Wayne's Daily Diary Archive

20 June 2007

28 February 2011
It just doesn't get any better!

Wow! Where do I start except to say that was a ‘maximum-turn’ morning of rare quality, the snow was deep and light and we didn’t have a bad turn all morning long. We knew we were in business with a great warm-up run off the Verte followed by an excellent Borsat Nord from the top. But then it just got better and better as we skied three superb rotations in 30 to 40cm’s on ‘Wayne’s Shoulder’ off the Leisse. Marvellous! By this time it was time to think about heading home but the Grande Motte cable car was threatening to open and it’s rare to be in the first cable car with stunning snow waiting, so we waited for 15-minutes and weren’t disappointed. We had good light all morning but just as we started our 85-turn pitch the sun popped out to add to the pleasure. From there we had a wonderful non-stop run off the Cairn and a funky Familial to finish. My team of Adrian (Derek’s brother who hopes Derek sees the photos tonight), Duncan, the one-and-only Jonathan, and Gideon couldn’t believe the skiing and both Jonathan and Gideon said it was their best morning ever. (We finished at 2 o’clock, which doesn’t happen very often)

Meanwhile, Andreas, Henry and Sophie went for a ski up at the Fornet and skied the Combe du Signal, Combe de Geant, Combe du 3300 and a Col Pers. Not too bad either! Chris was also up at the Fornet taking advantage of the great snow.

Gill, Millie and Katie went for a ski with Harry, who kindly took them out to lunch at the Ferme in Tignes. They watched us ski the Borsat from underneath then the girls followed me down the piste into Val Claret. The Ferme is an excellent restaurant and they enjoyed a great meal. Thanks Harry!

I’m not too sure about tomorrow’s weather, but one thing for sure is there’s some wonderful snow out there!

27 February 2011
West Ham 3 Liverpool 1!

What a day! West Ham 3 Liverpool 1. Wonderful! As for the skiing we had a fantastic morning with just enough light to take advantage of the 10 to 25cm’s of fresh winter powder. I was travelling light with John E, Gideon and birthday-boy Stephen C, who was celebrating his 65th in style. We started with the Fontaine Froide, because it was in the lee and had a light bulb above it, and it wasn’t a bad start with a bit of ‘crunch’ underfoot here and there. From there we skied the Borsat Nord from the top in good winter powder, the Combe des Lanches, off the Genepy on the Motte and then my funky Familial to finish. It was a great morning and Happy Birthday to you Stephen! (Gideon was snapping away so check Jean’s photos of the day)

Meanwhile Andreas wanted to get his feet back in the snow after having yesterday off so he invited Claire from the Blue Note and Sophie for a little ski. They skied the Fontaine Froide and Borsat with us before Sophie had to ‘skin’ over the Col de Fresse as she doesn’t have a pass for Tignes. Andreas and Claire then hiked up for the Chardonnet but Andreas didn’t like the accumulation in the couloir so they skied back down and took the Familial home.

Sports Report- I spent the afternoon at the pool with the girls before sweating through the last 20 minutes following the Hammers game on the internet. At 2-0 I was comfortable but at 2-1 I feared it was going to slip away. Cole’s goal to make it 3-1 was the cause of great celebration, which Millie and Katie don’t quite understand yet. And what a game of rugby yesterday! I watched it a Bananas with Ricky, Frank from Top Ski and a good mix of French and English, making for a great atmosphere.

We should see some more snow off-and-on over the next few days.

26 February 2011
Great tracks for Alex's last morning!

It turned out to be fairly sunny all day long, which is always welcome. From the look of the photos Chris took he must have skied the Little Borsat West, and the snow looked fantastic. Thomas was out there as well but I’ve no idea what he skied.

I had the morning off and skied with Gill, Millie, Katie, and our pal Harry, who is always great fun. The girls had a late night and Katie threw a wobbly around 11:15 so I skied her home while the others took advantage of the outstanding piste conditions. Being Saturday it was quiet and the pistes just don’t get any better than they were today.

Katie rallied after lunch so we went up to Jean Sports to kit ourselves out in cross-country equipment and we had a lovely afternoon up in the Manchet Valley. It’s great fun and exercise if you want to give it a go, and Jean Sports has all the gear, even for small children.

Hopefully we’ll get some snow tonight as after a week of people tracking it out, some 100 kph winds followed by some heat, there isn’t too much left.

Sports Report- It’s a big weekend in the Premiership, as well as the 6-Nations Tournament, and I’m looking forward to England v France tonight.

25 February 2011
A lovely Col des Fours!

It was back to clear blue skies this morning and everyone made the best of it. Andreas and Thomas headed up to the Col des Fours and had an excellent ski. Thomas had himself organised to be the first one up but had someone show up late, then their bindings broke, and poor Thomas just watched as several groups passed him. Bummer but still he had a great ski and really enjoyed it. (Andreas has some footage up on his Facebook page)

Meanwhile Chris was heading up to the Fornet to ski the Glacier Pers but the Glacier was closed due to 100kph winds. (Where did they come from?) Anyway he back-tracked with his team and they skied Mont Roup, and had a pretty good ski. (Gideon was there so there should be some shots up on Jean’s link)

I had a lovely French family for an initiation off-piste morning. They were handicapped as they showed up on slalom skis but we had a cracking good ski anyway. My plan was for the scenic tour around the Fornet with classics such as the Pays Desert and Col Pers but like Chris, the wind put an end to Plan A. So we skied the Grand Vallon to the valley floor then returned to Bellevarde where we skied some nice powder off the Verte, in the Lower Borsat and off the Genepy on the Motte. We then skied the Familial to finish off Pierre, Olivia, Emar, and Elena’s morning. (I’m sure there are a couple of spelling mistakes there!)

