Wayne's Daily Diary Archive

20 June 2007

31 January 2010
Great ambience and really good skiing in the Tour du Charvet.

Fortunately the sun appeared, and although it was cold the visibility more than made up for it. Just Thomas and I were on the mountain today as Andreas was off in Italy with Tansy buying a new car while Chris was enjoying a well-deserved day-off. Thomas and I both started off the front of the Borsat and were surprised to find how thick the snow was, even in the lee. I bucked-up after splatting on my first turn and we realised that it wasn’t going to be as easy a morning as we were hoping for. From there I skied the Tour du Charvet, which was excellent considering the wind we’ve endured over the past 48-hours, and Richard H, Penny, Ray, Jean and Charlotta did the business. We then skied two pretty good runs on the Arcelle before skiing down the Solaise piste to finish a really good morning. It was cold again but we stayed in the sun most of the time, which made a huge difference as when we popped into the shade the contrast was quite dramatic. With Gill still being in England Ray took Millie skiing while I skied with Katie and we all met up for a hot-chocolate. Katie has become a proper little skier in the past couple of days and she’s really good fun. Thanks Ray for helping and he had a great blast with Millie. Thanks also to Dan and Denise who entertained them, bathed them and dried their hair tonight. (They’ve been a bit spoilt since their Mum has been away.) Dan showed me his video that he took a few days back when we ‘skinned’ to the Crete du Genepy, and he has some great footage, which will be of interest to all who were aboard that day. Thanks Dan! Chris and I are skiing with Katie and her classmates again tomorrow and Tuesday, so hopefully it will warm up a little although another cold day with intermittent cloud cover is forecast. Could be worse!

Sports Report- The first thing a I did when I returned home from skiing was to log-on to the tennis result. Although I’m a massive fan of Roger I really thought Murray had an excellent chance of beating him and I was quite surprised that Federer could turn him over in three sets. Part of me felt sorry for Murray but his time is just around the corner as Roger can’t keep up this pace up for much longer. Can he? And all you United fans will be pleased with yourselves for embarrassing the Gunners on their home turf and keeping the pressure on Chelsea. Just when you think Man U are fading they come up with a stunning performance but it’s still a three-horse race, which should be entertaining right down to the final weekend of the season. As for the bottom of the table, I try not to think about it too much!

30 January 2010
A cracking good finish for Stuart, Dave and Sandy!

A morning that was looking potentially tough because of cold temperatures, flat-light-light and a nasty north-westerly wind, turned out to be quite pleasant with some excellent snow. Chris started off on the Face du Bellevarde with Hound-Dog, Stuart and Sandy on their last day of a great two weeks, and skied 15cm’s on the piste. From there he worked his way back to Solaise and eventually the Mattis. They stopped early as the team were on a tight schedule for getting out of town. Chris then skied the afternoon with Tim and Gill (they’ve skied all-week with JC) and they’ve done very well and seen some great places. Tim had a pretty big ‘head-plant’ today but he got up and dusted himself off and kept going. Well-done Tim! Andreas and I started up Bellevarde and skied three terrific Bonnevie’s Drags before skiing some lovely snow on the piste from the Mont Blanc Chair. We then skied the Fontaine Froide en-route the Epaule du Charvet before finishing off with a Super L. All in all it was pretty jolly good morning as we managed to stay out of the wind, skied protected snow, and had moments with a ‘light-bulb’ above us, which helped to light the way. There were some big slides today, one on the front of the Borsat, one in the Combe du Signal, and one with skiers involved on the Banane. The victim who was totally unequipped and had no idea where he was, was incredibly lucky to have not been killed. Details are still sketchy so we may have some more news tomorrow. Another cold day is in store tomorrow but we should have much better visibility.

I’ve put Jean Marc and Olivier’s trip to Val Devero on the Touring page and you can also find it on their personal site, complete with some fantastic photos. It sounds as if they had a wonderful time so log-on and read their touring news! There is a direct link to their site at the very bottom of the Touring page, which says ‘world’. I’ll ask Chris to put a link to JM and Oli on the Links page as well, as it isn’t obvious at the moment.

Sports Report- Another point for the Hammers today, which is always better than losing, and I’m pleased that they keep picking up points, but we need a three-pointer, and soon. On the tennis front, tomorrow’s Final between Federer and Murray should be incredible with so much at stake. Murray has the chance to make history and perhaps launch himself towards greatness, but he must overcome the genius and class of Roger. How sweet would it be for him to win his first Slam against the finest player ever? I’m personally pulling for Federer but I wouldn’t begrudge Murray his moment if he can pull it off.

29 January 2010
Pizza galore and Happy Birthday!

It was cloudy and windy again today, which made conditions fairly tough, but we managed a good morning anyway. Chris and I headed up to the Crete du Genepy and found some nicely protected snow and moments of decent visibility, and it made for a good morning of adventure. Andreas and Thomas started off towards Mont Roup but I think they may have changed their minds and I’m not sure where they ended up. It started to snow lightly this afternoon and it intensified early evening so hopefully we could see fifteen to twenty centimetres by morning, maybe more. (We’re expecting minus-15C at 2000m’s and minus-20C at 3000m’s tonight, and those temperatures may slow down the rate of snowfall.) Strong northerly winds are also forecast and with the wind-chill factor we could be in for a bitter day tomorrow. The snow is to continue lightly throughout the day tomorrow so we’re not expecting great visibility, but still, we’ve a fresh canvas and we’ll deal with the cold, the light and unfortunately the wind.

