Wayne's Daily Diary Archive

20 June 2007

31 March 2012
Double thumbs-up from Sylvie!

After yesterday’s efforts at Ste Foy Chris and I decided to keep the walking to a minimum and we had an excellent morning of spring skiing in Tignes. Once in Tignes we opened up with a very good Cocaine, and my team followed that up with a trip next to the first par-avalanche while Chris’ team skied the second par-avalanche and hiked back up the road. We then skied an excellent Glattier followed by ‘toothy rock’ and an atmospheric couloir below. My team circled back around to ski the couloir again and both teams finished with a lovely Familial. It was a great morning and Sylvie gave it a double-thumbs-up! I had John and Margaret’s son Anthony along with his friends Mike and Sarah and it was Mike and Sarah’s first-ever ski with us.

I met my girls along with Kiera and Anna for a picnic at the ruin in the bottom of the Familial and after lunch we had a great off-piste session skiing the Campanules twice and the narrow gully under the Fresse chair twice. I could see people watching us from the chair and they were probably thinking, “What’s that idiot doing with those children?” Anyway, the girls skied brilliantly and it was fantastic to get them onto such impressive slopes. (See photos of the day)

Sports Report- I just ruined a wonderful day by checking the Hammers score. We lost 4-2 to Reading and our chances of automatic promotion have taken a major setback. Bummer! And Arsenal lost as well and with City drawing with Sunderland Man U are now in the drivers seat for the title.

PS Thomas was in action today and took a new group of French skiers up towards the Sana. And Gill was chatting about me in the Funival when a Scottish chap behind her said, “Are you Gill?, I read Wayne’s blog everyday!” Gill asked if he’s skied with me before and he said not yet but he’s planning on it sometime soon. I look forward to meeting you!

30 March 2012
A brilliant day out!

Stuart-the-Sea-Captain wanted to go down to Ste Foy so Chris agreed and I took my team to keep them company. It was the first time to Ste Foy for most of our group and we had a superb day with wonderful snow, great views and some adventurous trekking to arrive back to the station. We skied the south-side of the Foglietta and it was perfect spring snow top-to-bottom with some ambience as we worked our way down on the steep slopes and dropping through little couloirs to rejoin the big slopes under the cliffs. We had a good flower show as spring has arrived and we even saw two snakes basking in the sun. Now that’s a first! It was hard work but really rewarding and everyone thoroughly enjoyed a fantastic day out.

Meanwhile Andreas skied his last day with the Nelson family and they’ve had a terrific week and Thomas skied spring snow in Tignes skiing the Cocaine, the Glattier, the Sache and the Familial. I just ran into Jonathan who said that this was the best week of skiing he’s ever had! Mind you he says that at the end of every holiday but it gives you an idea of how good the spring skiing has been.

More sun is forecast for tomorrow and although this weather is wonderful it would be nice to get some snow and stop the melt process for a few days as the snow is going quickly. Stay tuned for more news tomorrow!

PS Great photos Jean, bien fait!

PSS Thanks for a lovely drinks party last night Clive! It was great to see you again and thanks also to Clive’s beautiful daughter-in-law Courtney, who did a superb job on the catering. I’m also grateful to Henry N who bought me a bag of dried fruit and nuts, which turned out to be my lunch today as I arrived back from Ste Foy at 1:50 for a 2 o’clock lesson. Thanks Henry!

29 March 2012
Another absolutely brilliant morning!

My plan today was to head up to the Col des Barmes de l’Ours but the snow is changing and anything but dead-north has taken the sun (plus it’s tracked to death) so I went to Plan B and we had a stunning morning of perfect spring snow. Chris came along as well and I pretty much retraced my footsteps of yesterday but it was new for Penny, Stephen, Kaye and Gill and Chris Jean and Bernard were only to happy to have another go. The Crete du Genepy was excellent and Mont Roup itself was brilliant. After skiing down Solaise on-piste (option of the chairlift down) we tried the top half of the Banane/Super Santons, which was cleaner than expected with great ambience, and jolly good fun.

Meanwhile Andreas headed towards the Motte with Philip and Henry (Alex has a tummy upset, as did Andrej in my group and Penny missed yesterday) but I’m not too sure what they skied. Henry was also in action with Dave’s team and he was looking for good-value spring snow, meaning as little walking as possible.

I need to get ready to work this afternoon and I’m going to Clive’s for drinks tonight so it’s a short update.

Log-on for more fun in the sun is in store for tomorrow!

PS Andreas ended up skiing the 3500 off the Motte with Henry before meeting back up with Philip for a cracking lunch. I bet Alex will be feeling really ill now!

28 March 2012
Band of Brothers!

The incredible weather continued today and everyone enjoyed another fantastic morning. I ‘skinned’ about two-third’s of the way up the Crete du Genepy but it was high enough to access all the slopes needed and we skied steep pitches on perfectly clean snow. ( Henry mentioned at the Gourmandine that the normal slopes en-route to Mont Roup were trashed and that a little ‘skin’ would help avoid the rubbish. I intended to walk for 10-minutes but it turned out to be more like 20-minutes, but well worth it. Thanks Henry!) We then headed up Mont Roup and traversed around the corner to ski the big slopes, and to my delight no one has been out that far yet and they were wonderfully clean and the perfect texture. From there we skied piste and back-tracked to Bellevarde and finished off a great morning of exquisite spring snow with a five-minute walk to more of the same in the Familial. I had Henry and Alex (twins) with me today as their Dad Philip was skiing with Andreas, and Jean’s brother Bernard started this morning. I must say bravo to Andrej who braved some seriously steep slopes and dealt with them really well. Each turn is one in the bank and Andrej didn’t hesitate this morning as he’s coming to terms with a healthy respect for the steep.

Chris and Henry went to Tignes to ski the Cocaine, Glattier, Par-avalanche, and Familial, while Thomas took Peter B’s team down to Ste Foy, and Andreas and Philip ‘skinned’ to the Col des Barme de l’Ours. Well done Philip, who’s getting over an ankle injury and did really well today!

Gill and Laura skied with the girls this morning and I miss skiing with them. Hopefully we’ll be able to get some off-piste afternoons in before they go. Wils and Rosie are arriving soon so we should have quite a crew!

Sports Report- The Hammers won a big game last night 2-0 away and now are one point behind Reading for an automatic promotion spot. We play Reading at home this weekend with it all on the line! And the Flames have a do-or-die game tonight in Calgary against the LA Kings. Come on boys!

PS Thanks for a lovely drink in the Blizzard last night Peter, the girls are getting spoiled! And there was an accident of some sort on the Face du Charvet this morning but we don’t have any details except a helicopter was needed for the rescue.

PSS Jonathan had just informed me that the accident on the Face du Charvet this morning was fatal. A British skier staying in his chalet was killed falling off the cliffs. I don’t know if he fell and slid or was just skiing too quickly but either way he went over the cliffs and was killed. Peter B is in the same chalet and has been all season and everyone there is very shaken up. The man’s wife and one-year-old child are both at the hotel. Very tragic indeed.

