Wayne's Daily Diary Archive

20 June 2007

28 February 2010
A good day to have a rest!

I don’t have too much to report today as I enjoyed a ‘family’ day on my first day-off of the season. It turned out to be a good day to miss as it was very warm, even at altitude, and with flat-light and an avalanche risk of 4/5 there really weren’t too many options. TJ was the only one working today and he and Richard made the most of it up around the Grande Motte. Through the cloud you could see a few areas where the mountain has purged itself, such as the Borsat West and the little bowl off the Fresse, and I’m sure many slopes have slide naturally during the day. Even yesterday on the Face du Charvet the gulley far-skiers-left had slid from the top all the way to the bottom and across the flats. With all the goblet that has built up during our two-months of cold weather this heavy snow will be dangerous and the more of the mountain that purges itself the better. I had a leisurely start to the day before skiing with the girls for a few hours, then their friend Niki took them swimming at the new pool. I had a nice e-mail from Paul W saying thank-you for a wonderful week and also thanking Tansy for taking such great care of his children. They had a fantastic time and are already looking forward to their next trip. The sun is expected to make an appearance tomorrow morning and with a colder night we may have some good skiing up high tomorrow. Fingers crossed!

Sports Report- It was another great day for Canada at the Olympics yesterday at we added another three Gold Medals to the total, which guarantees Canada to top the Gold Medal Table, and we’ll finish third overall. And what a great couple of Rugby matches in the Six-Nations with both the Italian and Irish fans left in very festive moods.

27 February 2010
Bright skies and terrific skiing!

The forecast gave us hope for some decent light this morning but the sun was out in full-force and we profited from clear skies until around noon, when the light started to slowly deteriorate. It was a bit of a start-stop beginning to the morning as the Olympic didn’t open straight away (turned out to be electrical problems when we were told they wouldn’t open for 60-minutes due to blasting) so we all headed up Solaise to ski an excellent Super L. The Laisinant Express was still closed so Andreas and TJ bussed up to the Fornet where they skied off the Pyramides before skiing the Combe du Signal several times before TJ went over the Col Pers. (Not too sure what all Andreas skied) Meanwhile I returned to Bellevarde to ski a lovely trackless Tour du Charvet, after which Richard H decided to call it a morning with a big grin on his face. Down to just myself and Mark W I decided to take advantage of a small team and we skied the Face du Charvet, which was fantastic but deeper than expected and had the heart pumping! It’s always wonderful ambience out there and Mark really enjoyed it. Thomas had a group of boarders and he spent a great morning on the Arcelle, Marmottons, and Cugnai, all of which are very impressive slopes. Bravo Thomas! Gill, Niki, Millie and Katie headed off to Les Brevieres this morning for lunch and they still aren’t back at 2:35, which means they’re having a massive ski. It’s Katie’s first trip that way and it’s a big ski for such a little person. A few centimetres of snow are forecast tonight with 60kph winds but the wind should die down by morning for my first day-off of the season. Yahoo!

PS Katie did her first Black Run today, skiing the Trolles down into Tignes Le Lac. Well done Katie!

Sports Report- It was a great day for Canada at the Olympics yesterday as we won two Gold, one Silver and one Bronze, while the Men made it through to the Gold Medal Ice Hockey game against the USA. I’ve the weekend off as the Hammers don’t play so I’m relaxing and watching the Rugby.

26 February 2010
The best 'stinker' of the season!

At 6:30 this morning the wind was howling and I thought that perhaps we’d be shut down today because of the weather, but by 8 o’clock the wind had died down, the snow had stopped, and the visibility was decent. TJ headed towards the Fornet hoping for the best while Thomas and Andreas started by the Olympic and I went up Solaise. My team skied a very good Solaise on-piste with 20+cm’s on top before heading up Bellevarde, and by time we arrived at the summit the wind was picking up and it was snowing again. Andreas and I then skied Bonnevie’s Drag four times in excellent snow before cutting under the Mont Blanc Chair where my team skied another four runs. We then skied to the bottom and by the time we arrived at the top of the Funival the wind had really started to blow again and lifts were closing down, leaving us with only Bonnevie’s Drag where we skied another couple of runs before skiing to the bottom and calling it a day around 12:45. TJ had a good ski as well off the Pyramides at the Fornet before circling back to join us on Bellevarde. The Borsat, the Fontaine Froide and Tommeuses never opened at all this morning and considering the wind and lack of options it was a thoroughly enjoyable morning. The forecast for this afternoon was for another 25cm’s of snow and winds of up to 100kph. (Needless to say we had the best of the day!) Gill had Millie and Katie out again this morning and they braved the elements until noon, which was impressive. I’m not too sure what Thomas skied this morning as I never heard from him but I’m sure he had a good morning as well.
Hopefully the weather will calm down a little for tomorrow as some sunshine is forecast and Saturday is always the quietest day of the week.

PS Avalanche risk has been posted at 4/5.

PSS Late breking news. Two Pisteurs were killed in the Savoie today by dynamite while blasting for avalanche control.

Sports Report- Well done Team Canada for winning the Woman’s Ice Hockey Gold Medal for the third-straight Olympics. Hopefully the Men can win as well, good luck to the Curlers, and come on you Hammers!