Happy Birthday to Chris and Gill’s Dad Fred. Gill left at 6AM to return to England for her Dad’s dinner this evening. Meanwhile, Millie, Katie, Ray and I treated ourselves to pizza and ice-cream at the Perdrix. I’m stuffed as I ate mine plus some of Millie’s and Katie’s, so I’m off to bed. A demain!

PS Nice photos Jean and good one of David L.

28 January 2010
Burrrr!

Our fabulous run of great skiing came to an end today with grey skies and light snow, cold temperatures, and enough wind to shut down the Aeroski. The light was good enough for easy navigation, which helped save the day, and another potential ‘stinker’ turned out to be not too bad in the end. The pistes were fantastic with a dusting of new snow and most of us made a trip through the Sachette where the snow and ambience were pretty good indeed. I had a nice afternoon skiing with Denise while Chris was skiing with Tim and Gill. My Gill is off to her Dad’s 70th Birthday Party in England tomorrow so I’m recruiting Ray to help with the girls for the next four-days. Very cold temperatures are forecast over the next few days, especially with the wind-chill factor so we’ll need to grin and bear it!

27 January 2010
Brilliant sunshine again but the weather is changing.

We enjoyed perhaps our last sunny morning for awhile as grey skies are forecast and we took full advantage of today’s stunning weather. The resort is pretty tracked-out but we’re still managing to ski clean virgin snow and today was no exception. Chris and I had an excellent morning of bits-and-pieces starting with a little five-minute walk of the Mont Blanc piste. From there my team skied way out in the Borsat Nord where we found a nice strip en-route to the Grande Motte. We had a good ski off the Leisse before ‘skinning’ up to the Borsat West, which was very good indeed. From there we skied some fantastic snow in the bowl off the Fresse before finishing with a good Familial. I must say that I’ve never seen Stuart-the-Sea-Captain ski so well has he has over the past two-weeks, and his smile has been huge as he congratulates himself in Les Tufs each lunchtime. Well done Stuart! Hound-Dog has been skiing very well and would make TJ proud as he’s still on his X-Mountains. (TJ and Hound-Dog are a proud but dying breed, bless them!) Adrian H as also been skiing really well and he’s traded his X-Mountains in for a skinny pair of Movements, which he’s loved. It’s also nice to see Charlie and Caroline back after a couple of years out having twins. Bravo! Back to the skiing, Thomas’ team ’skinned’ to the Crete du Genepy this morning for great skiing and solitude and I haven’t a clue what Andreas skied today. Gill and I had a cracking ski with Millie and Katie this afternoon and both of them are really coming on now. A couple of grey days are forecast with a chance of a few centimetres so we’ll wait and see what we get tomorrow.

PS Chris took Hound-Dog’s wife Alison out for her first-ever off-piste experience this afternoon, and she coped brilliantly with the Tour du Charvet. Well done Alison and we hope it’s the first of many. Bravo!

Sports Report- How about the sheer class of Roger Federer! No other player in the history of tennis has made it to more than 10 consecutive Grand Slam Semi-Finals (last four), and Roger will now play in his 23rd straight Semi. It shows how consistent he has been for so long, and why his the finest player of all-time. Pure incomparable class! ( I shouldn’t even mention the Hammers in the same breath as Roger, but good point last night)

26 January 2010
Blue sky, fantastic snow and great ambience!

Radio Val reported -11C this morning but the sky was blue and we had another fabulous morning, both weather-wise and on the skiing front. Chris and I ‘skinned’ up to the Crete du Genepy, where there wasn’t a track in sight and we had a great ski with lovely snow and wonderful views. Sandy picked up a ‘skier-of-the-morning’ award in Chris’ group while Scott was ‘skinning’ for the first time. I had Dan with me who was filming the morning as he and his wife Denise are making a film about over-50’s keeping in shape and still being able to do the things they did in their youth. Dan filmed Jean (68) doing his thing in the powder as well as walking uphill to get it. ( Only Nick, David and Gill didn’t qualify for filming, lucky them! ) Meanwhile, Henry was ‘skinning’ up Mont Roup while Thomas and Andreas were hiking up to the stunning Glacier Pers. All the groups enjoyed excellent snow with brilliant sunshine, which always brings a smile to everyone involved. The clouds rolled in this afternoon in time for Millie’s school ski race, which Gill and I watched. I skied down trying to get a photo of Millie but she spotted me and it ruined her concentration as she kept looking at me instead of watching the course in front of her. I thought for a moment that she was going to start waving at me. Bless her! Depending on which forecast you believe, we could get anything from one to ten centimetres tonight, with the sun returning tomorrow morning.

Thanks for some great photos today Jean!

Sports Report- I have had another wonderful day but what would really top it all off would be a Hammers victory tonight against Portsmouth. Hopefully the feel-good factor around Upton Park will help inspire the boys to three-points, which would take us to the heady heights of 14 place in the table. Come on you Hammers! (Well done Andy Murray for knocking off Nadal. A maiden Grand Slam is now within his grasp, although his toughest matches are still to come.)

