Wayne's Daily Diary Archive

20 June 2007

31 December 2007
We awoke on the last day of the year to -16C

We awoke on the last day of the year to -16C, dressed in double underwear, avoided the cold at the Fornet, then roasted in Tignes. The skiing was excellent and we managed to stay away from the crowds and ski pretty much on our own, while JM decided to ‘skin’ and skied Mont Roup and avoid any contact at all with the outside world. John and Margaret had a fantastic New Year’s drinks and home-made soup with wonderful cheese party, which Millie, Katie, Ben, Ben and Lorenza loved. The forecast is for another cold night followed by sun again tomorrow and the Hammers have the pleasure of following up Man U with Arsenal away. Good luck boys!

30 December 2007
It snowed ten centimetres overnight

It snowed ten centimetres overnight and we awoke to grey skies with light snow still falling. Ten cm’s isn’t much but what a difference it made! Lee slopes as well as gullies collected more and we could ski places we’ve avoided over the past two weeks. It was a great morning of skiing and we profited from unexpectedly good light during the morning. We may see a few more centimetres before it clears up, which would help to cushion the base underneath.

Sports and Radio Will Report.

Poor derby were narrowly beaten again as they’ve played pretty well over the past few games with nothing to show for it. Rafa is skating on thin ice after Liverpool was held 0-0 against City, and joins Big Sam in big names in trouble. In American Football, New England finished the season undefeated with a 16-0 record, after sneaking by the NY Giant 38-35. (That’s a hell of a game for those of you who don’t know, and the first undefeated season since Miami went 14-0 back in the 70’s) Radio Will reports Gloucester going 5 points clear in the Rugby Premiership after beating local rivals Bristol. Will has had a great time ranching in Texas and is heading to New Mexico for a few days of tele-marking, or drinking if they don’t rent tele’s. He’ll probably manage both!

Here in Olivier’s own words is a diary of his early-season touring week based in Val’dIsere.

Touring week from 17th to 22nd of December.

Before Christmas holidays, I was doing day tours with a small group of 4
people: John and Robert Fraser, Marianne Debrie and Jay Marrus.
Target was to tour around space killy and further down the valley.

17th-18th of December

After a first gentle day where we were doing regular off piste, we went to
Terres Rouges, above sache valley. This itinerary is various and spectacular
because changing of scenery several times. It’s also a long run of 1300
meters vertical drop, ending in Brévières village. We found good powder on
the way down, despite the strong wind which has blown these last days.

19th of December

Today it was suppose to be less cold but it wasn¹t the case!! Chilly wind
all day long, but sunny with deep blue sky… I decided to climb high to
Sana peak (3404m). Starting with space Killy¹s lifts, we skinned up 3 hours
and a half before to reach this peak. The last pitch in the cold wind, with
the tiredness was a bit difficult but we got it!
No time for picnic at the top, we went straight down, playing with the
ground to find some nice fall lines of powder or soft wind packed snow.

20th of December

Weather was still sunny but milder. The skinning to Foglietta ridge (Ste
Foy) has been very pleasant. Entrance on the north face was easy but snow
was damaged by the wind in the big face. Then I managed to follow an
itinerary, skiing all ridges and faces facing east wind, where the snow
(“soufflé doux”) was nice to ski. Lower in the valley, the path in the
forest was funny to ski down. Crusing through the villages (Le Crot, La
Masure…) is always nice and after a beer at hotel Le Monal (Ste Foy) We
drove back in our lovely chalet in Le Franchet.

21th of December

Today we started skinning from our chalet! we skinned up above in direction
of lakes and then turning south to reach Dôme du Picheru this peak has a
narrow ridge and again, east wind was very cold at the top… On our way, we
approach very close an Isard, a lamerguy. All this aera is very wild and the
lights on the rocky needles was gorges. On the way done, I decided to ski
each time I could on south slopes, which weren¹t touch by the wind. And with the cold temperature, we found very good snow to ski, “gobelets” most of the time.
In the lowest part we had nice but delicate skiing, skiing in between of the
cliffs above Le Franchet village… Fantastic ambiance! and good turns to
chalet’s door.