27 March 2012
A fantastic change of pace!

As we settle into life without fresh snow it’s time to ski some alternative slopes and use our imagination. Andreas wanted some company towards the Par-avalanche and Glattier and since I haven’t skied those slopes for awhile I decided to accompany his team, and what a morning we had! After skiing six powder turns (I’ve a reputation to think of) off the Mont Blanc we skied piste into Tignes, which was good up top but the bottom slopes are a little firm to say the least. (Penny and Kaye took the Aero-ski down to avoid the chatter) Once in Tignes it was game on for some fantastic spring skiing on slopes we don’t spend that much time on. First up was an excellent Super Cocaine, which was much cleaner than hoped for. Next was a ski beside the first-par-avalanche right down as far as we could go before cutting out to the Chaudannes chair, and that was clean and really satisfying with a little walk over a creek to get out. We then skied a very, very good Glattier, which again was cleaner than expected and excellent value, and we caught the bus with five-minutes to spare. To continue the theme we rode the lift back up to the Aiguille Percee for the impressive ‘toothy rock’, which didn’t disappoint. We finished off in the Familial and my team walked up for three-minutes to access the lovely spring slopes at the bottom and it was a great way to finish off a terrific morning! Good call and a great change of scenery Andreas!

Meanwhile Chris was heading off to ski the Crete du Genepy, which will have been wonderful, and I think Henry kept him company.

More of the same is forecast for the next few days and this afternoon is significantly warmer than yesterday, perhaps because the breeze is slowly dying down.

Sports Report- It’s a massive night for West Ham and a win is absolutely necessary to keep the Hammers within striking distance of the top two places. Come on boys! And the Calgary Flames won a big game against Dallas last night to keep their slim play-off hopes alive. (Katie and Millie watched the highlights this morning)

26 March 2012
A brilliant Sachette !

The hour time-change is still taking its toll and I’m going to miss the footie at Johnny ‘Alpine’s’ tonight to get in an early night. As for the skiing today, it was absolutely brilliant as Chris, Andreas and I had a team ski in the Sachette. The top half was excellent winter snow while the bottom section was perfect spring, and that adds up to a wonderful combination! After the Sachette we skied various slopes ranging from good spring snow to wetter snow that we pushed about (necessary if it’s been tracked) en route to a lovely Familial to finish. The Nelson family have arrived and Phillip, Lyndsay, Alex and Henry are skiing with Andreas this week and they thoroughly enjoyed their morning, our Russian friend Andrej is back skiing with my team, and Stephen S, who we haven’t seen for awhile is back skiing with Chris, along with Rob, Kirsty, Sandy, and new to Alpine this morning was Gareth.

I’d like to thank Peter B for organising a great tea for the girls at the Chamois d’Or yesterday afternoon. Stephen, Kaye and Christian were also invited, Jonathan is staying there and the girls met a little 5-year-old named Lois, who was jolly good fun. All in all it was a very jovial session and thanks for the beer Jonathan!

Gill was extremely pleased that I forgot my camera today as it saves about 45-minutes in the afternoon and my new photographic hobby is driving her nuts. Anyway, Jean took some great photos today and they are up on his link. Merci Jean!

Stay tuned for more skiing news tomorrow.

25 March 2012
A bonus ski for Gill!

The clocks went ahead an hour last night and the morning seemed to arrive oh-so-quickly. The resort was deserted first thing and there was a definite nip in the air. There was a good freeze last night and we still have enough of a breeze blowing to slow down the melt process, so combined with the time change this cowboy wasn’t interested in spring snow as the main event this morning. We skied some nice powder off the Mont Blanc to warm-up and Jonathan immediately said, “That was 30 more powder turns than I was expecting this week!” (It’s always nice to have Jonathan’s positive attitude in the group) From there we skied piste to the Funicular and headed up the Motte en-route to the Rosolin. The Rosolin is starting to ‘stiffen’ up in places, which is a shame because with this week’s forecast it would have been a good winter-snow option, but we did get some good pitches. After ‘skinning’ out and skiing across the glacier we then skied piste before cutting off for the Borsat West, which gave us an excellent pitch in good powder. By now it was almost noon so we skied some good spring snow under the Fresse before finishing off a great morning in the Familial.

Meanwhile, Chris, Tilly, Steven and Suzanne skied a fantastic Sachette before heading back in time to get Tilly off to the airport. Thomas skied some terrific powder under the Sana as he returned from an overnight stay in the Femma with the Danes who Henry entertained on Thursday and Friday. Bravo and tres bien fait Thomas!

Thanks to Pat Woo for a lovely drinks party last night. We all had a great time and the girls really enjoyed meeting Bella. Amongst the guests were Henry, Ginnie and their beautiful daughter Katrina, and I must say she is a stunning little creature with fabulous character and a wonderful smile. (And I know a thing or two about wonderful babies) Henry is a very proud Daddy and rightfully so!

Thank you also to Kiera for taking care of Millie and Katie this morning so Gill could enjoy a bonus ski. Thanks Kiera!

PS Andreas had a great family day topped off with an ice skating session at La Rosiere.

24 March 2012
Great spring skiing on the Crete!

It was a fairly quiet Saturday and although I wanted a morning without walking we ended up ‘skinning’ up to the Crete du Genepy for some lovely spring snow. The walk was beautiful and we took our time to enjoy the scenery and share around some yummy treats before skiing. It was great to ski with Kevin, who I haven’t seen since my moustache-days and we had a good catch-up while walking up. It turns out that he met Michael Rosen in a Finlay’s chalet years ago and Michael said he was skiing with me and told Kevin about my blog. Kevin has been reading it ever since and wanted to say thanks and hello to Michael, and also thanks to Piers who drove him home after he broke his leg all those years ago. Thanks boys! After the Crete we skied some piste before skiing winter snow in the Jardin du Borsat Nord and then cruised La Daille, which was in great shape, to get Fiona back in time for her taxi.

Meanwhile Chris was skiing the Sachette with Tejina, Andreas had the day off and ‘skinned’ to the Sana with some mates before skiing with his family this afternoon, and Thomas was off the stay the night in the Femma with the Danes.

Thank you to Kari for kindly setting up Millie and Katie with some stardolls.com accounts. The site looks like brilliant fun for young girls so log on and have a look!

Gill and Kiera skied with the girls this morning and after setting up their Star doll sites with Kari, Millie and Katie are out with Anna playing on their own and building some independence.

Sports Report- I’m a little worried about my Hammers at the moment and we could really do with a win today after drawing 4-straight games and dropping 8 points. We now find ourselves in trouble and no longer have any breathing space. Come on boys!

PS : Don’t forget the time change tonight, clocks go forward ! Good night to be taking it easy.

23 March 2012
A fantastic day in Tignes!

The wind died down overnight and with a good freeze it was game on for a wonderful day. After spending 4-straight mornings in the Fornet is was time to head for Tignes and we had a cracking ski. I warmed-up with some nice powder off the Mont Blanc before skiing piste into Tignes with Andreas where we both skied a brilliant Sachette in a mix of powder up top and perfect spring down below. We then skied some good spring snow of the Aiguille Rouge chair then beside the first par-avalanche before cutting out. For the final run we skied some spring snow in the top of the Familial, followed by some warm powder around the alti-port before finishing off with spring snow at the bottom. Brilliant really!

Meanwhile Henry was entertaining his Danes skiing spring snow around the Glattier and par-avalanche and the skiing some winter snow this afternoon off the Rosolin. Henry’s skied with them for two full days and has done a great job with them. Well done Henry! Chris was in Italy with Tejina and Claire today, Thomas had some lovely skiing at the Fornet and I’m not too sure what Olivier skied today. He’s off back home this evening and it was great to see him this week.

