Back to winter!

10 December 2010

It snowed between 5 and 10cm’s last night and after a seriously warm period we welcomed back winter. It was Chris’ first day and he came up to the Fornet with my team and we had a fantastic morning in the Combe du Signal and Grand Vallon. It was deserted up there and the Combe came up trumps again with my team doing four rotations while Chris and Linus did five. (My team stopped to have a wee-break and warm up.) The top third of the Combe was slightly compressed but you skied straight through it and then the snow just got better and better towards the bottom. The Grand Vallon was incredibly atmospheric as it has slid from the top and most of the way across, all the way down to the flats at the bottom. Impressive and I don’t think I’ve ever seen it purge itself like that before. We skied strips of what was left, varying from compressed up top to lovely powder towards the bottom, before skiing on the re-frozen layer from the rain with few centimetres on top to give us a ‘spring’ feel down to the road at the bottom. It was a cracking good result and a satisfying finish to a wonderful morning!

Meanwhile Andreas, Thomas, JM, and Oli headed towards Tignes and had great skiing as well. They skied the Chardonnet, around the Aiguille Percee and Familial, although I haven’t had a report. (We saw Pietro early on at the Fornet and he was planning a ‘skin’ with Fiona but I’m not sure where he ended up).

Over the radio Oli reported an avalanche on the traverse to the Sache. Much of the mountain has purged itself thanks to the rain but plaques are still popping out and anything that hasn’t yet slid need to be treated cautiously. Yesterday there was a serious avalanche in the Couloir des Pisteurs, where two skiers broke off a slab of about 60cm’s and were carried 400m’s over rocks and buried at the bottom. The client needed heart-massage and mouth-to-mouth and was flown to hospital where he remains in critical condition. The guide/moniteur was also buried and I believe broke his leg. Seven Pisteurs attended the rescue and dug them out as quickly as possible, but the hospitalized victim is in bad shape.

On a cheerier note, Thomas, Andreas, Chris, Pietro, JM, Oli and I had a great evening at my place last night. We discussed ‘Alpine’ business before getting stuck into a slow-cooked pork dish with ginger, garlic, chilli’s, red and green peppers, courgettes, carrots, mushrooms and onions. We drank a suitable amount of red wine and finished off with a superb gateau from Chevallot that Pietro kindly brought along. We phoned TJ to say hello and we look forward to him coming near the end of January.

Jean R is working on a new format for his photos with a direct like from the Diary. He will have a few ‘photos of the day’ each day, then replace them and store yesterday’s in the file for the month. This will make it easier for you to relate to my blog with the relevant photos coming up first. Thanks Jean! We will also be trying to get a link for some video clips as Andreas like to take a clip every day or two. At the moment he puts them up on Facebook, and many of you may already have seen some of them.

I’d better stop now, a demain!

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