25 February 2010
Better than expected weather resulting in another wonderful day!

The forecast for this morning called for 80+kph winds and grey overcast skies, but we settled instead for mostly blue skies and sunshine with very little wind. We all took full advantage of the unexpected conditions and enjoyed another outstanding morning. After two-days at the Fornet TJ and I headed to Tignes for a change of pace and TJ’s initiation team skied an excellent Sache. My team skied the Borsat en-route to the Motte where we skied three fantastic runs on my shoulder off the Leisse. We left three sets of perfect tracks without seeing another skier before skiing a very good Cairn on the way down, where I met Peter B from the Ski Club whose team had left some lovely ‘Alpine’ tracks and skied really well. Bravo Peter and team! My team then went up the Col des Ves to ski the ‘Hourglass’ Couloir on the Balme before finishing with the Familial. Tony was exhausted after another ‘maximum-turn’ session and will be looking forward to his weekend off before starting up again next week. Well done Tony! Thomas also skied in Tignes and started with the Lavachet before heading into the Sache while Andreas skied at the Fornet with John D, who invited Richard Finlay along. They had a great morning skiing the shoulder in the Combe du Signal before being first over the Col Pers, followed by the Vallonnet and another Combe du Signal. Nice one boys! It’s great to see Richard out again and we should get him out skiing more often. (I’m not too sure what Henry was up to but he was skiing today as well. Gill, Niki, Millie and Katie skied for four-plus hours again this morning without stopping for a hot chocolate. They’ve had a wonderful two-weeks of fun and will be in for a shock next Monday when school starts again. Chris and Suzanne are off to Normandy and England for a little break before the big push towards the end of the season. It started snowing again around 3PM and I did hear we may get as much as 30 to 40 cm’s. (I’d be happy with 15 to 20 but we’ll take what we get) Stay tuned for more news tomorrow!

Sports Report- It’s a big night for the Canadian Women’s Ice Hockey team as they take on the Americans in the Gold Medal game. We’ve also an excellent chance for Gold in the Men’s and Women’s Curling as well as the Men’s Hockey and we could end up topping the table for Gold Medals, although the Americans will finish with the most combined Medals. Come on ladies!

24 February 2010
Great snow, good visibility, and 'maximum-turns'!

We enjoyed another outstanding morning of powder skiing, and again the visibility this morning was much better than expected. TJ, Chris and I headed back to the Fornet as it was so good yesterday and because we were also hoping for decent light, which fortunately we had all morning long. My team had a high-quality ‘maximum-turn’ session starting with some nice warm-up tracks off the Laisinant, followed by two good runs off the Pyramides. From there we were first into the Grand Vallon for a cracking good run, followed by a lovely Combe du Signal en-route to the Glacier. We then skied a brilliant Pays Desert before going over the Col Pers for our finale. TJ took his initiation group over the Col right away for first tracks and they’ve really come on over the past couple of days. Andreas skied the Borsat, Chardonnet and Sache with his family-team, which featured 9-year-old Hugo. Well done Hugo as that is some serious skiing! Henry was skiing couloirs in Tignes with a team of Vikings while Thomas too was skiing exceptionally good snow Tignes-way. Gill and her friend Niki took Millie and Katie out this morning and they didn’t arrive home until 1:45, which is a massive ski for Katie’s little legs. Well done Katie! Twenty-five cm’s of snow are forecast but unfortunately the wind is suppose to howl, so we’ll hope for the best and wait and see what tomorrow brings.

Sports Report- Bad news for the Hammers but we weren’t really expecting anything from the game. We’ve six home games left, all of which we can win, and our fate will be decided in those games. I must say that I’m very pleased with Canada’s performance in the Olympics so far, and we still have some medal chances to come. Oh Canada!

23 February 2010
Saved by the 'light bulb'!

We were teased first thing with the possibility of some sunshine but it clouded over rapidly and by 9:30 it had started to snow. TJ, Andreas and I headed up towards the Fornet hoping for better light and were rewarded with a ‘light bulb’ above us and really good visibility for most of the morning. On top of the good light we had a surprising amount of new snow, ranging between 10 and 20 cm’s, and it was another excellent morning. My team warmed-up off the Mattis, followed by an very good run on the shoulder in the Combe du Signal. From there we skied a decent Combe du 3300 followed by a fantastic Pays Desert and then an even better Col Pers to finish. The light was really very good until around 11 o’clock when the clouds thickened but just when Andreas and I were deciding to go over the Col or not, the visibility improved drastically lighting our way to a wonderful finish. I had a new client Peter C on tele-marks this morning, and he was very impressive and capable of keeping the track all-morning long. Bravo Peter! It was also nice to have Ruth back with us again and she thoroughly enjoyed herself. Chris skied in Tignes with enough light and had some great skiing in the Sache. Millie and Katie skied in the falling snow this afternoon along with Gill and her friend Niki, and it’s great to see them out in all conditions. It snowed all-day long and as I write at 4:30PM the flakes are still falling so we’ll have a fresh canvas and some lovely skiing to look forward to. I’m not however, looking forward to the Man U vs. West Ham match tonight. But you never know!

PS At 5PM the flakes are huge and with all the goblet on most slopes we’ll be in for a delicate time if it continues to snow. Stay tuned!

