Wayne's Daily Diary Archive

20 June 2007

30 November 2011
Wow, that was close!

If you can believe it, it was warmer still this morning and I had lunch on my terrace in shorts. Ridiculous! As for the skiing, John, Margaret, Penny and I had another very good run in the Pays Desert. It was incredibly quiet and the only people we saw today were Thomas (his first morning on skis this season) and his friend Johan, who were off in the distance. I think Thomas was quite impressed with the snow quality and he was happy to be back on skis.

The snow forecast , which was very promising yesterday is unfortunately looking less certain. Hopefully we’ll still get some snow out of it but the new forecast isn’t nearly as optimistic. Bummer but cross your fingers and hope for the best!

Penny and I went down to Bourg shopping this afternoon and had a near miss on the way back up. Some idiot was trying to pass four or five cars around a blind bend at considerable speed and I needed to hammer on the brakes and pull over next to the concrete barrier in order to give the wanker room to squeeze past. Incredible really. Our heartbeats changed drastically and I slowed down quite noticeably as I do like to enjoy the drive back up the mountain.

On a happier note, it’s happy days in Hammer land as the boys had a great 2-0 win away to Boro last night, and they’re slowly distancing themselves from the teams below them while keeping pace with the Saints. Great result and so far so good!

29 November 2011
Great skiing and an excellent lunch!

The morning started off with a few clouds floating about but fortunately, and as forecast, the clouds cleared quickly and we had another beautiful day. With the only off-piste possibilities being on the Fornet Glacier we headed up there again today and after a little warm-up with a bit of technique on the piste we headed off into the Pays Desert for another excellent descent. John and Margaret were back in action, along with Penny, and we didn’t see anybody else until Andreas and Tansy arrived just as we were putting on our skins to climb out of the Pays Desert. Victor is now in school all day as of today so Tansy was enjoying a rare ski with Andreas.

Penny invited John, Margaret and I back to her place for a stunning lunch, so I’ve put my afternoon chores off until tomorrow. (Blasted wine at lunch time!) Thanks Penny!

The weather is slowly changing and we should start getting a little snow on Friday with a possibility of snow for the most of next week. A little snow dance wouldn’t go amiss so feel free to bounce around your living room. Zoe Zimmer took a photo of the fire at Bananas from her balcony but Radio Val wouldn’t use it because it showed how little snow there is below the top third of the mountain. (Well, actually there is absolutely no snow below that level) It is forecast to get colder so the snow cannons will be on 24-hours-a-day and the piste skiing will materialize before our eyes, and they may even be able to stage the races in 10 days time. Anyway, Val d’Isere has never let me down and I’m confident that the snow is just around the corner and we’ll end up having a good season. Stay tuned! (Big game for the Hammers tonight against Boro. Come on boys!)

28 November 2011
One of the shortest skis on record!

Everyone was SAFE in yesterday’s fire. Read all the news on www.radiovaldisere.com
Update by JC. More this afternoon

My skiing was over this morning before it really started. I was testing some skis and while skiing down from the Cascade chair to the T-Bar I exploded and spread myself all over the mountain. After standing up I looked down to see the pin-binding gripping onto the toe of my boot, but it was no longer attached to my ski. The bindings had ripped out and although annoying, I was glad it happened when it did and not way out in the Pays Desert. Anyway, Penny carried my ski down and we went to Bourg shopping.

Meanwhile, Chris took Johnny ‘Alpine’, Belinda, and her father John out into the Pays Desert and they had an excellent morning. John did really well and made great progress during the outing. (Check Jean’s photos plus a couple of Bananas) I’m back in business tomorrow and stay tuned for more news.

Sports Report- Thanks John for a great evening of football followed by a fantastic curry. It was a terrific match and very enjoyable. And well done Roger Federer who played in his 100th final and won his 70th title. Sheer class!

I stopped by Bananas today and all the staff were busy trying to clean up the incredible mess, but it must have been difficult to know where to begin. I’ll try to stop by tomorrow to say hello to Ricky and Ahmeed, who must be devastated. After all this time it’s hard to imagine Val d’Isere without Bananas, which has become an institution over the years. Many of us have had some fantastic times there eating, drinking, and generally laughing a lot as Ricky and Ahmeed were brilliant showmen and wonderful hosts, as well as incredible hard workers. Everyone at ‘Alpine’ is saddened and wish Ricky and Ahmeed, and all those connected with Bananas well.

27 November 2011
Bananas is on fire!

Breaking News- I saw smoke from my terrace and two minutes later Andreas phoned to say that Bananas was on fire. He thought it looked quite serious but for that moment we have no concrete information. Hopefully Ahmeed, Ricky and the rest of the staff are safe. (3:46PM) Regular update below.