Nana, Viv, Wils and Rosie left after a good ski with Gill this morning, which is bad timing as Millie and Katie now have two weeks off school. They had a great Monday-through-Friday holiday and we look forward to Nana and Rosie’s return later in the season.

We should have a sunny start to the day tomorrow followed by 15cm’s of snow over the next day or two. (Gideon’s forecast)

24 February 2011
A potentially tough morning turns into a great outing!

For a day that looked totally uninspiring at 8AM it turned out to be a brilliant morning. Very little fresh snow had fallen overnight and with wind and flat light our options were fairly limited. Chris joked that it was sunny above 3500 metres so I headed towards the Motte via a good warm-up off the Verte and a lovely Lower Borsat and sure enough the light was decent all morning long. Thanks Chris! The wind had blown in a nice cushion off snow and everything had improved, especially the slopes in the lee of the northerly wind. We skied off the edge of the Genepy and onto my little shoulder, which has been poor all season long until today, and we had a cracking good ski. It was slightly compacted up high and became easier towards the bottom, so we cut a traverse back to the Leisse Chair and skied it again. (Henry and Chris were in the neighbourhood and we all skied two rotations.) Just when we were about to ski off the Genepy for a short ‘skin’ under the Borsat West, Belinda (who skied beautifully) dropped her pole under the Leisse Chair, which opened up some new skiing. Chris’ team assisted us as we worked our way down through the rock passages to her pole and we had some good skiing en-route. From there we skied some excellent snow off the Genepy followed by a good but tricky Familial to finish. Meanwhile Andreas’ team had some lovely skiing in the Lower Borsat, Chardonnet, Sache and Familial.

I thought for a potentially difficult day all the boys showed their teams a cracking good morning, which was appreciated by all aboard. Well done Chris, Henry and Andreas. (Thomas was off this morning) Adam and Paul’s children Tom, Aimee and Harrison skied really well this afternoon and we skied a nice mix off powder off the Verte and Lower Borsat, Millie’s ‘funk’ run, the half-pipe and some jolly good piste carving. Bravo kids!

There is some serious noise in the background as Nana, Gill, Viv, Wils, Rosie, Millie and Katie are playing ‘Stick up and Shout!’, which seems to be a wonderful wind-up before bed. Sorry Gideon!

A sunnier day is forecast for tomorrow.

Nice photo Jean!

23 February 2011
Back on the menu!

Wow! What a morning! My original plan was to ski Mont Roup but when we tested the snow off the Verte it was so nice I thought we should just ski and go for a maximum-turn morning instead. So, we cut into the Borsat Nord from fairly high up but found the snow just tricky enough to start to have second thoughts. Even though the snow lower down was excellent I decided to back-track and go back to plan ‘A’. Meanwhile Chris was cutting the traverse across to Mont Roup, which took some work but was well worth it as it accessed five or six good pitches down to where we put our skins on. Thanks Chris! Chris also cut the track up so even though we started a ways behind we caught them up by the time they were all ready to ski. Thanks again JC!

The last time I skied Mont Roup was December 29th when it was fabulous, but since then it’s been tracked out, taken wind, taken heat, and really hasn’t been worth skiing. But with the fresh snow over the past week or so it’s come around again, and yesterday afternoon and evening’s top-up helped as well leaving us with excellent conditions and not a track in sight. The snow was sparkling in the sun, the clarity of the sky was stunning, there was only Chris’ team and mine in sight, and the overall ambience was wonderful. Both teams laid prefect tracks and it’s great to have Mont Roup back as a possibility as we’ve spent most of the winter up at the Fornet and a change of scenery is really appreciated. Chris had Simon and Sarah for their first ski with ‘Alpine’ as well as their first-ever ‘skin’ and they had a terrific time. (Unfortunately Gideon’s camera’s battery died so I’m not too sure if anyone will be sending Jean photos today)

Andreas had a private with some a Viking couple, I’m not too sure what Thomas was up to and Henry radioed in during the afternoon as he was returning from a good few days away touring with his ICE group.

I had a cracking afternoon with Viv, Wils, Rosie and my darling Millie as we skied some nice powder off the Verte and lower Borsat Nord before finishing with some good hard piste skiing.

We’d had a great pizza at Paulo’s for lunch and a really good meal at the Lodge last night, both recommendations for Derek. Thanks Derek! The girls are dining at Billabong (Quicksilver) tonight with their cousins Wils and Rosie while the rest of us go for a drink at the Taverne d’Alsace. The girls are really looking forward to a ‘no adults allowed’ outing in town.

It looks like we’ll get some more snow tomorrow and we could be in for another day of flattish light.

22 February 2011
Happy 50th Peter!

Last evening around 6PM the sky was clear and the light was absolutely beautiful, and I was sure we’d have a sunny day today. The morning started off fairly clear but it clouded over rather quickly and Chris, who was heading to the Col des Fours, changed his mind and skied the Glacier Pers instead. Well done Chris! Meanwhile Andreas was skiing with the Campbell family celebrating Peter’s 50th birthday. Happy Birthday Peter! They started with a Lower Borsat, which was excellent, then had a nice run off the Cairn (Grande Motte) before hiking en-famille into the Chardonnet. After the Chardonnet they drank a bottle of champagne and had a picnic. Nice one and well done clan Campbell!