22th of December

Weather was suppose to change today and I tried to move in another place! We drove to Montchavin, took all the lifts to the top of Bellecôte (La Plagne),
and starting a short but steep walking! Target was to ski glacier of Bellecôte called Cul du Nant. Always the same idea; skiing south facing. The short walk to get the ridge is steep, with one climb step! On the other side
it’s not better! steep again on 50 meters. Everybody is impressed but do
well and safe! special mention for Robert Fraser who started touring this
week and did really well… Keep going like that Robert!
The way done is not all the time good about the snow, but we found some nice pitches “souffle doux”. Last part was tricky but all the itinerary is worth
it, and the arrival in Champagny is always nice.

Special mention for the accomodation: Chalet colinn
This is the second time we organize a tour starting from this lovely chalet.
And it will be not the last one!
This is a gorgous base for us to do daytours in the aera and we recommend
this accomodation to anybody who like to stay right in mountains. You have
all the comfort of a hotel, with the service of chambres d’hôtes, surrounded
by mountains like in a hut!
We will propose every winter two weeks starting from this chalet: one in
December, and another one in January.

See you soon
Olivier

29 December 2007
We had another really good day of skiing

We had another really good day of skiing with Chris and I skiing way skiers-left on Mont Roup while JM and Andreas skied at the Fornet. Pietro is back in action but I’m not too sure what he skied today. His family is here for a holiday and Andreas’ Dad left this morning after spending Christmas with Andreas, Tansy and the lovely Ness. Gill and I took Millie out for a little ski yesterday but she was tired and it wasn’t our best outing. Gill also managed her first off-piste session of the season this morning, thanks to Julia. And Jean R and Raya had an excellent drinks party tonight, merci beaucoup. We may see a little snow and flat light tomorrow before returning to sunshine on Monday. Fingers crossed for a little snow because a change of conditions would be welcome and skiing in flat light with what’s on offer will not be easy or very inspiring.

Sports Report- You regular followers can imagine how pleased I am about being able to write this report. What a day of Premiership action! First up of course is West Ham beating Man U 2-1 at Upton Park. After going down a goal after ten minutes I crossed my fingers and hoped that the flood gates wouldn’t open, and what a performance to hold United and get two headed-goals from defenders. Rob (father of nephew and Hammers fan Wils) was so cocky he told Wils if the Hammers won today he’d give him his ski chalet and his apartment in London. I hope ten-year-old Wils asks his Dad for the deeds! And what a win for Arsenal away from home against one of the hottest teams in the league. They won 4-1 vs Everton to go back on top when many thought they were about to fade away. Towards the bottom of the table both Sunderland and Boro won massive matches against tough teams that will give them confidence when they most need it. Sorry Radio Will but I haven’t a clue what happened in the rugby today but I am starting to pay attention. Ohhh, I’m feeling good tonight!

28 December 2007
We enjoyed another beautiful day

We enjoyed another beautiful day with some great snow. Chris and I did a variation off the Crete du Genepy, which was excellent, while JM and Andreas skied a very good Mont Roup. Unfortunately some of the competition have seen our tracks and are migrating towards them, but what can you do? Thanks to Tony, Carol and Alex W for a great drinks party last night and many thanks to Picasso (Dave Stockill) and Susie for a lovely party tonight. Millie and Katie loved it, as did Ben. There is a rumour of light snow Sunday night and even ten centimetres would make a difference and be welcome. It’s another big day in the Premiership tomorrow with the Hammers playing Man U, who have now claimed top spot. After 6-points against United last season I don’t think they’ll be so generous this time around!

