Now that was a great result!

23 February 2017

Radio Val announced this morning that we’ve received 1/3 of the snow this year compared to the same time last season, and that includes the 50 to 60 cm’s of lovely powder that was washed away in the heavy rain at the end of November. To say it’s been a tough winter is an understatement but we’ve all really enjoyed the season and for the most part have delivered superb skiing under the circumstances. I must say that the past few days have been the most difficult of the season with very few options and the resort jam-packed with tourists, but we’ve still managed some pretty good skiing and kept away from the crowds. The snow the past few days has been what I call ‘educational’ but that doesn’t mean that it’s rubbish. ‘Educational’ snow just takes more technique than the perfect snow that many have become accustomed to and I personally love the challenge of ‘educational’ snow and often get more satisfaction from it than ‘perfect’ snow. (Of course we’ll all take beautiful snow every day of the week but…) If you have a well-timed pole plant, pivoting skills, steering skills, flexion and extension, and the ability to progressively pressure the snow, or just as importantly take pressure out of the snow and be able to apply what the snow needs then ‘educational’ snow is brilliant. (Of course there are varying degrees of ‘educational’!) If you lack in basic ‘skill’ levels then ‘educational’ snow is a wake-up call and you need to get your technique sorted, but good ski-able ‘educational’ snow is a fantastic educator and you can learn a lot from it. We had some brilliant winter snow today and some good ‘educational’ snow and I thought Rupert, Lucy and Mark really learned a lot in it. (One thing for sure is that fat skis are not a substitute for good technique!)

Anyway, I thought today was brilliant and I really enjoyed it. Chris and I ‘skinned’ up to the Crete du Genepy and the wind has totally ravaged the entire sector but we ended up skiing lightly supporting spring snow on the big steep slope above the pond, a little frisset on the flats and it was a decent result. Both teams felt like walking some more so we then ‘skinned’ up Mont Roup and from what we’d skied we were hoping that the main slopes that would have sun-crust would have warmed-up enough for the crust to melt leaving us with warm but good ‘educational’ snow. We were rewarded for our efforts and skied some fantastic winter frisset on the more northern slopes and when we ran out of northern slopes the sunny slopes skied beautifully, and it was a great result on a tough day.

I managed to kick off a surface sluff on one of the steep slopes, which is a timely reminder that things will move as the temperature rises as we approach the spring. And then on the way out when we re-grouped before traversing under the Charvet I told my team to spread out and keep an eye above them because the slope does tend to drop off from time-to-time. I also said that the chances of it dropping off on us were pretty slim but to spread out and look up anyway, and sure enough it slid between the last two skiers in the group. Fortunately it was a surface sluff and wouldn’t have killed anybody, but it was enough to have wrecked someone’s knees. So, it was a great outing with good skiing, ambience, solitude and a little action to boot!

Meanwhile Andreas headed up to the Col Des Fours and turned a potentially difficult outing into a great morning by ‘sniffing’ about and making the most of what was on offer. It was a brave move going out there because times are tough and no one has ventured out there since my sortie last week, and Andreas was pretty pleased with his morning. Thomas went adventure seeking and found exactly that as they needed to negotiate a steep couloir. He had a strong team and they dealt really well with the walk and the skiing and all the teams this morning pretty much had the mountain to themselves, which is a result in itself.

I’d better stop now as I’m now rabbiting on. Stay tuned for more news tomorrow and we’re expecting some snow over the next 24-hours!

PS Double great result, Chris and I, well Chris really, have made some progress and you can now look at the photos from today back until January 22nd, which was when I threw wine all over my computer. We haven’t worked out how to get all the photos in the archive up yet but at least there are some recent photos and you can scroll down to your holiday!

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