Wayne's Daily Diary Archive

20 June 2007

31 March 2011
Wonderful views and great snow!

It didn’t snow overnight and instead of an overcast morning the sun was out in full force and no one was complaining. Yesterday’s warmth, especially in the afternoon made for some tough decisions this morning but we all headed up to the Fornet looking for some powder with spring exposures as a back-up. As it turned out we had a nice mix of powder snow and spring and it was another good morning with outstanding scenery.

Chris, Andreas and I had a little touch of spring before heading way out into the Pays Desert and the only exposure that worked powder-wise was dead north, or slightly east of north and as soon as we ran out of slopes in those directions we needed to play with exposures to find supporting spring snow. The landscape was stunning and really appreciated by Mark and Tony who were skiing with us for the first time.

After an excellent trip in the Pays Desert we headed over the Col for some powder up high before turning to spring and the skiing was pretty good from the Grand Torsai to the bottom as well, which is always a result!

If anyone is interested in the Val d’Isere Legends (not called that anymore), similar to Chris’, the shop is selling them at 30% off, which brings them down to under 300 Euros. For anyone not wanting to go down the ‘fat’ ski route and is wanting a solid piste ski, which is also great off-piste, these skis are a real bargain. Andrey our Russian friend and Rob (Johnny Alpine’s son) both have bought some this week and are extremely happy with them.

There was a big avalanche again today above the Glacier Express Chair on the Tete du Solaise. As far as I know one person was rescued and evacuated by helicopter. It gets tiring going on about steep slopes, especially with the history of what’s gone on here this winter, so I’m not going to bother.

It clouded over this afternoon and we may get a few flakes here and there but not enough to change conditions, and a couple of extremely warm days are forecast for tomorrow and Saturday. Watch out!

PS. I’ve just walked back from Jean Sports and it’s raining quite hard so we’ll probably get more snow than expected upstairs. Yahoo!

30 March 2011
30 centimetres on the Grande Motte!

I awoke at 6AM and looked outside to see nothing falling out of the sky, then again at 7 o’clock to a light drizzle, but by 8AM it was chucking it down with snow. (See photo from my terrace). We weren’t expecting that much snow as it had just really started to snow but we were in for a pleasant surprise.

We all headed up the Olympique to start off with some lovely off-piste on the piste and Andreas and I skied all the way down in 10 to 15cm’s of great snow and came back up via the Funival. From there we skied off the Verte, followed by Bonnevie’s drag, then a good trip in the Lower Borsat and off-piste down into Tignes. We’d heard on the radio while waiting for the Funival that there was 30cm’s in Tignes compared to 10cm’s in Val d’Isere so we headed up to the Grande Motte and straight up the cable-car to a good 30+cm’s of good powder and decent visibility. Henry arrived to join in on the fun and we all skied two cable-cars before heading for home. It was a ‘maximum-turn’ type of morning and although we skied some wonderful snow up high, we also skied some very good warmer powder at lower altitudes as it is that time of year. I must say most of us were pretty tired by the end of the morning but it was great to have some fresh snow again ,and for perhaps the first time all season Tignes received significantly more than the Fornet.

Meanwhile Chris started off with the Face du Bellevarde before working his way up to the Pays Desert and Thomas kept him company in the Fornet with his team of boarders. It was nice to have Suzanne back in action after a social week and a trip to Normandy.

I had a good afternoon at the pool as Millie and Katie invited their pal Anna along. They had a superb time but Anna managed to lose her towel. Whoops!

A couple of days ago a 25-year-old Swedish man was skiing the Face Nord on the Grande Motte when a snow-bridge collapsed and he fell 45 metres. It took the Rescue Services 4-hours to get him out but he later died of his injuries in hospital. The Face Nord is almost un-skiable these days with the Glacier rapidly melting and moving, and many of the classic routes are long gone. One needs to seriously know the terrain up there and be equipped as well to even think of skiing there, and really I wouldn’t recommend it.

We should get some more snow tonight and tomorrow followed by a sunny day on Friday.

29 March 2011
Another sunny start to the day!

The forecast was spot-on and we profited with a stunning sunny start to the day. A little more snow fell overnight and there was a decent re-freeze last night with Radio Val reporting -1C in town at 8AM, so everyone was up for a good ski this morning.

Chris and I headed towards the Motte and had a great morning skiing a mix of spring snow and powder. We skied a good warm-up off the Verte and found some good soft-snow turns on the shoulder in the Borsat, before heading upstairs via the Funicular. I skied a couple of variations around my shoulder in spring snow before heading out onto the Rosolin, which was excellent powder. From there I skied the Cairn followed by some spring back in Val d’Isere off the Borsat before finishing with a good piste cruise. After the Rosolin Chris peeled off to ‘skin’ up to the Little Borsat West and had some good skiing there as well. I had a new ‘Alpine’ skier Tim this morning, and what a nice man he is, and we were in good company as Gill and Sophie came along too.

Meanwhile both Thomas (refitting his bathroom) and Andreas (trip to Paris) were back in action after seeing to some projects and they both went up to the Fornet to ski classics such as the Pays Desert and Col Pers. Andreas was skiing with John D and his daughter Anna, as well as Stephen L and his 14-year old and 17-year-old sons Charlie and Richard. Thomas skied with Mark and Hen, both of who are new this week to ‘Alpine’ and thanks to Andy and Sue from the Auberge in Ste Foy for sending them along.

Apparently Thomas and Henry were quite surprised by the size of the slab in the bottom of the Grand Torsai (into the Belle Combe). Neither has been to the Fornet for awhile so it was quite a sight for them and although the debris has been melting down for the past week it’s still pretty impressive!

Hopefully we’ll get some snow tonight but we won’t be so lucky visibility-wise tomorrow as a grey and overcast day is forecast with light snow and the possibility of rain in the village during the afternoon. (Have no fear as anything falling out of the sky is good news at this time of year)

28 March 2011
Very little fresh snow but lovely skiing!

About five minutes after posting the blog last night it stopped snowing and instead of 20 to 30cm’s this morning we had only about ten centimetres. The good news was we had more sun than expected and profited from great visibility most of the morning with the fresh snow giving us a very comfortable feel underfoot.

Chris was back in action and he, myself and Henry all headed up to the Fornet for a change of pace as we’d spent the past 5 or 6 days in Tignes. We were all travelling light with just two clients each and I skied with a lovely Russian gentleman Andrej (excuse my Russian), from Moscow but now working and living in Brussels, along with Jean and Gill. We had an excellent morning skiing a funky variation I’ve never skied before along the cliffs above the Combe du 3300, followed by a Pays Desert out wide and a Col Pers to finish. Chris skied the same with Michael C and Kati from Hungry while Henry was in the neighbourhood as well.

Andreas took the 6AM train from Chambery and was in Paris by 9 o’clock, where he took a motorcycle taxi to the Swedish Embassy to re-new his passport. They’re off to Thailand in May and fortunately Andreas noticed his passport was running down. Anyway, he looks a new man with his beard trimmed and his hair cut.

The forecast is for a few flakes tonight and a sunny start to the day tomorrow, with more snow tomorrow night.

PS The girls are out and about town with their pals Dan and Denise while Gill and I’ve enjoyed a quiet drink at the Taverne. They’ve had an omelette and crepe for supper plus a tour of the market and should be back soon. Thanks D&D!

