Wayne's Daily Diary Archive

20 June 2007

31 January 2013
Rain in the village, snow upstairs!

I rejoiced last night around 9:30 when looking outside to see a steady rain falling because it meant snow at altitude and an improvement in conditions. After skiing in Tignes yesterday Andreas, Chris and I all headed to the Fornet to find some excellent skiing. My team started off with a great run on the piste with a lovely cushion of fresh snow, followed by a good run in the Combe du Signal from the Pyramid. From there we were first into the Combe 3300 for an excellent run before diving over the Col for first tracks to the bottom and good snow all the way. We then finished up with another in the lower Combe du Signal before skiing a nice run off the Mattis. Chris and Andreas skied similar runs with Andreas skiing one in the Grand Vallon before heading upstairs. It was a great morning with a nice mix of good snow, beautiful scenery and brilliant sunshine. Not bad! (Thomas was skiing with a family in Tignes for their initiation and he also did a beep search with them.)

I skied this afternoon with Adam and his son Tom again and although the skies clouded over and the wind started to blow we had a great afternoon skiing off the Verte, lower Borsat, Wayne’s Shoulder, Cairn and finishing with some Brico-Val on the way home. Well done boys and I look forward to seeing you both again later in the winter.

Our sunshine is finished for the moment but 30cm’s of snow is forecast for tomorrow and we can hardly complain about that!

After the Hammers result last night I won’t bother with a Sports Report!

30 January 2013
Not too bad for a stinker!

It blew a hoolie last night and it rained lightly up to around 3000m’s, and between the wind battering and rain crust it was never going to be the easiest of mornings. With that said my original test off the Verte was fairly positive as the slight ‘surface tension’ was easy to ski through and had quite a good feel to it. After a decent run in the lower Borsat and across the meadows Chris, Thomas and I headed up the Funicular to get above the rain crust. I was surprised to find out that it had rained as high as the summit of the Funicular but the gentler slopes had good ‘skiers snow’ and we left some pretty good team tracks. (I did try one steep pitch off the Motte and it was nasty, so I stayed on gentler terrain after that) Chris, Thomas and I ended up ‘skinning’ up to the little Borsat West, which gave us a mission and we ended up with some nice skiing. It turned into a real mission for some as Chris forgot his ‘skins’ and had to side-step up, while Adrian managed to put his ‘skins’ on the wrong-way-around. To be fair to Adrian his skis are slightly twin-tipped, which did throw him off. (See photos) From there we found some good bonus turns here and there and all in all I thought it was a pretty good morning considering what we had to work with.

Andreas started out trying the Little Lavachet, which he said was “shocking”, but that test let the rest of us know to forget the Sache as an option. Thanks Andreas! Andreas then circled back around and played off the Balme, the Genepy and the Familial, finishing up with a really good morning. (Chris spoke to an ESF guide who said the Sache was dreadful so thank goodness we all gave that a miss)

Chris had a group of four lovely ladies joining Nick and Ann today. Sandy, Polly, Alicia, and Julie were all very positive, had great senses of humour, and didn’t even notice the conditions were tough as they were having such a good time. Bravo ladies!

Gill and I took the girls tobogganing this afternoon and they had a brilliant time. It is an exhilarating sport but it is rather dangerous and I’m always glad when we come away unscathed. We saw Adrian and Charlotte having a ski together and it’s great to see Charlotte enjoying her skiing.

Well done to Andreas for doing the torchlight parade last night in memory of friends who were lost in the mountains. It’s an annual event and Andreas always goes along, as did TJ. Bravo Andreas!

Clive B and his pal Richard H are both in town and it’s great to see them both back and skiing together again. They go way back to our old Top Ski days and have spent some wonderful times here, and long may it continue.

It looks as if we’re in for another sunny day tomorrow, which is good news because you wouldn’t want to take this snow on in flat-light as you’d be asking for the ‘wishbone’ treatment, which is definitely not recommended! Snow is forecast for the weekend.

29 January 2013
Happy Birthday Boys!

After several days away it was time for a change of scenery and the entire team migrated to the Fornet. Chris, Andreas, Thomas, Henry and I were all working today and everyone had a jolly nice morning with good snow and for the most part, pretty decent light as well. The light held up until around noon when the clouds started to blot out the sun so the last part of the morning was a little trickier. My team started off in the Combe du Signal from the Pyramid, followed by a nice little shot off the Col poma, then a Combe 3300, and we finished with a good run over the Col Pers. All the boys were in the neighbourhood skiing similar type runs and a good morning was enjoyed by all.

I had a lovely afternoon with Adam F and his 13-year-old son Tom. Adam used to ski with me often with his brother Paul and friend Jonathan, but kids came along and we know and understand that complication. Anyway, Tom is here with just his Dad on a ‘boys week’ and they’re having a terrific time. Young Tom is already a pretty good powder skier and he’s a very keen golfer who plays regularly in Men’s Competitions partnering his Dad. How cool is that!

I’d like to wish Chris and Fred a very happy birthday today. Chris is celebrating (not really as JC doesn’t do birthdays) his 60th today while Grandpa Fred is definitely celebrating his 73rd. Have a great evening boys and bon appetit Fred!

It clouded over this afternoon and at 5:30PM it’s starting to snow lightly. The wind really picked up this afternoon so hopefully the wind won’t be too much of a factor and we get enough snow overnight to make a difference. Stay tuned!

28 January 2013
A fresh canvas out of nothing!

Ten centimetres of snow fell overnight, but what a difference it made! In the lee there was 20 to 30cm’s in places and after a misty start the skies cleared and everyone made the most of it. My team started off with a nice warm-up off the Verte, followed by one on Bonnevie’s Drag before skiing a lovely run in the Borsat. From there we followed Chris into the Col du Palet for a cracking run as the mist was lifting, and then up for a Combe des Lanches. We took the Funicular up and it was blowing a hoolie upstairs giving us a great ambience and excellent skiing off the Cairn, before finishing up a brilliant morning with the Familial. Adrian and Emmett were skiing again after missing last season and they were well pleased to be back, and it was Inga’s first off-piste of the season.