25 January 2010
A morning of top quality and unforecasted visibility!

We awoke to grey skies with light snow falling, all of which added up to a morning of flat-light and low expectations. Chris, Henry and I decided to head to the Fornet while Andreas and Thomas started off from Bellevarde. As soon as Chris and I arrived at the cable car there were signs of the clouds breaking up and sure enough by the time we arrived on the Glacier the visibility had improved dramatically, and it was game on. We ’skinned’ to the Glacier Pers and had a wonderful ski in lovely snow while Henry skied the Pays Desert and Col Pers. Thomas had great snow as well on Mont Roup and Andreas had a little ‘skin’ on the Borsat West before skiing the Chardonnet and Cocaine. It was another unexpectedly good day when the early indications were that of a potential ’stinker’, and results on these types of mornings are always satisfying. Light snow with a little sun from time-to-time are forecast for tomorrow, so who knows, we’ll just wait and see! (Jean R had the morning off so there won’t be any photos today)

24 January 2010
Unexpected sunshine and another lovely morning with great snow.

We enjoyed a bonus morning of sunshine as the forecasted cloud cover never arrived. Just Chris and I were working today and we both went up to the Fornet where Chris’ team ‘skinned’ up to the Glacier Pers and had a great ski. Meanwhile my team had very good skiing way out in the Pays Desert followed by an excellent Tour de Lechoir. Duncan brought along his friends Mike and Nick, and with a little coaching from Jean and Adrian they were leaving some pretty decent tracks by the end of the morning. I spent the afternoon at the skating rink trying to hold up Millie and Katie while I was wobbling about myself. I haven’t skated in twenty-five years and the rental skates, which are rubbish, certainly didn’t help. Anyway, the girls loved it and we finished without doing ourselves any damage. Flat-light is still forecast for tomorrow but it was nice to have another lovely day today.

Sports Report- What a great result for Stoke. If someone can knock-off Chelsea there won’t be any big teams left in the FA Cup and it will be a massive opportunity for some of the smaller clubs. And the Murray v Nadal match at the Australian Open should be a cracker!

23 January 2010
Wow! What a reward for our efforts!

The sun shone again today and with the resort being pretty much trashed it was time to go for a walk. It was Mark’s first-ever ‘skin’ and what an introduction as we were rewarded for our efforts with a stunning ski over the Col des Fours. Andreas and Chris’ teams skied the Col as well and the snow was excellent top-to-bottom. From there we ‘skinned’ up over the next little Col and the snow quality there was the best I‘ve ever skied on those slopes. The snow can often be slightly ‘touched’ by the wind but today it was truly outstanding. It was Chris E’s first trip to the Col des Fours and it was a wonderful finish to a great week for Harry and Ian N. Thomas had an intro group this morning and he found perfect snow for his team around Bellevarde and the Familial. This afternoon Gill and I took Millie and Katie for a lovely ski and I must say they have both improved quite noticeably with the week of ski school. Katie is up and skiing much faster now so it’s much more fun for everyone involved. The weather is changing with the dreaded Foehn forecast for Monday but hopefully we’ll have some decent light tomorrow before the grey skies return. Fingers crossed!

22 January 2010
Another lovely day with fantastic skiing!

Radio Val announced -11C this morning but since we all headed to Tignes it was much warmer than yesterday’s sortie to the Fornet. Between us we skied the Lavachet, Cocaine Sud, the Sachette, the Familial and some excellent piste-cruising in-between. It was another great morning but it’s time to think about walking as the resort is now pretty much tracked-out. Thomas is on great form and he informed me that he’s the happiest guide in town. He’s loving his job, the snow conditions, his new girlfriend, and that all adds up to a happy-chappy. I finished up my four-afternoon sessions with Katie’s school and Chris had an easier time as he only had four in Katie’s group instead of nine. Andreas and Henry have also had a busy week of afternoons as they’ve been working with the BASI Ice group and we’re all looking forward to some free time in the afternoons. Another sunny day is forecast tomorrow before a chance of snow on Sunday, and it can’t get much better than that!

21 January 2010
Well done Chris and Gill!

After a nice little snowfall of between ten and fifteen centimetres the skies cleared around mid-night and we had another beautiful sunny day. (I know it was around then because Ian N was sneaking home from the bar) The entire team headed to the Fornet for a change of pace and we all had some great skiing. My team skied a good warm-up off the Laisinant before skiing a fantastic run on the shoulder in the Combe du Signal. From there we skied an excellent variation in the Combe du 3300 before finishing with a very good Col Pers. Thomas started with a Grand Vallon before coming upstairs and Andreas and Chris skied in the Pays Desert before coming over the Col. Andreas was feeling much better today and looked like a new man when I saw him around 3:30 this afternoon. I had the school children again this afternoon while Chris had Katie’s group (nine of them) and only Gill to help him. Well done you two as I know it wasn’t easy! (I had five with two Mums to help, which was a piece-of-cake compared to what Chris had to deal with) A similar day is forecast for tomorrow and after such a stretch of flat-light skiing no one is going to complain about being able to see. Rumour has it we’ll see some more snow over the weekend so tomorrow’s sun will be appreciated.

Sports Report-A good win for the Gunners last night is making things interesting at the top of the table, while Hammers fans are happy to see Bolton lose while rejoicing about the takeover.