22 February 2010
What a corker!

The first surprise this morning was the blue sky, and with it was a nice 5 to 10 cm’s that made all the difference. It turned out to be another ‘maximum-turn’ morning that was all the more special because no one was expecting such great conditions. My team warm-up off the Verte before skiing a lovely Borsat, and it was there that we realised that last night’s snow was going to be a big factor. After the Borsat we skied a very good Chardonnet followed by an excellent Sachette before finishing with a nice Familial. Andreas was in the same neighbourhood with John D, who has come on leaps and bounds and it really enjoying himself. It was a perfect welcome to Tony N and Mark, and a great last day for Chrissy who’s returning tomorrow as David has been unwell. Thomas skied the Borsat West in terrific conditions before skiing Couloir #3 off the Motte/Balme, while Chris ‘skinned’ to the Col des Fours with Suzanne and TJ skied around the Borsat (front and back-side) before heading to Tignes with his initiation group. Henry skied for a couple of hours to get some fresh air as he’s been in bed under-the-weather the past few days, and he’s feeling much better but still weak. I must get in touch with Richard F to find out how he is after yesterday’s tumble. He returned to England immediately afterward so I hope no news is good news. I had a good left-over supper with TJ tonight as Gill is taking her Mum down to Lyon then picking up her friend Nikki. TJ’s cousin Vicky arrives in a couple of days to stay with TJ, and it will be nice for TJ to have some company in the evenings. (Long gone are the days when we circulated around town, never short of someone to have a drink and chat to. Our beauty sleeps have become a necessity). We may get between 5 to 15 cm’s tonight with more snow forecast during the morning, which is all good news although a little visibility would be appreciated. Stay tuned!

21 February 2010
Blue skies and brilliant conditions!

The sun returned and with a fresh canvas it was game-on for a great morning. I was travelling light with Chrissy and Richard F, along with Henry’s fiancée Ginny, and we had a wonderful morning. We had first-tracks everywhere we skied and opened up with an excellent Kern followed by a very good Borsat from the middle entrance. From there we skied two great runs off the Leisse, then one on the Cairn en-route to the Col des Ves, where we made our way to the ‘Hourglass’ Couloir on the Big Face of the Grande Balme. Richard unfortunately had a fall and smacked his back up against a rock and may have damaged some ribs. He managed to ski back down on the piste and we should have more news for you soon. Andreas’ team ‘skinned’ up to the Col des Fours and had an outstanding ski, with John Denholm picking up the coveted ‘skier-of-the-morning’ award for a solid performance. Bravo John! Well done also to Big Pete who skied well after a fatiguing walk. Thomas was skiing with the Campbell’s children who are really coming on while Chris ‘skinned’ to Mont Roup with Suzanne and TJ was skiing with some old friends. TJ then took Chrissy out for the afternoon and headed up towards the Balme. Katie turned four-and-a-half today and we celebrated with a huge ski this afternoon followed by a superb lamb dinner cooked by Liz and Chevallot tarts for desert. The Foehn wind increased during the afternoon and a grey day with perhaps a few flakes overnight are forecast.

20 February 2010
Fantastic skiing in atmospheric conditions!

At the Gourmandine it looked as if the skies were clearing and we were half-expecting a sunny day, but the clouds rolled in fairly quickly except for the Pissaillas Glacier, which fortunately managed to stay in the sun most of the morning. TJ, Chris, and my team headed to the Fornet where Chris and I opened up with the Grand Vallon in very atmospheric light. From there my team skied the Combe du 3300 in sunshine, followed by a sunny Pays Desert. Then the clouds rose to the level of the glacier but they moved in-and-out giving us good light for our final Pays Desert. TJ and Chris skied similar runs while Andreas skied the Face du Charvet and Super L en-route to joining us on the Pissaillas. TJ skied with Derek and his children Heather and Gregor, and they left superb ‘Alpine’ tracks, leaving Derek a proud Daddy. Well done kids! It was pretty cold today with the wind-chill factor but sunshine is expected for tomorrow.

Sports Report- Hammers 3 – Hull 0, yahoo!!!! A massive three points and a great performance taking us to the heady heights of 13th-place. Arsenal won to keep themselves close and with Man U losing 3-1 to Everton, Chelsea’s 2-0 win takes them 4-points clear at the top of the table. And Oh Canada as the Canadians are picking up some Medals!

19 February 2010
A pretty good morning in tough conditions!

It wasn’t the best morning of the season, but it wasn’t the worst either. We dealt with flat-light, wind and only a few centimetres of fresh snow for a cushion, and the entire team made the most of the day and found good skiing. After feeling the snow off the Verte we knew that the dreaded ‘stinker’ was going to be avoided and we then skied the Borsat en-route to Tignes. From there we skied the Combe des Lanches, the Col des Ves, the Col du Palet, and the Familial to finish. (Andreas threw in a Chardonnet into his mix.) We covered a lot of ground considering the lack of visibility and the ‘light bulb’ appeared just in time for the last run of the morning on our way to lunch. Just when it looked as if it would turn into a sunny afternoon it came back in and snowed lightly all-afternoon, with up to 30cm’s forecast for this evening. Fingers crossed on that one but we already have that fresh canvas we needed so badly. I spent the afternoon in the pool with Millie and Katie while TJ and Andreas were braving the elements off-piste. Well done boys! TJ’s ‘haggis’ evening was unfortunately cancelled last night as the concierge somehow managed to throw out TJ’s haggis. Bummer! Log-on for more news tomorrow.