I had another excellent afternoon with Tim as we skied the Campanules three times on spring snow, followed by powder in the Jardin du Borsat North and a little dabble in the Spatule to finish. Bravo Tim!

Gill is doing a kid’s supper at the moment so I’m writing from Chez-Ray’s next door. There’s Millie and Harry J, Anna, Christian and of course my little angles! Great effort Gill!

It looks as if the sun will shine for the next week but the skiing is still fantastic and will get by until the next snowfall. If you’re coming to town don’t forget your sun cream!

PS I forgot to mention Fiona’s ‘skier of the day’ award. She skied brilliantly and on one steep pitch I’ve never see her ski so patiently and controlled. Seriously well done Fiona! And Kari made great strides and adapted beautifully when asked to side-slip more in the steep. Well done!

22 March 2012
The Foehn is still blowing!

The Foehn wind that has been blowing for the past several days was still howling this morning. Andreas and I debated back and forth about going to Tignes for a change of scenery or heading back to the Fornet to take advantage of the powder before the wind ruins it all. In the end we chose the Fornet and although conditions have changed significantly from yesterday, we still had a great ski and skied powder snow all morning. We started off in the Pays Desert and did a good job of milking every turn we could get out of the top section before arriving at the bottom slopes, which were very good indeed. From there we went over the Col where the entrance is as interesting as ever, and after traversing out right we skied good snow all the way down. Doug had never ‘skinned’ before and since he’d mentioned carrying these things around in his pack for ages and never using them, I thought we’d ‘skin’ up for a few minutes and give him a chance to test them. We accessed a couple of nice little pitches and it was worth the ten-minute effort. It was Corrine and Robert’s last morning of their season’s and they’ve both enjoyed some fantastic skiing.

Andreas exited the gorge before us and he headed back Bellevarde-way and probably skied the Spatule to finish off. Speaking of the gorge, I feel that it may be just about finished as a small hole yesterday was huge today, and only a small bridge remains just before the exit. (See photo of Penny) Bummer, as it’s been great value!

I skied with Tim this afternoon and we had a brilliant afternoon, skiing some nice powder off the Mont Blanc followed by some lovely spring snow under the Fresse chair at 2:45 when it’s usually finished at 1 o’clock. We then skied my shoulder before ‘skinning’ to the Little Borsat West for more winter snow, the skied back under the Fresse chair followed by the Familial in spring snow at 4:45pm. Amazing but the cloud cover and wind kept the snow cold way past its sell-by date. Andreas skied with his child friend Peter who’s visiting from Sweden and they skied spring snow late in the afternoon on the Manchet-side and had a terrific afternoon as well. Skoal!

Henry is forecasting heat for the next week so it looks as if we’ll be giving in to spring snow soon. Stay tuned!

21 March 2012
Glacier Pers at its best!

The Fornet has just been too good to bother going anywhere else so we had a team ski in the Glacier Pers. It was pretty hard work as I cut the traverse from the Col before setting the track up, and towards the top there was 50cm’s of wonderful powder and everyone was drooling with anticipation. There was my team, along with Chris, Andreas, and Herve, who’s a great guy from the ESF, and every team left excellent tracks to grace a previously virgin mountain. It was brilliant all the way down to the last slope, which is starting to show signs of the wind that’s been blowing for the past 48-hours, but that wasn’t going to put a dampner on a stunning morning. The gorge is looking better every day as the sun climbs higher in the sky and the blue ice is becoming more colourful as the light brightens up the cascades.

Gill skied with the girls and their little pal Anna this morning and they had a massive ski. Gill just explained where they went and it’s incredible how much terrain such little people can cover in a morning. Bravo girls!

There was a horrible accident yesterday involving a 22-year-old British man who was killed when he collided with a snow cannon in the middle of the Plan piste. Apparently he was a weak skier who was totally out of control and hit the cannon at top speed. Very sad indeed but at least he hit a snow cannon and not another skier. There was also a tragic avalanche in Norway a couple of days ago involving a French guide with Swiss clients. Fortunately it was no one that Oli or JM know.

Back to brighter news, thanks for another brilliant meal last night Laura. I’ve included a few photos but I missed a photo of your lovely friend Jackie. Chrissy was there and she’s off today as her season is over and she’s now concentrating on her upcoming horse competitions. Good luck with those Chrissy!

We had another good day of sunshine and if it doesn’t snow I’ll take more of the same tomorrow!

Please check the Smile-Train link on the news page as it’s time to sponsor Dave Stevenson’s bike ride. It’s for a great charity and Dave is going to match pound for pound up to £20,000, which is extremely generous and shows how committed he his to the cause. Good luck Dave!

20 March 2012
Another wonderful day at the Fornet!

After having a great day at the Fornet yesterday there was no doubt in my mind about returning there today, even with some clouds hanging over the Col de la Galise and signs of wind at altitude. I had a young Canadian, Kari, with me this morning on her first trip to Val d’Isere and she was well impressed as we warmed-up with a run in the Grand Vallon. I thought that with a few centimetres of fresh snow being worked by the wind that yesterday’s tracks would have been covered, which they weren’t, but there was still strips of clean snow and it was jolly good skiing. From there we had an excellent run in the Pays Desert with a ten-minute ‘skin’ to access the clean lower slopes. (Gill and her friend Niki joined us for the Pays desert before Niki had to catch a bus to the airport.) It was then time to head over the Col where the snow is wonderful. With a few centimetres and a brisk wind the tracks of yesterday were erased and Kari was purring with the views and the quality of the snow. It was great skiing all the way to the bottom and the trip through the gorge was as impressive as ever. It was another terrific morning and a fabulous introduction to ‘Alpine’ for Kari.

Meanwhile, Andreas skied the Grand Vallon, Pays Desert and Col Pers as well, and Olivier was also in the neighbourhood, grinning form ear-to-ear. Thomas was also skiing the Fornet sector but I’m not too sure what all he skied. Chris decided to go for a walk and they ‘skinned’ to the Ouille des Tretetes for some excellent north-facing snow followed by a trip up to the Col des Fours, which I’m sure was pretty good as well. Bravo Tejina!

Andreas is skiing with Kevin S this week who remembers my moustache from 25-years ago. I’m always a little worried when eye-witnesses from that period are in town as we did have a pretty outrageous time in those days, but Kevin seems fairly discreet, thank goodness! Great to see you again Kevin.

Gill and I walked Mel up the Manchet valley this afternoon to watch Katie’s cross-country skiing and we spotted a group of people skiing the Banane at 3:15. No wonder there isn’t any clean spring snow on the classic slopes these days. Idiots!

I’m not too sure about the forecast although it is becoming overcast as I write at 4:30pm. Fingers crossed for either some more snow or some sunshine as we can work with either for a few days.

PS I forgot to mention Stephen’s ‘Splat du jour’, which according to Robert could be the best of the season. He was craving away on his way down to the T-bar when it hit some softer-than-expected snow and he went for a beauty, upside-down and spinning around with his legs up in the air. I was wondering why half the group had gone missing but it became evident when Stephen showed up with snow in his ears, mouth and nose. Glad you’re still in one piece Steve!