27 March 2011
Snow is on the way!

Morning came around rather quickly with the hour-time-change but everyone showed up on time and ready to go. We were lucky with the weather as it started off fairly clear and we had good visibility all morning before it socked-in around one and started to snow lightly by 2:30PM. The forecast looks good as at least 15cm’s are forecast but I think we’ll get more than that over the next 36-hours or so.

Everyone was off except Andreas and I, and we both had various plans at the Gourmandine before moving on to plan ‘C’, which turned out to be a pretty good ski. We warmed-up using the last of the ‘powder stash’ off the Mont Blanc piste and then skied excellent piste into Tignes en-route to the Sachette. Mark and Victoria brought their friend AJ for her first ski with us, and it was her first time ‘skinning’ as well. As the traverse into the Sachette is dreadful we’re cutting in low then ‘skinning’ up to the Col. The upper slopes were still lovely powder before turning to spring snow towards the bottom. We then ‘skinned’ for five-minutes to access some great spring snow through the meadows, which now resemble a rock garden. It was an excellent ski and good intro for AJ, and as she, Mark, and Victoria all live in Geneva, we look forward to seeing them again soon.

Dan and Denise are here playing with the girls and they witnessed three avalanches yesterday on the Face du Charvet around 12:30. The avalanche risk yesterday and the day before was 3/5 rising to 4/5 between 10 o’clock and noon, so as you can imagine the steep slopes are ready to go. Anyway, they watched a group of six skiers pass by on the road coming out of the Tour du Charvet and a couple of minutes after they had passed a big slab popped out from under the rocks and slid over the road. A few minutes after that another big group came around the corner totally oblivious to what had just happened moment before. They then saw another avalanche release from the top where you enter the Face, and it came all the way down to the valley floor. Great viewing! (They were safely walking on the pedestrian path in case you think they were skiing weird places at the wrong time.) Gill then saw skiers on the Face du Charvet today at 12.00 noon. There was a horrible accident in Switzerland yesterday where 11 people on snow-shoes triggered a slab and as far as I know 6 were killed. Check Henry’s site as he has loads of news to report from around the Alps.

Nana left this afternoon with Penny after a great three-day visit. Last night she announced to the girls a trip to Disneyworld, Florida, for them in October so they are buzzing with excitement. We’re also planning a trip to Canada this spring/summer so the girls taste for the good life continues to grow. Lucky little people! And Millie did get her helicopter ride the other day as all the children in her class sat in the helicopter then the pilot hovered off the ground and turned around. Brilliant!

At 4:40PM it’s snowing quite nicely and our fresh canvas is on the way.

PS Sports Report- I’m extremely pleased to see that Scott Parker is finally getting a chance to play for England, but please stay healthy Scott!

26 March 2011
80% powder, 20% spring!

It snowed a couple of centimetres yesterday afternoon and early evening and the fresh snow was just enough to insulate the surface from a good re-freeze. The clouds dispersed overnight and we had another beautiful morning so I decided to search for what’s left of the powder snow, and what a cracking good morning it turned out to be! We opened with some great snow off the Mont Blanc piste while waiting for the Borsat to open then we had a few good touches around the Borsat en-route to the Funicular. From the Motte we had a decent ski on the Rosolin but the under-layer was slightly touched and it wasn’t as good as I’d hoped but we left some good tracks before ‘skinning’ out for ten minutes, leading to some nice soft-snow turns heading down to the ‘Wall’. We rode the Vanoise Chair back to the top and skied some really good spring snow off my shoulder en-route to ‘skinning’ to the Little Borsat West, where the snow remains excellent. The top pitch was 35-turns of great winter snow then we ‘sniffed’ out a route I’ve never skied before towards the bottom and it turned out to be the best snow of the morning. Olivier’s 18-year-old son Sacha was along and he’s turning out to be a great skier. He skis the powder beautifully and we had a fantastic blast on the piste on the way home. Gill also skied this morning as her Mum took the girls up the Manchet Valley followed by ice-creams at the Perdrix.

Henry and Andreas were both in action and they started off towards the Aiguille Percee to ski spring snow before heading back towards the Motte at the end of the morning. Chris and Thomas have the weekend off while Suzanne is in Normandy and Thomas is working on his flat.

I had a quick one-hour ski with Millie this afternoon and she’s really flying now. She is great fun to ski with and I need to give it my all as she tucks in right behind me. Well done Millie, you’re wearing me out!

I saw Clive and Richard H at John and Margaret’s last night and they’re both on great form. Both are enjoying the wonderful condition of the pistes and the brilliant weather. Thanks J & M for a great evening!

It clouded over again this afternoon but we may not be so lucky with the sun tomorrow morning. The good news is 10 to 25cm’s of snow is forecast Sunday night and through Monday, and a fresh canvas will be more than welcome!

And Happy Birthday to Henry!

25 March 2011
Welcome back Nana!

It was another scorcher today with blue skies and unseasonable temperatures. Chris and I decided to return to Tignes and we started off with 30 excellent turns in powder off the Mont Blanc piste followed by a five-minute walk. We then skied piste into Tignes en-route to a very good but limit Cocaine Sud, followed by more lovely powder and spring in the Sachette. Fiona cut her time in half from yesterday for putting on her ‘skins’, which allowed her more time for the walk. It’s important that those who need to take their time walking get their ‘skins’ on quickly so that they don’t need to start walking at the back of the group, which is discouraging. Bravo Fiona! Hopefully I gave Jean a little more time for photos today but he hasn’t posted them yet. His brother Bernard finished his week today and it’s been fun having les Freres Ribart together.

Henry was also working and the last time I saw him he was heading off to try to find a way through the Super Santons. He was then going to stay on the Val d’Isere-side for the rest of the morning but I haven’t heard from him. Knowing Henry I’m sure he had a great morning.

Gill’s Mum Liz arrived with Penny last night so the girls are really excited to have her here visiting. Of course it means more naughty treats from Chevallot and dinner out, and they’re both developing a taste for the good things in life. Lucky little people! Today Katie’s class are having a picnic around the lac de l’ouillette with some school children from Aime, while Millie swears she’s being taken up in a helicopter during her class visit with the Pisteurs. (I hope she does get a ride as compared to just sitting in one, but we haven’t had a permission form to fill in. Mais, viva la France!)

It’s so warm that Gill, Liz and I ate lunch on the terrace in sleeveless vests and shorts. Hopefully we’ll get some clear weather tomorrow morning before the clouds and snow arrive for Sunday and Monday.

24 March 2011
A nice mix of powder and spring!

The sun was beating down again today with extremely high temperatures forecast for this time of year, and the avalanche risk was rated as 3/5 rising to 4/5 by mid-day. With that sort of risk it was a day to take it easy and get in and out quickly.

Chris, Andreas and I all headed towards the Sachette and had an excellent combination of great powder followed by some lovely spring snow. I didn’t give Jean much of a chance to take his photos today as we kept moving and we didn’t stop to re-group anywhere with a slope above, so everyone will have been too far away. Still, we’ll see what Jean comes up with!