Sports Report- It’s been great watching bits and pieces of the Olympics and I was very impressed with the Chinese pairs in the figure skating and really enjoyed the Woman’s Downhill where the American girl Vonn was outstanding in winning the Gold. The Swedish girl who fell after losing control on the final jump where she flew 60-metres in the air before crashing bounced back to win a Medal in the combined the next day. What a performance as she must have been black-and-blue after her horrific fall! As far as the Hammers go, we’ve a massive game tomorrow at home against Hull and three-points would make all us suffering West Ham fans rest more easily over the weekend. Come on boys!

18 February 2010
An unexpectedly great morning at the Fornet!

At 7:00AM the sky was clear and it looked as if we were in for blue skies and perfect visibility, but by the time we arrived at the Gourmandine it was overcast. TJ, Chris and I headed to the Fornet hoping to ‘sniff’ out some decent snow and we were rewarded with an excellent morning of soft-snow skiing. TJ skied the top of the Pays desert before cutting out and going over the Col to ‘skin’ up the Glacier Pers, where the Browne family enjoyed some lovely skiing. Chris went out wide in the Pays Desert before ‘skinning’ to access the last slopes, which were fantastic. My team hiked up for a couple of minutes then skied between the Combe du 3300 and the Pays Desert, which I haven’t skied for years and we had good snow and ambience. We then skied the top of the Pays Desert before joining Chris over the Col for a very pleasant Col Pers, which was good all the way to the bottom. Although it was overcast we had enough light to make the most of the morning and it was another very satisfying outing. I’ve had Chris B and his son Mikka along the past couple of days and they’ve done incredibly well for a couple of blokes who don’t normally surface until 10:30AM. Well done boys! Derek’s son Gregor had a scare yesterday and was carted off by the Pisteurs to the Medical Centre, but he ended up with a cast on his wrist and was back skiing again this morning. Good man Gregor! Gill and Katie picked up Gill’s Mum Liz this morning and Liz is here visiting for four days. Gideon and I had a great afternoon working on technique as Gideon is taking his skiing seriously and making big strides in the right direction. TJ threw a ‘haggis’ evening at Jean Sports tonight, thank-you TJ although I missed it due to entertaining Liz. Clouds are forecast for tomorrow with 10 to 20 cm’s of snow but after a stunning afternoon of sunshine I wouldn’t bet against a sunny day tomorrow.

17 February 2010
Another great morning out of nothing!

It was forecast to be on the gloomy side today but fortunately it was brighter than expected and we had another jolly good morning. Chris was back off-piste and after a warm-up off the Verte we skied an excellent Alti-port en-route to the Lavachet followed by an equally good Sachette. TJ also skied the Sachette and we all finished with another Alti-port back into the Familial. It was a very pleasant morning, especially when ‘potential stinker’ entered our thoughts and we’ve had some great skiing of late without too many options. Bravo boys! Thomas and Andreas are still on-piste but I saw Thomas this afternoon ready to do some tele-marking. Thomas is very good on his tele’s so if you’re interested or know people looking for tele-mark sessions, Thomas is your man! After two-months of pretty cold temperatures ranging from -11C to -20 each morning, it was a bit of a shock to walk out of the apartment into +2C. The Foehn wind is forecast to continue and we might get a few flakes tonight, which would be welcome. Stay tuned!

16 February 2010
A cloudy day but just enough light!

At 7AM it looked as if we were in for another sunny day, but by 9:30 the clouds covered our domain. Fortunately the light wasn’t too bad and we could see enough to ski without worrying about ploughing into something. TJ ’skinned’ to Mont Roup with the Browne family and had a great ski while I went up to the Fornet for a change of scenery. We had a decent run on the shoulder in the Combe du Signal before heading up to the Glacier, where we skied an excellent Pays Desert. We hiked up for ten-minutes to access the first slope from the top, then we went out wide left before ‘skinning’ for five-minutes to ski a lovely 80-plus-turn pitch to the bottom. I’d spotted some nice snow further over in the Combe du Signal so we returned for another run before finishing in the ‘L’. Chris finished his three days of piste skiing and will be back off-piste tomorrow. Thomas is still skiing with Derek’s family and the Campbell Clan while Andreas has another two-days with his piste group. Grey skies are forecast for tomorrow but if we’re lucky we might just get a few flakes tonight. (But don’t hold your breath) It’s getting tougher and tougher each day now and we’re now in need of a fresh canvas so hopefully we’ll get some relief in the next few days.