I had a wonderful day as well as my team started with a good warm-up off the Verte, then we skied the Lower Borsat, followed by a terrific Chardonnet, an equally good Sache, and a cracking good Familial to finish. (We’ll see what Gideon chooses to send to Jean later on) Fortunately what little sun we had seemed to follow us around and we had good light and great ambience all morning long.

This afternoon I went out with Gill’s sister Viv and my niece and nephew Rosie and Wils, as well as Gideon and we did a little powder skiing off the Verte before doing some good hard skiing on the lower slopes at La Daille. I was especially pleased with Rosie who was right behind me for some good, hard, short turns in the steep. Bravo Rosie! Gill’s mum Liz is taking us all out to dinner tonight so I’d better get ready.

Strong winds of 60 to 90 kph are forecast for tomorrow morning, which sucks. We haven’t had much snow this winter but we haven’t had much wind either so hopefully it won’t do to much damage to lovely snow we’ve just received. Fingers crossed!

Sports Report- Nice win for the Hammers last night. But I’d love to be able to trade some of these Cup wins in for a few Premiership points!

21 February 2011
An outstanding morning at the Fornet!

It wasn’t as sunny as expected but we had enough light to make the most of the superb snow conditions this morning. We all headed to the Fornet, where we seem to have spent most of the season, and with good reason. I skied with Greg, a Canadian from Toronto working in Geneva, on a private and he had a wonderful introduction to ‘Alpine’ and Val d’Isere. We (along with Gill) rode the first poma up the Signal and opened up the Combe du Signal in excellent conditions, then headed up to the Glacier, where we opened up the Combe du 3300, again in great snow. From there we skied the Pays Desert and finished off with the Col Pers. What a first morning!

Chris, Andreas, and TJ were also in the neighbourhood taking advantage of the brilliant conditions. Andreas had Tim along for his first ski with us and Chrissy was fantastic skiing the Combe du Signal, TJ skied with Erik, his son Fergus and Ailsa, and Chris’ team features on the photos of the day as Gideon snapped the morning away. Thomas skied on-piste with some Thai children and had a great time ripping it up.

I skied off-piste this afternoon again with Adam and Paul (their children were off at ski school) and we spent most of our time in a white-out. We started with the Mattis trees back to the piste, then the Combe du Signal, but fortunately it cleared enough for us to ski a comfortable Combe du 3300 to finish. Paul is a proper skier skiing on an ancient pair of PR8 Salomon Force 9’s, and believe me they do look skinny! It’s hard to believe we used to ski on such skis as they look almost ridiculous. Anyway, bravo Paul!

The avalanche risk was 3/5 today but from what we skied it seemed pretty stable and no one felt uncomfortable at any time. I’m sure that somewhere in the resort there was some wind-loading and dodgy places where one could find trouble, but today went well. Tomorrow’s another day however and after today’s ‘tracking’, we’ll need to be on our toes if we change sectors and ski somewhere where we haven’t been for awhile.

Gill’s mum Liz, sister Viv and Wils and Rosie arrived for a few days skiing. Because of the holidays Jean Sport had rented out most of their equipment, and Didier pulled two pairs of brand new skis out of the shop front and mounted them up with bindings for them. Absolute class Didier, merci beaucoup! We sometimes forget how lucky we are to be associated with Jean Sport and they deserve all of our support!

I’d better stop now as I seem to be rabbiting on, I’m still in my ski gear, and the sun looks like it will shine tomorrow.

PS We’ll miss TJ as he leaves tomorrow. It’s been great having him here for the past 5-weeks! And Erik showed his support of TJ today by bringing out his old pair of X-Mountains. Respect! (I think that’s fairly hip lingo with the younger generation)

20 February 2011
Back in business!

We’ve a fresh canvas again as it snowed much more overnight than forecast and it continued to snow all day long, especially during the afternoon. I had two no-shows this morning so Chrissy skied with Andreas along with Mike and the Campbell’s and I went home to take Gill and the girls for a little powder ski. Andreas and TJ (with daughter Ailsa) headed up to the Pissaillas Glacier at the Fornet and enjoyed an excellent morning in about 15cm’s of fresh snow. Andreas was happy to get his skis off-piste again after spending the past week piste skiing (and dining in the finest mountain restaurants) and it was lovely for him to start again with some soft snow. Ailsa is having a wonderful time but unfortunately she and TJ return to Scotland Tuesday morning, just when she’s starting to get the hang of it!

The girls had a great time on the terrace this afternoon while I skied with Adam Farrer, who I haven’t skied with for quite a few years now. We had a good off-piste intro with his 11-yeaar-old son Tom, and Paul with his 14-year-old daughter Aimee and 11-year-old son Harrison. The easy off-piste was certainly more agreeable than the bumped up pistes and the kids skied really well.

Gideon had the morning off so I took a few photos of the girls and have sent them along to Jean.

Unfortunately the wind picked up significantly this afternoon but hopefully it won’t blow all night. With the rotten base underneath we’ll need to be careful with the fresh snow and we don’t need the wind loading the lee-slopes and creating plaques. Stay tuned!

PS Andreas tested the ABS Air-bag remote control system this morning, which allows you to deploy all the air-bags in the group. There have been many cases where people have not pulled the handle for whatever reason, such has not having time, forgetting or just missing. ABS will be perfecting this system in the next few years.