Meanwhile Thomas ‘skinned’ to the Little Borsat West for some fantastic snow while Henry skied spring snow around the Glattier. There won’t be too many more skiers in the Glattier this season as it’s starting to turn green as the snow disappears and it’s almost nothing but grass. Andreas and I joked with Henry about there being no snow at the bottom but Henry went anyway and did admit to it being a little ‘narrow’ in places . Nice one for getting one in Henry!

I witnessed two incredible sights today. The first was one of beauty when a spotted a cross-country skier skiing down on the meadows below the Folie Douce. He was standing up as if on normal ski equipment, making perfectly round short-to-medium radius turns with the cleanest technique imaginable. Any skier in normal gear would have been proud of his wonderful precision. The second event was far from beautiful. While watching Katie’s cross-country session in the Manchet Valley this afternoon, I saw three idiots skiing the big faces of the Marmottons (l’Arselle d’en haut on the map) at 3 PM on the hottest day of the season with a risk of 4/5. Besides the risk it’s no wonder there isn’t any clean spring snow anymore with people digging holes in the snow with fat skies and boards at ridiculous times of the day. Mind boggling really!

Andreas heard that in the massive avalanche in Ste Foy a few days back a couple of skiers were taken but saved by their air-bags. I don’t know how many skiers have been saved by air-bags this season, but it’s quite a few and they have an impressive track record now over the past few years. The air-bags are expensive but I personally wouldn’t go off-piste without one.

More sun is forecast for tomorrow with a slightly cloudier day on Saturday with snow Saturday night and Sunday. Could be worse!

23 March 2011
Another excellent morning!

The wind died down and wasn’t really a factor today, although it did pick up again this afternoon. Chris and I started off the Mont Blanc piste for some good warm-up powder turns followed by a piste cruise down to the Funicular to the Motte. The plan was to ski the Rosolin but it looked as if it had taken the wind so we changed to plan ‘B’ and skied some good variations off my shoulder en route to ‘skinning’ up the Little Borsat West. There we found some excellent snow without a track in sight and we finished with some spring snow lower down followed by the Familial. (Check Jean’s photos)

Thomas was back in action today and I think he skied in Tignes, as did Andreas. Andreas skied with Alistair and Peter and their sons, both Dave, and they had a great ski mixing spring with powder on the front-side of the Palafour and in the Sache. Andreas finished with the Familial as well and there were big smiles all around at the end of the morning. Alistair and Peter skied originally with Giles and have skied many times in the past with Jean Marc, and it was lovely to see them back and introducing their boys to ‘Alpine’.

Gill and I skied with the girls this afternoon, along with Dan and Denise, and the girls are still out enjoying après-ski with D&D. Thanks you two! And thanks to Laura for entertaining us last night as well. The girls are having such a good time here this winter, enjoying not only the skiing and school, but the incredible social life as well!

I’m having internet problems again so if you e-mail and don’t get a reply, I’m not ignoring you and probably won’t have received it.

More sun is coming our way tomorrow with a chance of snow forecast for Sunday.

PS : Can’t believe it, the bus queues were so bad at La Daille this afternoon that Dan, Denise and the girls walked all the way home in their ski boots ! (Well Katie had a piggy back, good effort Denise !)

22 March 2011
Fanatastic skiing after a cold and windy start!

The wind picked up significantly yesterday afternoon and it was still blowing this morning. Andreas, Chris and I all took our teams to the Fornet to ski the Glacier Pers but when we arrived on the Col there was an enormous cloud bank over the Point Pers and it was windier than we expected and quite cold. We had second thoughts but thought it was clear behind the cloud-bank so we decided to continue on and were rewarded with great snow, sunshine, and protection from the wind. In fact we didn’t feel the wind again until coming up to the Grand Torsai and the wind was still blowing and cold.

A big plaque has popped out from the summit and splits the top-half of the glacier in two and Chris and I skied skiers-left while Andreas continued over and skied the other side. We all had wonderful skiing all the way down to where we ‘skin’ out and the Grand Torsai itself had improved with the wind smoothening out the snow and giving it a nice texture. And talk about huge plaques, a massive avalanche was kicked out a couple of days ago by some skiers above the last Combe that we ski to the bottom, and it’s full of huge blocks of snow all the way down and into the river. Wow! It was quite a sight and added to the ambience of an excellent morning.

Ste Foy has had two serious avalanches over the past few days but fortunately, like the one in the bottom of the Grand Torsai, no one was injured.

More sun and warmer temperatures are forecast for tomorrow and hopefully the wind will die down. Unfortunately it’s already damaged what was good snow.

21 March 2011
A wonderful Pays Desert!

It was another beautiful day and after a great day Tignes-way yesterday, we all headed to the Fornet this morning. Chris and I headed way out into the Pays Desert for a wonderful ski with excellent snow and fantastic scenery. We had Johann helping us today and he did a brilliant job with Ian and Fiona and they skied two very good rotations in the Pays Desert. Bravo Jo! Andreas was back in action after shooting 1-over-par yesterday (nice one) and he skied the Pays Desert, Col Pers and then finished up on Bellevarde. Gill and Suzanne were both off-piste with us again this morning as well as Jean’s brother Bernard.

There was a massive avalanche in the Grand Vallon, which came down from the summit and another impressive slide at the bottom of the Grand Torsai towards the Vallonnet. We’re not sure if the Grand Vallon was set off by the Pisteurs or not but it was absolutely huge. I had an e-mail from a Russian lady who is a relative of the person missing in the avalanche in Mont de Vallon on the 18th asking for eye-witnesses to the accident. I don’t think we can help her but you never know who’s reading this blog. Nine people have died in the French Alps in the last week and you still see people taking on big exposed slopes, and some of them late in the afternoon. What more can you say!

We had a brilliant evening last night a Doctor Laura’s and spent the evening with some old friends. Bridget Green was there along with Clare Hart, who I haven’t seen in 12-years or so, and it was lovely to see them. Clare Greener and her husband Richard were there as well as regular diners Inga, John and Margaret. Unfortunately Mike was absent as he was still in the hospital after his operation. Thanks Laura for another cracking evening!

More sun is forecast for tomorrow.

20 March 2011
Wow! It doesn't get much better!

What a treat today as we savoured wonderful snow with beautiful sunshine. Jean R returned to action after his back injury, and along with John, Margaret, Inga, Gideon and new clients Victoria and Mark (who skied brilliantly), we headed to Tignes knowing we’d be spending a lot of days at the Fornet in the near future. We started off with some nice snow off the Mont Blanc and Verte pistes then headed up to the Grande Motte for the main event. Wayne’s Shoulder was fantastic and we skied three rotations in great snow with no one else about. From there we ventured out into the Rosolin for a 110-turn pitch in creamy snow before ‘skinning’ out for 10-minutes, then we finished off with a terrific Cairn. By the time we arrived at the summit of Tommeuses we’d had enough so we skied piste to the bottom.

Meanwhile Chris was in the same neighbourhood but he went up the cable-car for some good skiing, then skied off the Genepy before bussing around to the Sache. I haven’t heard too much from him but I’m sure they had great skiing as well.

There were a couple of more avalanches today, this time on the Tignes side, but fortunately no one was seriously injured. One took place around the traverse under Mickey’s Ears, and I’m not sure if it was provoked at the top or from the traverse. Three people were taken but everyone was safely rescued.