27 December 2007
Thanks to Rob and Chris

Thanks to Rob and Chris who gave you the news from yesterday while I was off to Lyon for my girls. Today we had a stunning day again and JM, Chris, and I decided after 26 days that it was time to have a change of scenery and risk a trip to the Fornet. We were pleasantly surprised with some good soft snow in the Pays desert mixed with souffle doux and dur, and some good skiing over the Col as well. The snow is firm towards the bottom and staying on your feet is recommended, but it was good skiing with great ambience. Someone did have an accident further over towards the big slopes on the Vallonet where they fell and took a big slide. They needed a helicopter out and we have no news for the moment about the extent of the injuries but it didn’t look good. Andreas took his Campbell-and-friends-team to the Crete du Genepy for some lovely skiing as we continue to make the best of what we have to work with. Millie and Katie picked up their ski equipment this afternoon and Millie and I are planning a little ski tomorrow afternoon with her cousins Wils and Rosie. Sun is forecast with no snow coming for ten days or so.

26 December 2007
A rather gloomy forecast outlook by radio Val this morning

A rather gloomy forecast outlook by radio Val this morning but ended up with a mix of excellent old powder on the lower Lavachet slopes and interesting conditions on Cocaine North for Wayne and JC this morning. For JM and Andreas their programe was the Tour de la Balme from La Grande Motte and Andreas continued with his intrepid travellers to the Chardonnay. All in all an interesting day for all. Also an interesting and amusing piece of news this morning on radio Val. This is Robs interpretation of this news “ Many thanks to the driver – British, of course – for giving us a big laugh on Christmas Day. This gent was driving – so he thought – to Lake Geneva. Picture his unease as he reached the Tignes dam and Lac de Chevril. Probably he knew there is a bloody big city at the end of Lake Geneva, not a dam. So he did the obvious thing. He stopped at the SOS phone in the new tunnel system into La Daille to ask for directions. We now know that lifting an SOS phone in the tunnel system automatically operates a barrier at both ends. The drivers held up at either end probably weren’t as amused as we were. Can you imagine the conversation between the confused GB “motorist” and the baffled gendarmes?”

25 December 2007
We had another lovely day for our Christmas Ski this morning

We had another lovely day for our Christmas Ski this morning and JM, Chris and I all headed to the Motte for a change of scenery. We weren’t expecting too much because of all the wind we’ve endured lately but we managed some creamy souffle doux, some souffle dur with a dusting on top, and some soft snow to leave some tracks in as well. Chris and I ‘skinned’ under the Borsat West and left our mark in some slightly ‘educational’ snow. I’m off to the airport tomorrow to pick up Gill, Millie and Katie so chances are I won’t have time to write an update, but perhaps Chris will. No snow is in the forecast so we’ll have to make due with what we have for awhile. Merry Christmas and I better get back to my preparations.

24 December 2007
It was a beautiful sunny day today

It was a beautiful sunny day today and JM, Chris and I ‘skinned’ under the Crete du Genepy and left our ‘mark’ in some excellent snow. I finished off with the top of the Spatule in good snow before cutting back to the piste once we ran into old tracks. Andreas tried a new variation in the Chardonnay towards the Grapillon to ski great snow, and he was well pleased with his ‘sniff’. Well done Andreas! (He then skied ‘Toothy Rock’ for a little bonus.) Penny had one of her famous drink’s parties last night, which was superbly catered and thoroughly appreciated by everyone present. The forecast is for the sun to continue and thankfully the wind has swung around to the NE and has calmed down to 10 to 20 kph at altitude. Merry Christmas to you all from all of us at ‘Alpine’ and stay tuned for more news tomorrow.

23 December 2007
The sky was grey again today

The sky was grey again today leaving us in a difficult position because with the lack of options we really need visibility to read the snow and avoid the ‘wandering plaque’, which is in the way of some good skiing. With that said, Chris and Andreas headed to the Sachette for some good skiing where Chris’ team skied the steep couloir. The Col des Ves, which normally opens mid-February, opened as we arrived to ski the Col du Palet, luckily giving my team some new options for the morning. No snow is forecast as the sun should be back tomorrow. Many thanks to Ray and Adrian for the help they have given me preparing my apartment for the girls, and thanks David C for an excellent drinks party last night.

