended up bussing back trying to judge what was going to open first but eventually we got going and what a morning it was! The risk is still 4/5 but around La Daille Chris, Andreas, Thomas and I had plenty to do with our teams and it was another excellent morning in very deep quality snow.

Jean R turns 76 years-of-age today and we all wish him a very happy birthday. Jean was waiting at 8:50 for the lifts to open as he was keen on a powder morning to celebrate but he was kept waiting like the rest of us. He’s still grinning when he thinks about Friday and said it was the best early present he could have had!

There was a scare in Tignes this morning and we heard that there was a big avalanche on-piste and that up to thirty people were involved. Thankfully as it turned out no one was buried but news travels fast and Gill heard about it back in England and texted Adrian to make sure we were alright!

Millie has another GCSE French exam today while Katie is gearing herself up for Gym Club tonight. Good luck girls!

It looked as if the skies were clear a couple of times this morning but every time a window appeared it was shut pretty quickly! It’s still snowing at 2:45 so who knows what tomorrow will bring. We could use a calming period for the pisteurs and groomers to be able to secure the various closed sectors and to pack down the pistes but at the moment it just keeps snowing! A slightly brighter day is forecast for tomorrow without snow so that will help the resort get things sorted, and a partially sunny day is on the cards for Thursday, which means a ‘powder frenzy’ and potential chaos! Stay tuned!

PS Sorry Al, I seemed to have missed you today! I’ll make it up to you tomorrow, promise!

PPS One of Chris’ clients lost a ski in the steeps of the Triffolet and they finally found it around 12:45. Andreas had come around to help as did Thomas, and my team arrived right near the end when all hope had been given up. Chris’ team celebrated by going up for one last run and a late finish!

6 March 2017
A 4/5 risk morning just doesn't get any better!

It must have snowed close to another 50cm’s overnight and with the avalanche risk at 4/5 I was expecting a slow opening and pretty limited skiing, but the Olympique opened on time and we had a stunning morning. High risk days don’t get much better and we managed to get to great slopes first and really profited from the deep snow. I had Adrian, Al, Barnaby, and Peter who I haven’t skied with for 25-years from back in my Top Ski days, and Simon who I’ve never skied with, and we had a cracking team and did a lot of skiing. We started with an excellent run on the OK and on down through the trees to the Funival, then a fantastic run down a steep line in the Triffolet, followed by two brilliant runs off the Fontaine Froide, then various bits and bobs of great snow as we needed to use our imagination to end the morning in ‘clean’ snow. It was one of those days that was hugely satisfying as expectations weren’t the highest, but the snow quality was outstanding and we skied a lot of virgin snow.

Thomas had a team from Boston and they were very impressed, while Chris has Nick, Ann and Corrine for a base this week. Andreas skied for a couple of hours but his team were affected by the flat-light and he stopped early.

It started blowing a hoolie around noon and the Solaise lift has shut down and as I write at 2:38pm I can hear the wind howling in my chimney, which is a good indicator that the bouquetin and chamois are having a rough time out there while I’m tucked up nice and snug in my apartment. Snow is forecast for the rest of the day and tomorrow so stay tuned and see what tomorrow brings!

5 March 2017
Wow, that could bring a tear to the eye!

I almost took the morning off today but decided to give Jean a call and he and his daughter Katie came this morning, along with Louise. I thought we’d have a quiet day, especially with the avalanche risk at 3/5 and rising to 4 during the day, but once I tested the snow we had anything but a ‘quiet’ day. We opened with a belter and a taste of what was to come off the Fontaine Froide and luckily the Fontaine Froide chair wasn’t ready so we continued on down for a brilliant run off the Epaule du Charvet. Then we skied a fantastic run in the Arcelle followed by a stunning Marmottons into the Marmottes en-route to the Super L. Next up was a lovely little run off the Laisinant Express followed by a Lower Combe du Signal en-route to the Pissaillas for an excellent Pays Desert. We finished with the meadows around the up-and-over chair and took the cable-car down as we didn’t want to spoil a perfect morning with piste! It was truly exceptional and I was so pleased that Jean was there to enjoy it, and it was extra-special for him to be able to share it with his daughter.