I’ve been meaning to write something for days now about the instability we’ve experienced in the snow pack this season. It started in November when a worker was killed on the road leading up to the Col. From the first day we’ve had signs of danger followed by several serious avalanches, including mine, when people were killed. The snow pack has been dangerous all season long and we haven’t had a stable period all winter, no matter what the official risk. After my accident I’ve gone back to basics and have skied very few steep slopes and have been content with excellent skiing on gentler slopes.

Here is a list of some classic slopes I haven’t skied this season but would have normally skied at some time. Cugnai, Arcelle, Marmottons, Marmottes, Face du Charvet, Tour du Charvet, Borsat West (from the top), Petit Lavachet, Cocaine Sud, Cocaine Nord, and the big face of the Grande Balme. Apart from the Tour du Charvet, which has been rubbish most of the winter anyway, I wouldn’t trust any of these slopes until we have a seriously good ‘melt-freeze’ cycle in the spring. (I rarely ski the big couloirs or the Point Pers so these haven’t been included.) Without these slopes the resort becomes much smaller but I must say I’ve really enjoyed the skiing this season and have paid attention to Henry’s 25-degrees-or-less rule much of the time, and the clients have been extremely pleased with the skiing. Still, there are days when I ski steeper slopes for sure, but I’m very careful and not taking anything for granted, as this winter is a long way from over. I see people skiing slopes that make me cringe and if you’re a ‘do-it-yourself-off-pister’, pleased don’t be lured onto the big steep classic slopes.

On a sunnier note, it’s forecast for the next ten days, and I heard a nasty rumour it may shine for three weeks.

PS. I forgot to mention that Doctor Mike ruptured his Achilles Tendon on the piste yesterday. He’d just returned from a tour with Jean Marc and Olivier and was minding his own business when he had to avoid some skiers and hit a big snowball in the flat-light. He was operated on this morning and everyone at ‘Alpine’ wishes him a full and speedy recovery. Bummer Mike!

19 March 2011
A great morning with some help from the sun gods!

We didn’t get any sun this morning but did have a few bright patches, which seemed to appear just when we needed it. No new snow to speak of fell overnight although it has snowed off-and-on all day long. I was travelling light this morning with new-client Paul and Michael R, and we had a great morning. Chris and I warmed-up off the Verte before heading up the Borsat. The sun poked through just as we arrived on the summit so we skied an excellent variation of what Gill and I skied in the Jardin du Borsat yesterday, and it was a nice start to the morning. We then skied excellent piste down into Tignes and I headed up the Funicular to the Motte hoping to break through the clouds. (Chris missed the train and was one behind) It was a white-out up top so I headed into the Cairn and presto, it cleared and we had a cracking good non-stop run down the Cairn, across the trail and onto the shoulder down below. The clouds returned for Chris but he could follow our tracks until he arrived under the cloud bank, and we met up at the bottom of the train. Again we arrived to flat-light but gave my shoulder a go and the snow was excellent with just enough visibility to navigate. After cutting the trail back to the Leisse chairlift we arrived on top just as another bright patch appeared so we did another non-stop on Wayne’s Shoulder to take advantage of the visibility. From there the flat-light returned with a vengeance so we skied piste home to finish a much better day than expected.

Andreas has the weekend off and is spending it in Albertville with Tansy’s parents and is planning a game of golf tomorrow, while Thomas and Henry were both off this morning.

There were four avalanches that needed the attention of the Security Services yesterday. In the Cugnai a 45-year-old Swedish man was buried under 3-metres of snow and died. Another skier skiing alone was taken above the Refuge du Prariond and was saved by deploying his air-bag. He damaged his knee however, and phoned the Pisteurs and was rescued by helicopter. Lucky boy having had no one to dig him out had his face been under! All four avalanches happened between noon and 1 o’clock. (Check Henry’s site for a link to further details)

Sports Report- I spent the afternoon at the pool with the girls but was willing the Hammers on to a vital point away to Tottenham. I looked a bit sad in my Hammers shirt and hat, but the girls passionately kissed the badge for luck. Well done girls! Unfortunately, other results aren’t going West Ham’s way but there’s still 40-minutes or so to go in most matches. Come on Arsenal and Villa and a few draws would do nicely!

PS. We had a lovely drinks session last night and Gideon presented Jean with a hard-cover photo book he’s made on the internet. It’s a collection of some of the photos Jean has taken over the years and Jean was very touched by the thought and effort Gideon had put into his present. Bravo Gideon!

18 March 2011
Wonderful skiing but another tragedy!

The sun returned at times this morning and was well appreciated, but there were moments spent in a very atmospheric thin cloud as well. Thomas, Chris and I all headed to the Fornet hoping for it to clear, which it did just as we arrived at the Pissaillas Glacier. My team skied a good warm-up in the Lower Combe du Signal, followed by a cracker in the Combe du 3300, then an equally good Pays Desert. We had skied in lovely sunshine but around 11:30 the cloud bank was starting to rise again and there was the possibility of the Col Pers being socked-in. Chris and I went to the Col and decided we would get under the cloud cover so we started in without seeing too much. The top 100 metres was jolly tricky with flat-light combined with wind-compressed snow that was educational, but the light improved dramatically as did the snow and we had great skiing the rest of the way. I had a young Swedish lady Jenny along and she slotted in beautifully and promises to return soon with her twin sister. All in all it was an excellent morning and was definitely sunnier than the first five photos. Honest! (Not sure if Chris will be sending any or not?)

Thomas stayed upstairs and finished with another Pays Desert in the sunshine while Andreas skied in Tignes with his Vikings, and I’m not too sure where Henry ended up.

Gill and I had a terrific ski this afternoon as she missed out this morning, and we skied some lovely snow off the Mont Blanc piste, the Verte and the Jardin du Borsat, leaving perfect ‘his-and-her’s’ tracks. How sweet is that!

I received an e-mail last night from Radio Will and it was great to hear from him. I miss his humour in the mornings, his weather reports, (Froggy Fred’s are dreadful), his sports reports (always sympathetic to the Hammers plight) and his music evenings. He was also fun in the bars, on the hill and about town. Cracking bloke really!

My Dad phoned last night and it was great to hear from him as he’d just returned home after 5-weeks in the hospital. He was so happy to be home and he sounded much stronger than even a few days ago. Get well BG and we’ll see you in May!

Now for the bad news, there was another tragic avalanche today with a Swedish skier reportedly killed in the Cugnai. The Cugnai went on the front-side and a couple of places on the back-side as well and apparently it was huge. It was very fortunate that more people weren’t involved as there were a lot of skiers/boarders in the area. We’ll keep you posted.

It clouded over again this afternoon and I’m not too sure what to expect tomorrow, although sunshine is forecast.

17 March 2011
A fresh canvas for the first time in ages!

Finally some fresh snow fell somewhere over than the Fornet and with the wind swinging around to the north yesterday afternoon, it finally topped things up Tignes-way. The visibility was just good enough most of the morning to ski comfortably, but we all spent some time in white-outs when it was pretty difficult and we needed to feel our way down.

