Wayne's Daily Diary Archive

20 June 2007

31 March 2013
Risk rated at 4/5, flat-light, but fantastic skiing!

Although sun was forecast this morning we had another flat-light day to deal with, as well as a avalanche risk rated at 4/5. Chris and I were the only ones skiing this morning and we started off with some lovely snow off the edge of the pistes before trying the Fontaine Froide, which was good up top but a little sticky further down. The Borsat opened so we had a better ski all the way into Tignes only to find the Funicular closed. Fortunately they opened Les Lanches just in front of us and we had an absolute belter top-to-bottom on the piste. My team then skied two excellent runs down from the Funicular and under the Fresse chair before seeing Chris again for a final run down a much improved Familial.

It was great to have Victoria along for her first off-piste ski in two years. She’s had some time out while being pregnant and having baby Felix, but she skied really well today and thoroughly enjoyed herself.

On the way home on the bus two skiers climbed on board and mentioned that they had just skied the Chardonnet in a metre of fresh powder. I personally think skiing such a slope in that much fresh snow with an avalanche risk at 4/5 is pushing the boat out. But even if the guide feels the slope is stable and safe, the legal consequences of an accident in those conditions would be devastating.

Gill has gone out for an Easter-egg hunt on skis with Katie. It’s her first attempt to ski in about 12-days so I wish her luck. The weather has cheered up this afternoon so at least she’ll be able to see. The hunt as been organized by Sarah and Dom, who always put on a good show. Thanks you two!

Sports Report- Jeremy and Fay are back and I must say life is treating Jeremy well at the moment. In the past few weeks he’s been engaged to be married and his Saint’s have beaten Liverpool and Chelsea to give themselves a great chance of Premiership survival. And I must say I was extremely pleased with the Hammer’s result although those Wigan boys remain pests and keep raising the bar of the drop zone.

PS Millie had a wonderful time at her sleep-over last night. Apparently the girls were up until 1AM but she seems pleasant enough for the moment. Katie had a lovely time with Ray having a chocolate crepe before heading to the Blue Note. Thanks Ray

PSS Thanks to Pat W for a lovely dinner last night and it’s great to have Joy and Al back in town. Katie and Gill had hot chocolates and Chevallot treats with them this morning and thanks J & A for the girl’s lovely presents! Gill and Katie really enjoyed the Easter egg hunt but Gill is a long way off being ready to ski.

30 March 2013
A cracking good morning around the Motte!

It was blowing yesterday afternoon when I was out with Janine and it was evident from the wind direction that the lee slopes would be those in Tignes facing the sun, and with the warmth the altitude of the Grande Motte was the place to head this morning. Thomas, Chris and I all headed to the Funicular in Tignes via the Tommeuses piste, as the Borsat was closed first thing, and once upstairs we had some great skiing off the edge of the Genepy and down onto my shoulder. Unfortunately we couldn’t see much and we needed to tip-toe around, but the snow quality was excellent. We then headed up the cable car for a good run from the top down to the Leisse chair, followed by another on my shoulder in better visibility. Then we had the best of the morning, with was a cracking run off the Cairn. The pistes weren’t very pleasant by this stage so we opted to ski a warm, and I mean warm, Familial to finish. I’ve managed the ‘splat du jour’ two days in a row, and in fact today I gave the spectators a choice of two, although I think the first head-plant was the better of the two!

I had a lovely young lady named Sammie skiing with us today and she and Baye got along famously like they were long lost pals. Sammie slotted in beautifully and we look forward to seeing here again soon.

On family matters, Andreas has the weekend off and is home entertaining his brother and his family who are visiting from Sweden. Andreas has been looking forward to his brother’s visit and they’ll be having a great time. Gill is feeling a little better each day although she still isn’t ready to ski or drive. It’s all getting pretty frustrating for her as she’s not very good at sitting still all day, let alone for 11-days, but she’s putting on a brave face. Millie is off to her little French friend’s birthday party followed by a sleep-over while Katie is out tonight with Red Ray for a crepe and then a drink at the Blue Note. Thanks Ray.