19 March 2012
Not much vis but great skiing in the Fornet!

It was teasingly sunny towards Tignes this morning and I stood at the bus stop trying to decide which way to go. The Fornet has been socked-in for the past few days, meaning that more snow may have fallen in that sector and even though it was cloudier with less visibility I decided to head that way at the last second. (Partly because Jean and I had spent the past few days in Tignes and we both wanted a change of scenery, but also to have the option of staying north as all the other exposures are crunchy underfoot) We were rewarded immediately as we were the first group to dive into the Grand Vallon, which was excellent top-to-bottom. The light was good enough to navigate and ski comfortably although we did have a foggy patch halfway down. From there we stayed as north as possible in the Combe du Signal, which was very good although we could feel the base, but no one was complaining. We then skied a great run in the Combe du 3300 where the top half was pretty good but the bottom sector where we could turn north again was fantastic. Then it was time to head over the Col and we knew before arriving that it was going to be wonderful as it faces north all the way down to the valley floor and we’d have a soft cushion underfoot. The bonus was having only two tracks in front of us and finding our deepest snow of the morning with a good 25cm’s on the top half of the mountain with enough light to ski and find our way home. The trip through the gorge was beautiful and there were signs of a few more holes getting ready to appear while the existing holes are slowly getting bigger. There was also some avalanche debris at the exit to negotiate followed by a fantastic wildlife show on the road out, featuring a herd of magnificent Bouquetin and Gypete.

Meanwhile, Andreas and Olivier headed towards the sunshine in Tignes and had great snow off the Verte and in the Lower Borsat. Andreas skied the Chardonnet then circled back towards the Familial and Spatule and I’m not too sure what Oli skied. Chris decided to ’skin’ and his team of Tejina, Mike A and Suzanne skied Mont Roup, which Chris gave a 10/10 rating. Nice one! Thomas had the gastro and needed to cancel this morning while Henry was having one of his ‘paperwork’ mornings.

Gill’s friend Niki came along this morning and she did brilliantly, especially when you consider how rarely she gets to ski off-piste. I know her Mum will be logging-on so don’t forget to check the photos Carol!

Hopefully we’ll get some more snow tonight as not much fell over the past 24-hours. Besides the northern slopes you can still feel the frozen surface underfoot and more snow is needed to soften things up.

Sports Report- Great drive Jenson, and a wonderful final round for Luke Donald as he regained the World Number One ranking from Rory.

18 March 2012
Please let it snow!

It was another tricky day and I felt like the Lone Ranger (without Tonto) at the Gourmandine this morning as the rest of the boys had the day off. There was a threat of snow first thing, especially towards the Fornet where it looked quite socked-in so I headed towards the best light Sachette-way to ski some powder up top and spring towards the bottom. After arriving via the piste the traverse into the Sachette is getting more interesting with each passing day but we made it without too much hassle. The skiing on the top half was all nice winter snow and it was a good reward for our efforts. We then ’skinned’ for ten-minutes up towards the Glacier Suspendu to access some fantastic slopes but with the cloud-cover and gentle breeze the snow didn’t quite soften as much as I was hoping. Once down off the big slope the snow softened nicely as we got lower down and the bottom third was a very good texture. From there we skied some bits and pieces and finished with spring snow in the Familial.

Olivier is in town and we crossed paths with him towards the end of the morning as he’s here skiing with his Belgian team. Great to have you back Oli!

I forgot to mention Robert’s heroic move a couple of days ago. At the end of the morning we were skiing the Tommeuses piste before dropping into the Familial when there was some loud shouting behind us. A run-a-away ski was hurtling down and Robert calmly ski in front of it and corralled it with the basket of his pole. It was a very impressive catch and perfectly executed. Well done Robert!

Thanks to Stephen and Kaye for taking the girls swimming again this morning as well as feeding them lunch. It freed Gill up to ski with Niki and meant I could rest and stay dry this afternoon!

It cleared off this afternoon without any fresh snow to speak of and I’m praying for some snow tonight as a fresh canvas is now desperately needed!

PS Good work on the photos Jean!

17 March 2012
Two-days in one!

We had two days in one today with grey skies and snow this morning and glorious sunshine this afternoon. At 12:15 when we were skiing in flat-light with falling snow I would never have dreamed that I’d be eating outside in the sun at Les Brevieres an hour later! It was an incredible turn-around to say the least.

It was never going to be easy today as we had flat-light, some southerly wind and no sunshine to soften the frozen spring snow. We did our best and Henry and I skied the Rosolin together but unfortunately the wind had worked it over slightly, and although still very pleasant it wasn’t as good as I’d been hoping. From there my team ‘skinned’ to the Borsat West and by this time the light was really flat. We had some rough piste to deal with en-route (better bet than frozen spring snow) but once we had our ‘skins’ on the snow was very good indeed. We then skied piste on the way home and I left the team at the bottom of Tommeuses so that I could meet the girls for a cracking lunch at L’Armailly in Les Brevieres. At this stage I had no idea that we’d be eating outside on a sunny terrace. Thanks ever so much for lunch Niki!

I’m not too sure where Henry ended up and I don’t know what Chris skied this morning, while both Andreas and Thomas were off. Olivier has arrived and will be here for the next ten-days or so and I’m looking forward to catching up with him.

The girls skied with Anna, Kiera and Didier this morning and had a great ski with some technique from Didier before meeting me for lunch. Thanks for taking care of them Didier! And thanks for dinner Thursday night Chrissy, it was excellent!

Hopefully it will snow tonight because the little snow that fell this morning isn’t going to change things. Fingers crossed as we really need a fresh cushion!

Sports Report- Bravo Wales for winning the Six Nations in style! I’ve England v Ireland on in the background and Millie informs me England have just kicked a penalty and moved ahead 6-3. Thankfully the Hammers scored a late equaliser against Leeds as we’re now down to third place and need to find some form to claw our way back for a top-two finish.

16 March 2012
I'm really pleased with the team!

We continue to squeeze what we can out of the conditions and I must say the boys are doing a pretty good job! Hopefully we’ll get some relief and receive some fresh snow Sunday and/or Monday, because a fresh canvas would be greatly appreciated.

I had a nice mix of powder and spring today, starting off with the Mont Blanc to get the legs going and test the snow. From there we had an excellent Rosolin with 15, 20, and 90-turns shots, followed by some lovely bonus turns after out 10-minute ‘skin’. We then switched to spring snow off the Genepy, my shoulder and the meadows below before ‘skinning’ towards the Borsat West for about 20-minutes. (I thought it was 15-minutes but Helen informs me it was 25, so I’ve split the difference!) There we skied a couple of really good pitches of powder followed by some spring snow under the Fresse chair, and we finished off with great spring snow in the Familial.

Meanwhile, Chris ‘skinned’ to the Col du Montet for a great outing while Thomas went down to Ste Foy to ski some wonderful spring snow on the south-side of the Foglietta. Andreas finished his five-day engagement with Ian S with a lovely Crete du Genepy. They had a brilliant week as Andreas introduced Ian to some touring with the Glacier Pers and the Crete, but I get the impression that Ian prefers to fly! Last I heard from Henry he was heading Tignes-way to ski spring snow but I haven’t heard from him and couldn’t get him on the radio this morning. Gill skied with me this morning while her pal Niki had a fantastic ski with Laura and Kiera.

We’ll enjoy another sunny day tomorrow, which could be our last as next week has a forecast for a little snow Sunday and Monday followed by some in-and-out weather for the rest of the week.

