Wayne's Daily Diary Archive

20 June 2007

30 November 2010
Not the easiest of mornings!

I was promised another sunny day today and went to bed last night hoping for the best. Unfortunately the day started grey and windy and didn’t get any better. We headed back up to the Fornet and enjoyed a very good run in the Combe du Signal, as the snow had remained protected from the wind. From there we boarded the telecabine to the glacier and ended up stranded for at least an hour due to a power failure. By the time we finally arrived at the top we’d lost our enthusiasm and headed down for a hot drink, which turned out to be wine as the hot chocolate machines need electricity. The entire Fornet sector was affected and remained closed during the morning. We finished off our ski on Bellevarde with a nice mix of much improved pistes and some soft-snow pitches while hoping for some more snow, which is forecast, tonight.

Johnny-Alpine invited me for a superb slow-cooked-curried-leg-of-lamb, dhal and rice last night, followed by a wonderful display from Barcelona as they totally thrashed Real Madrid 5-0. Barcelona’s ball control in traffic was outstanding and a fabulous display for Mark, who was watching his first-ever match. Thanks John!

29 November 2010
What a day!

What a difference a good night sleep makes! I was in bed by nine, read until ten, then slept like a log. Just as well to be well rested as the wind woke me around 6 o’clock and when I looked outside it was snowing and blowing a gale. My first thought was “Bloody hell, another tough flat-light morning”. The forecast was for a sunny day and by nine there were a few clear patches and it gradually improved until it turned cloudless sky around 11 o’clock. Seeing the much improved visibility at the Gourmandine and banking on the forecast being correct we headed up to the Fornet to see what was on offer, and we weren’t disappointed! We hiked up for about 2 minutes from the top of the Pyramid Chairlift to cut a high track into the Combe du Signal and the snow was fantastic. After three rotations of 80-turn pitches in 30cm’s we ’skinned’ up for twenty minutes to enter the Combe from further up. Again the snow was light and untouched by the wind and towards the bottom we cut off left from the piste and traversed way out to the slopes accessed by the Laisinant Express for some bonus turns. It was so good Mark, John and I decided to do another rotation from the Pyramid and we finished up at 1:45. It was a cracking morning of great snow and total solitude as we were the only skiers using the Combe du Signal. On the way home on the bus John said, “ I’ve skied the Fornet before when it’s quiet, but I’ve never seen nobody!” (The glacier was shut due to wind so that may have put people off, otherwise the town is empty) I think it’s forecast for more light snow and flat-light, but I’d love another sunny day first.

What a wonderful performance by England to save the first test after a dreadful start. Well done boys on showing class, determination and a real fighting spirit. Brilliant! And what a great win for Roger over Rafa, both of who are also class personified.

28 November 2010
A big hello to class 3W!

It was a trickier morning today due to lack of sleep, flat-light, and denser snow, all of which lead to me skiing a little defensively and feeling a bit disjointed. Still, we had a pretty good morning and managed to kick-off the first plaque of the season to add to the ambience. It was a good reminder that even though it’s November and there isn’t that much snow, anytime there’s been wind there will always be a bit of snow somewhere that doesn’t need much tempting. The plaque only slid for about ten metres but it certainly woke us up! Around noon we treated ourselves to a quick hot chocolate and when we came back out the visibility had greatly improved so we finished off with a cracking good run while skiing much more positively. (Still, it was one of those mornings that I was pleased to get down in one piece) Penny picked up a ‘splat du jour’ award with an impressive park-and-fly, while John F (Johnny Alpine) was ‘skier of the morning’. Unfortunately Sharon couldn’t ski today after injuring her ankle yesterday. Andreas was also skiing with Tony W and his son Alex and they went exploring in Tignes. We could use some snow but if it’s not going to snow properly I’d love to see the sun come out, which Johnny Alpine promises me tomorrow.

I’d like to say hello to Millie and Katie who are finishing up school before coming out for the season on Boxing Day. At seven-years-of-age Millie now turns on the computer, types in the password, then checks the Alpine website to see how I’m doing. She also shows her 3W class at Tillingbourne the site, and the Val d’Isere webcams. Good girl and hello to Mrs. Wolfe and Millie’s classmates!

I was well pleased with the Hammers win yesterday but a bit bummed about Wolves saving themselves at the death. Anyway, Mick D will be happy! I can’t log-on at home so I’m not too sure what’s happening with the cricket and too bad about the rugby yesterday.

PS Wow! I just checked the cricket score. What a fantastic comeback by England and hopefully they can keep it going. Come on boys! (I’m now slipping out to watch Hot Spur and Liverpool)

Stay tuned for more news tomorrow!