I started off with some great snow off the Verte, followed by the Lower Borsat from the bowl under the chair, all of which was excellent. The skiing down into Tignes off the sides of the piste was really good as well and from there I headed up to the Motte hoping for some visibility and the opening of the cable-car. Unfortunately the cable-car was closed and the light was very poor so we worked our way down the Cairn through the rocks until we hit the lower slopes, which were fantastic. Chris caught up with us and we skied the Cairn again, where I managed to ski off a drop-off and almost noodled myself. We then skied some lovely snow off the Fresse on the way back to our side of the resort, and a nice bit off the Mont Blanc and Verte pistes to finish. Chris had Gill’s friend Niki along, who did really well and is emailing her Mum to let her know her photo is on Jean’s link. Bravo Niki!

Chris and Andreas started with the Borsat Nord from the top and Chris went on to ski the Combe des Lanches while Andreas went on to the Chardonnet with his team of Vikings. Thomas had a great morning with an initiation private and spent part of the morning around Bellevarde, where the snow was excellent.

Jean is out of action for a few days with a sore lower back. He’s resting and hoping to ski again next Monday, when his brother Bernard returns. In the meantime, Gideon, Chris and I will be taking some photos.

The sun is forecast to return tomorrow so stay tuned for more powder news!

16 March 2011
A great ski after a slow opening!

It rained in the night and the day started brighter than expected, especially towards Bellevarde and Tignes, and with the thought of the Fornet being slow to open Andreas and I headed up Bellevarde. I was expecting a good 10 to 15cm’s upstairs but unfortunately it had only snowed about 5cm’s, so after a lovely run off the Verte we skied to the bottom and bussed up to the Laisinant hoping to time our arrival at the Fornet with the opening of the sector. We had a cracking little run off the Laisinant Express and arrived to a crowd growing in frustration awaiting the opening. I’d second thoughts about the wisdom of the u-turn but once open the Fornet provided some great skiing. My team then skied one from the Pyramid, followed by an excellent run skiers-right in the Grand Vallon, then a good run in the Combe du Signal, followed by the Combe du 3300, the Combe de Geant, and one in the Mattis trees for a 1:30 finish.

Andreas after his u-turn, Chris, and Henry were all in the neighbourhood skiing similar runs and everyone had a terrific morning. The visibility was pretty good most of the time but we had one patch of fog that was a little off-putting to say the least, and it kept us in the Combe de Geant instead of wandering into the Pays Desert blind. (Flat-light is one thing but fog is another story and you just can’t ski safely or comfortably in a fog.)

The girls are out skiing with Gill and Niki and they’re still out at 3:15. Their plan was to ski to a mountain restaurant somewhere so I’m sure they’re having a wonderful time. Nice life! Andreas’ children Ness and Victor stopped by the Rond Point for a visit this morning and I must say, they are a couple of little characters as well. No rest for Papa, that’s for sure!

The wind swung around from the south to the north this afternoon and we should get colder temperatures and snow tonight. It was +3C in the village this morning and with the sun and clouds this morning the greenhouse effect was incredible and anything but north took some heat. (North warmed up as well but not nearly so much)

Sports Report- It was a good match last night but United fans will be happy that Marseille are useless in front of goal. They missed a few glorious chances but a late own-goal kept them in with a chance. I thought Rooney’s passing and vision were superb but as good as the little Mexican is, Gideon and I thought we probably could have finished off those goals as well! Anyway, Geoff, Chris, Johnny ‘Alpine’, and Eric H to name a few, will be pleased and relieved to have that one out of the way.

15 March 2011
A well appreciated window in the weather!

It turned out to be a pretty good morning especially when we went to bed last night expecting difficult conditions today. The weather towards the Fornet was dull, grey and windy so we all headed towards the better visibility in Tignes. My team skied the Lower Borsat en route to a very good result in the Sachette, where we had great ambience and pretty good snow as well. Chris was also in the Sachette and after returning to the Aero-ski via beautiful piste we then ventured into the Familial for a ‘sniff’, and I must admit it stank! There were a few strips that worked up top but with the flat light we couldn’t see well enough to read the snow and more or less just cut our losses and traversed out. Still, it was an excellent morning when rain and wind were forecast.

Thomas and Andreas were skiing with their teams of Vikings and Thomas skied the Chardonnet and Sache amongst others and Andreas skied the Couloir des Pisteurs and Couloir de Moniteur. If that doesn’t reve them up nothing will!

Gill was skiing with her pal Niki, who’s having a lovely time and the two of them have made the most of the weather, which has been kinder than forecast. (Still any piste skier would give their right arm for last week’s sunny weather) Snow is forecast this evening and into tomorrow so we should have some options opening up over the next few days.

I’m looking forward to tonight’s Man U v Marseille Champions League match from the comfort of my own sofa. I’ll probably only watch the first-half unless it’s a cracker as I’m sad to say that 10PM is my limit these days!

It would have been David’s birthday today, and I had Chrissy and Jeremy with me this morning and Andreas skied with Jeremy this afternoon. Everyone on the Alpine team, along with friends, were thinking of him.

14 March 2011
Sunshine, less wind and great skiing!

We took full advantage with a sunny window in the weather today and enjoyed a cracking good morning up at the Fornet. The entire ‘Alpine’ team chose the Fornet knowing if there was any fresh snow about it was going to be there. Although the snow wasn’t as deep as anticipated there were lovely strips and avenues of creamy wind-compacted snow that made for great skiing. On the top of the Pissaillas at least 30cm’s of snow had fallen but it had been compressed so that you’d only sink in about 10cm’s, and further down it supported with a creamy layer on top.

Gill was along for her first off-piste morning in three-weeks due to Millie and Katie’s half-term, and we had Michael R back, Jeremy R, Annie, Chrissy, Jean, and a new client Paul who had a great time and slotted straight in. Well done Paul!

Chris skied with Corrine, Fiona, Ian, Gideon, John, Margaret as well as Suzanne and both Thomas and Andreas had groups of Vikings, and both teams had a superb intro to Alpine. Bravo boys!

Niki took the girls to school then skied with Doctor Laura, Inga and Geoff. Thanks Niki!

Tonight’s forecast is for a rain/snow limit at 2400m’s, dropping to 1900m’s tomorrow. Being a positive type of person I’d say anything falling out of the sky will help! Stay tuned.

13 March 2011
Blowing a gale but it was good to be out!

I listened to the 7:30 AM weather forecast this morning, which announced 80 to 130kph winds at the Fornet with 15 to 30cm’s of fresh snow during the day, followed by calmer weather for tomorrow with brighter skies. That basically ruled out the Fornet for this morning but it does sound promising for tomorrow. Anyway, no new snow fell overnight so there wasn’t any help on that front and we all headed up the Olympique with the thought of a little ’skin’ to the Borsat West mixed with piste skiing. The wind was blowing a gale on the top of the Funicular on the Motte and when I turned sideways and stuck my arms out imitating a sail, I shot off like a rocket. (It was rather impressive really and good fun) With the wind and the poor visibility we decided to give our little walk a miss and just stayed on piste. Chris, Andreas and I all stopped early but everyone enjoyed being out in the weather and getting in some good piste skiing. (I’m posting today’s update at 11:30AM, which must be a record for the earliest posting ever!)

Millie and Katie are off swimming with their pal Niki and Millie is going to Milly C’s birthday party this afternoon, which includes ice-skating followed by a trip to the burger-bar at Quicksilver. Meanwhile, I’ll take Katie out to the farm or to the climbing wall followed by a crepe, while Gill goes for a ski with Niki.