Sports Report- I was extremely pleased with Scott Parker’s 90th minute winner for the Hammers, giving us our fifth away win of the season. The top of the table kept it going as Arsenal, Man U and Chelsea all narrowly won difficult fixtures, and Liverpool easily beat a normally tough Portsmouth. at the bottom of the table it was despair for Sunderland and Derby, who as the old blues singer once sang, “ if it wasn’t for bad luck, I’d have no luck at all”. Seems to be the way at the bottom of the table.

Radio Will Report- I have just had an e-mail from Radio Will who after sailing the Atlantic is now in Texas being a Cowboy, and thoroughly enjoying himself. It sounds as if he’ll be back next season but in the meantime he’d like us to give our support to ‘Sexy Lexi’ who has taken over the radio in his absence. He also mentioned Gloucester being on top of the Rugby Premiership as well as crushing all those who stand before them in Europe. (I’d also like to mention my hockey team, the Calgary Flames, who have dragged themselves off the bottom by winning 5 road-games in a row.) Radio Will also send his best to TJ and wishes us a Happy Christmas. It’s great to hear from you Will, Merry Christmas, and enjoy your travels.

22 December 2007
December 20th, 21st, and 22nd.

Sorry but I’ve had trouble up-loading over the past few days.

(20th) The high-pressure system remains and we enjoyed another beautiful sunny day with slightly warmer temperatures. Unfortunately the easterly wind is picking up again and is damaging snow that is trying its best to re-generate into ski-able snow. We still managed an excellent morning with Chris and I skiing strips of frisset off the Borsat en-route to Mont Roup, while Andreas is skiing with his Thai clients. No snow is forecast as the high remains well installed so we’ll enjoy the sunshine and walk again tomorrow.

Sports Report- The Calgary Flames won again making it six wins from six games on a long road trip, which is a fantastic achievement from a team that had been struggling. Radio Will also mentioned in his e-mail that footballers are all a bunch of fairies, but I like to see him tell Roy Keane that!

(21st) Sexy Lexi announced only -2C this morning, which was just as well as the easterly wind was gusting up to 70 kph at 2500m’s. Chris and I ‘skinned’ up under the Crete du Genepy and found some great snow top-to-bottom. There isn’t that much snow about that hasn’t been either tracked or affected by the wind, and today’s outing was a really good result. I’m not too sure what Andreas and Olivier did today but Jean Marc has returned home to pick up his children before returning for Christmas. Pietro will be back around the 26th to start skiing on the 27th, while I’m about to go into ‘panic mode’ as I try to sort out our apartment before Gill and the girls arrive Boxing Day.

(22nd) We had flat light for the first time in ten days or so today, and with it a more difficult morning as we need visibility to read the snow properly. Still, it was a decent morning with Chris and I skiing the first Sachette of the season. The snow cover was very thin on top and we needed to scramble through rocks to get onto the main pitch, but once there the snow was soft and fairly easy. Mid-way down the skiing was excellent before toughening up towards the bottom. We may see some light snow over the next couple of days but we’ll wait and see. Chris was breathalysed last night on his way home, which is rare in town and a warning to anyone who has a few beers before heading back home. Red Ray and Adrian are coming over this afternoon to help me sort things out as time is running out before the girls arrive, thanks boys! And come on you Hammers!

19 December 2007
It was slightly warmer today

It was slightly warmer today and Chris and I thought we’d ‘skin’ up to ski the Sache from the top before they open the lift either tomorrow or the next day. From the Aiguille Rouge it took about 40-plus minutes and it was wonderful having the place to ourselves, knowing that no one would be following us in. The skiing was excellent on top, although we needed to search out the best fall-lines to avoid areas of plaque. The snow mid-decent was even better before arriving near the bottom where we really needed to look around to find good strips amongst some tougher snow. Red Ray skied particularly well today as did Adrian, and John Ellis put in a top performance yesterday. Bravo boys! We didn’t arrive back to Les Tufs until 1:30 and Chris and I quickly ate some pasta before teaching again at 2 o’clock. I’m not too sure where JM and Oli were touring today but Andreas was busy training Ski Hosts. The high-pressure remains and sun is forecast for the next week with the east wind featuring over the next couple of days.