Sports Report- Tough night for the Manchester teams last night but thank goodness Chelsea restored a little pride for the Premiership on Wednesday. It’s been the worst Premiership performance in Europe since 1996 or so. And my Calgary Flames are doing their best to sneak into the play-offs, which would be fantastic as I’d love to watch them in early May when I go back to visit my parents. Come on you Flames! I must admit to being a little nervous about the Hammers as we’ve some tough games coming up and really need some results after dropping points against some of the weaker teams.

15 March 2012
Excellent spring snow with a little powder bonus!

We’re all making the best of the current conditions as the sun continues to shine and we hopefully await some snow on Sunday or Monday. I headed up to the Crete du Genepy for some spring snow but a couple pitches of good powder presented themselves so we skied those before ‘skinning’ back up for some lovely spring snow. It was great skiing top-to-bottom but once out and on top of the Manchet it was decision time as I was worried about the Cugnai being too hard and rutted, so we skied piste down Solaise and took the Olympique back up Bellevarde. There we skied a few turns of powder en-route to some nice spring snow in the bowl off the Fresse before finishing with a very pleasant Familial. I had the pleasure of skiing with Mark and Helen this morning, who are cousins of TJ’s and are new to off-piste. They skied really well and slotted into the ‘Alpine’ rhythm brilliantly. TJ would have been proud of them!

Meanwhile, Chris went off to the Sachette and had some great skiing with powder on the top pitch followed by excellent spring snow to the bottom, and he finished off in the Familial. Thomas went up to the Fornet and had good skiing in the Col du Montet before exiting through the gorge, while Henry went down to Ste Foy to ski the south-side of the Foglietta and down to the Pigettes. Henry reported fantastic spring snow and a great outing. (Check Henry’s blog tonight as I’m sure he’ll post a photo or two) Andreas’ jammy week of wonderful lunches while skiing with Ian S got even better today. They hooked up with a guide-friend of Andreas’ and shared a helicopter and had a couple of drops in Italy, but I’m not too sure if they finished off a great morning with lovely food in Italy or France? Either way, bon appetite boys!

Gill’s lifelong friend Niki arrived last night for a visit and they skied down to Les Brevieres with Laura for lunch in the sun. Millie and Katie are extremely happy to have her here as she’s one of their favourites!

Chris wanted me to mention John D’s performance from last week. John was only here for a few days but skied the Foglietta, Mont Roup, Glaciers Pers, and I’m not sure what else. He had a fantastic time, skied really well and didn’t mind poor value for his lift pass. (Mind you, most of you are pretty good about that!) Bravo John!

Sports Report- Thanks very much to Johnny ‘Alpine’ for inviting Dave C and I up to his place for a stunning match of football last night. It was a wonderful game, the best I’ve seen for awhile, and what a great result for Chelsea and the Premiership. Thanks again John!

14 March 2012
Great powder and lovely spring snow!

As the heat wave continues the powder is becoming scarcer so I tried to make the most of it this morning. We started off with a ‘snow test’ off the Mont Blanc, which was positive and we enjoyed some warm-up turns in good winter snow. From there we blasted down the piste into Tignes and made our way up the cable-car to access the Rosolin, which was excellent. We skied a pitch of 20-turns, followed by one of 30-turns before skiing 85-turns to the bottom in lovely winter snow. After ‘skinning’ out for 10-minutes there was another 40-turns awaiting us as we skied across the glacier towards the second chairlift. Once back on top we switched to spring snow and had great skiing down off the Genepy, my shoulder and the meadows below. After a 15-minute ‘skin’ we had some more bonus powder down off the little Borsat West followed by some nice spring snow under the Fresse chairlift. I spotted a good line of spring snow in the Campanules from the Les Tufs chair so we had a quick run there beside the avalanche debris and then finished off our morning with warm powder followed by spring snow in the Familial. It was a fantastic morning with a 60% powder-40% spring snow mix and we covered a lot of ground. I had a couple of new German clients, Florian and Jan, who are cracking good blokes, and they slotted in perfectly and had a wonderful morning.

The boys took care of me this morning as without knowing it I somehow dropped my camera getting on the Borsat chair. I was very pleasantly surprised when Al handed me the camera at the top saying, “You might need this.” Then at the end of the morning we were skiing the piste before dropping into the Familial and I was day-dreaming while congratulating myself on what a good morning we were having when I suddenly crossed my tips and went down like a sack of potatoes. Al went racing past me and I realized he was chasing my thermos, which had flown out of my backpack and was hurtling down the mountain. Peter also got in on the act and between them they corralled my flask. Thanks boys!

Meanwhile, Andreas was up at the Fornet introducing Ian to ‘skinning’ with the faithful Glaciers Pers before lunching at the Edelweiss, while Chris skied Mont Roup, the L and finished with a Pays Desert. Thomas started off towards Mont Roup as well but changed his mind and continued ‘skinning’ up to access the Borsat West from the top. From there he circled back around to ski the Rosolin before heading back home.

Gill and Laura took the girls skiing this morning and Laura’s had Katie all afternoon working on their jewellery project while Millie did some English school work. Thanks very much Laura, you’ve a couple of real little pals there!

Stay tuned for more fun in the sun tomorrow!

13 March 2012
A brilliant Glacier Pers!

It was even warmer again today so we took advantage of trying to get the best of the powder while we can and Chris, Thomas and I headed over the Col towards the Glacier Pers. It’s interesting getting over the Col but still pretty easy, relatively speaking, and the snow on the Glaciers Pers was excellent. Towards the bottom we cut out way right above the refuge to get clean snow as well as ambience and it was a cracking finish. I had Diana Tingley along and we haven’t skied together for six-years as she’s been married and had two boys during that time, and it was great to see her again. The boys were also well impressed with her skiing as she skied beautifully today, bravo Diana! Thomas took his team across the glacier and up towards the Gros Caval and they had a terrific ski as well.

Meanwhile Andreas has a week’s private with Ian S and they started off around the Lavachet and Sachette before lunching in the Fruitiere. Pretty jammy Andreas! They then continued on this afternoon around the Spatule, Jardin du Borsat and Familial.

Gill, Laura and Mel walked up to the Manchet to give Mel some exercise and to watch Katie’s cross-country session with the school. Stephen and Kaye were also up there as they’ve volunteered to help with Christian’s cross-country class.

Millie and Katie started to speak to one another in French last night and Gill and I were gob smacked by Katie’s French as we’ve never heard her speak it before. She’s shy about it and refuses to speak it when we’re around and we’ve hoped that she says something in school, so it was a relief to hear her in action. Millie’s speaking beautifully now and it’s a pleasure to hear their lovely accents. (Unlike mine of course!)

More sun is forecast for tomorrow and well done you Gunners for an excellent win last night.