Sports Report- Thanks very much to Geoff and Inga for a great meal last night. The girls loved it and the Man U v Arsenal game was fantastic as well. Jean R was in shock this morning after Italy’s historic win over France in the Six-Nations game yesterday. (He came out of it quickly however as we took a face-full of wind) The Hammers play today but I feel most West Ham fans would rather save the victories for Premiership games and not prolong another Cup run.

12 March 2011
The first tough morning in quite some time!

After what seems weeks of unbroken sunshine we had a windy grey day as we await some fresh snow. I had my friend Pete along for the first time in ages, along with his two friends, both Pete’s who I haven’t seen for even longer, and we made the most of a tough day. We skied excellent pistes down to the Palafour en route to the Sachette, which was decent, then skied pistes back to La Daille, where we ran into Millie and her/Gill’s friend Niki. Niki and Millie joined our group for a couple of good hard runs on the piste for a 1:15 finish. (It will be interesting to see what Jean comes up with photo-wise today!)

Andreas skied similar runs with Chrissy, Annie and Jeremy while Chris was skiing with Fiona M and friends for the day.

I had a nice email from Maeve and Adrian who are skiing next week with Pietro in the Dolomites and Chris E left this afternoon after a fantastic week to join Olivier and Jean Marc touring in the Queyras. Good luck and great skiing to all!

It’s blowing and trying to snow but the rest of the day will be spent watching rugby, FA Cup football and dining with Geoff and Inga. Stay tuned for hopefully some powder news tomorrow!

PS. I ran into Richard H last night and he’s on great form and really enjoying his piste skiing. He’s getting stronger and is looking forward to getting back off-piste soon. Bravo Richard!

11 March 2011
A 'plaque du jour' award!

After a couple of days in a row around the Glacier Pers it was time for a change of scenery, and what a result! Chris and I went way out in the Pays Desert and had a superb morning with great snow and different views as we ‘skinned’ up to a little knoll where we’ve never been before. We stopped after our ten-minute ‘skin’ to add to a little Cairn for David, which was engineered by Jean and Chrissy. The little walk opened up new vistas and routes, and although some of the skiing was gentle, there were some steeper pitches towards the bottom with wonderful snow. We had about a twenty-five minute walk out and all in all the outing was 10/10.

To add to the ambience I set off quite an impressive plaque towards the top of the Pays Desert, which certainly woke everyone up. I had a feeling about it so I stopped to put my handle in and was just traversing towards the pitch to be skied when I thought we’d maybe give it a miss. At that moment I saw the cracks appearing in the snow and felt the under-layer collapse so I just turned back to the right and skied out of it. (Check Jean’s photos) It may have gone again during the morning because when we looked back at the end of the morning it looked a lot bigger than I remembered. It shows how fragile our environment can be, and certainly is at the moment, and anyone looking to ski steep slopes that haven’t been skied or purged naturally could easily find some serious trouble. (Chris phoned the Piste Service to let them know that there was a plaque and no one was involved, just in case they decided it needed investigation and probing.)

Meanwhile, now that Andreas’ team of Vikings has been introduced to ‘skinning’ there is no stopping them! Andreas returned to do variations of yesterday’s ski towards the Gros Caval and they had another great outing. Jeremy returns tonight and will be skiing for the next 5 or 6 days and we’re looking forward to his visit. (I’m not too sure what Thomas or Henry skied today)

I had a terrific ski with the girls this afternoon as I caught up with them at their ‘picnic spot’ where they’ve been three of the last four days. The girls are flying and I’m working on some old fashioned angulation on the piste after Chris mentioned it the other day. You don’t use so much angulation skiing powder but for carving you certainly need to exaggerate it and it does work a treat. Thanks Chris and I hope TJ doesn’t read this!

A change of weather is on the way but hopefully we’ll get another sunny day tomorrow before the snow arrives on Sunday.

PS. I was just looking at Jean’s photos and I’m sure that the plaque went again, from further up and to the left as you look at the photo of the tracks in the gulley where you can just see the plaque in the background. (Imagine getting bombed en route to the most gentle slopes in the resort!)

10 March 2011
Thanks Chris for a wonderful evening!

The Glacier Pers was so good yesterday that we returned again today. I had two new French clients, Jerome and his lovely wife Sylvie who had never been there before, so a return visit was a must. Again the snow was brilliant from top-to-bottom and the several sets of ‘Alpine’ tracks up there look fantastic, and I must say that most people skiing up there are making an effort to keep it tight and conserve the snow. Merci!

Andreas talked his Vikings into a little walk so they came up to the Glacier Pers as well and enjoyed it so much that they skied the top slope then climbed back up towards the Gros Caval. Skoal!

Thomas had a great day with his Americans as he took them to Bonneval. They had a good ski followed by lunch and some more skiing in the resort before the best bit, which is the helicopter ride back to town. Thomas has shown the Bostonians an excellent few days, bravo Thomas!

Many thanks to Chris Evered who cooked dinner last night for ten people to celebrate Jean’s birthday. The food was fantastic as was the wine with Jean bringing a 1999 Premier Grand Cru Classe from Bordeaux, Chrissy brought one of David’s favourites, a 1999 Chateau-neuf-du-Pape, and I brought a 2004 Grand Cru Kirchberg Gewurztraminer. (Penny’s Sauterne was put on hold until we come up with some fois gras.) It was a lovely evening and it was great to have Jean’s wife Raya along. Merci Chris!

The girls are excited as Gill’s friend Niki has arrived for a visit and Doctor Laura has just returned with Mel. Should be fun!

We’ve another day of sunshine forecast before a change of weather from Sunday on as snow and rain are expected early next week.

PS Someone skied the Lores today, which I thought was pretty brave with all the instability we’ve had of late, and because it’s such a steep slope that hasn’t been compacted by ski all season. I was just saying last night that no one has had the courage (if that’s what you call it) to venture out there all season, and sure enough, someone has taken it on today. Better them than me!

9 March 2011
It doesn't get any better!

The clear blue skies continue to feature and the weather has been outrageously beautiful for sun worshipers. (I love my powder but if it isn’t snowing it doesn’t get any better than this!) Thomas, Chris and I all headed up to the Fornet for a Glaciers Pers of stunning quality, where it was perfect from top-to-bottom, without a single patch of tricky snow. Wow! Chrissy is back to help celebrate Jean’s birthday period and what a first morning for her. Kirsty in Chris’ group as made incredible progress this week and deserves a mention. Bravo Kirsty! Chris also had Kieran for his first ever ski with us and he’s enjoyed a wonderful time over the past three days.

Andreas took his group of Vikings down to Ste Foy and hiked the ridge to the Foglietta where they had a great ski followed by a cracking lunch at the Monal. He then drove them back in Henry’s van, ‘Big Bertha’, which is an experience in itself!

Gill and Kiera took Millie, Katie and Anna for another picnic after a good ski, then the girls are going to Anna’s for a sleepover. Bliss! Andreas’ children Ness and Victor are also away at their grandparents for the weekend. Bliss again!

Happy Birthday to Richard Finlay who is 65-years-young today. Sorry we missed our ski Richard but have a great birthday from everyone at Alpine.

I spoke to my Dad last night for the first time since he’s been in hospital. He’s been in a month now and it was wonderful to hear his voice and know he’s on the mend and should be home soon. He’s been missing the Daily Diary as well as Jean’s photos, and he can hardly wait to get back home. Get well and we’re really looking forward to seeing you in May Dad!