18 December 2007
December 17th and 18th

It was -9C in the village this morning but the SE wind was absolutely bitter, and I changed my plans after about 30 seconds on the Borsat. I skied the Little Borsat Nord before bussing around to Le Lavachet to take the Chaudannes and Aiguille Rouge to access the bottom of the Sache, where the snow had been excellent and out of the wind. (Aiguille Percee is still closed) Andreas has had a private starting in Tignes the past few days, while Jean Marc and Olivier are using Val d’Isere as a base for touring this week. Suzanne has been skiing in Chris’ group and enjoying herself, Pietro has returned to Italy, and I haven’t seen Henry in ages, although I know he went to Norway for a day to give an Avalanche Presentation to the Army. My girls arrive on the 26th and John E is about to finish his masterpiece in their bedroom, which leaves me with some sanding, painting and tidying to do. I’ve been helping John but Kristina says I’m the one who passes the tools and makes the coffee. Cruel but true. The high pressure system remains and hopefully that nasty wind will calm down as it was jolly cold today.

December 18th.

Thankfully the wind died down and although it was still -9C in town this morning we had a much warmer day. Chris and I returned to our ‘stash in the Sache’ for another good morning while JM and Oli ‘skinned’ to the Col de la Glacier Suspendu (also in the same neighbourhood) and I’m sure they had a great day as well. They are doing day tours this week using the Espace Killy as their base while staying at Milaine and Babete’s Chalet Colinn at the Franchet. The wind had damaged many exposures but the cold temperatures are slowly regenerating some of the plaque and it won’t be long before some more options open up. I’ve had trouble logging-on from time to time, which is why there are so many double-day entries. Sorry but I do try to do the update daily.

16 December 2007
December 15th and 16th

The cold nights have continued and yesterday (15th) was particularly cold because of a ‘sneaky’ wind that caught many people un-prepared. The skiing remains very good although we are running out of tricks as the wind has been working many exposures, and added to the tracks being laid each day our options are diminishing. We are still waiting for the Aiguille Percee to open as well as the Cugnai, both of which would access some great skiing. Richard Foster passed his Ski Club Reps test yesterday, well done Richard, and Clive and Penny have thrown back-to-back drinks parties that have gone down extremely well. Red Ray, Adrian, Simon F, Richard H, and Tony W are in town as we make the best of what’s left while we await another snowfall.

Sports Report- I missed the Liverpool vs Man U match but caught the second half of the Arsenal vs Chelsea game, which was thoroughly entertaining. Well done Gunners for bouncing back after last week’s loss to Boro and responding to Man U’s challenge after they beat Liverpool 1-0. The Hammers are hanging in there and played well in their loss to high-flying Everton, but three points next Saturday would be welcome before up-coming games with Man U, Arsenal, and Liverpool.

14 December 2007
Radio Val reported -9C in the village

Radio Val reported -9C in the village at 8AM with the promise of another sunny day. All the teams had outstanding skiing again today but with the Ski Club here skiing all-day long the options are slowly drying up. Oli and JM have done a great job this week entertaining the Ski Club and it’s a pleasure to see them keeping such good tracks. Bravo boys! Hopefully the Signal and Pissaillas Glacier will open tomorrow, as well as the Aiguille Percee sector, both of which would give us many more options. Everyone is a little spoiled at the moment but we aren’t too far away from ‘walkies’. I haven’t heard the forecast but another sunny day would be a good bet.