I didn’t have much luck with my camera today as it seemed to be firing blanks but I did get a couple so do have a look. And thanks Penny for a lovely drinks party last night, it was very much appreciated!

Sports Report- It’s 2-0 for West Ham at the moment as the second half has just got under way. I’ll be following it nervously in my Hammers shirt in front of the computer, which of course is pretty sad!

29 March 2013
A good team ski at the Fornet!

We all had a great morning at the Fornet in decent light for the most part. We had some thick snow in places but also some wonderful powder in others, especially in the Combe du Signal. I managed to prang myself on ‘Henry’s Bear’, which is the only obstacle in the Combe du Signal and I skied straight into it scoring a perfect bulls-eye and going ass-over-tit.

I’m getting ready to go out to Penny’s so that’s it for tonight although the pictures tell the story of the day.

Happy Easter Everybody, and remember the clocks change tomorrow night.

PS We had a wonderful session in the Taverne last night with Ellie’s cousin Mandy, her husband Chris and daughter Amie. Matt C arrived and was celebrating his 50th along with his eldest daughter Jess, and David Mac and Dick showed up as well. Millie was getting along fantastically well with Jess, and Matt and I just smiled at each other about the twists and turns of life. Gill made it for a drink after doing a stint at the ‘Alpine’ desk and it was nice for her to meet Mandy and her family.

PSS Thanks Penny for a wonderful drinks party and well done Freddie, who at 15 years-old did himself proud during his first proper off-piste week. Bravo Freddie!

28 March 2013
Bravo John D!

Everyone thoroughly enjoyed their day in the sun yesterday but it was back to business again this morning with flat-light and light snow falling. Our options were fairly limited but we had a fantastic morning skiing 20 to 30 centimetres of light powder on northern exposures. Andreas, Chris and I all started with a hike up to the Borsat West (which turns enough to the north) and had a great opener. Clare C had a heart-in-your-mouth moment when she slipped after getting her skis back on, which was no easy proposition, but husband Peter was quick to the rescue and stopped her before it became serious. Well handled you two! The snow on the Borsat West was excellent and Chris’ and my teams profited with a light-bulb above that made a huge difference. (see photos) From there we all skied towards the Sachette where Andreas took the couloir and skied down with John D who is overcoming his vertigo problem in the steep. Warming up with a walk into the Borsat West followed by the couloir will help sort that out! Bravo John as you’ve come a long way over the past couple of seasons! Chris and I continued on into the Sachette and everyone again enjoyed lovely winter powder. The lights started to go out tow-thirds of the way down, which made for some ‘nervy’ moments but we all arrived home without too many problems.

I skied with Oliver, who I haven’t seen in years and he’s Bridget G’s god-son. He had his pals Sunil and Charlie along and with Red Ray, Freddie and Tim we had quite a cast of characters.

Gill and I went for a walk this afternoon to watch Millie’s cross-country, which she and her classmates were really enjoying. They’re so lucky with their school activities and it was lovely to watch them laughing away while the snow was falling. It’s hard to believe it’s almost April as it was a scene from mid-January and it was stunningly beautiful.

Gill’s feeling a better but is still a long way from being able to ski or drive. It’s been ten-days now and she’s getting frustrated about being house-bound and missing the powder. She’s off now to do the office so that at least gets her out.

Twenty to forty cm’s of snow are forecast today and during the night ahead so we’ve a ‘fresh’ canvas to look forward to!