15 February 2010
A stunning Mont Roup and the 'L' for Katie!

It was -13C for the third straight day and we enjoyed another beautiful day of non-stop sunshine. Andreas and Chris are on piste duty with families while Thomas was entertaining the Campbell and Louden children and giving them a good hard ski. TJ and I were off-piste and TJ was skiing with Erik and Jackie Browne along with their children Holly and Fergus. I’m not too sure what they skied but I did see some good tracks about and I’m sure TJ’s team was probably responsible. My team of John, Margaret, Derek, Gideon, and Clare C ‘skinned’ to Mont Roup for a fantastic ski in deep goblet. The base is rotten to the bottom and will be dangerous when it snows, and even now you must be careful, but it does ski beautifully. We also had the bonus of some nice skiing down from the Borsat en-route to putting on our ‘skins’ so it was a cracking good result. Clare skied really well (she knows Peter will be logging-on) and Derek is handling his knee problem although he’s not nearly 100%. Katie skied the ‘L’ this morning and Millie was out from 9AM until 4:30. (Hopefully that’ll wear them out.) I’m really proud of them both and it’s wonderful to watch them progress and enjoy the snow and mountains, which have been such an important part of my life. Ness was also out this morning in a ski school group and she’ll be skiing all-week long. We should have a sunny day tomorrow although there may be some clouds about, and a little snow is forecast for Wednesday.

14 February 2010
St. Valentine's Day and I remembered!

For the second consecutive day Radio Val reported -13C in front of the Tourist Office at 8AM. It felt a little colder first thing as the Foehn wind was a little stronger than yesterday, but it was still a beautiful and pleasant day. I was the only one off-piste this morning and after the Verte warm-up we walked up the Borsat to traverse over to the ridge between the Borsat Nord and Ouest. I haven’t skied there in years and we had good ambience managed some soft clean snow. Penny, Gideon, Charlotta and I then skied off the Leisse before ‘skinning’ up to the Little Borsat West, then we finished with the Bowl of the Fresse on the way home. TJ and Chris were on-piste with families while Thomas, Andreas and Henry had the morning off. A similar day is forecast again for and we may see a few flakes mid-week.

Sports Report- England won’t have frightened anyone with their performance against Italy in the Six-Nations match this afternoon. Still, they’re wins and no losses with no harm done. It’s great watching the highlights of the Olympics with the Canadian flag blowing and hearing the anthem. Oh Canada!

13 February 2010
Wonderful views and good snow!

It was -13C this morning at 8AM and the sky was a deep blue and forecast to stay that way all-day long. I was the only one working today and chose a 40-minute ‘skin’ up towards the Crete du Genepy. It was Adam’s last morning of his first-ever off-piste week and I wanted to take him to a sector he hadn’t yet seen and the Crete offers stunning views, warmth from the sun, and very good snow. Franz, who has skied with Chris most of the week, was also completing his first week and both Franz and Adam skied incredibly well. Bravo boys! TJ followed us up and then went on to ski Mont Roup on a training session, while Andreas and Henry went to Ste Foy on a reconnaissance mission. Gill and I took the girls out this afternoon and Katie (not yet four-and-a-half) skied from the top of Bellevarde down to Tommeuses via the ‘Gulley‘, then down the piste ’H’ to Val Claret, then up the Funiculaire and down the Genepy, and then up Les Tufs and on to La Daille to finish. Good girl! More sun is in the forecast but we could use some snow soon, especially with the half-term week coming up.

PS Thanks TJ for an excellent evening at Jean Sports last night.

Sports Report- It’s nice to have the weekend off to relax and enjoy Wednesday night’s victory as the Hammers don’t play until Tuesday night. It is however a big weekend of Six-Nations Rugby and France vs. Ireland is just about to kick-off. Enjoy the match Jean!

12 February 2010
Cold again but no wind and stunning sunshine!

Radio Val (and not Will unfortunately as he’s moved to Mexico) announced minus-19C at La Daille this morning, but the sun was shining and yesterday’s wind had died down, making for a very pleasant morning. TJ along with Roly, Oscar and my team, headed to the Sachette via the Lavachet and had great skiing. Since we ended up in a white-out a few days ago I wanted Adam and Ed to see what they missed visually, which is always stunning, and we enjoyed lovely snow as well. Meanwhile Andreas and Chris returned to the Fornet where Andreas skied ‘classic’ and Chris ‘skinned’ to the Glacier Pers. Millie had a tummy-bug yesterday afternoon and missed school today but she’s made a good recovery and will be ready for her two-week holiday, which starts this afternoon. Wils and Rosie arrive tomorrow for a week and Gill’s Mum is also coming out for a few days so it should be a good ‘family social’ with excellent meals and loads of skiing. Roly and Oscar return to Scotland tomorrow morning after a fantastic week with their Dad, and it was great to see them. Another sunny but cold day is forecast for tomorrow and we should have several sunny days in a row.

PS Thomas was down in Ste Foy skiing the Foglietta today and he’s shown his private group some fantastic skiing this week. Well done Thomas!

11 February 2010
Cold and windy, but great skiing!

The forecast was wrong again, much to our benefit, and we enjoyed another atmospheric morning in misty but good light. We all headed up to the Fornet for a change of scenery and although it was cold and windy in places, we had a superb ski. Chris, Andreas and I started off on the shoulder in the Combe du Signal, which was very good. From there Chris and I skied a lovely Pays Desert way out to the left, where we ‘skinned’ for five-minutes towards the bottom to access the big slopes above the poma. TJ skied the Combe du 3300 with Roly and Oscar while Andreas skied a Pays Desert ‘Classic‘, and we all then went over the Col Pers, which was excellent all the way to the bottom. It was cold enough today for some frost-bit cheeks and it was the coldest morning we’ve had for a couple of weeks now, but we managed and everyone thoroughly enjoyed their skiing. Another cold but brighter day is forecast for tomorrow so hopefully they’ll get the ‘bright’ bit right. Stay tuned!