20 January 2010
Great skiing and a top-value studio for sale!

The forecasted doom and gloom never arrived this morning and we enjoyed a bonus morning of sunshine along with great snow. My team skied off the Verte en-route to the Lavachet before skiing the Cocaine Sud twice, and then the Familial to Finish. Thomas and Chris were in the same neighbourhood and Thomas skied the Sachette. Henry skied up at the Fornet with an initiation group and they too had an excellent morning before the clouds covered the skies around 12:30. I had a moment of excitement in the Lavachet as I kicked-out a nice little soft-slab. I’d made about six-turns and decided I didn’t like the look of the slope in front of me so I cut left away from the potential trouble for about 20-metres and stopped. A moment later, off to my right (good thing I diverged left) a narrow isolated slab about 15-metres wide let go and slid off through the trees. It wasn’t deep but it was swift and totally silent and a good reminder about staying awake and not taking anything for granted. After a wonderful morning I spent the afternoon at the new Oxygene Swimming Pool with Millie and Katie and they had a fantastic time. Andreas was ill today with some sort of dreaded ‘lurgy’ but hopefully he’ll be feeling better for tomorrow. It started snowing around 5PM and twenty-centimetres or so are forecast this evening. Fingers crossed for some vis tomorrow!

Dan and Denise are selling a lovely little 25 sq. metre studio in Les Clarines. They are some of the roomiest and nicest studios in town and great value for those interested in getting a foot-in-the-door in Val d’Isere. I’ll post details on the News Page.

19 January 2010
Hopefully good news for Hammers fans!

The sun shone again today after another cold night of -15C in the village. Andreas headed to the Sache via the Lower Borsat and Chardonnet and had great skiing while Henry skied the Col du Palet before heading upstairs to the Motte. Chris and I warmed-up off the Verte before skiing the Lower Borsat en-route to the Motte where we had two good runs off the Leisse before skiing the Cairn, and all the teams finished with a lovely Familial. This afternoon was much easier as Katie and I were separated and I was given a group where the kids were flying. William from Snow Fun had the pleasure of Katie’s company and he did a great job. Millie was put in with her friends and she also had a much better day, so all’s well on the ski school front. Gill, Millie, Katie and I had a nice evening with Remy and Danielle celebrating the birth of their grand-daughter Louise. Chris, Suzanne and Jean were also there and Millie seems to have fallen in love with Chris. I’m not too sure about the forecast for tomorrow but last I heard we were in for a rougher day. Stay tuned!

Grand Vallon News- Last night’s report was pretty accurate. The victim was dug out in six-minutes but unfortunately he suffered trauma injuries being dragged through the rocks.

Sports Report- Great news for Hammers fans as the club has been sold and the new owners promise to invest and keep Zola on as manager. Fingers crossed that they keep their word!

18 January 2010
Death in the Grand Vallon

It was -13C last night and the cold temperatures dried out the snow giving us outstanding conditions this morning. The sun was out in full-force and we took advantage of the perfect visibility. Andreas headed up to the Fornet and had great skiing in the Combe du Signal, followed by the Grand Vallon before opening the Col Pers. Remy was well pleased and had a huge smile on his face when I saw him on the bus. Chris and I were the first into the Tour du Charvet, which was very good with lovely ambience including some Chamois. From there my team skied the Super L, a run off the Laisinant, then two great runs in the Combe du Signal before finishing with a lovely Combe du 3300 from the top of the T-Bar. Meanwhile, Chris followed Andreas over the Col Pers to finish his morning. Derek put in a good performance while nursing his knee and was very pleased with himself. Steve has had a wonderful week after a five-year layoff and he’s featured often in Jean’s photos this week. Bravo Steve! I skied with Katie’s class this afternoon and Katie cried, “I want my Daddy” all afternoon. She’ll be put in another class tomorrow as her school teacher says it happens every time a parent is taking a group. Bummer! Another sunny day is forecast tomorrow before some more snow on Wednesday. Yahoo!

Tragedy in the Grand Vallon- There was a huge slab avalanche in the Grand Vallon late this afternoon, which claimed the life of a 35-year-old Swedish man. He was skiing with the UCPA in a guided group of eight on a notoriously dangerous slope. Details are still a little sketchy so I’ll report again tomorrow when the situation is clearer.

17 January 2010
Bravo Bonne Sante!

About twenty centimetres of fresh snow fell overnight accompanied by a punchy north-westerly wind. Chris and I were the only ones skiing this morning and although thankful for the new snow it was a tough ski on the visibility front. It was snowing and blowing and at times the light was flat enough to be disorientating, which is never comfortable, but we managed a pretty good morning. We skied off the Verte, the Mont Blanc, the Fontaine Froide, the Borsat, the Genepy (off the Motte) and the Familial to finish. It started to clear right around 1PM just as we were finishing, but fortunately it stayed cloudy enough so that not too much will have been tracked-out this afternoon. Andreas had a nice day with his family and Gill and I took the girls tobogganing this afternoon, while Chris spent the afternoon teaching Adrian’s fiancée Charlotte to ski. Derek will be back skiing tomorrow after some excellent physio from Ginny (Henry’s fiancée) at Bonne Sante, which is great news as we were a little worried about him yesterday. Clearer skies and cold temperatures are forecast this evening so we should have a great day tomorrow. And finally, well done West Ham for a big point away against a very good Villa side.