13 December 2007
There wasn't a cloud in the sky

There wasn’t a cloud in the sky again today and after another cold night it was ‘game-on’ this morning. Chris, Pietro, and I skied the ‘closed’ Genepy off the Motte in superb snow and had one pitch of 100-turns, and because it was so good and we were alone we had to do it again! Remy B has enjoyed a wonderful three days while skiing extremely well. Chapeau Remy! Oli skied an excellent Chardonnay and Oli and JM’s Ski Club teams have been leaving some great ‘Alpine’ tracks this week and have had a holiday they won’t forget for quite some time. Andreas was also skiing today and skied a very good Tour du Charvet. We spoke to TJ last night and he seems on good form sounding like a man who is looking forward to advancing ‘Alpine’ in the future and not a man who is ready to give up his skiing life. Bravo TJ, it was music to our ears! We now need some more lifts to open (which should happen for the weekend) or we’ll need to do a little walking as the skiing that has been available is now almost tracked out. (Sorry Red) Blue skies and brilliant sunshine should feature for the next few days.

12 December 2007
December 11th and 12th

December 11th

With colder overnight temperatures and only ten additional centimetres of fresh snow, there was no doubt that we were in for a great morning. When I awoke the cloud cover was thin meaning there was a good chance of decent light, and we weren’t disappointed when we broke into clear skies for the first few runs of the day. The snow was as good as it gets and with the avalanche risk at 4/5, caution was needed as un-skied slopes beckoned. Confidence was restored after yesterday when the snow was much heavier, and today will be a hard day to beat. Chris was in action and JM and Oli have the Ski Club all week, while Andreas has been teaching Ski Hosts the ropes. I spent the afternoon with John E as he’s building Millie and Katie some made-to-measure bunk beds as I await their arrival on Boxing Day, and then topped the day off watching Liverpool advance to the last sixteen of the Champions League. Another cold night is forecast with clear skies tomorrow and after all this snow it should be quite a sight.

December 12th.

It was -8C in town this morning under bright blue skies and with it were great expectations and snow quality that is as good as it gets. This season so far has been fantastic as it’s been the best start we’ve had in who knows how many years, but the last couple of days have been special. Olivier ‘opened’ the Kern in stunning snow and continued down through the forest and Jean Marc, who was following said, “I haven’t skied it so good in ten years”. (Probably longer really) The avalanche risk is still 4/5, but with the sun out people are getting around and helping to stabilise the snow-pack, which is helpful, but hopefully no one will get caught out. Many lifts are still closed such as the Signal, everything on the Glacier, the Manchet, the Grande Motte, but with so few people about there is plenty of skiing without getting involved in other skiers ‘powder frenzies’. I’m not sure of the forecast but Didier from Jean Sports says, “ sunny until Friday and then who knows?”

10 December 2007
Another 25 to 40 cm's of fresh snow

Another 25 to 40 cm’s of fresh snow fell again last night and the town looks stunning with all the snow on the roof tops and the snow-laden trees. I’m going to try to get out in the old village and take some photos tomorrow as what we’re experiencing is a fairly rare sight. JM, Oli, Chris and Suzanne all got into action this morning, as were Andreas and I, and a great time was enjoyed by all. More snow is forecast for tonight and tomorrow with -9C at 2000m’s overnight, which should dry out the snow and make for even better skiing. Stay tuned tomorrow!

9 December 2007
Twenty centimetres fell last night

Twenty centimetres fell last night without too much wind and it looked as if the resort would open on time and we’d be away. Wrong! At about 8:30AM the wind picked up and we didn’t get started until 9:50, but we did have another very good day. The snow was a little humid and in places slightly compacted by the wind, but with the best start in ten years who’s complaining? It’s fantastic that the regular early-season crew including John and Margaret, Jean R, and Clive, who always come out at the beginning of each season are being rewarded with wonderful winter conditions. Red Ray, Adrian, and Richard H brave mid-December’s year after year, and we now have a good base for them as well. Jean Marc and Olivier arrived today as they start with the Ski Club tomorrow, and Chris and Suzanne are warming up before Chris gets going on Tuesday. Didn’t here the latest forecast as I was watching West Ham at Clive’s, but we should get more snow again tonight.