19 February 2011
I couldn't believe it!

The ridiculously beautiful weather continued today and we all profited with another excellent morning. I took my team for a ‘double skin’ of about ten-minutes each way-out into the Pays Desert, and we had some lovely snow to leave our tracks in. We didn’t arrive back to the poma until noon so we finished off with a good Grand Vallon. You forget what a big ski it is from the top of the Signal to the valley floor and it looks a lot steeper with soufflé than it does with powder.

Meanwhile, Chris ‘skinned’ up towards the Gros Caval with his team, which included Sandy on her first-ever ‘skin’ and ski with Alpine. I’m sure they had great skiing and she’ll have been impressed with the scenery and ambience. Andreas skied steep slopes starting with the Borsat West, followed by Couloir #3 off the Balme, and then a couloir in the Chardonnet. TJ took Ailsa out for an introductory ‘skin’ towards the Borsat West and Gill and the girls skied with Laura, Kiera, and Anna.

Anna came over for a sleep-over last night and after watching Monsters, INC and staying up too late, Millie and Katie thought it would be clever to steal some of mummy’s chewing gum, work it into a nice gummy ball, and then stick it in their hair. They screamed and cried like banshees when the scissors came out and I don’t think any of them will try that stunt again. (I can’t believe someone who had just scored 20/20 on her French verbs test could turn around and do something so idiotic the next day) Anyway, there’s never a dull moment around here!

There’s a rumour of a change of weather with a few flakes over the next few days so lets hope that if we get flat-light we also get enough snow to make a difference, as these sunny days have been very enjoyable.

PS Good work with the photos Gideon and thanks for putting them up Jean!

18 February 2011
A wonderful Glacier Pers!

We had another lovely morning with great snow and beautiful sunshine, which isn’t too hard to take. Chris and I went back to the Fornet and ‘skinned’ to the Glacier Pers where the light and ambience were wonderful. With the sun being that little bit higher in the sky it was much brighter than even a week ago, even up high in the shade. Both teams left great tracks and I’m looking forward to Gideon’s photos. (Thanks Jean!)

TJ took his group of Vikings up to the Col des Fours and they loved it. The top half of the mountain was excellent but the lower half was a little trickier as we had some strong wind yesterday afternoon. (It was the same in the Glacier Pers, brilliant up top and slightly ‘educational’ towards the bottom) Thomas finished his week with Gregor and Heather while Andreas and Tansy skied their last day with their Thai clients. TJ’s daughter Ailsa skied with Gill and Laura this morning and TJ has her kitted out for an introductory tour tomorrow.

It clouded over again this afternoon but hopefully we’ll have another sunny day tomorrow before a change arrives Sunday night.

17 February 2011
Maximum turns with very little walking!

The sun returned again this morning and after a few extra centimetres of snow last night we savoured a superb morning up at the Fornet. It was wonderful to be able to lay ‘Alpine’ tracks again and our first set in the Pays Desert were pretty impressive as Thomas with Gregor and Heather, Chris’ and my team all laid their tracks side-by side. Eighteen tracks Alpine-style are very difficult to miss but it didn’t stop the rest of the mountain being trashed by very few skiers. It was a sad sight as we looked up and watched the fresh snow disappear before our eyes with Derek yelling, “Take their passes away!

My team skied the Pays Desert twice with three little ‘skins’ to access the best slopes and it was great skiing all morning long. After the first run Chris went over the Col Pers while Thomas headed down to ski the Grand Vallon. TJ skied the Glacier Pers again (there’s a nice accumulation back there but don’t tell anyone), and Henry ‘skinned’ to the Col des Fours with Tasha and Philip. (He’ll be posting some photos and video on his site this evening and Gideon was snapping away and will be sending his photos to Jean.) Andreas and Tansy are still working together with their Thai family and sampling some wonderful food in the best mountain restaurants. Bon appetit!

It clouded over this afternoon and the Foehn wind picked up considerably. Hopefully the wind won’t damage the snow and fingers crossed the sun shines again tomorrow as there is no snow in the immediate forecast.

PS I just found out that Mille scored 20/20 on a French test today on verbs in the present tense complete with spelling. Bravo Millie! Katie on the other hand, snuck off at break-time with her pal Anna and they slid down four times on their backsides on the steep little hill leading up to the school. Naughty girls!

PPS Great photos Gideon!

16 February 2011
Not as much fresh snow as expected!

We all headed up to the Fornet expecting at least 10 to 15cm’s of snow but with the exception of a few pockets here and there, very little snow fell. Chris and I went over the Col Pers directly and profited from being the first ones in with some good snow down to the Grand Torsai. Once down we bussed around to Bellevarde and skied the Borsat Nord and Familial to finish.

Meanwhile Thomas and Henry also went over the Col and TJ did a Glacier Pers. Andreas is still on piste and TJ’s daughter Ailsa skied with Laura and her cousin Emily.

I went down to Bellentre for Andy Mc’s Memorial Drinks and saw some faces I haven’t seen for a while, and it was lovely to see Andy and David’s parents Bob and Sheila, who I haven’t seen for ten years or so. Anyway, it was an emotional afternoon with David giving a great speech. Andy was quite a character and always brought a smile to people’s faces.

Gideon took some photos today that Jean has posted.

It looks as if we’ll be back in the sunshine again tomorrow and hopefully we’ll be able to sniff out some good strips of fresh snow!