Meanwhile, Andreas was skiing with Chrissy, Lars and a new client Alex, and they had some great snow and an adventurous morning skiing the Borsat followed by the Chardonnet twice, before finishing with the Familial. Thomas is back from his tour in Switzerland with the boys and he was skiing all day with an Irish trio, Cathy, William and Jody, who all looked pretty good on their feet when I saw them this afternoon in the Familial.

I had a cracking afternoon with Celyn and her brother Johan skiing off the Verte, the Borsat, the Campanules, the Familial and then finishing with the Super Spatule. Johan is well into the off-piste and we hope to see them both later in the season.

According to my forecast we should have a sunny day tomorrow although my daughter Millie is predicting snow. Either or will do!

27 January 2013
Super Sunday !

It was a ‘bonus’ morning of sunshine today as it stayed clear for our ski before clouding over this afternoon. Chris had some new French clients today, Patrick and Catherine, who’ve skied in Val d’Isere for years. In fact, Patrick has skied here for 46 years and I’ve recognised them by sight for about 30-years! Anyway, Chris and I headed up to ski the Crete du Genepy and then decided to keep going and ski Mont Roup as well. The Crete was great and on Mont Roup we traversed hard skiers-left towards the spring-side, and had excellent snow top-to-bottom. It was Baye’s first trip out that way and she thoroughly enjoyed it and between us we also had Jean, Bernard, John E, Louise, Sharon, and Suzanne.

Meanwhile Andreas headed to the Glacier Suspendu (Terre Rouge) with Chrissy and John H and they a great trip as well. They managed to finish skiing before the clouds rolled in, which maximised the enjoyment of the morning. Chrissy was looking a little fragile this morning as she was out with Tony W and his pals last night, which sounds dangerous, but she was up to the task this morning. Well done Chrissy!

Gill had a fantastic time skiing with Millie and Katie this morning and couldn’t believe how much faster Katie is after her Club des Sports training. She knew Millie was fast but she’s a little depressed feeling she can’t keep up with her seven-year-old!

Hopefully this cloud cover will give us some new snow before ‘show-time’ tomorrow as a fresh canvas would be appreciated. For the first 30-days of the season I never used my ‘skins’ once, but in the 28-days since they’ve been used 21 times. No wonder my legs are feeling a little heavy! Anyway, we’re all hoping for a few flakes tonight.

Sports Report- Bad luck Andy but that Djokovic character is the undisputed heavyweight champion of the tennis world at the moment. It was a great achievement getting by Roger, but beating an on-form Novak was always asking a bit much.

26 January 2013
A terrific Col des Fours!

The sun was out again today and after an easier day yesterday it was time for another walk. Chris and I decided on the Col Des Fours and we were a little worried on the walk up has it was blowing a hoolie and the thought of damaged snow entered our minds. Fortunately when we arrived at the Col the wind was non-existent and the snow quality was pretty jolly good, which goes down well when you’ve made people walk for 75-minutes! The ski down was very good with JC’s team going one way and mine the other, and both teams found excellent snow. Chris then decided on a funky route through the waterfall, which was interesting with great ambience. We then ‘skinned’ up over the next little Col to find even better snow and the extra pitches finished off a wonderful morning, and Chrissy thought it was the best Col des Fours she’s skied in ages.

I had John H along for a bonus ski as he caught a lift with Thomas after a week in Switzerland touring with the boys. He was supposed to have spent today on trains and busses but he stayed at Thomas’ place last night and came up this morning with Muriel. John says thanks T and M! I also had a couple of young university students, Rory and Nick, who came via John Ellis. They had a fantastic time, skied really well, and slotted into the team seamlessly. Bravo boys and it was a pleasure to have you along! And it was nice to have David C along again today in Chris’ team as Stuart and Sandy finished their week.

Meanwhile, Andreas had a sly little grin on his face this morning as he told us about his lunch yesterday that finished at 7:30PM. Ouch! He looked fresh as a daisy however, after taking a taxi home and getting a good night’s sleep. Today they had a wonderful ski on the Crete du Genepy followed by Mont Roup. Nice one!

Henry was out this morning with David H’s team and they had a great time skiing around the Motte as Henry was introducing the newer members of David’s team to the pleasures of off-piste skiing.

Snow is forecast for tomorrow afternoon but hopefully we’ll get away with a sunny morning first.

25 January 2013
Taking it easy!

After walking yesterday I thought a ‘gravity-fed’ morning would be appreciated and we enjoyed great snow with minimum effort. After a little pep-talk about being more positive through the bottom foot, Jean, John, Chrissy, Gill and I started off on piste working on a little technique as we made our way over to the Aiguille Percee sector. From there we skied a good Cocaine Sud before heading back up for an excellent Sachette where the steeper pitches were wonderful. We then finished off a great morning with a faithfully good Familial Sud. Chris’ team were in the same area although we didn’t see much of them, and unfortunately Ruth hurt herself getting on the Aiguille Rouge chairlift and has damaged her elbow, but to what extent we don’t yet know. Fingers crossed that it isn’t broken!

Andreas was skiing with Tim’s team and his plan was to ski the Crete du Genepy and Mont Roup, but because of various rendez-vous’ amongst the team he had to change his plans and headed up to the Fornet to try the Col Pers. I haven’t heard a report and don’t know how he got on this afternoon. Meanwhile, Thomas is returning from a week of touring in Switzerland with JM and Oli.

Hopefully the sun will shine again tomorrow as we await a little snow on Sunday afternoon and evening.

24 January 2013
Great scenery and lovely snow!

Sorry for the late update but it’s been a busy day. We were treated to full sunshine all day long and although it was -12C upstairs this morning, it was jolly warm on the sunny slopes. Chris and I did a double ‘skin’ skiing the Crete du Genepy followed by Mont Roup, and our teams savoured great scenery and wonderful snow on every pitch. (Check photos) Meanwhile Andreas was skiing with Tim’s team and they had a fantastic morning around the Cocaine and Sache, followed by lunch and a good afternoon.

