A Pays Desert with a difference!

18 March 2010

The day looked a little gloomy around 7:15PM but it slowly cleared giving us another lovely day with great visibility. Andreas had a couple of new Vikings who wanted to go for a walk so he headed up to the Col des Barmes de l’Ours for another excellent ski. Well done as it’s a good old hike up there! Meanwhile, Chris and I headed to the Pissaillas via the Combe du Signal and had a fantastic Pays Desert from the ridge near the Ouille Noire. I’d never been to that exact spot before so we ’skinned’ to the summit to admire the views before skiing down. We had some soft snow to lay tracks in up high, with nice creamy snow and some spring snow over the ‘flats’ followed by deep goblet at the bottom. The powder near the bottom was trickier today because the support layer is starting to break up. Instead of skiing in 20cm’s on a smooth base the support layer is giving way and if you pressure the snow too abruptly you drop into the deep goblet underneath. The support layer had changed drastically over the past four days from the last time we skied the same slope. Then you could feel your tails breaking the support at the end of the turn but today it was much more exaggerated and you could end up in up to your knees if you were rough. It just shows how dangerous some of the big slopes are now, such as the lower Lavachet, which has been rotten goblet all season long, and in such places the 2/5 avalanche risk is deceptively low. Anyway, I finished with a Grand Vallon to show the team where Millie skied yesterday, and Phil said, “You must have been one proud Daddy”, which of course I was. The Grand Vallon is pisted-by-ski but the snow quality is fantastic with some nice smooth steep slopes, and with the sun on it it’s great skiing. The weather is changing but hopefully we’ll get another sunny morning before the clouds roll in tomorrow afternoon, which should bring rain in the village and some snow further up. (Anything falling out of the sky will be welcome so bring it on as they say)

I spoke with Clive who really appreciated Jean R and David and Chrissy’s visits. He’s resting well and says it hurts much less than he was expecting, so Clive is pleased about that. He may be flown back to England tomorrow, but if not I’m going down to see him in the afternoon. He’s very much aware of everyone’s concerns about him and is impressed with the ’Alpine’ community. I’ll keep you posted.

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