16 January 2010
Mont Roup comes through again!

Today was almost the reverse of yesterday with sun first thing giving way to whitening skies by about 11:30AM. Chris and I ‘skinned’ to Mont Roup and managed our ski down in good visibility, just before the flat light set in. It’s the third time I’ve skied Mont Roup this season and it’s come up trumps every time. We had excellent snow but unfortunately Derek hurt his knee and we’re now waiting on news as to how serious it is. He was skiing beautifully when his ski just came off without reason and in the resulting fall he damaged his knee. Fingers crossed for him as he’s off to Canada heli-skiing with Paul and Colin in two-weeks time. Andreas had a good morning up at the Fornet and the rest of the team had the day off. Katie skied the Madeleine three times this afternoon with Gill while I had a solid blast with Millie. Ten to twenty centimetres of snow are expected this evening, which would be welcome as the resort is fairly tracked out again. Log-on for more news tomorrow!

PS Great shots of Steve, Jeff and Paul, well done Jean!

15 January 2010
Back in business!

We were treated to an absolutely stunning ski today. It started off murky and grey but the forecast promised for the clouds to lift during the morning, and Radio Will was true to his word. The light was wonderful early on with a low cloud level and our first fun of the morning was in flattish light before the blue skies appeared. Andreas has been entertaining some Vikings this week and he ‘skinned’ to Mont Roup for an outstanding ski before finishing off with a run in the Arcelle, while the rest of us headed towards Tignes. My team opened with a very good Lavachet followed by an excellent run in the sunny bowl (big slope on the left as you ride the Aiguille Percee chair) before diving into the Sache, which was equally good. We finished off a great morning with a lovely little Familial before Gill and I had lunch on our terrace. She’s been busy trying to Skype her sister and parents with the camera pointed at the blue skies and sunshine. (you didn’t know she had a cruel streak in her did you?) Thomas, Henry and Chris all had brilliant mornings as well and everyone was lapping up the sunshine, which has been a little scare of late. More good weather is forecast over the next few days so bring it on!

Gorge Update- There was one death as reported in the gorge late yesterday afternoon. A husband and wife from Paris entered the gorge and he was knocked over by a small sluff and fell into the river. He was found over an-hour later and the rescue team consisted of 20 Pisteurs, 4 Gendarmes, 2 dogs, a scuba diver and 2 helicopters. His body was placed in the Chapel and she was taken to hospital with severe shock. No wonder the Pisteurs look worried when tourist pile over the gorge when it is living up to its name. What a very sad and unnecessary accident!

15 January 2010
14 January 2010
Death in the Gorge

The sun did appear but teasingly first thing this morning, but by 10 o’clock it was a distant memory as we finished the rest of our ski in flat-light. What else is new! Anyway, we all had pretty good mornings despite a Foehn wind and the lack of visibility. Andreas headed towards the Sache via the Chardonnet and had an excellent ski while Thomas, Chris and I opted for the Fornet. My team skied a good Combe du Signal followed by an excellent variation of the Combe du 3300 before finishing with a lovely Col Pers. Chris and Thomas skied similar runs but Thomas began with a very good Grand Vallon. I skied this afternoon with Aussie Steve and his wife Robyn, and she was brilliant in the powder and will be joining Henry’s group tomorrow. Well done Robyn! I took Katie to watch the animation in town this evening, which she really enjoyed with all the horses running about and trick riding. (Millie missed it through bad behaviour.) I’m not too sure about the forecast tomorrow but hopefully the Foehn will die down and we’ll get some vis. A demain.

Tragedy in the Gorge.

Tourists were trapped in the gorge late this afternoon and there were two helicopters involved in the rescue plus numerous Pisteurs. Helicopters were flying back and forth for quite a while as they were still flying overhead when Katie and I were in the street at 6:45PM. At least one person was killed and they’ve opened the little Chapel to rest the body. Rumour has it that some Pisteurs fell in trying to rescue the idiots involved and I pray that it wasn’t a local Pisteur who was killed. Details are still sketchy and we should have a fuller picture tomorrow.

13 January 2010
Back into the flat-light

After three days of glorious sunshine it was back to flat-light conditions again this morning, although there was just enough light to navigate fairly comfortably. (You still needed to worry about terrain traps while skiing first however) It snowed about ten cm’s overnight and continued to snow lightly throughout the day so tomorrow should be an easier ski than today, where we felt the base from time-to-time. My team warmed-up off the Verte followed by two lovely Bonnevie’s drags, then a good Borsat and Combe des Lanches, then an excellent run off the Genepy before finishing with a satisfying Familial. The other teams were in and around the same neighbourhood and Andreas threw in a Chardonnet. Colin is here with Derek and skied himself into a ‘skier-of-the-morning’ award, which for a guy who’s been known to enjoy the night-life is jolly good going. Bravo Colin! Millie had her boyfriend over this afternoon so Katie and I made ourselves scarce and sugared-off to the Perdrix for an ice-cream. Yum! Then the girls played in the snow on the terrace for nearly two-hours, which makes a certain Canadian very happy. The forecast isn’t looking great visibility-wise for tomorrow but I have a feeling the sun will make an appearance. It has now snowed enough to make a difference and we should see some great skiing tomorrow. Fingers crossed!