More sun is forecast for tomorrow with 20cm’s of fresh snow predicted for Sunday afternoon, which will be welcome by then. In the meantime we’ve enough good snow to enjoy ourselves over the next few days.

I went to bed at half-time last night with the score tied at 1-1 and felt like we had a chance for a point or maybe a late winner, but I was shocked to log-on at 6:45 this morning to find the Gunners had found 6th-gear and went on a goal feast. Bummer but thank goodness the sun was out! Stay tuned for more news tomorrow.

23 January 2013
A morning of initiation!

We were lucky again today as we had decent visibility this morning before the skies clouded over around 1PM. It’s threatening to snow at the moment (4PM) and hopefully we’ll have a few flakes of snow by morning.

I skied with some real characters this morning who’ve known each other since they were five-years-old growing up in Newcastle. Jonathan, Steve and Cam were skiing off-piste for the first time and we skied off the Verte, in the Borsat and the Familial, and mixed it up with some technique on the piste. The boys did really well and hopefully they’ll be back for more! (see photos)

Meanwhile, Chris and Andreas were heading towards the Sache/Sachette with Chris skiing the Borsat while Andreas skied the Little Lavachet en-route. Andreas finished up with Mickey’s Ears while Chris skied the Familial. Andreas has had a couple of young Vikings with him over the past couple of days who are here for the season. They were surprised and impressed by the way the ‘Alpine’ tracks helped to improve their skiing, and they had so much fun yesterday they brought two of their pals along today. Good news and well done Andreas!

West Ham are in action away to Arsenal tonight and I’d be over the moon with a point. It’s been a tough run over the past ten games or so and the bottom three aren’t nearly so far behind. It’s a murderous league that takes no prisoners and I must admit to feeling a little edgy. Come on boys!

22 January 2013
Fresh snow and blue skies!

The temperature dropped off overnight and it was 12C upstairs with winds forecast at 40 to 70kph, but it was predicted for the cloud cover to clear during the morning, which is exactly what happened. Yesterday afternoon and last night’s snow made a huge difference, especially in the lee where there were impressive accumulations of fresh snow in places, and with the sunshine there was a nice ‘feel-good’ factor. After three or four days skiing Bellevarde-Tignes way Chris talked me into heading towards the Fornet for a change of scenery even though the skies would clear towards Tignes first. It was like a day off as I was skiing with just Jean R and Gill and we had a nice warm-up on the Mattis followed by some good turns off the Laisinant Express. We took the Signal and were the first into the Grand Vallon (my first of the season) even though the visibility wasn’t that good. We skied all the way to the valley floor before coming back up into the sunshine for the Combe du Signal, the Combe du 3300, a quick hot chocolate as it was a bit of a holiday, followed by the Pays Desert. All good stuff! I never did see Chris this morning as he bussed up to the Fornet but last I heard he was about to be the first to dive over the Col Pers around 12:45 and his team were heading towards a 2 o’clock finish. Chris felt it might be the last chance for his team to see the views this week so he wanted to take advantage of the clear blue skies while they last.

Meanwhile, Andreas was back skiing after a few days off and he was raring to go. He had a couple of Vikings along with Colin and Derek and they had a great time as he gave them the Chardonnet/Sache treatment, which always goes down well. I bet they also had a cracking good run in the Borsat en-route. Nice one boys!

Katie is out with the school skiing again this afternoon and the weather at the moment is much kinder for the little ones than it was yesterday. The girls are having a wonderful time after settling into school and the Club des Sports, and they’re both loving the skiing, swimming, skating, social life and the general winter wonderland that this place is. It all makes me a pretty happy Daddy!

It’s forecast to be cloudy tomorrow with light snow in the afternoon, but fingers crossed for some visibility in the morning!

PS. I forgot my camera today so all the photos are on Jean’s link.
PSS. Great shots today Jean, thanks!

21 January 2013
Another unexpected result!

Like yesterday, it didn’t look very promising at the Gourmandine but we ended up having a jolly good morning. There was a nasty fog towards the Col de Galise so Chris and I decided to head up Bellevarde and half way up we broke through the cloud bank to cheers all around. We started off with one off the Fontaine Froide in the sun before heading up the Borsat for a very good Face Nord. We traversed in from under the chair to enter higher up and besides a rocky entry the snow was beautiful. From there we headed up the Funicular to ski the Rosolin before ‘skinning’ out and we then ‘skinned’ up to the Little Borsat West, which was good as well. My team skied piste home as David L had a plane to catch and by this time it was snowing and the light was flat and venturing off-piste at this stage wasn’t very appetizing. Fiona was along this morning and skied really well while Chris has the Sea-Captain, Sandy and Ruth back.

Henry used some of Jean’s (perhaps mine as well) photos in his ‘live’ internet broadcast last night and some of you may have seen it. It’s on his website if you missed it or if you’d like to see what Henry is up to these days.

It’s now snowing heavily, which is great news although little Katie is out in the storm with her ski class. But it beats maths any day!

Sports Report- The Baltimore Ravens are responsible for ruining the lives of two of my good friends. First Stretch was suicidal after the Ravens beat his Broncos in double-overtime in Denver last week, and then last night the Ravens upset Michael R’s beloved New England Patriots. Bad luck boys and could a wild-card team win it all two years in a row? My money is on the 49’ers.

PS I posted a great photo that Stuart took of Chris’ team in the Chardonnet yesterday.