Sports Report- I slept incredibly well with three-well-earned-points in the bank after the Hammers win against Birmingham last night. I’m however saddened by the talk of Zola losing his job as he’s the best thing that’s happened to West Ham in a long time. If he gets the sack there will be many very disappointed Hammers fans who feel he’s the right man to build a solid and exciting team for the future.

10 February 2010
Fantastic skiing before being swamped in a white-out!

Like yesterday the morning started off grey and fairly uninspiring but there were gaps in the cloud cover at altitude and we ended up with decent light for most of the morning. Most of us started off in the Borsat, my team from the middle entrance while JC and Andreas came in from the top, and we had some good skiing. From there we headed to the Sachette and it was both Adam and Ed’s first trip back-side. We were lucky to have excellent visibility with great snow and ambience until the last third when the cloud level rose quickly and we were left in a white-out. We felt our way down then skied piste back to Les Tufs as the entire resort seemed to be in a fog. Gill and I took Millie and Katie out this afternoon to meet Gill’s cousin Anna and her family, and the girls just skied away in the flat-light and never complained. Good girls! More of the same is forecast for tomorrow but we should have a decent amount of new snow to play with as it’s snowed all afternoon and it looks as if it will continue. Stay tuned!

Sports Report- It’s crunch-time for the Hammers as they have a massive match at home against Birmingham tonight. A win would take us to 14th place but a loss would leave us in the relegation zone with a run of tough games ahead. Come on boys!

9 February 2010
Great snow with wonderful light!

No new snow fell overnight and it was forecast to be grey and miserable, but we had a ‘light-bulb’ above us all morning that gave us very good visibility and made life so much easier. At times it was quite bright and another potentially difficult morning turned out to be incredibly satisfying. My team had a ‘maximum-turn’ outing skiing off the Verte to warm-up before entering the middle-Borsat through the rocks to find some great snow. We then skied three excellent rotations on the shoulder off the Leisse followed by the Cairn, the Campanules, and then a wonderful Familial to finish. I saw TJ with his crew off the Leisse and Andreas skied the Cocaine and Sachette on the way to lunch in Les Brevieres. Chris ’skinned’ to Mont Roup with his team while Thomas had a big day skiing couloirs with his private group. All the teams skied brilliant snow with terrific ambience due to the light, and being better than expected made it all the sweeter. A few flakes with grey skies are forecast for tomorrow, but we’ll wait and see.

PS I forgot to mention that Ray finished his two-week blast this morning while we welcomed Ed and Adam, both of whom are excellent skiers. It was Adam’s first real off-piste morning but since he’s skied from the age of four he slotted in brilliantly. Well done boys!

8 February 2010
Cloudless for Clive!

We enjoyed another beautiful sunny day, but unfortunately it might be our last for three or four days. Everyone took full advantage of the conditions and Clive especially savoured the visibility and skied his way to a ‘skier-of-the-morning’ award. Well done Clive and it was great to have you back! My team warmed-up off the Verte then skied an excellent Lavachet, which was so good we continued to the bottom and ‘skinned’ back out. From there we skied a very good Cocaine Sud followed by a superb Familial to finish. Chris and Thomas also skied the Lavachet before heading to the Sachette, which was fantastic. I think TJ was also skiing Tignes-way but his radio didn’t charge properly and we couldn’t stay in touch. Meanwhile Andreas took Jeremy and Sasha down to ski a brilliant Foglietta in Ste. Foy, which finished off their four-day weekend in style. Thanks to Dr. Laura for a wonderful meal last night, even if I felt a little rough this morning! (My fault totally) Jean is recovering from his accident on Saturday and feels he’s way ahead of schedule compared to when he last dislocated it twenty-years-or-so ago. Fortunately he has his grand-children here to help keep him company and we’ll see him tomorrow night for dinner. As mentioned the forecast isn’t great for tomorrow. We might get a few centimetres of snow but we’re expecting flat-light without the benefit of enough fresh snow to make a difference.

PS Good luck Henry with your presentation tonight! Henry is speaking at the Salle des Congress in French at an event sponsored by the Village.

Sports Report- The Super Bowl was played last night and I was very pleased for the New Orleans Saints, who beat the heavily favoured Colts 31-17.

7 February 2010
TJ's back in business!

The sun was out in full-force this morning and spirits were high at the Gourmandine. TJ arrived for coffee with Roly and Oscar and it was great to see them all. TJ looked to be in pretty good shape, Roly must be around six-foot-three and still growing and Oscar is also a good size for his age. TJ skied with his boys along with Roddy Finlay (of Finlay’s fame) and his son, and they headed up to the Fornet for a great morning. Andreas and I both started with an excellent Face du Charvet before joining TJ at the Fornet, where my team skied a very good shoulder in the Combe du Signal, followed by lovely variation of the Combe du 3300, then a fantastic Pays Desert into ‘Margaret’s Gully’. Andreas skied similar runs with Jeremy and Sasha but finished by going over the Col Pers. It was another brilliant morning and all that was missing was Jean, who would have loved it. Gill and I took the girls out again this afternoon and Katie is amazing me with her progress. She has improved enormously in a week and just gets stronger and faster each day. (Those were the days) Another sunny day is forecast again for tomorrow, which isn’t hard to take, especially after my crash and what happened to Jean, so it’s nice to re-group in the sunshine. Stay-tuned!