12 January 2010
Another great day but the weather is changing

We had another outstanding day after temperatures of -13C overnight followed by clear blue skies this morning. My team started with a good Tour du Charvet through the Couloir du Mont Blanc, before skiing two superb runs in the Pays Desert. It was a pleasure to have Henley back and he had a wonderful morning. Chris enticed his private client off-piste and he spent the morning initiating Malcolm in the Pays Desert, while Thomas was boarding with friends and Henry was busy doing paper work. Andreas ‘skinned’ up to the Col des Fours to ski fantastic snow top-to-bottom and one of his Norwegians said it was the best skiing he’s ever had. Skoal! Andreas’ team needed to work hard as they dared not traverse the last slope due to the volume of snow and had to hike straight up the ridge. Bravo! Jean R is out of action for a few days and Peter H has been feeling very ill over the past couple of days. He was rushed down to Bourg for tests this afternoon and they eventually found his missing contact had worked its way around his eye-ball. They removed it and he’s feeling much better and is incredibly relieved. He said that the medical attention in Bourg was very impressive and hopefully he’ll be back skiing on Thursday. A little snow is forecast this evening and for tomorrow. Fingers crossed that we get a decent amount!

11 January 2010
Some of the lightest powder you'll ever ski!

It was -15C last night and the light snow dried out even more giving us a quality that we rarely have the opportunity to ski. Andreas and I started with the Face du Charvet, which was excellent with its usual ambience to go with the great skiing. From there my team skied a nice run off the Mattis en-route to the Fornet where we then skied a wonderful Combe du Signal before skiing an equally brilliant Pays Desert, where the snow was knee-deep but so light you skied through it effortlessly. I had Steve and his 17-year-old son Nick from Australia so we then went over the Col Pers to show them the sights, and didn’t finish until 2 0’clock. It was David and Chrissy’s last morning and what a finish to their month of great skiing! Emmett is back in town and it’s nice to have him and his sense of humour back. Unfortunately Jean R hurt himself on the Mattis piste as his ski came off three times and he kept landing on the same thigh. Gill had a look at it this afternoon and it’s badly bruised and he’ll be out of action for a few days. Bummer Jean, we’ll miss you. Andreas finished up at the Fornet as well and Thomas’ final run was the Face du Charvet after skiing around Bellevarde. Chris was on-piste this morning and I’m not too sure where Henry was skiing. Another cold night followed by another sunny day tomorrow is forecast, with a chance of more snow on Wednesday.

Sports Report- With the Premiership shut down over the weekend I’ve been enjoying the American Football Playoffs, thanks to broadband. It’s fantastic to be able to follow my North American Sports again with video highlights of the football, baseball, ice hockey and basketball. Sorry about the Pats Michael, but Baltimore was always going to be a tough one.

10 January 2010
Surprise! Surprise!

Radio Will announced -8C in town this morning and the sky was grey and overcast, but you could sense a chance of good light at altitude. Just Chris and I were working this morning and we decided to avoid a potentially slow opening at the Fornet and headed towards the better light in Tignes. We arrived at the summit of Bellevarde and my team warmed-up with an excellent non-stop Fontaine Froide. From there we skied some lovely snow off the Verte before skiing a great Borsat followed by the meadows off the edge of the piste towards the bottom. We then skied a good Combe des Lanches and realised that it had snowed more in Val d’Isere than Tignes so we decided to back-track via the Fresse. My teamed climbed up for a couple of minutes to ski a nice little shoulder before skiing the sunny-side of the Borsat down to the Grand Pre en-route to a fantastic Tour du Charvet. It was our first ’Tour’ of the season and it was nice to be out there again as it’s a stunning place with great ambience. We then finished a wonderful ‘maximum-turn’ morning with deep powder on the Marmottes, while Chris headed up to the Fornet as he was skiing all-day with Ian. I ran into Henry who had a ‘love-ski’ as he put it with Ginny, and they’d had a great ski as well in the Grand Vallon and Combe du Signal. The entire resort was surprisingly under blue skies by 10AM, which was totally contrary to the forecast but very well received as you can imagine. Gill and I skied with Millie and Katie again this afternoon and they are now back into the swing of skiing. Poor Andreas came up to do some work for his building business and his car broke down in one of the tunnels and he needed it towed away. Bummer! The sun is forecast to shine for the next couple of days and we should have some wonderful skiing. Stay tuned!

9 January 2010
A 'skier-of-the-afternoon' award for Katie!

A few centimetres fell overnight, just enough to make a little bit of a difference and we had an easier time of it this morning. The light was still flat so we all headed towards Tignes hoping for a break in the cloud cover, which never came. After skiing a gentle Borsat we skied the Chardonnet followed by the Col des Ves for a change, and the snow was pretty jolly good for the most part. Henry was the only one who ventured towards the Fornet and I haven’t heard how he caught on except that he is still in one piece. (Always important to return safely from a mission, bravo Henri!) Anyway, it started snowing around noon and it’s continued to snow all afternoon with more snow forecast during the night. Yahoo! I had a great afternoon skiing with Katie on the Nursery Slopes in falling snow followed by ice-cream at the Perdrix with Millie and Gill. She was a pleasure and Jean has kindly put her photo up on his link, merci Jean. Hopefully we’ll have some powder news for you tomorrow!

8 January 2010
What a difference a day makes!

After several days of stunning skiing the wind blew last night and managed to destroy snow on various expositions. On top of that we had fairly flat-light, which made the skiing even trickier. Chris started with the Lavachet before joining Andreas and I in the Sache after we’d skied the Borsat and bussed over to the Palafour. Thomas and Henry skied around the Col du Palet and all the teams made the most of a tough morning. At least it’s snowing this afternoon so hopefully we’ll have some new snow to play with tomorrow. Chris was quite lucky yesterday when he dropped into the hole as he disappeared from his clients and his backpack cushioned the blow. He was back in business this morning as if nothing happened, the old pro! Wind is forecast for tonight but with the fresh snow we should have something to ski somewhere. Wish us luck!