15 February 2011
Flat-light but snow is on the way!

For the first time in ages it was back to flat-light and in exposed areas, a little wind. By this morning very little fresh snow had fallen so it was a matter of skiing souffle on the smoothest slopes possible, which isn’t that easy because after 6-weeks of sunshine there are plenty of bumps about. Anyway, we had a good hard ski on the Borsat Nord, Genepy piste (Grande Motte was closed due to wind), Familial, Spatule, Borsat Nord again, and another Familial to finish.

TJ had a good ‘skin’ on the Pramecou, Thomas skied the Borsat Nord and the Familial amongst others with Heather and Gregor, Chris skied similar runs as well while Andreas was on piste.

Doctor Laura kindly drove down the valley today to pick up Chrissy and TJ’s daughter Ailsa, both of whom will be here for a week. I’m looking forward to seeing Ailsa as I haven’t seen her for 4-years or so and needless to say TJ can hardly wait to spend some time and ski with her. Thanks Laura! Andreas’ Dad is also here for a visit and apparently he’s a brilliant cook, which is just what Andreas needs after big lunches at La Fruitiere.

It snowed lightly on-and-off today day and by morning we should have a decent accumulation, especially up towards the Fornet. Stay tune for some powder news tomorrow!

Sad News- David McCallum’s brother Andy died a few days ago and there will be a memorial drink’s session for him down the valley tomorrow afternoon. Andy was a wonderful bloke and an incredible character, and he will be sadly missed by all who knew him. His sense of humour was second to none and he lived life to the full, each and every day. Rest in peace Andy.

14 February 2011
Fingers crossed for some signifcant snow!

The morning started off as if it was going to cloud over, starting from the Fornet end of the resort, so I headed towards Tignes and the sunshine. We had an excellent morning and covered a lot of ground starting with the half-pipe, which adults find really good fun although it’s designed for children. From there we climbed up to ski the souffle in the Face Nord du Borsat where the steep slope is wonderfully chalky, which gives a nice grip and it’s pretty smooth as well. We then skied lovely piste at a good pace en-route to ‘skinning’ into the Sachette to ski the steep couloir, which was atmospheric with good snow. Then we sniffed out 30-turns of deep goblet on an east-north-east facing slope between the Glattier and the Rhododendron piste, which went down a treat and we finished the morning off with the Familial. (We had a cracking ski and it was a jolly good result if I say so myself!)

Chris was Tignes-way as well while Thomas skied with Derek’s children, Gregor and Heather, up at the Fornet where he took them over the Col Pers and then into the Grand Vallon. Nice one Thomas! We were a little lucky as well because it cleared up when it was forecast to cloud over so Thomas ended up with lovely sunshine towards the end of the morning and we stayed in the sun right to the end. TJ had an initiation session, Andreas is on piste, and Henry was doing one of his HAT courses.

Jean Marc and Olivier are reporting some great touring in the Pyrenees where they’ve had some excellent powder over the past two weeks. Well done boys! They are starting a blog on their touring page so do have a look for it.

I had a nice afternoon up at the Manchet watching Millie’s cross-country skiing. They played tag and had some relay-races accompanied by lots of screaming and shouting.

The weather is forecast to change with some snow predicted over the next few days but who knows? After six weeks of stunning sunshine it’s hard to imagine wind and flat-light but we’ll welcome it for a couple of days if it brings snow and we’ve a fresh canvas to work with. Stay tuned!

13 February 2011
A good hard ski with the girls!

It’s been great having two days off in a row, and especially over the weekend when I could ski with the girls. We had another good ski today starting with the Face du Bellevarde, followed by the Diebold, the Little Borsat Nord, the Familial, the Diebold, the Verte into the half-pipe, the snow-park, and another Familial to finish. Then Laura came to lunch with us at Millie’s favourite restaurant, the Billabong (Quicksilver), which I must say was fantastic for good fun ambience and a cracking cheeseburger and frites. It’s perfect for those of you with children as the service was quick and friendly, the food was yummy, plus it was fun and jolly good value. (65 euros for five of us)

Meanwhile, Chris was off-piste with Nick and Anne while Andreas and Tansy were working together with their Thai clients.

It was another stunning day after a cloudy night but the forecast varies between 15 and 30cm’s of snow on Tuesday. Fingers crossed!

PS We just finished off a brilliant weekend with two-hours in the pool. Just what a guy needs!

12 February 2011
What a fight back!

I enjoyed a rare morning off and had a fantastic ski with the girls and Doctor Laura. We covered a huge amount of ground in 2-and-a-half hours and the girls are getting better and better with every outing. Little Katie, who is as light as a feather and not yet five-and-a-half has a lovely position on her skis and amazing endurance. Millie is really pretty fast now and works her skis beautifully and the two of them are great fun to ski with. (Doctor Laura thinks I do too many turns however!) And what’s even rarer is that I’ve tomorrow morning off as well so we’ll all go out and do it again.

Chris was the only one working this morning as it’s incredibly quiet this weekend and he and Tilly had a good ski in the Borsat, Sachette and Familial. I had a lovely birthday ski with Pat Woo this afternoon while Katie and Millie were at India’s 4th birthday party. They had a great time as India’s Mum is a bit of a party girl! Speaking of birthday’s, I forgot to mention Gill’s Mum Liz’s birthday on the 9th. So Happy belated Birthday to Liz and Happy Birthday Pat and India.

Sports Report- I’d written the Hammers off at half-time when they were losing 3-0, but they’ve battled back to 3-3 with about five minutes left. Come on boys! Full-time whistle blows and what a point! Bummer about Birmingham’s late winner though.