20 January 2013
Uninspiring start, but a great morning!

The wind was blowing a hoolie this morning and when we arrived at the Gourmandine the sky was overcast and it wasn’t very inspiring. Heading into the wind at the Fornet would have been brave and we were worried about getting stuck in Tignes if the lifts closed due to wind, but in the end Chris and I headed up Bellevarde. After a test off the Verte, which was 50/50, we headed up the Borsat and climbed up to take the Face Nord from the top. It was good skiing and ambience and we continued down through the meadows into Tignes. From there we hiked up into the Chardonnet where the wind was fiercely whipping the snow around so that you could hardly see at times, but the ambience was excellent and the snow was easier to ski than it looked, which was a result as it wasn’t a pretty sight! We then had a good pitch coming off the Grand Huit en-route to the Aiguille Percee. By this time it was too late to try the Sache so we skied the Super Cocaine instead, followed by a pitch off the Palafour, and then a nice run in warm powder beside the first par-avalanche. We went for a ‘sniff’ in the Familial on the way home but besides the odd strip it was pretty ugly. All in all it was a great morning, especially when it cleared up early on and the skiing was much better than expected when leaving the Gourmandine. Andreas skied with Victor this morning as he was off, Henry was also off while Thomas is with JM and Oli in Switzerland.

I went ice skating this afternoon with the girls, their friend Anna, and Didier, and it was fantastic to watch the girls improve so much in one afternoon. Thanks to Toby, who was brilliant with them and gave them some tips as well as a helping hand.

We had a fantastic time at the Polo Final last night with wonderful canapés and free champagne. It really is a great event and now that we have it sussed, they’ll see more of us next year! While Mike, Laura, Kiera, Gill, Toby, Andy, Derek, Paul and I were enjoying ourselves, the girls were having a ball climbing up the Face and sliding back down again. After a full day with the Club des Sports they were pretty jolly tired at the end of it.

I’m not too sure about the weather tomorrow but we’ll do our best with whatever comes our way.

And what a great second-half performance by the Hammers yesterday!

19 January 2013
What a morning!

Wow, what an unexpectedly delicious ski we were treated to this morning. About 10 to 20cm’s of fresh light snow fell overnight and with good visibility this morning we capitalised with a ‘maximum-turn’ session. It was just Chris and I working and we were both travelling light so we covered a lot of ground starting with the Face de Bellevarde with only a couple of stops. From there it was the Fontaine Froide off-piste, off the Verte, the meadows from the Borsat to the Grand Pre, the Tour du Charvet, the Marmottons/Marmottes, the Lower Borsat into Tignes and the Familial to finish. There was a ‘light bulb’ above the Bellevarde area and we used it gratefully as most of the resort was under flat-light conditions from early on. Gill was able to ski until 11:30 as the girls were off with the Club des Sports, and it was a real ‘bonus’ for her. Andreas was off today while Thomas is on his way to Switzerland for a week’s touring with JM and Oli. Have fun Thomas!

We had a great time at the Polo last night with Anna and Kiera. The girls loved rolling around in the snow and testing the free taste treats such as waffles, soup, and crisps, while Kiera, Gill and I started with vin chaud, soup, and waffles before realizing that nibbles and champagne was available at the ‘posh’ end of the pitch. It was no surprise that Peter B migrated to the champagne stand as he can smell champers a mile away!

I had a nice drink with Pete N last night at the Taverne. I haven’t seen Pete in ages and we were joined towards the end by Nicky P, Patrick from Snow Fun, and Dick.

It’s snowing lightly now and we could see a good snowfall before morning, although the Foehn wind is starting to blow at altitude. The temperature has risen enormously compared to the past few days so fingers crossed for some snow.

PS. It’s stopped snowing and it doesn’t look like much more is on the way, although last night’s snow did make a difference. And it’s not looking good at half-time at Upton. Come on boys!

18 January 2013
Not my best call!

Today I decided at the last minute to head to the Fornet for a change of scenery, going from Plan A to about Plan D, and it didn’t work out the way I’d imagined. We gave the Glacier Pers a miss because of the cold so I headed out into the Pays Desert, and even though it looked like rubbish, I was confident about ‘sniffing’ out a little strip here and there mixed in with the odd gulley. After skiing some good patches up high it just got tougher and tougher and I can’t remember the pickings ever being so bare. I don’t get it wrong very often and being a perfectionist I was cross with myself as I take bad calls very personally, but you’ll be pleased to know I’ve moved on now. (Bugger!) We did ski some good snow (see photos) and had a lovely visual tour.

Chris braved the elements and carried on to the Glacier Pers where he found ‘skiers’ snow for the most part, but nothing they couldn’t handle. His team left good ‘Alpine’ tracks behind and they all loved the outing.

Meanwhile, Andreas was stood-up by 4 of 5 of his team of Vikings but the one who came was really keen so Andreas had a brilliant morning with him. Last I heard he was thinking about the Lavachet and the Super Cocaine. Thomas was also in action today and I’ve a feeling he skied similar runs to Andreas.

Tansy, Didier, Chris and I all showed up for our 2 o’clock meeting for the school children but it had been cancelled without anyone letting us know. Poor Chris didn’t get home until 1:30 from the Fornet then had to rush off. Anyway, we’ve all now finished our service hours.

Thanks to Mike and Laura for a fantastic meal last night. It was great to see Russell again and we had some good laughs.

We’re off to see the polo match tonight with the girls, which should be good fun as Katie loves horses but they’re really looking forward to the free hot chocolates, crepes, crisps and that sort of thing.

We should see some snow over the next couple of days as it’s warmed up significantly and is beginning to cloud over.

17 January 2013
-23C but brilliant!

Wow, what a brilliant ski we earned this morning! It was -23C on top of the Borsat this morning so Chris and I spent the morning on sunny slopes and ended up shedding layers. We started off with a 20-minute ‘skin’ up the Crete du Genepy, which accessed some great skiing en-route to Mont Roup. Both teams left some excellent tracks in our wake and by the time we arrived to ‘skin’ up Mont Roup the sun had climbed high enough so that we were never in the shade. Mont Roup itself was fantastic and everyone thoroughly enjoyed their turns as we worked hard for them today. I was really proud of John E and Jean R, both of them climbed well and skied beautifully. Bravo boys! (Jean and I have captured the day nicely with our photos)

Andreas had a team of Vikings today and they had a terrific ski skiing the Borsat, Chardonnet and probably the Sache as well. I saw Andreas last night as he was serving hot wine for the parade of the polo ponies. He was absolutely swamped as his serving partner never showed up so I helped him serve until reinforcements arrived. Millie had dressed me up in a silly hat so I looked the part!