Sports Report- What a great finish between Wales and England yesterday. The English try at the end was fantastic and well needed as the Welsh were piling on the pressure. TJ and his boys will be at Les Tufs watching Ecosse vs. France, and Jean will also be glued to it as well.

6 February 2010
A glorious morning marred by injury!

What a stunning morning of high-quality skiing! Between 20 and 30cm’s fell overnight and what a wonderful surprise it was to have unexpected sunshine as well. It was a ‘maximum-turn’ type of morning and Chris, Andreas and I headed up to the Fornet. My team skied three excellent Lower Combe du Signal’s, followed by a superb Combe du 3300, then a fantastic Pays Desert, which took us up to about 12:15. Then the clouds arrived and light snow started to fall, meaning the perfect visibility was now reduced to flattish-light. To finish the morning Andreas and I decided to ski the Grand Vallon as the light was deteriorating and after a good ski with only a few hundred metres to go Jean fell into a hole and dislocated his shoulder. Jean managed to get to his feet and we traversed across to the Pisteurs Hut where they organised an ambulance to pick him up at the bottom of the Fornet Cable Car. As you can imagine it soured a fabulous morning and it could be six-weeks or more before Jean can ski again. I must say that Jean is incredibly tough as I’ve never witnessed someone handle a dislocation so calmly. (Jean even managed to post today’s photos) We’re all very sorry to see Jean injured and we’ll miss his company and his great photos. Good luck Jean! My gorgeous little Katie brightened up my afternoon as she skied brilliantly during two top-to-bottom’s at La Daille in falling snow. Well done Katie! John and Margaret returned this morning for their first ski in 5-weeks and they had a wonderful time and stopped after the Pays Desert, missing the last run. Very sensible too! A few centimetres of snow are forecast this evening with good visibility again tomorrow, so we should have another brilliant morning.

Sports Report- With Jean’s injury and the Hammers defeat I’m not in the mood for a report this evening.

PS TJ, Oscar, Roly and Clive all arrive in town tonight!

5 February 2010
Another potential 'stinker' avoided.

We didn’t receive any snow in the village overnight and the morning started with grey skies, which were forecast to thicken as the morning progressed. It was blowing at altitude and the morning was looking like it might be a tough one, but a few centimetres of fresh snow above 2300m’s gave us hope. Instead of a difficult morning (it was difficult visibility-wise) the snow was really pretty agreeable and everyone enjoyed a good morning. Thomas and I were in the same neighbourhood and we skied off the Verte, the Borsat, the Combe des Lanches, the Col du Palet, then I skied the Col des Ves while Thomas skied the Lower Chardonnet, then we both finished with the Familial. I picked up the ‘splat du jour’ award for an ugly ‘park-and-fly’, and it was the worst fall I’ve had in at least five-years. It was a reminder of how dangerous skiing first in white-outs can be and it shook me up to say the least. Meanwhile Andreas skied the Borsat from the top followed by the Chardonnet before skiing off the Motte and finishing with the Familial, and as for Chris, I didn’t hear from him all morning. We could see anywhere from 30 to 50cm’s of snow during the afternoon and through the night ahead so a fresh canvas is in store for tomorrow. Fingers crossed that the wind doesn’t become too much of a factor.

I had a day reprieve as Gill couldn’t get the clippers yesterday, but she’s just come home with them and Millie and Katie are looking forward to playing ‘hair-dressers’ this afternoon.

PS Gill chickened out after three or four passes with the clippers and phoned the hair-dressers. Boy, that was close!

4 February 2010
A surprisingly good morning at the Fornet!

After yesterday’s howling, and I mean howling winds, we weren’t too sure about how much ski-able snow would be still laying around, but we were hoping for the best. The really good news was that the skies were clear and having visibility was going to be a huge bonus and make whatever we found much easier. Thomas, Chris and I all headed to the Fornet for a change of scenery as we’ve been avoiding that sector since last week’s wind-storms, and it was a bit of a brave move after yesterday. Anyway, it turned out to be a cracking good morning skiing some powder combined with strips of lovely creamy snow. My team skied the Combe du Signal, a quick one off the Col, a nice variation on the sunny slopes above the Combe du 3300, an equally satisfying Pays Desert, and a surprisingly good Col Pers to finish. Thomas skied similar runs to my team while Chris ‘skinned’ up to the Glacier Pers. Andreas had a private with Sharon and they worked on some technique before ‘skinning’ under the Borsat West as she’s preparing for a tour later in the season. It was forecast to close-in early afternoon but the clouds held off for Katie’s skiing with the school this afternoon, which is great as she’s had two sessions cancelled this week due to the cold weather. I forgot to mention that is was much warmer this morning and so nice that Gill and I ate lunch on our terrace. What a contrast to what seems like ages of cold temperatures! It should snow about 10cm’s overnight with another 10cm’s tomorrow, but if we’re lucky we could see twice that much.

PS I may look totally different tomorrow as my wife is threatening to borrow some clippers and give me an -at-home-haircut. She’s never cut hair in her life so I’m a little worried and wish the gorgeous Helen would turn up. Wish me luck!