27 November 2010
Flat-light but a great start!

We had a surprisingly good morning today to kick off our season. It was overcast with light snow falling so visibility or to be more precise, lack of, was going to be the main factor. Fortunately, for a flat-light day we had just enough vision to ski off-piste all-morning long. Although the snow cover is thin on the lower half of the mountain, anything above 2400m is nicely covered and the snow quality for the most part was excellent and we profited with some great skiing. I had Penny, Sharon M, Mark W, ‘Johnny-Alpine’, and John and Margaret along and although the light was flat and it was fairly cold (-12C in town this morning) with some wind, we avoided the hot-chocolate stop that I’d promised around 11 o’clock. After opening up the Familial, which was terrific, Sharon was then clipped by a skier flying by at a ridiculous speed in the tunnel on the Verte and she hurt her ankle and had to go home. Hopefully it won’t be too serious although I doubt she’ll be able to ski tomorrow. (She was heading towards a ‘skier-of-the-morning award’ as well.) Light snow is forecast for the afternoon and into the night ahead so we should have another good day tomorrow.

One the news front, our new secretary Sophie will be starting today. She doesn’t know any of the Alpine clients so please help her out by telling her who you’d like to ski with (if you have a preference). It will take her awhile to get to know you all so please help her out where you can and give her a good old ‘Alpine’ welcome! She loves to ski, telemark, climb, travel, take photos and Sophie speaks very good English as well. I think she’ll fit in quite nicely!

The Les Tufs era as we know it has come to an end as Jean Max and Francette’s family have sold the restaurant. I’m not too sure who has taken it over but I wish them luck. We enjoyed many a superb meal at Les Tufs over the years and we all really enjoyed Jean Max and Francette’s company. I’ll let you know when I here so news about what they are doing with themselves now.

On the Hammer’s front, it’s do or die today. If we fail to beat Wigan I fear the wheels will fall off! I believe there might be a big rugby match or two this afternoon as well!

26 November 2010
Computer problems!

I’m having trouble with my e-mails at the moment. I can use the internet at Jean Sports and can receive e-mails, but unfortunately I can’t send. I’ve several bookings here that I can’t reply to so I’ll try again tomorrow using someone else’s computer. Not very satisfactory. Hopefully my connection at home will be repaired and I can get back to business as usual.

I had an epic journey yesterday with the odd detour and ended up driving 755 miles, mostly in wet snow or rain. I was well happy to arrive in one peice and slept like a baby last night. I’ve spent most of the day unpacking and haven’t made much of a dent in it. Bummer!

23 November 2010
On the road again!

I’m busy packing and organising for a 3:30AM departure Thursday morning and will be travelling throughout the day, followed by unpacking on Friday and preparing for skiing on the Saturday, so it may take me a day or two to respond to any e-mails during this time. Please be patient and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

The girls have been incredibly affectionate these past few days as they are well aware of us being apart until Boxing-day, and it’s been lovely cuddling up with them. They are really excited about the winter but Christmas does come first, and they aren’t looking past that major event at the moment. Gill hates this time of year as she’s about to be left to deal with them 24/7, which won’t be easy. Good luck Gill!

I finished off my golf season yesterday with great satisfaction with my best nine-holes of the summer. Yahoo! Meanwhile, Andreas and Tansy ‘skinned’ up to the Col des Fresse from the Tignes-side for some exercise and pockets of early-season powder. Bravo! (A couple of photos can be viewed on Andreas’ Facebook site). Jean Marc and Olivier will be skiing with the Ski Club from December 6th through to the 11th, and Pietro will also be in town during that week as well. JM will then be staying on and will be with us during the Christmas and New Year periods as well. Just like old times! Chris arrives December 5th, TJ will be visiting from January 22nd, and Thomas, Andreas, myself, and the newly-married Henry will be there from start-to-finish.

Stay tuned for the Daily Diary and Jean Ribart will be arriving around the 7th of December and will get his daily photo dairy running from his first turns. Thanks in advance Jean!

20 November 2010
A potentially great start to the season!

The anticipation is building as the new season approaches and from the look of the webcams we could be in for a fantastic start to the winter. I’m really looking forward to it now as I’m preparing and packing to leave next Thursday. Winter seems to be on people’s minds now as the regularity of the bookings is increasing daily.

Millie and Katie have both been given permission from their schools to return for another winter, which will be wonderful. I’m looking forward to them both building on the French as they are very close now to being bi-lingual, and another season or two will make a huge difference to their development. It will also be a pleasure to watch their skiing come on and they are both talking about some powder sessions.