The sun is forecast to shine until Sunday when we should get some snow. Fingers crossed on that one!

8 March 2011
Well skied Millie!

The stunning weather continues and we decided to head to Tignes and make the most of the conditions there before we get forced back to the Fornet, and we had a great morning. Chris and I started off with some lovely snow off the Mont Blanc while waiting for the Tommeuses lift to open then skied perfect piste into Tignes. From there we hiked up to ski an excellent Sachette and after arriving at the flats we ‘skinned’ up for five-minutes to access some nice snow on the meadows. We then finished with a good Familial and I met my girls at the ruin on the way out for a picnic while Chris escorted my team out.

Andreas covered a lot of ground with his Viking team as they skied the Sachette then circled back around for a Tour du Balme to the Hourglass Couloir, then a Familial to finish. Meanwhile Thomas took his Americans to the Fornet and skied from the Lechoir down to the refuge before ‘skinning’ back out. Nice one Thomas!

After our picnic I had a couple of runs with Millie and skied good, hard, short turns on firm snow and was surprised at what she’s capable of. My off-piste skis are fine for longer carved turns but are barely up to shorter turns and I’ll need to borrow some shorter piste-oriented skis from the shop soon. Anyway, she had a big grin on her face and was giving me high-fives, bless her!

More sun is forecast for tomorrow and come on you Gunners this evening!

7 March 2011
Happy Birthday to you!

We celebrated Jean’s 70th birthday with a jolly good ski up at the Fornet. I decided to make the best of the Pays Desert before it took too much heat and got tracked out so we ‘skinned’ up for 10-minutes from the top of the T-bar and skied a very good top pitch. It took some heat yesterday so we needed to play with the exposure and just managed good powder, but after today it will be crusty tomorrow. From there we could turn further north and we had good powder all the way to the bottom. We then dived over the Col Pers and traversed right to again good snow down to the Grand Torsai. (It’s unfortunate that from the grand Torsai down isn’t the best skiing of the day, but one needs to deal with it and then forget about it.) I had a new Frenchman named Jerome today, who did really well and loved the ‘Alpine’ way of skiing, so he’s bringing his wife on Thursday. (We’ve had a good touch of new clients again this season, which is really encouraging.)

Meanwhile, Chris took his group of Robert, Kristy, and Ian up to the Glacier Pers for an excellent ski and we admired his team’s tracks on arrival at the Grand Torsai. Bravo! Ian has spent time walking here in the summer and has always wanted to try ‘skinning’ and he had a wonderful morning. Andreas had a team of ‘non-skinning’ Vikings and they enjoyed great skiing in the Col Pers and Vallonnet, while Thomas skied the same with his group of Americans from Boston. Well done boys!

Katie spent the afternoon playing on the terrace with her boyfriend Luca, and spoke French in front of Gill, which brought great pleasure. Katie later said, “Speaking French is easy”. Easy for her to say!

The sun is forecast to shine for the rest of the week with a chance of snow on Saturday, so it looks as if we’ll be hanging around the Fornet for a few days to come. It could be worse as the Fornet is one of my favourite places on earth!

Happy Birthday Jean, from all your ‘Alpine’ friends and followers of your daily photos. Merci!

6 March 2011
Good to the last drop!

It was another beautiful day and with the avalanche risk at 4/5 towards the Italian border, meaning the Fornet, I decided to leave it alone and ski in Tignes again. We had a great morning skiing, starting above the Mont Blanc piste, then the Lower Borsat en-route to the Grande Motte. There we had some wonderful snow and good ambience skiing the Combe skiers right of my shoulder. We then circled back around and skied Wayne’s Shoulder before ‘skinning’ up for fifteen-minutes for a couple of good pitches under the Borsat West, and we finished off with good familial towards the Alti-port. Jean R returned yesterday and skied this morning. Welcome back Jean!

Andreas had his girls team from the Blue Note again and he took them for a walk to Mont Roup, where they had an excellent ski. Andreas said that Mont Roup will be finished after today’s heat and where we skied off the Motte will also be cooked, so we squeezed the last drop out before we’re forced to go north up at the Fornet. (We’ll probably be up there now until it snows again.)

Chris had the day off so he and Suzanne went for a ski up at the Fornet and had some great snow as well. They ran into some friends from Australia who feature in some of today’s photos, and they thoroughly enjoyed themselves.

Gill and Kiera toook the girls out for little Anna’s birthday ski before having lunch at the Perdrix. What a life and happy 6th birthday Anna!

More sun is forecast for tomorrow and we’ll be able to find some great skiing for a few days while waiting for another top up.

Sports Report- Well done Liverpool for sprucing up the title race with a convincing 3-1 win over United and come on Tottenham, who I never cheer for except when playing fellow relegation candidates.

5 March 2011
What a day!

The sun returned and after deciding I didn’t want to spend the morning cutting tracks in and out of various places on the Pissaillas, we headed to Tignes. We started with an excellent 35 to 40-turn pitch above the Mont Blanc piste en-route to a funky and clean run in great snow off the shoulder on the Borsat Nord. From there we had a lovely Cairn then bussed around for a very good and atmospheric Sache. The team skied the steep pitch brilliantly and left some impressive tracks, which was important as the line had rocks on one side and some avalanche debris on the other, so space was limited. The rest of the Sache was really good as well and it was another cracking good morning. Well done Jonathan who skied incredibly well this week. Bravo! Henry was also in the neighbourhood enjoying the great skiing as were Chris and Suzanne.

Thomas had an all-private with a couple of good boarders and he was just about everywhere during the course of the day. Guiding skiers is one thing but it’s extra complicated with boarders as they need gravity assisted areas much more than skiers, so it limits your options. (I’ve never guided a boarder so I’d be rather useless I’m sure!) Bravo Thomas on a well thought out day!

Katie skied her first top-to-bottom Face du Bellevarde this morning with Millie and their friend Anna, along with Gill and Kiera. They had a wonderful morning and it was fun running into them on top of the Palafour chair. Happy Birthday to Anna who is six-years-old tomorrow!

Andreas skied with the family this morning then spent the afternoon checking out all the plaques that popped out as it was another busy day on that front. There was a serious accident yesterday around the Laisinant where one skier remains in critical condition. Apparently someone has just tried to ski the same slope in the past hour and has been winched off by helicopter. There was action in the Combe du Signal, Vallonnet, Face du Charvet, and probably a few others as well.

Sports Report
First score in, West Ham 1, Stoke 0, after 21-minutes. Come on boys!
West Ham 2, Stoke 0, after 29-minutes
Final Score West Ham 3, Stoke 0, What a day!

Jean returns today and my ski tomorrow depending on how his journey goes. With Jean travelling there probably won’t be any photos today.

4 March 2011
'Powder-Frenzy' avoided!

The promised snow arrived but it was much more than expected and we had another stunning morning. It looked socked-in towards the Fornet and we felt they might be slow in opening as there would be more snow up that way, so Andreas and I decided to head towards Tignes. My team were on the first chairlifts up Solaise and we had a fantastic run on the piste with a good 30cm’s, maybe more. It was superb non-stop skiing down the Rhone Alpes and the Gun-Barrel at the bottom. We arrived in time to beat the ESF starting so we went up the Olympique to ski some lovely snow off the Verte en-route to an excellent Borsat Nord from the top. Next up was a good Col du Palet before heading up the Motte for a great run from the cable car followed by a beautiful Cairn and a faithfully good Familial to finish a wonderful morning.