PS Jean is putting up a nice photo-of-the-day from around his home in Toulouse.

11 February 2011
Great story Kit!

It was another gorgeous day with blue skies and slightly cooler temperatures, but not cool enough to stop Gill and I having lunch again on our terrace. As for the skiing I headed to Tignes to show Neil and Alison some different scenery from the Fornet and we had a great ski for the most part on steep, chalky slopes, but we did manage a few turns in frisset as well. We started with the Face Nord du Borsat, which I must say is wonderful. It’s steep, chalky, and considering how long we’ve gone without snow, it’s pretty smooth as well. After skiing some great piste down into Val Claret we bussed around to the Palafour and headed up to the Sachette. The traverse looked dreadful so we took a lower route and then ’skinned’ up to the little Col, which turned out to be a good option. We had a few soft-snow turns on the first pitch then skied some good smooth souffle in the gulley and then for the rest of the way down. We cut out early to avoid the mess at the bottom and finished with a good Familial.

Meanwhile Andreas was skiing couloirs and steep slopes with Lou and Jamie. They skied the Borsat Nord, Mickey’s Ears and I’m not too sure what else. Chris and TJ headed towards the Fornet and ’skinned’ to the Glacier Pers, which Chris reports to be on it’s last legs as finding untracked strips is getting difficult. Bummer as it’s been good to us during this dry spell!

Chris was complaining about the number of people falling in the streets, which are criminally icy and the Commune really should do something about it. If you’re arriving in town do pay attention and concentrate on each step you take! While Chris was at it he was also fuming about the amount of collisions on the piste, which are empty at the moment. He had one client taken out twice this week and she ended up with a fracture of the clavicle. And to finish Chris also had Kit fall while getting out of the bus at the Fornet as it parked on the iciest spot imaginable. Chris asked the driver why he couldn’t have parked further up or a little further down and asked why they don’t throw some gravel about. Needless to say he wasn’t very popular with the driver but I do just love it when Chris is on a roll!

Speaking of Kit, he told me a fantastic story yesterday about his father. Kit’s dad, at 39-years-of-age, was Captain of the English Ice Hockey Team that won the Gold Medal at the 1936 Winter Olympics, and was presented his medal by none other than Adolph Hitler. Wow!

Tim H has just finished a great week, his first in three years since the birth of his son Robert. Tim’s a proud pappy as Robert has been out on skis and absolutely loved it. Bravo Robert and thanks for coming Tim!

I’ve tomorrow off and have a big ski planned with Gill and the girls in the morning, followed by a birthday-ski with Pat Woo in the afternoon. And the sun should still be shining!

PS I’ve just been into town and someone from the Commune has been throwing some gravel about. Yahoo! (But there are still plenty of un-gravelled areas)

10 February 2011
Some lovely chalky souffle!

As the wonderful beach weather continues I decided to head towards the Motte for a change of pace and scenery, and we had a pretty good ski. We started with the North Face of the Borsat from the top and it was excellent with surprisingly smooth chalky snow. From there we headed up the Motte cable-car and had some more good souffle on the Leisse before ‘skinning’ 25-minutes to the Little Borsat West, where the first two pitches were good before running into under lying old tracks at the bottom. (I can’t complain too much as the old tracks are Alpine tracks from days gone by). We finished off with a steep pitch leading into the Familial to top off a jolly good ski.

Meanwhile, TJ skied the Glacier Pers with an intro-to-touring group and I’m sure they had a great trip and Chris finished a really good week with Tejina.

During my action packed day yesterday, I forgot to mention Jean’s near miss. He just avoided being taken out by a helmeted German (quite a solid looking one at that) who was skiing too quickly down the bottom of the Grand Torsai. It was Jean’s last run for three weeks and if you remember, Jean dislocated his shoulder last season on the last run before his mid-winter break, when he was two hundred metres from the piste. Needless to say Jean was all smiles at the bottom!

Gill had a good piste bash with Laura this morning before we all went up with Mel to watch Katie’s cross-country skiing. It’s fantastic watching the children enjoying themselves and the Club des Sports have it very well organised and make it really fun and interesting for them.

Rumour has it we may see a few flakes next Monday and Tuesday, but we’ll wait and see.

PS. I sent Jean a couple of photos from today. Merci Jean!

9 February 2011
Close, but the 'splat du jour' goes to Katie!

Wow! What an action packed day that was! My morning started with John E’s ‘whipper’ while entering the Col Pers and him going for a huge slide on the souffle. It’s not the recommended way in for anyone, let alone a 73-year-old gentleman. Anyway, John dusted himself off and we joked about hoping that he‘d win the ‘splat du jour‘ as we wouldn‘t want anyone topping his act. We then ‘skinned’ to the Glacier Pers, which came up trumps again and we found good snow top-to-bottom. Alison, who has been boarding for the past 16-years and was on just her seventh day on skis since, made fantastic progress and picked up the coveted ‘skier of the morning’ award. Bravo Alison. Andreas and Chris also skied the Glacier Pers today and a great outing was had by all with good snow and wonderful ambience and scenery. (It’s Alison and Neil’s first time to Val d’Isere so they very much appreciated the trip)

This afternoon Doctor Laura and Gideon accompanied Gill, Millie, Katie and I for an afternoon ski at La Daille. We opened up with the half-pipe en-route to a good Familial Sud, then came back up for what Millie calls her ‘funk’ run, which consists of gullies and little jumps. After a couple of runs and just when I was sure things were under control we were in for a surprise. Katie’s normal approach to jumping is slow and controlled, where she barely makes it over the lip of the jumps, but imagine my shock as I watched Katie hit the jump at three times the recommended speed and she flew over the landing zone and disappeared over the edge onto a steep slope where she slid for a good 50 metres. (Good thing Mum had gone home early) I got underneath her as quickly as possible but didn’t need to intervene as she stopped just before arriving on the Diebold. She had a little cry but responded very quickly to a jelly-bean and then on we skied. Bravo Katie!