12 March 2012
Bonjour boys!

Chris, Andreas and I all headed down to Ste Foy as the sunny and warm weather continues. Chris and I ‘skinned’ up to ski the Foglietta and ended up going around to the fourth entrance, which I don’t think we’ve done before. (If so it certainly looked different) It was Adrian and Al’s first turns of the season and they were thrown into the steep and deep immediately. Bonjour! (They thought I was kidding when I said take advantage of the six warm-up turns on the piste between the second and third chairs!) The walk up had firmed up considerably and thankfully Suzanne was there to sort out my new couteaux as I’m technically retarded and was trying to put them on upside down. What a jerk and thank goodness nobody spotted me! Thanks very much Suzanne! Anyway, well done Al and Michael C who didn’t need theirs, good effort. The entrance was jolly impressive as we needed to do a little rock-hugging but everyone made it in and we had great skiing top-to-bottom as we stayed high and worked our way to the right to keep getting clean pitches. My team made it to the bus with three-minutes to spare while Chris’ team skied down to the Monal Hotel and taxied home from there. Meanwhile Andreas ‘skinned’ to Arrete Montseti with his team and they had a wonderful outing as well. Back in town Henry had good skiing in the Lavachet and was planning on skiing the Sachette as well and I’m not too sure what Thomas was up to.

It was Al, Adrian, Frans, and perhaps John D’s first trip to the Foglietta, which always makes it that much better, and it was Jeremy, Jerry, Johnny ‘Alpine’, and Robert’s first trip to Montseti.

Nana left this morning after a flying visit that was shortened by the rockslide and Millie’s just returned from school saying, “I wish Nana was still here!” Ah, it’s nice to know you’re loved. But they are however, very pleased to have Laura and Mel back!

Another beautiful day is forecast again for tomorrow and we’ve a few days of good skiing to come but we’ll be grateful for snow when it arrives.

PS Great photos Jean, especially the entrance!

11 March 2012
Another great morning under blue skies!

The day started off slightly hazy but the skies cleared quickly and we were subjected to another stunning day! After a couple of days in the Fornet I headed to Tignes, along with Chris, and we had a brilliant ski with a warm-up off the Mont Blanc, followed by an excellent Lavachet, an equally good Sachette, and a lovely Familial to finish. Unfortunately Suzanne lost her Patagonia jacket off the back of her backpack and one of Chris’ clients had a calf injury on the piste and needed to be helped off the mountain by the Pisteurs. Meanwhile, Thomas was down in Ste Foy skiing the Foglietta in great conditions and Andreas ‘skinned’ up to the Col des Fours for a fantastic ski with Jeremy, Jerry and a couple of Vikings.

Gill and I took the girls for a combination of off-piste, jumping and piste cruising this afternoon while Nana enjoyed the sunshine before watching the superb rugby match. Liz was pretty pleased with the result but I’m sure Jean R is bummed!

I’d like to thank Peter B for baby-sitting last night while Gill, Liz and I enjoyed ourselves at Stephen and Kaye’s. Merci beaucoup to Stephen and Kaye as well for a great meal!

Sport Report- Although I’m still rueing West Ham’s poor result I’m sure the world’s Man U fans will be jolly pleased with themselves as City don’t seem all that serious about winning the title. It’s game on now! And what a cracking good rugby match, wow! A demain.

10 March 2012
Bad news in Hammerland!

Woe is me as Doncaster has just equalised and the Hammers are wobbling. Hopefully by the time I finish this update they’ll have found a winner! Anyway, it was much warmer today and I was slightly over-dressed as yesterday it was jolly chilly in places and I wore the same layers today. I was travelling light with Jean, John E and Gill and we headed up to the Fornet to make the most of the excellent snow up there. We skied a cracking Pays Desert with a couple of ten-minute ‘skins’ before heading over the Col for a fantastic Tour du Lechoir (not sure of spelling as I can’t find my map) before exiting through the gorge.

After a great lunch with Nana I took the girls out for a ski this afternoon, which included a few trips through the snow park. I’m glad they’re still small enough to enjoy the green jumps as some of those bigger ones look a little intimidating for an old guy, especially one with a fake hip.

Chris was off to Mont Roup this morning, Thomas was heading towards the Sachette and Andreas went back down to Ste Foy, but I haven’t heard from any of the boys.

The sun is forecast to shine with warm temperatures for a few more days.

It’s a short update tonight as I’m a little weary and getting ready to go out to dinner. And Doncaster drawing with the Hammers doesn’t help. I can just imagine the boos ringing around Upton Park!

9 March 2012
What an action packed 24-hours!

A lot has happened here since yesterday’s update! There was 80-cubic metres of rock that slid down onto the main road above Les Brevieres last evening around 7:30 and the road is still closed but due to open around 5:30 this afternoon. They’ve cleared the rock away but need to secure the mountainside before allowing traffic to pass underneath. The road is to open between 5:30 pm and 2 am before closing again for the night. They’re obviously desperate to have the road safely open for tomorrow, which of course is the busiest travel day of the week. Check out this radio val news update

Gill’s Mum was coming up from Geneva last night with Sarah J and needed to spend the night down at Andreas and Tansy’s. Thanks ever so much you two for getting everything ready and taking care of them. This morning Andreas, Thomas, Liz, Sarah and 30% of the work force made it up by driving to Les Brevieres and taking the rickety old chair up to Les Boisses where buses were waiting to get people to work. Gill and Dom drove down to pick the ladies up and Liz thankfully could get on with visiting her grand-daughters. It was well organised and had a sense of community spirit about it.

And now on to today’s skiing, which was absolutely superb! Thomas and Chris decided to go for a walk so they ’skinned’ up to the Glacier Pers and had wonderful snow all the way down before exiting through the gorge. Andreas, who came all the way up turned straight around as his Vikings wanted to go to Ste Foy. They skied down to Les Brevieres then took a taxi to Ste Foy and although I haven’t had a report it will have been fantastic as well.

Meanwhile I decided on a ‘maximum-turn’ session and headed up to the Fornet where we warmed-up under the Vallon Bubbles while waiting for the lifts to open. We then headed upstairs and had two excellent runs in the Pays Desert, the second of which we ‘skinned’ for ten-minutes to access the clean slopes to the bottom. From there we headed over the Col and traversed right for a few hundred metres before skiing outstanding snow right down to the river. Colin said, “That wasn’t just better than sex, it was better than good sex”! Trust Colin to come up with something appropriate! Anyway, being 1 pm and later than normal the gorge was stunning as the sun was starting to shine on the blue ice-walls hanging down into the gorge, which made them much more vivid and it was a spectacular sight to finish off a great morning.

Gill and Liz have gone off to the Manchet valley to watch Katie’s cross-country skiing session with her school and I’m relaxing at home finishing off the update. Gill had the camera this morning,(which was unfortunate as the photo opportunities where brilliant) so Jean has taken all today’s photos. I’m looking forward to your selection Jean!

It looks like sun is forecast for the next few days so we’ll be walking again. Stay tuned!

PS Special mention to Stephen and Robert this morning, both of whom had some moments of clarity on their skis. Brilliant boys! The rest of the team of Colin, Kaye, Jeremy, and Jean didn’t do too badly either. And I bonded with my Movement Bonds today. I’ve been getting to like them more each day but today they were stunning leaving me extremely pleased with them, and Jean had a big smile on his face as well!

PSS Andreas had a brilliant Foglietta with Jorgen and friends and they then taxied back to Les Brevieres and skied the Sache back down to their cars at 4pm. That’s a new combo! Andreas said it looks totally different in the Sache at that time as we’re normally in there around 11:30am.