Meanwhile Thomas was taking no prisoners either as he skied the Fontaine Froide into the Santons, then TJ’s Shoulder en-route to the Arcelle sector where he had a couple of runs, then a variation off the Danaides followed by the Lievre Blanc to finish! If it wasn’t the best day of the season it was top 3-to-5 as last Friday was fabulous, last Wednesday was brilliant ……. It’s amazing how you lose track of quality days around here!

Today’s forecast was for partly sunny skies with weather moving in around 11 o’clock, which is part of the reason why I’d thought we’d have an easy day. I was expecting to be heading home early as the clouds rolled in but we had clear blue skies right until the end, which was a serious bonus! It’s now snowing again as of 2:45 and another 20 to 40cm’s are forecast by the morning with strong winds. (Bummer about the wind!) Stay tuned for more news tomorrow.

PS Andreas was off today and is doing some serious guitar work as he has a couple of gigs coming up. The first one is this Friday at the Moris with Mike and we’ll be rounding up as many of us as possible to come along and watch. Make a note of it if you’re in the resort this week!

4 March 2017
A surprisingly good morning in stormy weather!

Chris, Toby and I skied until 12:30 this morning, which was a pretty good result considering I thought the entire morning may have been a write-off as winds of 182km/h were recorded on the summit of Solaise at 6:45am! We bussed down to the Funival and were on the first lift up at about 9:05, but as far as I know the Funival was the only lift running. We skied five runs, all off-piste-on-piste as there was no one else about and because it didn’t snow overnight the off-piste at that altitude was rough from yesterday’s tracks and the heat-crust from the previous day so the piste was by far the best skiing. It was one of those days where you felt good to be outside, to get some skiing in and to experience the storm. (See photos)

Thomas drove up from Seez to take care of Hugh and Penny’s team and they did a thorough beep-search, followed by coffee and some skiing so bravo to you all for making the most of a stormy day!

I’ve some tidying up to do next door then I’m off to the gym to stretch out my legs, which are fairly weary after skiing everyday of the season so far, and having had some dynamic skiing of late.

We could see up to another 40cm’s of fresh snow by tomorrow morning and a little sunshine is forecast before more snow on Monday. Stay tuned!

PS I had a great time last night at the Baraque with Chris, Callum and Callum’s dad Tom. I’ve had a fantastic week with the boys and it was nice to have a drink with them. The music was excellent, as usual, and then Chris and I headed off to the Roxy Burger Bar for a quick fix!

3 March 2017
A wish come true!

I was grateful to get my wish this morning as Chris and I opened up the Grand Vallon in stunning snow. We skied it pretty much non-stop except for the steep pitches that needed a little one-at-a-time respect and we circled around it skied it three times! That is incredibly rare as on most sunny powder days after a week of overcast skies people go berserk and an ugly ‘powder frenzy’ takes place, which you really don’t want to be a part of. For some reason there weren’t too many people about and those who in the area were busy tracking out the Combe du Signal and leaving the Grand Vallon to us. After three rotations we headed upstairs for a good run through Chris’ Rock before going over the Col Pers and out through the gorge to finish off a quality morning. I’ve had quite of few new skiers this week including Callum, Toby, Phil and Stephen and for three of the boys it was their first trip through the gorge. (And it was nice to have Chris back after a couple of years away) Chris has had Adam and Gill this week, who are also new to ‘Alpine’ and they’ve had a brilliant week. Meanwhile Andreas headed to Tignes with his team and his plan was to ski the Borsat Nord, the Chardonnet, the Sache and a Familial on the way home. That sounds pretty jolly good as well!

Millie had an evening to choose her GCSE courses for the next couple of years so she and Gill went to that last night and Katie has a riding lesson tonight while Millie has a Surrey Girls Golf day on Sunday. Have fun girls!