Sports Report- I must say how pleased I am with the start to the Hammers season as well as the shape that the squad is taking. We’re putting in some solid performances and a 1-0 away win against Blackburn was a superb result, especially as the boys have some tough fixtures coming up. Equally pleased will be all you Man U supporters who gained ground as both Arsenal and Liverpool lost for the first time this season. Stocky will have enjoyed Boro’s win over Arsenal as they really needed a lift to kick start their season, while the gloom remains over Derby and Wigan.

8 December 2007
Unfortunately Radio Wil isn't returning this season

Unfortunately Radio Wil isn’t returning this season as he’s on some sort of sailing trip to the far corners of the world, and I miss his humour and outlook first thing in the morning. Anyway, now for the good news. Radio Val announced that 25cm’s fell overnight and it was wonderful to find more like 40 to 50cm’s in places this morning. Some of the snow was compacted but in protected areas it was deep and of high quality. Margaret started her season today as did the Campbell’s, who son Rory, aged 11, was skiing chest-deep snow like a champion. Well done Rory for picking up his first ‘skier of the morning award’. Derek and Paul W also skied today and I feel sorry for Paul who will be accompanying Derek well into the night. Good luck Paul! It was a superb maximum-turn morning with excellent light as the early cloud cover dispersed quickly leaving us with brilliant sunshine that allowed us to really let go. The forecast is for the clouds to return this evening bringing wind and even more snow than last night. Bring it on!

7 December 2007
A few centimetres fell overnight

A few centimetres fell overnight for John E and Clive’s first ski of the season. I awoke to huge flakes of snow, which had a promise of rain about them, but the temperature stayed around zero and light snow continued on and off throughout the day. We took it easy in the flat light and skied good off-piste on piste most of the morning. I then drove down to Moutier to buy some mattresses and springs as John E is kindly going to build Millie and Katie some made-to-measure bunk-beds. It’s amazing what some blokes can do! I’m busy sorting space for when Gill, Millie and Katie arrive on Boxing Day. Niege abondant is forecast over the next few days with high winds.

6 December 2007
December 5th and 6th

December 5th

The sun was out this morning in full force with temperatures forecast to rise to +7C at 2000m during the afternoon. Jean R, Robert J and I were treated to a superb morning of skiing on a variety of surfaces. We had wind-compressed snow with a creamy feel, wind-compressed snow where we sunk in between 5 and 10 cm’s, and some excellent deep snow as well. Having the place to ourselves finding trackless snow everywhere we skied, starting off the Tommeuse Chair, followed by a fun our towards Bonnevie’s drag, then we ‘opened’ the Campanule, before being first into the closed Genepy/Cairn sector off the Grande Motte. Andreas and Tansy took Ness for a family ski on Tansy’s birthday and Ness thoroughly enjoyed her frites and bowl of ice cream. Kristina and I represented ‘Alpine’ at the opening soiree at the Taverne d’Alsace, which was fantastic and extremely well catered. I had some inquisitive looks from a few nosey people wondering who the dark-haired-beauty I was accompanying was, and needed to constantly introduce Kristina as ‘our secretary’. It was all in good fun and a jolly good evening.

December 6th

A dusting a snow fell overnight and at 7AM it looked as if we could be in for some flat light, but it cleared quickly and we had wonderful sunshine again this morning. We skied the Piste H to get into Tignes (which was in perfect shape) en route to the Grande Motte sector where we spent most of the morning. Jean, Robert and I skied our shoulder off the Leisse three times before heading down via the still closed and un-pisted Genepy. We skied mostly wind-compacted snow, some of which we stayed on top of, and snow that we left some decent tracks in. Again we were alone and didn’t see anyone else all morning long, which you all know is extremely rewarding. A sea of cloud developed down in the valley floor and we dropped into some thick fog on the way to Les Tufs at the end of the morning. I turned out that it was cloudy in town all morning long while we were lucky enough to be under clear blue skies. Chris and Suzanne arrived yesterday and will need a day or two to get organised and thank you Millie for the phone call this morning. The forecast is for some snow moving in over the weekend with some sources predicting up to a metre.