Belated Sports Report- Bravo England for a brilliantly saved Test against what must be a very frustrated South African team. It was a great performance by Bell and Collingwood, plus the tail-enders. Great stuff!

PS Chrissy wanted me to mention these new socks I found in Guildford. They’re called Bridgedale Cool-Max under socks, to be worn underneath your ski socks. They are very thin and are supposed to generate heat, and I must say my feet have been much, much warmer this season. I suffered last season after having my boots injected and these new socks have made a world of difference.

7 January 2010
Another outstanding morning of high-quality powder!

Wow! It was another great day with wonderful snow and unexpectedly good light. The forecast was for the cloud cover to take over from between 11 and 12 o’clock, but the clouds held off until around 3PM. I teamed up with Andreas and we started with a very good Lavachet, followed by an excellent Super Cocaine Sud, then on to the Cocaine Nord, which was perhaps as good as I’ve ever skied it. We then finished with the Familial, which is also as good as it skis. Thomas was in the same neighbourhood while I’m not too sure what Henry skied. Chris headed up to the Motte and had fantastic skiing as well, but his story was a little adventurous. He skied near a rock and dropped through an enormous hole and disappeared. His clients found him and needed to dig him out! Check Jean R’s photo link on the links page to see for yourself. Merci Jean! Lucky you Chris as it looks as if it could have been damaging. I had a brilliant afternoon with 11-year-old Leah, 12-year-old Hugh and parents. It is so pleasing to see what these young skiers can deal with and very encouraging to see how much they enjoy it. I almost forgot that it was -17C in town this morning but we all managed the entire morning without seeking shelter and enjoyed another lovely ski. Some snow is forecast for this evening and we’ll wait and see what tomorrow brings.

6 January 2010
Two sunny days in a row!

For the first time in five-weeks we enjoyed two days in a row of sunshine! After spending the first sunny day at the Fornet I wanted to show my American’s Peter and Ryan the other end of the resort so we headed towards the Sache. Chris and I skied the Lavachet en-route to Tignes for the first time in ages and it was excellent. From there we skied the big sunny face to the left as you ride up towards the Aiguille Percee, and it too was very good with great ambience. (Check Jean’s photos and you‘d think I could come up with a more technical description than that!) Then it was on to the Sache, which was brilliant, before finishing with a lovely Familial. Andreas skied the Sache and Familial after starting with the Borsat Nord from the top and then the Chardonnet, both of which were fantastic. Thomas skied in the same sector and Henry had a group of Vikings and I’m not too sure where he entertained them. Gill and I took Millie and Katie skiing again this afternoon while Andreas and Ness tested the waters at the new pool. Andreas said it’s a beautiful facility but after an hour they were getting a little cold. Speaking of cold, -17C is forecast in town tonight but we should have some decent light tomorrow before more snowfalls tomorrow night.

Sports Report- Let’s hope the Gunners can win tonight and really make it interesting at the top of the table. I’m also hoping the Hammers can hold on to their main players as January is always a horrible time for the little teams as the big boys circle like vultures picking less fortunate teams apart. C’est la vie but it’s not cricket!

5 January 2010
It was a Fornet kind of morning

For the first time in what seems ages the sun returned and besides the visibility it was wonderful to admire the views again. It was a Fornet type of day so the entire team headed that way and we were rewarded with another fantastic morning of superb snow, great ambience and very few other skiers. It was Gill’s first off-piste morning of her season and what a start! We skied a nice warm-up run off the Laisinant before skiing the Grand Vallon, Combe du Signal, the Combe du 3300, and a very tasty Col Pers, which was excellent top-to-bottom. Peter and Ryan had never been over the Col and they were suitably impressed, as was the Slater family. On the wildlife front we spotted where an eagle had landed and relieved itself, some Chamois, and a few Bouquetin for good measure. Andreas, Chris, Henry and Thomas all skied similar runs or variations of and it was another all-round stunning morning. It was Ray’s last day today and he picked the girls up from school and took them to Chevallot’s to chose a tart for dinner, and what a tart! Thanks Ray. Speaking of school, Millie is having a great time and really enjoying her new school, while Katie being Katie was never worried about going back to French school. Thanks again to Jean R for not only taking the time to take photos every day, but for all the editing and posting of them onto his site. Merci Jean! It may snow a little overnight but hopefully we’ll get some decent light tomorrow. Fingers crossed.

4 January 2010
Awesome!

It snowed a good 30cm’s overnight without any wind, and we were treated to an outstanding morning of powder skiing of the highest quality. The light was in-and-out and we all had moments in the good light as well as times of flat-light, but the snow made up for any sticky moments. My team started with a one-stop top-to-bottom on Solaise with 20cm’s on a smooth base. From there we skied three Bonnevie Drag’s, a Fontaine Froide, a Lower Borsat and off the piste towards the bottom, a Combe des Lanches from the Cairn, and then a Lower Familial to finish. I had Ryan and his Dad Peter from New Jersey, and the boys had a fabulous time. (They can ski as well!) Chris had the Slater family from Inverness and the boys went to school with TJ’s sons Hamish and Roly. Andreas had David R’s son Jeremy who is just back from winning the Sydney-Hobart Yacht Race in his class for the third time in four years. Bravo Jeremy! Gill accompanied me this afternoon as I took Andy and his 16-year-old daughter Ailsa along with his 12-year-old son Hugh off-piste. It’s amazing how many youngsters we’re skiing with these days and what such young people are capable of. My brilliant day was made even better by both Millie and Katie enjoying their first day back at the French school, which was a relief for Gill. The forecast suggests we may have a little sunshine in the morning, which would be welcome.