Snow and wind are forecast for tomorrow and at the moment it will be just Thomas and I braving the elements with our teams. Wish us luck and stay tuned! And enjoy a great weekend of sport!

2 March 2017
A little tougher but still great skiing!

Another 15 to 20cm’s fell last night and the lifts opened bang on time. I was in the first lift up the Olympique and opened with the Face du Bellevarde again, but after three straight days my legs were shot by the time we got to the bottom! It was great skiing again today but conditions were tougher as the vis wasn’t as good and it was much warmer. We skied off the Epaule du Charvet around 9:20 this morning and it was much warmer than it was yesterday at 11:15! That made me think that the Arcelle would be difficult and less safe than yesterday, especially with the poor visibility, and that heading upstairs to colder snow at the Fornet would be a good idea. Unfortunately not much was open and our options were limited but we had a couple of excellent runs in the Lower Combe du Signal, followed by a Lower Grand Vallon and a Super L to finish. Chris and Andreas were also in the neighbourhood and it was great to have Thomas back in action today.

Andreas and Victor both had their first hockey matches last night and they had a wonderful time as Tansy and Ness cheered them on. Both of them scored hat tricks as Andreas’ team won 20-18 and I’m not too sure about Victor’s score. Tansy says that Victor has a brilliant ‘goal celebration’ where he slides along the ice on his knees with his arms held up high and wide as he looks towards the heavens. Now that’s a proper goal celebration! Fantastic Victor!

The forecast calls for better vis tomorrow and I’m hoping they keep the Signal and Pissaillas Glacier closed this afternoon. There was some stunning snow in the Lower Combe this morning and I’d love to be on the first drag tomorrow with the Grand Vallon and Combe clean. Fingers crossed on that one and stay tuned!

PS While traversing into the Lower Grand Vallon Chris had a pack of helmeted Vikings with air-bags and huge fat skis cut above him and cut some snow down onto one of his clients. Apparently Alain Prince was there and had a real go at them. Merci Alain!

PPS And happy birthday Mom!!

PPPS I’ve just waxed my skis on the terrace for the first time this season. Chris waxes his and Suzanne’s regularly and he flies by me on the flats, and waxed skis pivot so much easier. And it was nice to have a new ‘Alpine’ skier Toby along this morning, he’s a top chap and a solid skier!

1 March 2017
A non-stop powder extravaganza!

I took 2 extra beeps along this morning thinking we might need to do a beep search as winds of 108km/h were recorded at 7:15 am on the summit of Bellevarde. We were very surprised when the resort opened about 9:10, which was a fantastic result and it was game-on for a fabulous morning of non-stop skiing. Chris and I opened with the Face du Bellevarde, followed by three Bonnvie’s Drag’s, three off the Fontaine Froide, one superb run off the Epaule du Charvet, then one down the Marmottons to arrive as the Manchet chair opened, then one down the Marmottons into the Marmottes to finish. Blimey, what a morning! Meanwhile Andreas started off Bellevarde and eventually made his way to the Fornet via the Epaule du Charvet and the Mattis. It was a maximum-turn type morning of high quality and Barnaby thought it was the best morning skiing of his life, and that’s a result!

I saw a lot of Pat Z this morning as we met up on the Fontaine Froide, then again on the Epaule du Charvet, and yet again in the Manchet sector, and his team seemed to be enjoying themselves immensely! And why not with deep snow, impressive slopes and fantastic ambience!

It cleared up a little towards the end of the morning, which really helped us to enjoy the Epaule and Manchet runs, and it is forecast to start snowing again this evening and continue into tomorrow. Sounds good and stay tuned!

PS And thanks to Margaret for a lovely evening last night with the usual great food and company!

PPS Victor and Andreas both have hockey matches tonight in La Rosiere. Good luck to you both and I’ll enjoy hearing about it tomorrow morning!

Find us on Facebook