8 March 2012
Fun in the fog!

Around 10cm’s of fresh snow fell overnight and added to the snow of a couple of days ago we profited from a lovely soft cushion. This morning was about aiming for the areas of the mountain with the best visibility and trying to avoid the fog, which was thick and disorientating. (You’ll see the difference on the photos) Chris and I started off in great vis (relatively speaking) and good snow in the Lower Borsat and the meadows down into Tignes. There we had a decision to make about going up to the Motte to try to get above it, or try the big face on the Grande Balme, which was tantalisingly clear. The Balme turned out to be excellent as I was worried it might be firm underfoot but enough new snow blew in to make it a really good ski. From there it looked as if the Lavachet had decent light so we headed that way but ran into a serious fog bank that made navigating interesting. I took a compass reading just to make sure before starting the traverse across the Familial and I’m glad I did because it was nasty. We arrived and had wonderful skiing through the little trees and finally broke through towards the bottom on the final pitch, and we then ‘skinned’ out. Chris was in the mood to take on the fog again in the Familial so I followed him this time and we broke through in time to enjoy a good ski to the bottom.

Meanwhile Andreas and Thomas were battling the same elements and trying to ski with visibility wherever possible. Andreas skied the Familial a couple of times, the Sache and he may have skied the Chardonnet as well. I’m not too sure where Thomas ended up but everyone had a great morning with some adventurous ambience thrown in. Bravo boys!

The sun is forecast for tomorrow and several days after. We’ve had enough snow to give us a fresh canvas and we should have some great skiing for the next few days. Unfortunately it’s also forecast to get hot again, which won’t do the snow any good, mais c’est la vie!

Millie and Katie are looking forward to Nana coming this evening for a three-day visit. They’re also looking forward to Peter baby-sitting on Saturday night, as he’s planning fun and games for them. (And thanks Jonathan for last week, they were well impressed with your wicked sense of humour)

Sports Report- The hammers blew their chance to take over first-place last night but when you’re losing in the 87th-minute, a draw is a pretty good result!

7 March 2012
A stunning day with fantastic skiing!

It was back to blue cloudless skies again with warmer temperatures today and everyone had a wonderful morning. Chris decided on taking his new boys on a walk so they ‘skinned’ up to the Col des Fours and had a brilliant ski, which Chris rated as 10/10. Pretty good going I’d say! Meanwhile Andreas and Thomas headed up to the Fornet and went directly over the Col to get the best of the powder there and had a great ski before exiting through the gorge. They then circled back around to ski the Pays Desert to finish of their morning.

I headed the other way and started off with a good warm-up off the Mont Blanc piste before an excellent Lavachet. From there we headed to the Sachette and ran into Gill, Millie and Katie for a little piste bash with a couple of chairlift rides. The Sachette was very good top-to-bottom with good winter powder up top and through the middle sections followed by warmer soft snow on the spring-side at the bottom. We finished off a lovely morning with a big banana-shaped Familial to get maximum-turns out of the slope.

Andreas had a family ski with his children this afternoon while I had a homework session with my girls. Suzanne has been back skiing with Chris the past few mornings and Gill will be back in action tomorrow.

The forecast is mixed for tomorrow so we’ll wait and see and get on with whatever comes our way.

Have a look at the McMinn website which features a story about my hip op and rehab.

Sports Report- It was a great effort from the Gunners last night and what a shame they couldn’t get a fourth goal. And tonight the Hammers have a big match and a chance to take over first place. Come on West Ham!

6 March 2012
Back to the Fornet!

There hasn’t been much of a chance to ski at the Fornet since the windstorms of early January so I thought I’d take the opportunity this morning, even though the clearer skies were towards Tignes. Chris is always looking for an excuse to head to the Fornet so he came as well and we enjoyed some wonderful skiing with just enough light throughout the morning. We were the first ones off the Signal Poma and dove straight into the Grand Vallon, which was excellent. From there we skied a very good Combe du Signal before heading upstairs to the Glacier. We skied the Combe du 3300, which was really good except for a couple of crunchy patches but it got better and better towards the bottom where it was gentler and more northerly. We decided to stay north so we went over the Col Pers, and what a transformation! Stepping in was a breeze compared to what it’s been and for the first time all season, it looks soft and white below. It was a cracking good ski, even towards the bottom where we chose to climb over the Grand Torsai to avoid the gorge, and we had good snow on a smooth firm base in the little gullies. Sarah skied really well and made progress during the morning while picking up a ‘skier of the morning’ award. Bravo Sarah, it was well merited and not just to wind up Dom!

Meanwhile, Andreas had a great morning as well with his team of Danish Vikings, lead by Jorgen Jensen, who is a regular reader of the diary. Skoal Jorgen! They skied the Borsat, Chardonnet, Palet, Genepy, Familial, and the Spatule twice. Take it easy on Andreas boys, he still has two months to go! Henry and Thomas were both in Tignes following the sunshine as well this morning and although I don’t know what they skied they will have skied similar runs to Andreas’ team.

It clouded over again this afternoon and I’m sure it’s snowing up at the Fornet, which is brilliant news because even though the skiing is much improved we could still use some more snow to cover the crunchy base that is lingering on any slopes that are steep or not facing north. The sun is forecast to shine tomorrow before more snow moves through on Thursday. Brilliant!

And Happy 7th Birthday to you Anna!

5 March 2012
Back in business!

Around 10cm’s fell overnight and with a little help from the wind there was a decent accumulation in places and enough new snow to make for a very pleasant morning. I was on a ‘maximum-turn’ theme and we had some great skiing off the Verte/Mont Blanc, one beside the Borsat piste back to the chair, and then the Lower Borsat into Tignes. Chris and I then headed up the Funicular for a good run off the Leisse and my shoulder, but a fog rolled in and it was a little chunky underfoot so we skied back down using both sides of the Genepy piste and finding lovely snow en route. Chris then went up to ski a good run in the Combe des Lanches while my team opted for a hot chocolate and Chris then finished up an excellent morning in the Familial. After our chocolate stop we skied the meadows under the Grande Balme then finished with the Familial as well.

It was Jean’s first day back in three weeks and he thoroughly enjoyed getting back into it while Stephen and Kaye have been skiing greens and blues with family for the past two weeks, so they were pretty keen as well. Geoff is over-the-moon with the performance of his new knee-replacement, Gill, Penny and Inga were on good form, so we had a pretty jolly group.

Meanwhile Andreas had Douglas and Melissa, one of whom was on a board so he needed gravity-assistance and headed to the Chardonnet for a lovely ski, followed by the Sache, the Familial and then he finished with a little Spatule.

Chris had Jan from Holland, Jean, and new clients Simon and another chap named Matt, who’s from Angola of all places. The new boys slotted in brilliantly and skied really well.

Hopefully we’ll get more snow tonight and I’m really enjoying my new skis!

PS. Andreas has some more news about the accident in the gorge a couple of days ago. It was rumoured that the snow bridge collapsed but in fact the man who was killed fell into an existing hole. It was the hole around the middle of the route down, where normally the opening can be quite big and intimidating. At the moment the hole is very small and really quite easy to navigate around so in my opinion the accident was extremely bad luck and very unfortunate. I’ve been through there four or five times this season and the passage has been about as easy as it gets. (Unless it’s changed drastically in the past four days). The family group of four was being guided down by an ESF instructor around 4pm when the father fell into the hole and was swept under the snow bridge.