27 March 2013
Sunshine, a change of scenery, and great skiing!

For the first time in ages we had clear blue skies leaving everyone pumped and I was feeling like John Denver arriving at the Gourmandine. After several days of flat light and skiing in Tignes it was time for a change of sector and Chris and I headed up to the Fornet. It hasn’t snowed quite as much that way as in Tignes, but we had some lovely skiing starting with some good warm-up turns off the Laisinant before had a great run off the shoulder in the Combe du Signal. From there we had a nice run in the Pays Desert with a ten-minute ‘skin’ before going back-side over the Col. Chris had to work so he peeled out while I took Sylvie and Richard from his group and skied a Grand Vallon way out towards Millie’s Run and down to the valley floor.

Meanwhile Andreas ‘skinned’ up to the Glacier Suspendu (Terre Rouge) and they had a wonderful morning without anyone else around and Thomas had a private family group starting in Tignes, and I’m not too sure what he skied.

I took Millie and Katie out this afternoon, accompanied by Red Ray and after racing about we skied some nice off-piste in the Jardin du Borsat (see photos).

Henry tried to sneak a birthday in under the radar yesterday so Happy Belated Birthday Henry and Happy Birthday today to Gill’s pal Jane, who we’ve just had drinks at the Taverne with.

Sorry for the brief update but it’s been a busy day. Stay tuned for more news tomorrow.

26 March 2013
Just a few cenitmetres but great skiing!

About 5cm’s of fresh snow fell overnight, but combined with a few cm’s yesterday it was enough to have a nice impact on today’s conditions. With -9C on top of Bellevarde first thing we had a good re-freeze that gave us a supporting layer underfoot, and with a nice cushion on top it made for some great skiing. After positive tests off the Verte Chris and I started by cutting into the middle-Borsat, which was atmospheric with pretty good snow. From there we headed upstairs to the Motte and skied some excellent snow on my shoulder, where Thomas joined us. The Motte cable car opened so we tried one from the top and although the sun was poking through giving us good visibility the snow quality was good but nothing compared to lower down so we skied two more rotations on my shoulder. Thomas reported that the Cairn was in great shape so we skied a lovely Cairn on the way down and then finished a terrific morning by getting stuck in a fog in the Familial and needing to get the compass out! Blimey, it was good to get back to the piste!

Andreas started off with the Table d’Orientation, which was a great start to their day, before working his way to the Motte via the Borsat. He’s skiing with Peter and Clare, along with John D and Steve L, and Andreas is still out there this afternoon with Steve’s kids.

I had the pleasure of skiing again with Eric H today. (see photos) The last time we skied together a couple of years ago Eric did his ligaments in the Pays Desert and it’s great to have him back fit and enjoying his skiing again. Bravo Eric! I’ve also skied with Tim’s 15-year-old son Freddie the past two days, and young Freddie is skiing really well and it’s hard to believe he’s just getting started off-piste. Bravo to you too Freddie!

It’s snowing big flakes at the moment (2:55PM) and combined with what we already have we should have a fresh canvas with a soft cushion, which Red Ray will enjoy as he arrives tonight. Stay tuned!

25 March 2013
A pretty tricky morning!

We were expecting some sunshine this morning but needed to endure flat light and patches of fog instead. It was looking tricky from the Gourmandine but once out of the Olympique it was much brighter and it looked as if it might clear up. The snow off the Verte tested positive with some soft snow facing north and supporting snow with a fresh cushion facing the sun, and with some decent vis I was thinking it might turn out to be a pretty good morning. Chris and I headed towards the Sachette to ski powder up top followed by some spring-like snow further down, but by the time we arrived at the little Col we were in a fog. The top pitch was white-out conditions but from the second pitch down we were under the fog bank and had enough vis to enjoy the trip. (See photos) Down below we turned to the sunny-side to find lightly supporting spring snow that kept as on the surface, which of course was a great result! Once out of the Sache the fog came in and we spent the rest of the morning making our way home via the pistes.

Andreas started on the Borsat followed by the ‘Wall’ and was working his way to join us in the Sache, but by the time he arrived it was too foggy and he pulled back. He finished off with a little Spatule and in the end we all had a pretty good morning out in tough conditions.