Thanks to Geoff for a great meal last night followed by the United v West Ham match, which turned out to be an honourable 1-0 defeat. I was proud of the boys and some of the young players that I’ve never really seen before. John E and Yvonne joined us for dinner but they peeled out at half-time.

The cold weather is forecast to continue, which means we won’t see any snow to speak of, but if the visibility is good there is still some great skiing to be had. Stay tuned!

PS Due to the cold weather the Ski Scolaire was cancelled this afternoon so Tansy, Chris and I had the afternoon off but were still credited with our community service hours. Result!

16 January 2013
Cold but bearable!

It was clear and cold today, to the tune of -18C, but the forecasted wind didn’t materialize and it really wasn’t too bad. We managed to stay out all morning and never thought once about going in to warm up. (While, I didn’t anyways!) Stephan from Alaska thought it was rather pleasant and it was great to have him along this morning. Chris and I skied the Little Lavachet, which was wonderful and drew us down to the bottom from where we ‘skinned’ out. It was too good to stop and I haven’t skied it in such good conditions for a long time. From there we skied an very good Sachette, and although we had some stiffer snow in the middle section everyone creamed it and left perfect tracks. I had to high-tail it home as duty called this afternoon and although we were on the Aiguille Rouge at 12:45, Derek, Stephan and I made it down by 1:05 while Jean, John and Geoff skied at a more sensible speed.

Thomas and Andreas were both skiing again today and they both enjoyed an excellent Chardonnet and we later saw Andreas’ team of Peter and Mike in the Sache. Andreas skied on this afternoon while I had a great afternoon with Tony W pal John, who’s a terrific bloke.

The girls are off soon to watch the parade of the polo ponies with Mike and Laura while Andreas will be serving hot wine for his community service.

Well done Alistair and Angie yesterday who walked out of the Rosolin without ‘skins’. It was a brilliant effort and Chris was grateful for their sense of humour and good spirits. They managed to change their skis today, which was a good thing as we had two ‘skins’ today.

More cold weather is forecast for tomorrow but as long as the wind doesn’t get up we’ll manage. Stay tuned!

PS I’m off to Geoff’s for dinner followed by Man U v West Ham. Wish me luck! And thanks Jean for the great photos today.

15 January 2013
The 'Walking Wounded'!

A quick one today as I’m in a real rush and on my way out. I just returned home at 4:50 after helping Chris get his school kids back to the school in the nick of time. We we’re ambushed by the weather and Chris came down the bubbles at La Daille because the children were frozen and he couldn’t get them down the Olympique to the meeting place. All a little stressful but we managed in the end. Well done Chris!

As for the skiing today, I had a team of walking wounded. Geoff was trying out his second artificial knee today, Derek’s back is really giving him trouble, John E is recovering from a serious toothache, Jean R has some niggles, and Gill developped a sore ankle in the last hour ! I didn’t have too much to complain about. We had some good skiing off the Verte and in the Borsat before trying my shoulder for one run. It was a little tracked underneath so we headed (Chris’ team as well) to the Rosolin for a 120-turn pitch, which was excellent. After a short ‘skin’ we had some bonus turns across the Glacier before heading home.

It was cold this afternoon and it’s forecast to get colder tomorrow. Stay tuned!

14 January 2013
Travelling light!

I was travelling light today with only Jean and Gill, and we had a lovely morning in great snow and pretty good visibility. Chris joined me for a nice warm-up off the Verte en-route to the Borsat, followed by the meadows into Tignes. It was jolly cold so we took the bus around to keep warm before skiing an excellent Sachette, with great quality top-to-bottom. Jean was tired and took the Olympique while Gill and I finished off with a funky Familial. (Henry was in action at the Fornet while Thomas and Andreas had the day off)

Chris, Tansy and I all took the young school children skiing this afternoon and I had the same team as last season, which was good fun. Unfortunately one little girl skied into the back of another and I needed to carry the injured girl down. I’m totally exhausted from it, physically but mostly mentally as it’s draining having injuries in any group. Hopefully Gabrielle will be fine tomorrow and will be able to continue on. Thanks to Chris, Didier and Tansy who came down to help my team back to the bus as I was running late and had my hands full.

Thanks to Baye for the lovely article that she wrote for Sylvie’s Just Val d’Isere website. She was a pleasure to ski with and the boys look forward to skiing with her again soon.

It looks as if some snow is moving in with light snow tomorrow but the snow falls should intensify later in the week.

13 January 2013
Baye's first Col Pers!

After yesterday’s powder feast it was potentially going to be a trickier day, especially with the early cloud cover, but when it started to clear our spirits rose and we had another wonderful morning. Chris and I headed up to the Fornet and after some bits- and-pieces to warm-up we skied an excellent Pays Desert before diving over the Col for an equally good Col Pers. I had Baye, a lovely young Canadian girl who is here for the season, skiing with Jean and John this morning, and she had a great time and thought the old boys were rather impressive. It was her trip over the Col and she was suitably impressed with the outstanding views and it’s refreshing to see someone’s face light up when coming around the corner to witness such an unexpected vista. We look forward to seeing Baye on her day off during the season and it turns out that her godfather is Richard, Sylvie’s husband. Thanks for sending her along Richard! And it was a great first day for Graham and Mick D, who are skiing with Chris this week. Thomas and Andreas were both in action again this morning and although they started Bellevarde/Borsat-way, I’m not too sure where they ended up.

Yesterday Chris had the privilege of opening the Combe du Signal in fabulous snow, with Andreas close behind while Thomas had an exciting morning boarding through some steep couloirs. Everyone was raving about their outings and it really was a stunning day. I spoke with Frans this morning and he was on his way to the airport in a taxi and was in good spirits considering. We all wish Frans a speedy and full recovery!

The girls had a fantastic time with the Club des Sports this weekend and they’re both proud as punch in their Ski Club jackets. Bravo girls! Big John asked me if I was going to stop calling the Club des Sports children the ‘Ski Club brats’? I never called them that did I John?