It was another stunning morning with even warmer temperatures than yesterday, and we enjoyed another terrific ski. We had the same cast of characters as I skied with Penny, John, and Margaret, Chris was with Johnny ‘Alpine’, while Andreas skied with Al, who has a chalet company down in Ste Foy. We all headed straight out into the Pays Desert, but went further a field and had total solitude for the entire morning. Again, the snow was very good top to bottom, perhaps even better than yesterday, especially the big slopes down to the bottom from where we needed to ‘skin’ out.

The snow we’re skiing in at the moment is excellent but the Pays Desert is really the only show in town, so we won’t be skiing much else over the next few days. The forecast seems pretty certain that we’ll receive some much needed snow at the end of week, and hopefully that will open up some more options.

Sports Report- I was well pleased with West Ham’s victory yesterday and hopefully we can keep it up. I’m watching the Man City v Liverpool game tonight with Penny at Johnny ‘Alpine’s followed by one of his famous curries, and I’m really looking forward to it. Besides the game he makes a wicked curry. Thanks John!

PS Thank you Millie and Katie for the lovely cards!

26 November 2011
Off and running!

We had a lovely start to the season today and after warming up on the piste from the Col down to the Cascade chairlift we dove off-piste straight away. I skied with Penny, John and Margaret while Chris skied with Johnny ‘Alpine’ and Andreas was in the neighbourhood as well on a scouting mission. After a few runs off the edge of the piste we ‘skinned’ up into the Pays Desert and enjoyed good frisset top to bottom. It was wonderful to be out in one of our favourite areas again and with the sun shining and having the place to ourselves, it was an excellent way to kick off the season.

It looks as if we’ll have more of the same for the next few days (which won’t be hard to take) with a rumour of a chance of snow on Friday. Fingers crossed on that one as there is absolutely no snow below 2500/2600 metres. Fortunately it’s cold enough for the snow cannons to be working during the night and they’re slowly laying strips of snow down the important runs into the village, and it won’t be long before they’ll be able to open those slopes. In the meantime, we’ll continue to enjoy what’s on offer.

Sports Report- Southampton lost today, and with the teams just below West Ham either drawing or losing, the Hammers have a great opportunity against Derby this evening. Come on boys! And Man U could only manage a draw against Newcastle, who played the last 15-minutes with ten-men. That result makes tomorrow’s City v Liverpool game even bigger and I’ve been invited by Johnny ‘Alpine’ to watch it and I’m really looking forward to it. I’m also enjoying Roger Federer’s success at the O2.

25 November 2011
Wonderful walking above the gorge!

I left yesterday to an emotional farewell with Millie, Katie, and Gill at 3AM as the girls sensed when I was leaving. I’m missing them already but Millie and I have been keeping in touch with emails as well as the phone. After a sad start the journey down was smooth and I arrived to stunning scenery and a lovely supper with Chris and Suzanne.

Today Chris helped me unload the car before Suzanne, Chris, John Ellis and I walked up above the gorge towards the refuge. It was beautifully sunny and warm and it felt great to get some fresh air and exercise, especially after being in the car all day yesterday. We then stopped by the Ellis’ and had a cup of tea on the terrace with Margaret, and it was so mild in the sun I was comfortable in shorts and a vest. Chris, Suzanne and I then continued on above the village on the Balcon, which was lovely as well. (Jean has kindly posted today‘s photos. Merci Jean)

Anyway, stay tuned for skiing news tomorrow as we’ll head up to the Fornet and see what awaits us. (Come on you Hammers!)

23 November 2011
Stay tuned for the 2011/12 Daily Diary!

It’s that time of year again and I’ve been rushing about trying to get ready for departing tonight (or tomorrow morning) at 3AM. (Mind you I did find time for my last round of golf on Monday morning!) I’ve just stopped packing the car for a cup of coffee and this quick update. The resort is opening this Saturday, and although it will be a limited opening, there is excellent snow at altitude. John and Margaret will be in town, along with Penny and Johnny ‘Alpine’, and maybe a few more will show up. With just the top of the resort open we’ll do our best and look forward to being in the mountains with friends again. Stay tuned for the Daily Diary kicking off on the 26th!

PS. What a result for Roger Federer last night as he was supreme in a 6-3, 6-0 demolishing of the wonderful Rafa Nadal. I wonder if Dan and Denise were there?

12 November 2011
Bravo!

Thomas and Muriel are the proud parents of a beautiful baby girl, named Manon, who was born November 9th. Congratulations and we look forward to meeting her soon!