Millie is out with the Pisteurs doing some sort of avalanche awareness course. The Pisteurs do a great job with the children and over the years they’ve had rides on snowmobiles, in blood-wagons, and even had a little hover in a helicopter. Brilliant!

Penny had some surprise visitors last night when Katie and Anna knocked on her door. They had gone to the Creperie to buy themselves a crepe and when they realized that they didn’t have enough money they went to visit Penny instead. Penny served them tea and cakes and said they were very polite and had a lovely time. Thanks Penny!

It has snowed lightly during the day and hopefully we’ll get enough to make a difference tomorrow.

24 March 2013
What a perfect day to take off!

I took the day off today, sorry Penny, but it worked beautifully as it was a very uninspiring day. It was grey, dull, and windy with absolutely no new snow to work with, and I thoroughly enjoyed lazing about reading before taking the girls to the swimming pool. The girls had a wonderful time as they put out loads of floats, balls and various other pool toys and it’s all pretty relaxing. Dave C was there with India, as were Ginnie and Katrina, Fiona and Iris, and Mark J with his wife and baby. All fairly social really.

This afternoon I took the girls and their friend Anna skiing (I’ve still skied everyday so far this season) and we had a good time blasting about, although they think I’m a little slow. All I want is for them to develop some skills and make some turns instead of going straight but apparently turning isn’t cool. They don’t even ride the chairlifts with me if it‘s a three-man! (See photos) Anyway, they’ve come home and are now out in town for a ‘wander’ as they call it with Anna. They’ll certainly miss the independence that they have here when they return to England on April 10th.

Gill is starting to feel better and tomorrow she’s hoping to leave the house on her own! It will be one week on Tuesday that she started to feel dizzy and she’s never been out of action for this long in her life. You can imagine how fidgety she’s getting!

The forecast for the week isn’t great but as long as we get some snow we’ll be fine. Stay tuned!

Sports Report- I’m desperately hoping the Calgary Flames make the NHL Playoffs so my Dad and I can watch them when I visit in May, instead of adopting another team to cheer for. Unfortunately they suck at the moment!

PS The rest of the boys were off today as well. And Millie has just returned home with Charlie and Caroline’s four-year-old twin girls for lemon cake while Katie is hanging out in front of the Tourist Office with Anna. Blimey!

23 March 2013
Warm and grey with the odd spot of sunshine!

After the heat of the past two days our powder options have dwindled down considerably, and there is not yet any spring snow to speak of. Chris headed towards the Glaciers Pers but aborted his mission because of poor visibility and ended up skiing a good our du Lechoir, while Andreas headed towards the Sachette and skied some excellent snow in the couloir. I had Richard H and Penny with me today and we had a nice ski up on the Motte and below on the Little Borsat West where the northern pitches were beautiful. With the warmth of the day the pistes are in fantastic shape so when we weren’t off-piste the piste skiing was similar to perfect spring snow.

Millie and Katie are out having a great time with their Club des Sports groups, and will be nice for them to ski some softer snow as the pistes are much more forgiving than when they’re hard to icy. Gill is still feeling pretty wobbly but a bit better each day, although she’s still as ways off being able to ski again. Doctor Laura is also on the mend but her season is over although she’s going to stick around for some spring weather, the social and to play with Mel. Inga’s calf injury is slowing improving and hopefully she’ll be able to ski again when she returns in a few weeks.

The avalanche that I reported a few days back in the Grand Torsai was actually further over on the lower section of a slope called ‘Oh My!’ The young lad involved had his gloves ripped off, had snow in his mouth, and lost his skis and poles. Needless to say he was very shaken up but fortunately was uninjured.

Hopefully we’ll get some snow soon as it’s going to be tough out there otherwise. Fingers crossed!

