I must admit to being a little uninspired this morning......

29 March 2009

I must admit to being a little uninspired this morning with the change of time and flat-light looming, but Penny, Jean and I had a great morning. There was no one about at 8:45AM as you can well imagine and we warmed up on-piste with a lovely cushion of fresh snow. At mid-altitude the light was flat but long-range visibility against rocks and distant mountains was decent so although we needed to be careful of dips and bumps, navigation wasn’t a problem. After an excellent Borsat we rode the Col des Ves (slowest lift in the resort) to access the big North Face of the Balme. We were totally alone and had a smooth base with about 15cm’s on top with great ambience. From there we skied the Combe des Lanches and I was a little worried that there may be some bumps after the ten-day stretch of sunshine, but it was smooth and turned out to be a good result. The Balme was too good to not ski again so it was back up the Ves to access the couloir just before the big face and it was the best skiing of the morning. We arrived and a cloud bank rolled in leaving us in a white-out, but with the rock walls we could ski and navigate without any trouble. I needed to use a little ‘sluff control’ as the top 10 to 15 cm’s was sluffing along with me, which was very atmospheric and jolly good fun (‘Sluff control’ is when you ski a few turns before peeling out to the side so that the accumulating snow can pass you by before you re-enter the slope and keep skiing. You don‘t want to leave it too late or you can get knocked over by the sluffing snow if it‘s deeper than anticipated) It was really good top-to-bottom and we then finished up on-piste as Penny had a flight this afternoon. My brilliant morning was temporarily ruined after reading the Mountain Echo (Clive B’s son Mark’s weekly), which reported that heli-skiing was about to become legal again in France. I phoned Andreas with the bad news and he replied, “Sounds like an April fool’s joke to me”! Anyway, he phoned Mark to find out and much to my relief it was a joke and I’d fallen for it hook, line and sinker. Mark, you son-of-a-gun! More of the same is forecast weather-wise, meaning light snow with some sunny spells, followed by cloud banks moving in and out. That’ll keep most of the fair-weather off-pister’s at bay!

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