Stay tuned for more news tomorrow.

12 January 2013
Wonderful morning, unfortunate ending!

Today was one of the top five mornings of the season with stunning snow, no people, great slopes, and blue skies. Unfortunately, Frans was injured on the last run in the Familial, which put a serious damper on our outing.

It was a ‘maximum-turn’ morning of the highest quality and we warmed-up with a cracking run on the Fontaine Froide. From there we skied a nice run off the Verte before skiing under the Borsat Chair en-route to the Little Borsat Nord ( first in) and then the good slopes under the Fresse. We then opened up the Combe des Lanches in wonderful snow before heading upstairs to my shoulder, which has never been better. After two runs there we skied an excellent Cairn and then finished with the Familial. Unfortunately, Frans fell and his ski didn’t release, leaving him with a break just below the knee and another in his ankle. We needed a helicopter rescue and the Pisteur from Tignes was incredibly efficient and humorous (in good taste considering) and the helicopter pilot was pretty impressive as well. (See photos) The team needed to pack down a landing zone for the helicopter, which zoomed in then whisked Frans away.

It was a blow for Frans as we’ve had a fantastic week and a superb morning to finish off his holiday, and to be injured so close to home was very bad luck indeed. Frans was planning on coming back soon with Adrian, Mark and hopefully Al, but we’ll have to wait until next year. Sorry Frans!

I had the pleasure of skiing with Laura this morning, who has skied with Andreas since she was 13 when he was still at Snow Fun. She had a brilliant morning and skied really well and we look forward to seeing her again soon.

I must give John Ellis a ‘skier of the morning’ award as he was brilliant today. I’ve posted several photos of him, but I could have put up three or four more of equal quality. Well done John, sterling performance!

Thanks for the drinks party tonight Pat, I won’t mention the Hammers score, Katie had a wonderful time with the Club des Sports today (Millie’s turn tomorrow) and I’m not too sure about tomorrow’s weather. Stay tuned!

PS. I’m sure the rest of the boys had a great day as well. I worked this afternoon with a great bloke and friend of Tony W’s called John, and after what happened to Frans I never got around to hearing about where everyone else skied. Sorry!

11 January 2013
Fresh snow for Gill's first morning!

Halleluiah, 25cm’s of wonderful fresh snow fell overnight giving us a fresh canvas and a lovely soft cushion underfoot. It was Pedro’s last morning as his beautiful wife Carla gave him the ok to squeeze in two-and-a-half hours of skiing this morning before rushing off to Geneva for their flight back to Brazil, and Pedro made the most of it. We skied various runs around La Daille, getting to the slopes first, and it was a cracking good ‘maximum-turn’ morning. Gill skied her first off-piste morning of the season and I must say without being biased, that she was ‘skier of the morning’! (Me, biased? Never!) Andreas was back in action today skiing with the Bamford’s and they also had a terrific morning.

Poor Jean had two horrible face-plants today, the second of which finished him off. The first one was in the trees when he caught his boot on a root. The second was posing for a photo. John Yates-Smith appeared out of nowhere towards the bottom of the Funival and asked us to ski by the edge of the piste for a photo for his website. We all obliged and Jean was swallowed up by a massive hole that we couldn’t see in the flat light. It was like a blooming ‘manhole’. Thank goodness Jean didn’t hurt himself as we all know how vulnerable his shoulders are. Not to be outdone, Frans also had two beauties, and the second wasn’t far off Jean’s in terms of a violent landing as both falls drew blood. (For our troubles Gill made it onto the YSE photo-of-the-day!)

The big star of the day was my darling Millie who went to school without any problems and a smile on her face this morning, which is fantastic news. She picked up an A+ in an exam yesterday, which I find incredible as I’ve never had an A+ in my life! Bravo Millie and we’ll enjoy the Burger Bar tonight!

It’s still snowing at 3PM and is forecast to continue before clearing off for a sunny day tomorrow. Yes!

10 January 2013
Considering the conditions, it was 10/10!

We had a window of opportunity this morning as the change in weather wasn’t forecast to move in until this afternoon, and we certainly made the most of it. Chris and I decided to take a chance on Mont Roup and we were rewarded with a great morning. The Crete du Genepy is still good so we ‘skinned’ up there for 15-minutes to access the meadows en-route to Mont Roup and it was a nice bonus ski-wise as well as shortening the walk up Mont Roup. Mont Roup itself was much better than expected and we found good untracked snow most of the way. The ambience was terrific with very impressive ‘creepers’ or ‘stretch marks’, and I’ve never seen them so imposing. It was Mark, Frans and Adrian’s first trip to Mont Roup, which always adds to the occasion and considering the conditions at the moment, I’d give the outing 10/10! (See photos)

Pedro has had a superb time this week skiing with Thomas and they finished off in style today as they skied the Couloir Lorenzo before bombing over to ski the Sachette. Nice one boys and we look forward to seeing Pedro again next winter!

The ‘screamer’ two doors down was at it again last night. Fortunately it was at 8:45 PM instead of 4:30AM but at least Gill believes me now! It seems to be a one-a-month thing, whether she needs it or not, so we can live with that.

I saw Tim and Di in the Funival today and had a moment of worry when Tim’s skis only came up to his chest, but before long I was relieved when realizing that they were resting on the bottom step. Sorry for the moment of doubt Tim!

Snow is floating about at the moment (5:30PM) and if we’re lucky we could have 20cm’s by morning and a fresh canvas. Yahoo!

9 January 2013
A brilliant reunion last night!

The weather is threatening to change but we enjoyed another sunny day and considering the conditions, some great skiing. We all headed to the Fornet with Thomas, Chris and I ‘skinning’ to the Glacier Pers, which was still really good with clean snow and lovely ambience. Andreas had a Swedish team and they had a great morning skiing the Tour de Lechoir followed by the Vallonnet.