Andreas started up Bellevarde and had a blast down the OK in 30cm‘s, followed by the Borsat Nord, Chardonnet, Sache and Familial. Good effort and needless to say we both finished a little late! The light was definitely better in Tignes and we really profited with a brilliant ‘maximum-turn’ morning. (We didn’t stop much so Gideon had to be quick to get any photos)

Millie and Katie went to their friend Martine’s to make gateaux chocolat so Gill and I drove to the Fornet to see what was happening in that sector. It turned out that the Glacier was closed all morning and everything, and I mean everything from the Signal down was trashed. It must have been an incredible ’powder frenzy’ and although the snow was wonderful, I’m glad I wasn’t involved. People have skied places I wouldn’t dream to skiing or traversing, especially with the present state of instability, but they got away with it today.

Gill and I found some space (just) in the Combe du Signal but I wouldn’t have gone any further skiers-left than we did, and the snow was knee-deep and bloody marvellous. My heart was in my mouth, as was Gill’s and once down we headed up to the Glacier. Upstairs there was between 60 and 80cm’s and unless you had really fat skis you could barely move in it. The T-Bar was closed all day so the Pays Desert and Col Pers haven’t been touched, but it will be seriously hard work for whoever wants to be first-in to either itinerary.

It cleared up around 2PM and at 6 o’clock there isn’t a cloud in the sky and the forecast is for a couple of sunny days. Stay tuned!

3 March 2011
Whoomphing underfoot but great skiing on gentle to moderate slopes!

After yesterday’s events no one was in the mood for taking on any big slopes and we were all in a cautious frame of mind. I had more ‘whoomps’ underfoot today than I have all season put together, so we were all alert and back to basics. The risk is still 3/5, but it’s very delicate on steep slopes. With that said, we had a cracking good morning so check out Gideon and Chris’ photos.

We started with the gentle slopes on the sunny-side of the Jardin de Borsat, where we left some nice tracks, followed by some good skiing in ‘skiers’ snow in the Lower Borsat Nord. From there we had some fantastic snow off the Motte skiers-left of Wayne’s Shoulder where we had close to 100-turns over four pitches. We then ‘skinned’ up to the Little Borsat West for more virgin snow of excellent quality. It was Matt’s first time ‘skinning’ and he was wearing a huge grin and Jonathan mentioned how watching someone else enjoy himself so much really lifted his spirits as well. Jonathan, by the way, is skiing very well and I’m well impressed with him this week. Bravo Jonathan!

Thomas was back in the resort after a great outing in Italy yesterday and he took his team up to the Fornet. The vicious wind had died down and they had some great skiing on the Pays Desert and over the Col Pers.

Gill and the girls had a brilliant ski with Harry, followed by lunch in Les Brevieres. Thanks again Harry! Andreas took the morning off so he and Tansy had a lovely family ski with Ness. He doesn’t get the chance to ski with Ness that often, especially en famille, so they had a wonderful time.

There is a rumour of some snow tonight, between 5 and 40cm’s depending on location in the resort and what forecast you believe. We’ll just have to wait and see!

2 March 2011
Bravo John and Magaret!

It was back to beautiful clear blue skies this morning and the team decided to head up into the wind at the Fornet for a change of scenery, knowing much of the Glacier was closed yesterday due to wind. The wind had dropped significantly this morning, but I must say it was still blowing a gale. Chris and I started in the Combe du 3300, which was pretty jolly good for the most part with a couple of patches of trickier snow. It was ‘skiers’ snow compared to what we’ve savoured over the past few days, but I really enjoyed it and John and Margaret creamed it. I was really proud of them as they got stuck in, skied positively, and showed the snow who’s boss. Bravo!

Andreas’ team started with a Pays Desert, and they too had some good snow for the most part with a few ‘educational’ bits here and there. Between us we did some serious trail-breaking this morning as we needed to cut the tracks in and out and it was pretty hard work. (Price of being first but always worth it) We all debated about whether we should do another in the Pays Desert or go straight over the Col Pers before it got busy and we all finally opted for the Col. It too had some tricky bits but the snow just got better and better as we skied down and it was a pretty good result. The first half after the Grand Torsai was still pretty good but the bottom section wasn’t easy and was best erased from the memory bank immediately as you don’t want the last section to spoil a good morning.

Gill and I skied with the girls this afternoon, and Gideon came along as well. The girls are really standing well on their skis now and it’s a pleasure to watch them improve. Well done girls, if I say so myself!

I’m not too sure about tomorrow’s weather but chances are I’ll take my chances back in Tignes! Stay tuned.

PS A big hello to my brother Dennis and his wife Marilyn, who have just discovered our website. I’m hoping to entice them to come for a visit next season as Dennis spent my first four winters here with me but hasn’t been back since, and Marilyn has wanted to come for years. He’s a great skier and it would be fantastic to have him come back and see what we‘ve got going here at ‘Alpine’.

PSS After mentioning yesterday the need for caution after yesterday’s warning signs, there were another two avalanches involving skiers today. Luckily no one was hurt in either slide, but it’s time to back off again.

1 March 2011
Derek's getting jealous!

It was another outstanding day today with 10 to 15cm’s of fresh snow in town and more at altitude. The entire team heading towards Tignes as it was much clearer than the Fornet, which looked pretty socked-in. I started with a lovely opener off the Verte en-route to a very good Borsat Nord from the top. From there we headed back up to yesterday’s paradise on the Motte and skied my shoulder again, but unfortunately it had taken some wind overnight. Still, the top section was excellent and after skiing the shoulder we took the cable car to the top of the Motte, where the skiing was still fantastic. From there we skied a funky Cairn (terrific), then dropped off the piste into Tignes before finishing with the Familial.

Meanwhile Andreas had a team of six gorgeous girls who are all here for the season and they started with the Fontaine Froide, then off the Verte, Borsat Nord, Chardonnet, Sache and Familial. I think he was trying to impress them! Anyway they had a great ski and finished late, as you do when you’re surrounded by ski-babes.

Chris and Thomas both skied the Borsat Nord, and Chardonnet before Chris skied the front of the Aiguille Percee (first of the season) and the Familial while Thomas skied the Cocaine and a couple of others.

Gill had the girls out early for some powder skiing on Bonnevie’s Drag amongst others, followed by a hot-chocolate stop. You need to get little people out early as with the new snow the pistes become bumpy jolly quickly, which makes it very unpleasant for their little legs.

It sounds as if we might see some sunshine tomorrow after it cleared up this afternoon, and in the light there was evidence of quite a few plaques that had popped out during the day. A well-known saisonnier was caught in a slide around the Spatule this morning and didn’t pull the handle on his air-bag. He was buried but managed to punch his arm out as he was just under the surface. We’ve been skiing quite comfortably with a 3/5 risk this week, but with the added heat of the sun today signs of instability are showing themselves and we’ll need to reassess for tomorrow.

Thanks to Jean who has been taking the time to put Gideon’s. and at times Chris’ photos up on the website. You’ve created yourself quite a following Jean!

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