On the sports front, I’m a little depressed with how the Hammers season has started. Being an optimist I don’t think we’ve played that poorly and we haven’t picked up some points I thought we deserved. Hopefully we can beat Liverpool this afternoon and turn the corner and look forward to some better results in the near future. (I love Steven Gerrard but must admit to being secretly pleased when he limped off at the end of the England match. I would have been happier for him to only miss one match however!) The Calgary Flames ice hockey team aren’t doing much better although they had a big win last night, the Phoenix Suns aren’t yet playing to their potential,in the NBA, but at least the Steelers are doing well in the American football.

Stay tuned as the Daily Diary will be up and running with daily ski and snow reports as the new season begins November 27th.

13 November 2010
An avalanche fatality!

Paul W alerted me by e-mail about a tragic accident in Val d’Isere this morning. Below is the report copied from David’s excellent pistehors.com website.

‘A 4×4 has been hit by an avalanche on the Col d’Iseran close to the orientation table (2350m, north slope) above the ski resort of Val d’Isere. A 22 year old man has been killed in the accident a 44 year old, who was apparently standing next to the vehicle, was seriously injured. It appears the vehicle had stopped due to the depth of snow on the road. The accident occurred at between 08h00 and 09h00. The col d’Iseran is closed to traffic for the winter, however the men were working on the construction of a mountain restaurant at the Col.’

Apparently it has warmed up about10C over the past 24-hours, which greatly increased the weight of the snowpack and lead to this avalanche.

Stay tuned for better news in the near future!

11 November 2010
What a lovely day!

It’s a stunning day in Val d’Isere today! I just checked the webcams to see fresh snow with a brilliant blue sky, and it was rather enticing to say the least. I leave two-weeks today and with this wet and windy weather it makes it easy to look forward to!

Gill was out with the year-one Mums last night so I blubbed the night away watching the ‘Pride of Britain Awards’, which was incredibly moving. It’s worth a look on i-player if you missed it. Meanwhile I was wearing my new Hammers shirt and constantly checking the West Ham score on the computer. We are so in need of a win but in the last couple of games we’ve managed to score at least two, which is an improvement. Still, it’s going to be a long winter for Hammers fans!

See you all soon!

9 November 2010
Good man Richard!

Rumour has it that snow is expected for six of the next nine days. Looking at the Val d’Isere webcams there is already a decent covering and more snow now will set us up nicely for the opening on November 27th. I for one am really looking forward to it!

Speaking of setting up for the new season, Richard H has joined the gym and has been working out daily to improve his fitness. Well done Richard! I’ve been trying to get to the gym but my bad golf habit is cutting into my training time. The recent bad weather however is helping curb my golf and forcing me back indoors to exercising.

Keep those bookings coming in as it’s getting busier every day on the booking front as the enthusiasm levels are on the rise!

8 November 2010
19-days and counting!

It’s hard to believe that the season is now less than three-weeks away and I’ve just started to purchase and pack some of the things I’ll be bringing to France for the winter. With the wet weather today it makes me look forward to snow, which has always been my favourite form of precipitation and much more fun than pouring rain! I spoke with Andreas last night and he’s had another ‘skinning’ session to get himself in shape for the upcoming opening and he said the forecast looks pretty good with a little more snow and colder temperatures on the way. Bring it on!

Stay tuned for more news and daily updates once the season starts on the 27th.

3 November 2010
Sad news!

Pat Mitchell, a well-loved ‘Alpine’ regular died last week after a battle with cancer. Pat made many friends while skiing and had a tremendous love and respect of the mountains. Everyone at ‘Alpine’ would like to send our condolences to Pat’s wife Antoinette and the rest of his family. Pat will be sadly missed by all who knew him.

1 November 2010

Andreas phoned to say that he’s had his first ski of the season in Tignes a couple of days ago. He ‘skinned’ up the closed Lanches piste until he’d had enough then skied down in 5 cm’s on a perfectly groomed piste. There has been a decent amount of early snow but the dreaded Foehn wind has been blowing during the past day or two, resulting in a bit of a ‘melt-down’. It has been however, a very promising start leading up to the opening on the 27th of November.

I’m arriving on the 25th but in the meantime I’m enjoying my parents visit and the golf that Dad and I are playing. I managed to recover from three consecutive poor tee-shots on the back-nine to win the MacMillan Cancer Charity tournament on Friday. I was really chuffed and Millie was extremely proud of me. (She’d asked me to bring her back a trophy when we left in the morning but you can’t really promise too much in these circumstances) Anyway, Dad and I are taking Millie and Katie to play a few holes today and ride around in the buggy, followed by a plate of chips in the Clubhouse afterwards. I just happy that they’ve shown interest and have asked to come and watch.

I won’t mention too much about the football as the Hammers are in serious trouble although I’ve confidence that Grant will get them back on track. (I’ve been called worse than an eternal optimist)

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