I skied with the girls this afternoon and we did a ropey Campanules before coming back to ski our ‘Funk’ runs around the Marmottons Express. Gill missed out as she went down to Bourg for a serious shop. Thanks Gill!

Gill, Millie, Katie and I had a fantastic reunion with Tim and Di in the Taverne last night. I haven’t seen them for years and we had some great laughs and were joined by Dick, Matt C, David Mac, Moose, and Tchenko, and believe me that is a serious cast of characters, all who have spent some of the best years of their lives in this town. Leah and Michael R showed up as well for dinner, and the girls were well pleased to see them. Tim and Di run a lovely hotel in the Pyrenees with superb food and wine and they cater for cyclists. I’ll add a link and give you more information at a later date.
Great evening and thanks Tim and Di!

Hopefully we’ll have decent vis in the morning as the weather is trying to change with a rumour of a little snow around the weekend. Log on tomorrow more news.

8 January 2013
A good morning snatched from the jaws of a 'stinker'!

After a tricky start we turned it around and ended up having a jolly nice morning skiing some very good frisset. I tried the meadows off the traverse to Mont Roup/Crete du Genepy, which two days ago had some lovely snow beneath it, but the wind has left ‘wandering plaque’ (TJ-ism) amongst the ripples and although we left some good tracks, it wasn’t the easiest. I warned Chris off so he headed straight up to the Motte where we caught him up later on. We skied down my shoulder to find some nice snow below in the meadows before ‘skinning’ up towards the Little Borsat West. We were rewarded with some excellent skiing before finishing up with the faithful Altiport.

Thomas and Pedro, equipped with Pedro’s funky homemade camera holder attached to his ski, decided on the Glacier Pers, which has stood up well against the wind damage. Getting over the Col is getting tougher but the ski was worth it and the entrance should put a few people off. (Sensible ones anyway!) Andreas and Henry were off today but should be back in action tomorrow,

It’s so nice at the moment that Gill and I ate lunch on the terrace. The forecast is for a foul day on Thursday, but without any snow to speak of before another extended period of ‘beach’ weather. Fingers crossed for some snow.

7 January 2013
Slowing running out of options!

It’s getting tougher every day now as the sun has been turning the sunny slopes, the wind has been damaging snow as well, and after a resort full of people tracking the place out, it’s not that easy at the moment to find good clean snow. Still, the boys are doing the business and we’re still enjoying some great skiing.

My team warmed-up in some nice snow off the Mont Blanc before heading to the Sachette for pretty good skiing most of the way, followed by a nice Altiport to finish. Chris joined me in the Sachette and Altiport while Andreas skied with a Swedish team in the Little Lavachet, Sachette, Cocaine Nord and Altiport. Thomas ‘skinned’ to the Crete du Genepy with Pedro, who is thoroughly enjoying himself. (Jean didn’t ski today so the photos are on my link)

John E skied with me today but Margaret hasn’t skied for a couple of weeks after her ankle injury. She hit a rock under the snow and the impact was enough to damage her ligament. She’s slowly on the mend and hopefully will be able to ski before to long.

We may see some snow at the end of the week, and believe me, it would be most welcome!

6 January 2013
A cracking good Crete du Genepy!

The high pressure system remains above us although today we had hazier skies that effected the light slightly from time to time. (but after a month of flat light no one is complaining) Chris and I headed up to ski the Crete du Genepy, and the quality of snow was significantly better than a week ago. We ‘skinned’ up for forty minutes then ‘booted’ it up for another 30 to 40 metres to access a lovely clean slope. The ‘boot’ up was a little tricky in places, especially for those at the back, but everyone did the business and applied themselves. (There’s a saying that goes, ‘When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro’, and the troops put in a professional performance! Bravo Louise!) It was great skiing all the way down and another good outing as our options start to dwindle away.

Thomas was skiing with Pedro, who has come all the way from Brazil. He has been following the blog from Sao Paulo and chose ‘Alpine’ because of our adventures. Welcome Pedro and it’s great to have you with us! I think Thomas skied the Sachette, which will have been a brilliant introduction.

Henry was doing a HAT day out while Andreas had a last minute cancellation due to illness and took the opportunity to spend some time with his children.

I took the girls swimming this afternoon with their pal Anna and they were having such a good time I didn’t even need to get wet. What a bonus!

Thanks to Geoff and Inga for a fantastic lunch yesterday and a great game of football. The Hammers came so close but were undone at the death by sheer class from Van Persie. He had one chance and brought the ball down, controlled it superbly and finished it off like the world-class striker that he is. Nothing to do but cry in my beer!

The girls start school tomorrow and Gill is just about ready to get her off-piste season started. Stay tuned!

5 January 2013
An excellent first Glacier Pers!

Chris and I decided on the Fornet for a change of scenery this morning and we were almost blown off the mountain! It was blowing a gale, which made getting to the Col difficult, but we continued on with our plan and dove over the Col Pers en route to the Glacier Pers. We were protected for the most part and as no one has skied the Glacier Pers this season, we had a lovely clean canvas in front of us. The snow was excellent top-to-bottom and it was a really good morning out.

Andreas skied the Couloir des Pisteurs first thing before heading to the Sachette en route to a lovely lunch with the Bamford family. Henry and Thomas were off today and JM stopped off to say goodbye before heading off to Switzerland for some touring.

Perhaps the most important news of the day was that both Katie and Millie, after putting up an incredible stink, both loved the Club des Sports this morning. Hallelujah! Gill and I are both very pleased and the girls will really benefit from being involved.

The girls had a nice ski and visit with the Patterson family yesterday and ended up swimming and having a sauna at their hotel. Andy and Julia haven’t skied for four years after spending a couple of seasons here and it’s been great to see them back. Their daughter Anna has missed it and they now have three-year-old Pip on skis as well.

I must sign off now as we’re heading up to the Dunn’s for a wonderful lunch followed by West Ham v Man U. Wish me luck!