3 January 2010
Teased again with early visibility

We had some great snow today but we were again teased with good early light that deteriorated rapidly, leaving us in fairly flat-light. Chris and I tested the snow off the Verte, which was stiff, before skiing a good Lower Borsat. From there we skied an excellent Combe du Lanches, followed by a lovely Col du Palet, before finishing with a so-so Familial. Unfortunately we had our flow disrupted a couple of times with lifts breaking down. Andreas had the day off and celebrated Ness’ fifth-birthday, happy birthday Ness! Thomas finished his week with the Hampden-Smith family and Jean Marc has now returned home after nearly a month. Chris has spent the past couple of afternoons skiing off-piste with Michael R’s 12-year-old daughter Leah, and Eugene’s 13-year-old son Anthony. Well done you two! TJ’s son Roly was skiing 40cm’s of powder in Scotland today, just north of Cawdor. Lucky you Roly. Snow is forecast this evening, which would be great as we need a fresh canvas if the flat-light is to continue.

2 January 2010
Bitterly cold but great skiing!

With the wind-chill factor it was a bitterly cold this morning, probably the coldest we’ve had all season. We were promised sunshine and everyone was pretty confident about breaking into blue skies by the time we arrived at the summit of Bellevarde, and when we didn’t we kept waiting for the clouds to clear off. (It was way too cold to contemplate going to the Fornet) After a warm-up off the Verte it was evident that much of yesterday’s wonderful snow had thickened but it was still good skiing. Chris and I then skied a lovely Lower Borsat before bussing over to the Palafour. We were thinking of the Sache but when we arrived on top the Sache looked very dark and uninviting and we had noticed sunlight towards the Super Cocaine so that was the decider. I needed to cut the trail into the Cocaine so it was ‘handles-in’ and spread-out. We were rewarded with fantastic snow, ambience and visibility and both teams left great tracks. Everyone wanted to ski it again so we braved the long, cold ride back up. The second time we cut another trail higher up giving us access to the furthest slopes, and again the snow was brilliant although the light wasn’t quite as good. The Aero-ski wasn’t running so it took us longer than normal to return to Les Tufs and we were pretty cold by the time we arrived. Andreas and Henry spent some time around Bellevarde before heading up the Motte to ski the Cairn. They too had great skiing as we made the most of a tough morning, tough partly because of the cold weather and partly because the expected blue skies and sunshine never materialised. It was Gideon’s last day of his three-week holiday and we’ll miss him. He has turned himself into an excellent powder skier and he’s still working to improve even further. Bravo Gideon! Gill took Katie and Millie to the nursery slope this afternoon and well done girls for braving the weather. (Must be half-Canadian or something) Cold weather is forecast again for tomorrow but we should see the sun, and that would be bliss! And great photos Jean, merci beaucoup!

1 January 2010
What a start to 2010

It was -5C in the village this morning and Radio Will wasn’t sounding at his best. The cold night meant the snow would have dried out and be even lighter than yesterday, which was great news. All the teams profited from fantastic skiing and what a start to the New Year! Chris, Henry and I all decided to head towards the brighter skies and chose the Fornet, while Andreas skied Tignes-way. We warmed up off the Laisinant Express in beautiful snow en-route to an excellent shoulder in the Combe du Signal. From there our day became even better as we arrived on the Glacier in sunshine, which stayed with us all-morning long. We started with a Combe du 3300, followed by the Pays Desert, then another Pays Desert from the top after a five-minute ‘skin’. As the clouds started to arrive there was still sunshine on Chris’ team as they ’skinned’ out of the Pays Desert. Andreas had a great ski as well starting with the Borsat from the top, then the Col du Palet, Lower Chardonnet, a superb Sache, and the Familial on the way home. Gill, Millie and I took Katie for her first ski of the season and it was snowing quite heavily on Bellevarde this afternoon. I’m hoping that tonight’s torchlight-parade is cancelled because of the snow otherwise we are all back up the mountain in about half-an-hour. We’ve had good skiing all through the holidays but the last two days have been exceptional so fingers crossed for tomorrow.

Tonight’s Torchlight Parade was interesting as we needed to get to the starting point through a white-out in the dark. Jean Marc led the way and once we found the piste it was much better than usual because we had 10cm’s of powder to ski. We then needed to wait for 30 minutes as the organisers weren’t ready and in the end we were all happy to get down in one piece. Beside the risk of injury and not really needing to be up the mountain after a long day, it was quite good fun with JM, Chris, Andreas, Thomas and his girlfriend Muriel, and myself having a few laughs.

The news broke last night that Pat Zimmer has sold Top Ski so it should be interesting to see what develops over the course of the winter. Watch this space!

And sadly, three skiers were killed in an avalanche in Les Arcs today.

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