PSS Now I’m really worried as Gill’s just tried to trim my eye-brows with the clippers on my electric razor and slipped, taking half an eye-brow in the process. You don’t want to hear the word,“oops” when someone has something sharp or buzzing in their hand.

3 February 2010
Missing skier found alive!

It was much warmer this morning, to the tune of only -5C at 8AM, which was a welcome change. It was cloudy but we were promised by Radio Val that the skies would clear fairly quickly and we were expecting sunshine by mid-morning. Unfortunately it didn’t clear until this afternoon so we all had to get on with it and everyone had a good morning. Thomas skied around the Charvet while Andreas skied the ‘Tour’ into the Couloir du Mont Blanc followed by the Couloir des Pisteurs. Andreas said the wind was around 100kph on the ridge and he almost turned around but was afraid of someone getting blown off. Meanwhile Chris and I skied a very good Sachette and added a little ten-minute ‘skin’ to get some lovely snow towards the bottom. Gill and I took Millie and Katie out this afternoon but the wind was ferocious and we ended up just skiing top-to-bottom and going home. It was Katie’s first-time to the bottom and she’s doing really well. Thomas and Chris both had off-piste afternoons and skied the Tour du Charvet. I’m not too sure what tomorrow morning will bring but light snow is forecast for the afternoon before getting heavier during the night and into Friday morning. Stay tuned!

Lost Skier- The search yesterday by helicopter found the missing 26-year-old skier who had been touring near the Sana by himself when he became lost as the afternoon clouds rolled in. He dug himself a snow-hole and survived the night with temperatures between -20 and -25C, but he suffered severe frost-bite and lost some fingers and toes. Ouch! Still, he’s miraculously alive to tell his tale.

2 February 2010
Brilliant snow on Mont Roup!

It was a balmy -18C this morning with clear blue skies. Chris and I decided to ‘skin’ to Mont Roup, partly to be in the sun and stay warm but also thinking there was some great snow to be had. Sure enough, Mont Roup delivered again and we enjoyed some wonderful snow and excellent skiing. It was nice to have Pippa back after a few years away, with her husband Karl, and Nick was ‘skinning’ for his first time. Thomas skied the Chardonnet before skiing ‘Toothy-Rock’ off the Aiguille Percee, while Andreas was heading towards Couloir #3 off the Motte. Andreas has been struggling with some sort of flu over the past few days and he’s done well to make it to work. Hang in there Andreas and hope you feel better soon. The clouds slowly moved in and light snow started to fall around 2:30PM but were not really expecting any proper snow until Thursday night when we’ve a chance of 20cm’s or so. That would help as the last snowfall took a pasting from the wind and although there is some fantastic snow here and there, there is also tough snow in equal measure. (Most of the good stuff has been tracked as you can imagine) Unfortunately Katie’s skiing was cancelled again this afternoon, which was surprising as it wasn’t that cold so Chris and I had an unexpected afternoon off. TJ arrives on the weekend with two of his four children. Roly and Oscar are making the trip and it will be great to see them all again. TJ is planning on staying until March 6th or there about and the boys are here for two weeks. Although light snow is falling at the moment (4 o’clock) sunshine is forecast for tomorrow morning.

PS I forgot to mention that Radio Val reported a missing person this morning and while traversing from the Borsat en-route to Mont Roup there were a couple of Gendarmes (Mountain Division) searching avalanche rubble. There was also a helicopter flying around studying potential areas to search. I said that he’ll show up after a night out while Chris, with his dry sense of humour said, “He’s in the gorge”. I’ll keep you posted.

1 February 2010
The Super Cocaine comes through again!

Radio Val reported -24C in La Daille this morning at 8AM, so we knew a chilly one was in store. We knew that the cold would help to lighten-up some of the stiffer snow (and believe me there are some patches of thick stuff about) so we all headed towards the sunny slopes in Tignes. I skied piste to get there and had two great runs on the Cocaine Sud, before a nice little shot off the Aiguille Rouge and a stiffer but good Familial to finish. Chris was in the same neighbourhood and Andreas arrived after skiing the Chardonnet. I’ve never skied the Cocaine so often during a season as this year, and it’s been brilliant every time we’ve needed it. Thomas had a private and started off with the Tour du Charvet with thoughts of heading towards the Arcelle, but I haven’t heard where he ended up. (Henry was also in action but I haven’t heard a report) Katie’s afternoon skiing with the school was cancelled due to the frigid temperatures so Chris and I had the afternoon off, which I spent ironing, hoovering and basically tidying up our mess that we made while Gill was away. She arrives tonight and should be surprised with our tidy little home. Another cold day with some sunshine is forecast for tomorrow and we could see 20cm’s of snow Thursday night and during Friday. Fingers crossed on that one!

PS There won’t be any new photos today as Jean took the morning off.

Sports Report- The Hammers are talking to Harry and there’s a chance of Robbie Keane making a last-minute move to West Ham. That would be stunning news and a season-saving transaction, as long as it’s a cash-only deal and we don’t have to give anyone up in return. Chris and Matt (and the rest of you United ticket holders) will be rocking and rolling after your win against Arsenal. Well done and I feel obliged to congratulate you all as we love to give you stick when you lose. Besides, most of you are jolly sympathetic to the plight of my Hammers!

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