I’m a bit bummed because I’ve just spent 20-minutes on the up-date to have my computer shut itself off and now I’m starting over

27 March 2009

I’m a bit bummed because I’ve just spent 20-minutes on the up-date to have my computer shut itself off and now I’m starting over. C’est la vie! Anyway, just when it looked like we were in for great visibility this morning the clouds closed in rapidly our vis was in-and-out for most of the morning. Andreas, Thomas, and Chris all headed towards Tignes skiing the Petit Lavachet, Sache and then the Familial on the way home, all in good snow. Henry and I skied up at the Fornet and opened over the far shoulder in the Combe du Signal followed by the Combe du 3300 on the Pissaillas and then the Pays Desert. The snow was excellent but we were shut-down because of high winds, which was unfortunate as the skies were starting to clear and our visibility was about to improve drastically. I had a sticky moment when feeling my way around a cornice in flat-light. I found the edge and started side-slipping down when my bottom ski dropped into a hole and wedged itself in. My upper body almost went head-first, which would have broken my leg or torn my knee. Thankfully I didn’t go over the top and managed to balance myself until John Ellis could get above me and pull me up with my pole. It was a very uncomfortable moment and just shows how quickly things can go wrong. Thanks John! Henry was below and took some photos so they may be on his blog. It cleared up this afternoon but the wind continued to be a factor and when Millie and I went out for a cruise both the Borsat and Tommeuses were closed due to wind. Ray is still injured and took not only Millie and Katie to school, but their little friend Anna as well. Thanks and Bravo Ray! I’m not too sure about tomorrow’s weather as the forecast has been pretty hit-and-miss over the past few days, but there is some good skiing to be had out there.

Ski Club Report- The Ski Club have a pretty interesting debate going on and personally I think it’s good for everyone involved as there is lots to think about. Anyway, someone commented about ‘Alpine’ skiing with ridiculous spacing. We space out however far we feel necessary for the conditions. This might be 10 or 20metres, or it may be 100 metres or more. We ski big slopes after a snowfall one-at-a-time because the Golden Rule off-piste is to ‘only expose one person at a time’. If the day arrives and the mountain decides to let go, hopefully our spacing will keep us in a situation where six skiers are looking for one, not one searching for six. Off-piste is a dangerous pastime and avalanches do happen, no matter how careful one might be or how experienced one is. If you spend enough time off-piste you will be involved in some way or another. The late Giles Green (one of the founding members of Alpine Experience) used to say, “Neither God nor the mountain knows that you’re an expert”. As for flat-light, and the day everyone is talking about was as flat as it gets, you shouldn’t be on big slopes unless you’re very confident of the stability. In a white-out I may only ski ten turns of so, so that the first one down has me in sight, or will do after a turn or two. If I was on a slope without any dips and hollows and I was with advanced skiers I might ski a bit further, but I would never give people any chance of losing me. In a white-out you need to keep your skiers close, which is why one needs to be sure of stability and your group should be a reasonable number. So whoever it was that thinks we ski a ‘ludicrous’ distance apart is very uninformed!

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