So the ‘splat du jour’ award today was contested between a 73 and a 5-year-old. Mama mia, what a day!

8 February 2011
The tropical weather continues!

We all returned to the Fornet again this morning as the beautiful weather continues. Andreas, TJ and I all took our groups out wide in the Pays Desert, where we continue to find soft snow in which to leave our tracks. My team had two new ‘Alpine’ skiers, Neil and Alison, both of whom did really well and thoroughly enjoyed themselves. It’s their first time to Val d’Isere and the Pays Desert scenery never fails to impress. After the Pays Desert TJ dove over the Col while my team skied the Grand Vallon, which is pisted by ski and a jolly good ski down to the valley floor.

(Chris is on-piste at the moment and Thomas started at the Fornet and finished in the Familial with his private group.)

Tomorrow is Jean’s last day for three-weeks when he takes his mid-season break, so after tomorrow there will be an absence of his daily photos to go along with the diary. Your efforts are much appreciated Jean and many people will be missing their ‘fix’ in the office over the next few weeks.

Stay tuned!

7 February 2011
Another stunning day on the weather front!

The sun continues to beat down, and in the afternoon Gill and I can have lunch in t-shirts on our terrace. You’d need to go to Hawaii to get more sunshine than we’ve had here over the past 4-weeks or more and there is no snow forecast for at least another week. In the meantime the pistes are fantastic and we continue to make the best of what’s on offer, and everyone seems genuinely happy with their skiing.

I took my team for an excellent Glacier Pers this morning, and we left great tracks top-to-bottom. Tim H is back after a three-year break (new baby boy has kept him busy) and we had Peter B along this morning with Jean, who captured the morning nicely with his photos.

Andreas’s team skied a very good Pays Desert followed by a scenic Vallonnet, and Jeremy and Jerry will be back sometime in March. (They didn’t need to wait over two-hours yesterday, it turned out to be more like an hour, which was spent quenching their thirsts.) TJ skied the Col du Montet with Michael C and Sophie but I haven’t heard how they got on, and both Chris and Thomas were also skiing this morning but I haven’t had any news from them either.

Gill had a good piste cruise with Laura and Kiera this morning while testing her newly injected boots, which we hope are going to work out nicely. This afternoon Gill and I walked up the Manchet Valley to watch Millie’s class cross-country ski. All in all, it was another very pleasant day!

6 February 2011
Come on you Steelers!

It’s hardly worth mentioning the weather as the weather continues to be bright and sunny, and except for the lack of snow, perfect! I returned to the Fornet after my exploratory mission in Tignes yesterday with Penny and Jean and we had a relaxing ski in very good snow in the Pays Desert. We did three short ‘skins’ and had soft snow top-to-bottom.

Meanwhile Andreas went to Bonneval with Jeremy, Jerry, John D, and Lou and they had a great day out. Unfortunately they had to wait a couple of hours for their helicopter back as their pilot was busy rescuing 11 people from the gorge. (It’s that time of year again!)

Thomas skied some steep slopes in Tignes and TJ had a piste ski with some French wine makers from Bordeaux. Sounds promising!

Gill skied with Katie this afternoon while I took Millie to the ice rink where she met up with Anna. They had a great time together, which relieved me of my duties on the ice, thank goodness! We then met up at John and Margaret’s for tea and homemade treats. Thanks Margaret. (And thanks for a great meal last night Laura, bummer Mel ate Millie’s glove for dessert!)

Sports Report- After a brilliant mid-week victory the Hammers weekend was a total nightmare. First off, Wigan won, then the real kick in the goolies was Wolves beating Man United, and then to top it off West Ham lost 1-0 at home to Birmingham. Woe is me! I’ll feel better tomorrow however if the Steelers win the Super Bowl tonight!

5 February 2011
A brighter afternoon!

There was a high thin cloud, which partially blocked out the sun this morning and after days of beautiful sunshine it wasn’t very welcome. I decided on a change of scenery after what seems to be weeks on end at the Fornet so I headed towards the Motte on a scouting mission. We skied piste en-route to Tignes followed by some souffle off the cable-car before a 10-minute ‘skin’ to the little Borsat West, where we had some good soft snow. After returning to Val via piste we had a little play in the Jardin de Borsat to finish. (Penny was on great form after returning from a terrific week in Canada and Jean is back with his photos)

Meanwhile TJ and Catherine ‘skinned’ for two-and-a-half hours towards the Sana and had good skiing while Andreas’ team of Jeremy, Jerry and Lou had a nice morning ‘skinning’ to the Col des Fours.

I had a superb afternoon skiing with Millie, Katie, and Doctor Laura. The annoying cloud cover had cleared off during lunch and I was surprised by the girls progress as I haven’t skied with them for about ten days. (Wouldn’t it be nice to make major progress every ten-days!)