4 January 2013
Wonderful!

The sun was out in full force this morning and we had another fantastic morning skiing wonderful snow. Chris and I headed towards Tignes and I warmed-up in some lovely snow off the Mont Blanc piste before catching up with Chris for the first Little Lavachet of the season. The meadows were really nice but the steeper slope in the trees was excellent and a sign of what was still to come. No one has skied the Sachette yet this season and Chris’ team were the first ones in to ski stunning snow top-to-bottom. My team came in behind and I let Peter, Chrissy and Clare open the couloir for the first tracks of the season. They skied it brilliantly but there wasn’t enough snow for anyone else so the rest of us continued into the Sachette and skied a beautiful 60-turn pitch at the top before adding to Chris’ tracks in the gully. It was quality all the way down and we finished off with a good Altiport to complete a cracking morning.

Jean Marc was heading to the Col des Fours on his last morning while Andreas was skiing up at the Fornet with the Bamford family. Last I heard Thomas was heading towards the Motte and Henry was off to ‘skin’ to the Crete du Genepy.

Millie and Katie are disappointed that their cousins had to go home this morning. They’ve had such a fantastic time together and we’re looking forward to seeing them again in February, when Wils is going to join one of my morning groups. (They’ll also miss Ray who returned to England a few days ago.) The girls start with the Club des Sports tomorrow, which will be a great experience for them, followed by school on Monday. And Gill is looking forward to her first off-piste morning next Tuesday!

Stay tuned and don’t forget to check Jean and my photos!

3 January 2013
Happy Birthday Ness!

A high pressure system has installed itself and it looks as if we’re in for clear blue skies and wonderful sunshine for the next week to ten days. Great for sun worshipers but not so good for powder hounds! Anyway, we’ll get on with it and enjoy the visibility and today we had a lovely ski. Chris and I decided to take what was in front of us today and we headed towards the Motte via an excellent taster in the Lower Borsat. My shoulder was clean and we skied it twice before skiing 86-turns in the Rosolin. We had to stop because they’ve inconveniently driven a piste machine across it but we added another thirty turns before ‘skinning’ out to access some nice skiing across the glacier. Next up was the Cairn and we finished off a ‘maximum-turn’ session with a nice Familial.

Jean Marc was skiing his last morning with Jo M’s team before he heads home tomorrow and Thomas was skiing with Karin’s Swedish team and they started with the Face du Charvet, followed by the Danaides/Lavancher and the Super Spatules, and Andreas was skiing with the Bamford family. Henry’s out there somewhere with some initiation clients and showing them a great time.

And I’d like to wish Ness a very happy 8th birthday. She was all smiles (as usual) at the Gourmandine this morning and there is a lovely photo of Ness and her Dad on today’s photo link. Happy Birthday Ness!

2 January 2013
What a Col Pers!

Ten to fifteen centimetres fell overnight and although it was overcast first thing it was forecast to clear during the morning. Chris, JM and I headed up to the Fornet and Chris and I decided to dive over the Col Pers immediately to guarantee first tracks. The entrance was relatively easy, especially compared to last season, and the visibility down to the Grand Torsai was pretty good, and we profited with some great skiing. We ’skinned’ up to the grand Torsai to take a higher line and we ended up in a white-out, which turned it into an adventurous morning to say the least. We worked our way down and the snow was excellent, which made it much more comfortable and everyone did the business. Well done to everyone! Once down we headed to Bellevarde to finish off with a lovely Altiport. (I’m not too sure what Jean Marc ended up skiing.)

Thomas and Andreas headed towards Tignes and skied the Borsat, Chardonnet and may have skied the Sache and Familial. Andreas was speaking Swedish all morning as he was skiing with Karin’s team.

Gill and I had a cracking afternoon taking Millie and Katie powder skiing with their cousins Wils and Rosie and their Uncle Rob. (See photos) The girls are having such a brilliant time and love having their cousins here. I must run now as I’m cooking a leg-of-lamb with roast potatoes, carrots, onions and some lovely lentils. I’d better get the wine breathing!

Last night’s torchlight parade was as easy as it gets and Jeremy came along and thoroughly enjoy himself. He was also pleased with Southampton’s point against the Gooners. (Not to mention my blissful three-points) And welcome back Chrissy who skied for the first time in 9 days following an nasty chest infection.

1 January 2013
Happy 2013!

It was no great surprise when everyone showed up in decent shape this morning to kick off the beginning of 2013, well done all of you! The forecast was for the cloud cover to thicken during the morning but to our surprise and delight the skies cleared giving us great visibility all morning long, and what a bonus it was! Chris and I decided to try the Crete du Genepy for the first time this season and the walk was lovely with great scenery and blue skies. The snow however, had turned a little overnight and wasn’t as good as hoped for, but it was still pretty good skiing and a lovely morning out. Unfortunately Tim took a serious ‘park and fly’ and bashed his nose on his ski pole. Blood was flowing but Doctor Souillac patched him up beautifully and Tim soldiered on. Well done boys! It was lovely to have Stephen and Kaye back, along with their pal Dave, and they were all just happy to be back in the mountains again.

Thomas and Jean Marc were heading to the Glacier Suspendu but I haven’t had a report from them while Andreas was having a birthday ski with the Campbell family as it’s Clare’s birthday today. She was looking a little embarrassed as we all sang a rousing chorus of Happy Birthday at the Gourmandine this morning. Also Happy Birthday to Rob, father of Wils and Rosie, and we’re looking forward to a birthday meal at the Perdrix tonight. Henry was also in action today and he’s looking pretty good considering Jackson must be cutting in on his R&R.

Thanks to Peter and Candice for having Gill and I over to their drinks party last night before we picked up the girls to go to Penny’s annual due. Thanks again Penny from everyone for another brilliant effort that makes New Year’s Eve such a pleasure instead of a dreaded hassle. Bravo!

It’s our first Torchlight Descent of the season tonight so wish us luck as we ski the Face du Bellevarde in the dark, all in the name of community service!

PS. The other night I was gathering everyone around for a photo and instead of saying ‘cheese’, or ‘smile’, or ‘whiskey’, Katie shouts out “Bonking Kangaroos!” Where did she come up with that one?

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