What a great day!

17 March 2009

What a great day! Andreas and Henry went down to Ste Foy with some Vikings and Chris and I joined them with our teams and we all had a great ski on the northern side of the Foglietta. We needed to change fall-lines here and there to avoid tracks and winded snow but there were enough clean strips to give us excellent snow (skiers snow in places) and some spring snow to escape on at the bottom. Chrissy creamed it top to bottom and picked up a ‘skier of the morning’ award while Fiona C put in a huge effort on the walk. All in all it was a really good result as the heat-wave continues and only the northern slopes are offering any powder. We stopped in the old village (Le Crot) and enjoyed a wonderful drink of spring water as everyone was thirsty after the hot climb and it was like nectar. Thomas stayed in town and I haven’t had a report from him but I’m sure they had a good time. The sunshine will continue for a few more days with colder temperatures forecast for next week and a few flakes of snow on Saturday night. The Hammers picked up a good point at home last night against last-placed West Brom. They played poorly and are hit with injuries so escaping with a point was a decent result.

PS We’ve had some interesting feed-back about comments made by Andreas and I on March 6th. Here’s Andreas’ view of what he saw;

‘At the top of the Signal lift I saw a big group of 12 people with a Ski Club Rep. I thought to myself, ‘surely he’s not going in to Combe de Signal’ but sure enough, they went around the avalanche danger sign and into what we call the “sunny bowl”. It was a complete white out, you could hardly see at all and there where over 50 cm of fresh snow. I was going in to ski a particular line that I trust safe even in those conditions and had very good skiers with me. I had people who I knew and trusted, and I knew their capabilities. It was a morning for people who knew exactly where they were, and even for the experienced it was tough navigating. As I entered the bowl I caught up with the back of the Ski Club group and saw at least 3 or 4 fallen over in the powder as they where all skiing and falling together, which is why I could see them in the flat light! I said something to one of the last members of the group and he justified being there was safe because they had seen guides skiing it before! This is outrageous to me since you can’t make a call on those grounds and a lot about skiing off piste is how you behave and exactly how you ski a certain slope and manage your group, and just because there are tracks doesn’t mean that a slope can’t avalanche!!

The week after I saw another Ski Club Rep in the Familial with 60 cm of fresh, dense snow and once again, people were falling over and struggling. Anyway, as Wayne pointed out, we’ve seen more and more Reps in the off piste, and not just off the side of the piste but in some fairly serious places. I also spotted a Rep leading group of teenagers in a “ski school snake line” at half term, which I captured on video.’

To be a professional in the mountains takes many years of training and experience and the fact that the Reps are taking people off piste and for no cost is disrespectful to the qualified professionals working here, and to the Ski Club Members as well.

We have spoken to many ski school directors and president of the Mountain Guides Association and dear Ski Club member, please don’t think that Alpine Experience is alone in thinking that it has gone a bit too far!

We think the Ski Club is a great organisation. You have done much for the sport of skiing and you organise wonderful trips and information for your members. You have an excellent social guiding service for members, which no one has a problem with and everyone can accept, but only if it remains on the piste and there is no teaching involved.

Any comments from Ski Club Members / Reps / Directors are very welcome! It is a very interesting debate you have going on your website!

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