It’s a big weekend in sport as the Premiership title and relegation battles rage on, the Six Nations is under way, and my Pittsburgh Steelers are trying for their seventh Super Bowl on Sunday night. Come on West Ham and you Steelers!

4 February 2011
Well done Catherine, John and Jeremy!

Everyone headed back to the Fornet again this morning for another day in the sunshine. My team spent the entire morning in the Pays Desert where we used our ‘skins’ twice and hiked out at the bottom. We had pretty good snow most of the way and John E and Catherine K shared the ‘skier of the morning’ award as they both performed brilliantly! (Jean R had the morning off so there aren’t any ski shots from today)

David’s son Jeremy and his great friend Jerry skied this morning with Andreas and they started in the Combe du Signal before heading upstairs and over the Col to the Glacier Pers. They had an excellent morning and finished off with lunch at the Edelweiss. Nice one boys and well done Jeremy! (Olav and Thomas finished a great week today and we look forward to seeing them again next season.)

Meanwhile, Thomas and Chris took their teams for a ski down to the Refuge de Prariond before ‘skinning’ back out to the Grand Torsai and TJ started at the Fornet with Bunny’s team before finishing with the Tour du Charvet.

The forecast is for continuing sunshine until at least next Thursday so I wish a few more people would make an effort in keeping their tracks a bit closer. There is still some nice snow about but it makes me mad watching what’s left being wasted. Stay tuned!

3 February 2011
Way to go West Ham!

I was always going to have a great day after the Hammers 3-1 win away at Blackpool last night and I had a little extra bounce in my step this morning. The sun was shinning again and I headed up to the Fornet with my team to ski the Glacier Pers. We had Shane and Stephen along for the first-time with ‘Alpine’ and for their first-ever ‘skin’, and they had a wonderful time and signed up for more again tomorrow. The snow on the top pitch was excellent before becoming a little bit more dense lower down, but all in all, it was jolly good top-to-bottom. It was nice to have Catherine K along, as well as Remy, Jean, Gideon, and Gill. (And as usual Jean did a great job with his photos.)

TJ was up at the Fornet as well with Bunny’s team skiing the Pays Desert before going over the Col while Chris, Tejina and Suzanne ‘skinned’ up towards the Ouille des Tretetes. (I assume that’s where Chris was sneaking off to this morning although I haven’t had a report!)

Andreas has been having a great time this week with his Norwegian team of Olav (regular Diary reader), Thomas, Eir and Joakim, and today they ‘skinned’ up to the summit of the Sana. It took them just under three-hours and they had a well-deserved rest while admiring the stunning views from the top. Skoal Vikings!

Millie and Katie are skiing with their school again in the afternoons this week and they are both getting on really well at school now. Both are speaking French in class and occasionally in public, and they’re loving the skiing, ice skating, swimming, tobogganing, and of course the social life. (Millie’s also getting into some piano next door with Gideon while Katie is threatening to sing) Good girls!

It clouded over this afternoon with thin and high white cloud and the temperatures are much warmer than a few days ago, but still no snow is in the immediate forecast.

2 February 2011
Great ambience and wonderful scenery!

After wearing out the Pays Desert it was time for a change of scenery so TJ, Andreas, Chris and I all took our groups for a walk to the Col Des Fours. As usual the views were terrific and the snow was pretty good as well. My legs felt like jelly after the climb and I skied like a bum, probably my worst performance for years but the rest of my team skied pretty well. We then did the extra 10-minute ’skin’ to the next little Col for the ambience and to avoid the bumps below the refuge. All in all it was a cracking good morning out. It was Chrissy’s last morning, well done Chrissy and it’s been great having you back!

More sun is forecast over the next few days at least. (I guess it could be a lot worse)

Sports Report- Johnny Alpine and Chris E, both Man U season ticket holders were particularly lively and in great moods this morning. I wonder way? The Hammers have a massive match away in Blackpool tonight and I hope I’m as happy in the morning as Chris and John were this morning.

1 February 2011
Another wonderful morning!

The sun returned and by this morning everyone in the resort knew where the snow was, but we headed back up to the Fornet anyway for another stunning morning. I almost turned back from the Pays Desert as there was a group of ten people in front of me, but I kept going and when the entire group dropped off early into yesterday’s tracks I couldn’t believe my luck and it was clear sailing. We continued on and up and had two excellent pitches in 50cm’s at the top before cutting out to the left for fresh snow all the way to where we ‘skinned’ up for five-minutes to access the lower slopes. (The lower slopes have much less snow, around 15 to 20) It was then decision time about going over the Col or doing another and we opted to stay put and ski the Pays Desert again. Brilliant! (My team of Jean R, Nick, Gideon, Gill, Chrissy and John E skied really well this morning but a joint ‘skier of the day’ award goes to John E and Chrissy. Bravo!) Henry was in the neighbourhood with an initiation group and I’m not too sure where Thomas was. (Great photos Jean and Gideon)

Meanwhile Chris, TJ and Andreas all headed over the Col and ‘skinned’ to the Glacier Pers. The snow isn’t as deep back-side but they had great skiing in 15 to 20cm’s (report from Chris) and wonderful ambience. They skied down all little further than the normal cut-out point and ‘skinned’ back up, while Andreas and his group of Vikings skied the Glacier Pers then ‘skinned’ back up towards the Gros Caval for some extra skiing.

Sports Report- Looks like both Liverpool and Chelsea will be happy with the last day of the transfer window, but Newcastle fans will be a little angry. It was a good window for West Ham as we picked up four or five good new players. (Unfortunately we need them)

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