4 December 2007
December 3rd and 4th

I forgot to mention how well Penny skied over the weekend. She really got stuck in and I was very impressed with the way she handled the conditions we were dealing with. Bravo Penny! It snowed about 25cm’s Sunday night but with gusts up to 150 kph at altitude they weren’t going to be opening anything in a hurry. I hooked up with Dave Stockill and we braved the roads for some world-class shopping and a brilliant lunch down in Albertville. It snowed less last night and the wind continued, but the wind was forecast to die down in the afternoon with the sun returning. With the lifts closed Robert J and I ‘skinned’ up La Daille and ended up having a real ‘travelling in the mountains experience’. The piste had been groomed and in search of fresh snow we ended up with me putting my handle in and in the end we turned around and put our skins back on to retreat. At one point I put my pole in right up to my armpit, just to show you how much snow has built up in certain places. Anyway, we played it safe (it’s not often that we turn around, especially on the third day of the season) and had a good time. There was a limited opening around 1:30 when the wind calmed down and the sun came out. Jean R left Toulouse yesterday and made it all the way to Grenoble before turning back to retrieve his keys but Jean will be skiing tomorrow. John and Margaret are on their way and Clive should be arriving any day now as well. Chris and Suzanne return tomorrow after celebrating Suzanne’s birthday tonight with her family back in the UK. Happy Birthday to you Suzanne! I’m not too sure about the forecast but it looks as if we will have some sunshine to enjoy tomorrow while we survey the mountain.

2 December 2007
It only snowed about 5cm's overnight

It only snowed about 5cm’s overnight, which was surprising because around 9 PM last night there were some huge snowflakes falling. But the promised sun was out this morning and Penny and I, along with Andreas and Henry’s teams had a great ski in and around the same sector as yesterday. I decided to re-mount my old beat-up Dynastars because the last two days have taken a toll on my new skis, but the skiing has been good enough off-piste to stay away from the ‘nutters’ on-piste. Andreas was feeling a little rough this morning (to say the least) as he was out late playing guitar and singing ‘Mustang Sally’ with the band at Dick’s. Kristina is now on duty in the shop and Chris and Suzanne are due to arrive on Wednesday. The forecast is for some good snow over the next few days, but high winds between 70 to 100 kph at 2500m’s are also part of the deal. Still, bring on the snow no matter how it comes!

1 December 2007
The resort decided only late yesterday to open today

The resort decided only late yesterday to open today and we weren’t really expecting too much this morning, but we were pleasantly surprised with a cracking good first ski of the season. Very little was on offer up at the Fornet with only one piste on the Glacier available, while only the Madeleine piste open on the Tete du Solaise. With the liason to Tignes open Penny and I headed up the ‘bubbles’ at La Daille with the thought of the Grande Motte as our goal but arrived to find Tommeuse still closed, and were forced to ski back down to the bottom. After about three turns we decided to venture off the edge of the piste to find some decent snow,( thin but decent) and we stayed off-piste for the rest of the morning. Tommeuse was running by the time we arrived the second time and we found a mornings-worth of excellent snow, varying from 10 to 20 centimetres, off the edge of the closed Creux and Edelweiss sector. We left excellent tracks that couldn’t be seen from the lift so we had the place to ourselves all morning long and enjoyed an unexpected, brilliant morning. The snow cover is minimal and I must admit to needing a service on my new skis, but it was just too good to pass up. Andreas and Henry were on the mountain as well with one of Henry’s HAT Adventure groups, which Henry is running this weekend. We all ate at Les Tufs, which was packed on opening day, and we were relieved to find Jean Max and Francette till there. There was a rumour they had sold but we are very happy to announce that they will be there for at least this season. Henry and Andreas presented an excellent talk at Dick’s last night and Henry has collected some great footage and photos over the years, with many of the impressive ‘stills’ being taken by Chris.The forecast is for 5 to 10 centimetres of snow tonight followed by a sunny morning (yum) and then a chance of a proper snowfall on Tuesday. Fingers crossed as we are in a desperate need of snow, but it is much better than this time last year.

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