4 March 2012
Tragedy in the gorge yesterday!

I had my second morning off this season today and I was hoping for a snowstorm of some sort but when I awoke to blue sky and a dusting of new snow I felt like skiing. (I figure that’s a pretty good sign really!) The girls were going to a swimming party for Anna’s 7th birthday so Gill and I snuck off for a little ski. We ran into John E at the Funival so the three of us had a nice little ski off the Verte, in the Lower Borsat, the Familial, and the Jardin du Borsat. Claire Burns was also in the Funibin and she came up with, “a little dust on the crust” to describe the effect of the new snow. To be fair the dusting actually made quite a difference and smoothened out some slopes quite nicely, but it was a good line.

The girls had a great swim then we met at the Perdrix for a birthday lunch with Anna, Millie, Katie, Christian, Kaye, Stephen, Kiera, Didier, and Anna’s Grandparents, Mike and Vivien. It was an excellent lunch and I must say the Perdrix do a wonderful Cheeseburger with superb fries. Brilliant. They are very child-friendly and let Kiera bring in a chocolate cake that she’d baked for Anna’s birthday. Thanks Mike and Kiera for footing the bill!

It’s forecast to snow tonight so cross your fingers as it’s absolutely beautiful here at the moment.

Sports Report- The Hammers have just beaten Cardiff 2-0 away to secure three massive points as Southampton kept up the pressure yesterday with a good away win at Leeds, and I’m off the watch the Man U v Spurs game with Geoff shortly.

As reported by Radio Val.

Un skieur passe au travers un pont de neige dans les Gorges de Malpasset

03 mars 2012

Malgrè une intervention rapide et importante des secours, un skieur est décédé cet après midi dans les Gorges de Malpasset. Ce skieur évoluant dans un groupe accompagné par un moniteur est passé à travers un pont de neige au lieu dit “Les Dailles” le faisant tomber dans un trou où l’eau circulait. L’endroit où s’est produit l’accident a été très difficile d’accès et la progression des secouristes très périlleuse. Alertés à 16h40, Une dizaine de secouristes dont 4 pisteurs de Val mais aussi des CRS et gendarmes spécialistes de la plongée sont intervenus aidés par 3 hélicoptères pour tenter de venir au secours de la victime. Après avoir mis en oeuvre tous les moyens possibles, les secouristes ont pu extraire la victime de son piège à 18h30. Malheureusement, le skieur était sans vie. Les pompiers emmeneront le corps dans la petite chapelle de Val d’Isère. (Notre photo : les gorges de Malpasset)
3 March 2012
Squeezed in another great morning before the change in weather!

I was on my own today as the rest of the boys were off so it was a little lonely at the Gourmandine this morning. I had planned on going to the Fornet for a change of scenery but changed my mind and headed towards the Motte instead. We had a cracking ski off the Rosolin in good winter snow before ‘skinning’ out for ten minutes to access 40-turns or so in superb snow across the glacier towards the ‘Wall’. From there we switched to spring snow off the Leisse, then my shoulder and the meadows below before ‘skinning’ again for more winter snow on the Borsat West. The snow was excellent again this morning and I’m pleased with this week’s work as we skied great snow in tough conditions and everyone has really enjoyed their skiing.

Thanks to Ian, Harry, Jonathan and Penny who took Gill, Millie, Katie and I to lunch at the Bar des Sports. Diana was also there along with their friend Steve, and it was good fun. Ian then accompanied Millie, Katie and I for a good piste bash this afternoon. Ian bought some new skis (Movement Couloir Gaz) and he had a chance to put them through their paces this afternoon. (And I found my new skis even better today and I think I’m really going to enjoy them.)

It was much cooler this afternoon, the wind started to pick up and clouds started to roll in. I’ve tomorrow off and I’m hoping for a foul day with wind and snow, one that you are really happy to be missing. Hopefully we’ll get some snow tomorrow and again on Monday as we are in desperate need of a fresh canvas.

And thanks again to Jonathan who’s volunteered to baby-sit the girls tonight. They’re really looking forward to it because for some reason they think he’s a really fun and naughty character. Never!

Sports Report- Bravo Arsenal!
PS And you too Roger Federer!

2 March 2012
First day on my new skis!

It took some thought this morning as the Meteo France Avalanche Forecast was pretty off-putting to say the least, with the risk rated at 3 rising to 4 between 10am and noon on sunny slopes below 2500 metres. There was a good re-freeze overnight so we decided to go ahead with our plans and Chris and I headed up to the Crete du Genepy in search of spring snow. It was a lovely walk and after the heat of the past few days we found excellent spring snow top-to-bottom. I’d imagined perfectly smooth snow but our tracks from weeks ago when we were skiing powder were showing through plus a few tracks from more recent skiers, but we managed to find good lines all the way and it was another good result.

Andreas took his team to the Col des Fours, and although tracked there is still winter snow to had and they enjoyed an excellent outing. I heard Thomas on the radio but I’m not too sure what he was up to and there was no sign of Henry this morning.

I tried my new skis this morning and they’re pretty zippy on the piste and are going to be really good fun. They feel as if they may need a little tuning on the edges but I think I’m going to love them and I’m looking forward to some fresh snow next week to see how they go in the powder. (I’m also looking forward to a good piste blast with the girls tomorrow afternoon because they really have some get-up-and-go in them)

It’s been hot and sunny again today and more of the same is forecast for tomorrow. They’ve closed the Manchet cross-country circuit this afternoon due to avalanche risk so Katie will have missed her x-country skiing with the school this afternoon.

1 March 2012
A really fun morning!

The sun was belting down the heat again today and we’re enjoying ridiculously beautiful weather, the type of weather you might expect on a tropical island somewhere. After testing the snow on a gentle north-facing slope this morning it was thumbs-up for continuing the search for winter snow and we had a cracking good morning mixing winter powder with a few pitches of spring snow. We warmed-up in some lovely snow off the Mont Blanc piste, which is a great testing ground, then skied piste down to the Funicular in Tignes. Chris had a run-in with some out-of-control piste skiers and had a bit of a go at them and then asked a pisteur for some support but it seems they’re helpless against dangerous skiers. It’s a pity because the pistes are a scary place now and it makes me sick they way some people ski. They are a menace, totally selfish, irresponsible and a serious threat to everyone else on the pistes and thank God we spend 99.99% of our time off-piste. Good on you Chris! Anyway, once up the train we had a lovely pitch of spring snow followed by spring-like snow down the edge of my shoulder and onto winter snow at the bottom where we put on our ‘skins’. After ‘skinning’ to the Borsat West we had good snow all the way down then finished the morning with a really funky Alti-port, which called for 10-minutes of ‘skinning’ to bring us back to the sunny slopes opposite the Alti-port. It was a great morning and Penny summed it up with, “That was a really fun morning”. And good on Penny today as she is getting her ‘skins’ on quicker and quicker and is walking better with each passing day. Bravo Penny!

Meanwhile Henry took David H and his team over the Col for the Glacier Pers and I’m sure they had a good time, and I think Andreas went down to Ste Foy with his pals Henry and Fiona, while Thomas was back in action skiing around the Motte followed by the Sache.

I shocked the Jean Sport team by buying my first new pair of skis (that are still current) in 10-years this afternoon. I chose a pair of Movement Bonds and even though they are wider than I’m used to, they’re still pretty skinny compared to most. I tried some non-current Movement Couloir Gaz at Christmas for a couple of weeks and really enjoyed them and these Bonds have taken over from them. I’m quite looking forward to stepping into the 21st Century although I’ve gone as skinny as possible!

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