9 November 2011
One metre of fresh snow on the Glacier!

If you’ve been following the Val d’Isere webcams you’ll have noticed a decent covering of snow above 2500 to 2600metres but absolutely nothing below that. Unfortunately a Foehn has been blowing, which kept the temperatures too high for snow at lower altitudes but we did profit from a good dump higher up. Thomas reports one metre of fresh snow up on the Glacier and 50 cm’s in the Grand Vallon, but because of the wind there is a high risk of wind slab for those wanting to do some pre-season touring. What we need now is some colder weather with some snow, but at least some negative temperatures so that the snow cannons can be turned on to get us started a lower altitudes. Fingers crossed!

Thomas and Muriel are awaiting the birth of their first child any day now, so I’ll keep you posted!

PS I just checked the webcam and what a stunning day it is. I was hoping to see some horrible looking weather! And I’ve just added below the report in French from the tourist Office, which was forwarded by Chris. Thanks JC.

Les premiers retours d’Est de l’année auront été particulièrement marqués sur le Pisaillas et le secteur du haut du Fornet. On mesure 40 cm vers le Vallon, 80cm en haut de la Télécabine du Vallon, 1m au départ du Glacier du Pisaillas et jusqu‘à 1m80 en haut du téléski des Montets. Un énorme retour d’EST. Les services de la STVI, en charge du damage sur le glacier, commencent celui-ci afin de tasser la neige dont on sait que les premières couches sont prépondérantes pour la pérennité du manteau neigeux pendant tout l’hiver. Cette action donnera aussi une belle garantie d’ouverture pour le 26 novembre prochain, en attendant de nouvelles chutes de neige. Le phénomène de « retour d’Est » est bien connu à Val d’Isère. Il charge en neige les secteurs les plus proches de l’Italie et ce phénomène décroît rapidement au fur et à mesure que l’on s’éloigne de la frontière. Les masses neigeuses sont par exemple beaucoup plus faibles sur le massif de Bellevarde pourtant éloigné de quelques kilomètres seulement du Fornet. Les professionnels signalent néanmoins une véritable instabilité du manteau neigeux en dehors des zones qui seront damées. Les précipitations ont été accompagnées par du foehn avec des rafales frisant parfois les 100 km/h. Cela a occasionné la formation de plaques à vent qui reste particulièrement instable. Les randonneurs à peau de phoque qui ont déjà décroché leurs skis doivent à ce titre rester extrêmement vigilants et attendre la stabilisation du manteau neigeux.

1 November 2011
Fun in the sun!

We’ve just returned from a fantastic holiday in Florida visiting Mickey Mouse and pals, and having a great time on the rides and other amusements. The weather was wonderful and Millie and Katie loved every minute of it. They have become expert rollercoaster-riders preferring Everest at Animal Kingdom and Aerosmith with it’s double-loop at Hollywood Studios. We slipped some tiny heel-lifts into Katie’s trainers so she could rise above the minimal height restrictions for the looping Aerosmith ride, and she rode it twice. It’s funny how she can go from an upside-down rollercoaster one minute to hugging Snow White the next. Brilliant fun and thanks Liz for a superb week!

With Florida behind me it’s time to start focusing on the upcoming season and after the time-change I’m really beginning to look forward to it. The season opens on the 26th of November so hopefully we’ll get some snow to reward all those who enjoy the early-season skiing as it’s one of the highlights of the winter. Pray for snow and we’ll see you soon!

Sports Report- While away I managed to watch some of the World Series, which turned out to be a fantastic Series with the St Louis Cardinals winning 4 games to 3 over the unlucky Texas Rangers. Texas were twice one-strike away from winning the Series in game six but St Louis saved themselves winning 10-9 in 11 innings to force a seventh and deciding game. (I know most of you do not have a clue about what I’m talking about but please indulge me as baseball is my all-time favourite sport) My beloved Pittsburgh Steelers are also doing well after a shaky start in the American Football and Michael R sent me a congratulations e-mail after the Steelers beat the Patriots (Michael’s team) in a thriller this past weekend. I’m pleased with the way the Hammers are shaping up under Big Sam and like every football fan in the country, except for Man U fans of course, was delighted with the 6-1 thrashing United took at Old Trafford by their cross-city rivals. Wow, what a result! Arsene will be pleased with Arsenal’s excellent win over Chelsea as Chelsea have endured a tough ten days and have missed out on climbing up the table and putting more pressure on both Manchester teams. And finally, I can’t believe the French almost won the World Cup but the New Zealanders will gratefully take it with enormous relief.

Stay tuned for more news as the new season approaches.

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