22 March 2013
A very warm day that changes conditions drastically!

The day started off overcast, which made ‘where to go’ decisions a little trickier but it was forecast to clear up during the morning. Andreas and Chris headed up to the Fornet to ‘skin’ up to the Col des Fours and they had a great outing. It was a good result as it was incredibly warm today and the heat and wind has changed conditions drastically and anything that works is seriously good news, and the boys played with the expositions and came up with an excellent ski. Thomas skied (and boarded) the north side of Mont Roup, while Henry chose the Fornet for his team.

I started off thinking about the Sache because it was clearer that way but after skiing a good Lavachet the heat of the day made me change my mind and we did a u-turn towards the altitude of the Grande Motte. I was worried about the big slopes of the Sache from our little Col, especially if it hadn’t been skied, so I decided to play it safe and go upstairs to cooler temperatures and less exposure. Anyway, my shoulder came through again as it was trackless, and although warm it was pretty deep and skied well. From there we had a run off the cable car, where we had various types of snow, some of which needed a positive approach and some technique. My ladies team of Diana, Pascale, Penny and Louise skied it brilliantly and I was proud of them. We then returned to my shoulder for another run as it was the best snow, and again the ladies applied themselves. We skied a good Cairn on the way down and finished with bits and pieces before skiing piste to the bottom. It was a cracking morning and the ladies really did the business!

I had a great afternoon with Charles’ sister Emma and her pal Rachel working on technique while Katie was out with her school friends doing cross-country skiing up at the Manchet. It’s fantastic the opportunities they have here and the girls are really enjoying their time here.

The best news of the day is that Physio-Lou’s husband Gavin has passed his Euro-Test and is now qualified to teach skiing here. Gavin worked for several seasons with Oxygen, and I remember him being dedicated and professional, but his license ran out and he couldn’t teach anymore. He’s been trying for years to pass his test and he’s not getting any younger, but he’s persevered and today he finally made it. It’s a huge relief to them both as they were thinking of leaving town and setting up in Austria where Gavin would be allowed to teach. Congratulations Gavin, we’re extremely pleased for you and it’s the best news I’ve heard in ages as Gill and I know how much it means to you!

And congratulations to Milly Cowell, Dave and Tamsin’s daughter, who came 6th out of 2001 children in an international school children’s ski race. Milly trains here with the Club des Sports and she came first in her age group. Well done Milly! (Info comes from Millie Watson so hopefully it’s fairly accurate)

Gill is on the mend and is out of bed and eating at the table. She sat outside in the sun today and feels much better for it. It’s great to see her smiling again and hopefully she’ll be able to ski sometime soon.

21 March 2013
Another wonderful day!

The sun returned again today and with it expectations of a great day, and the boys delivered in their usual style. Chris, Andreas, and Thomas all headed up to the Fornet for a change of scenery as we’ve been skiing Bellevarde/Tignes way for the past few days, and they found great snow all morning long. The wind howled last night from the North-West and it wasn’t good everywhere, but in the less and gullies there was some wonderful snow to be had. The boys skied the 3300 and Pays Desert before eventually heading over the Col Pers to finish off their mornings. It was easy to see their work as ‘Alpine’ tracks stood out amongst the rubbish all over the mountain. Bravo boys! (Can you tell it’s late and I’ve had a few?)

Meanwhile, I decided on a calculated risk and tried the Tour du Charvet hoping that enough snow had blown in to cushion the lower slopes. We started off skiing a nice warm-up from the Borsat down to the Grand Pre and the signs were positive for a decent on the Tour. We were the first ones in and there wasn’t a track on the mountain, and the first half of the Charvet was fantastic powder. Once we hit the wall where the snow was going to be more questionable, TJ’s Shoulder, which turns slightly away from the sun, was just protected enough to be excellent skiing. Once down through the avalanche debris towards the bottom we could turn away from the sun and although the snow was a little more ’educational’, it skied well and the team did really well. I love that type of snow where you need to apply yourself and get great feedback and zip out of the turns. From there we went to join the boys at the Fornet, via a good run on the Super L, some nice turns off the Laisinant Express and a nice clean patch in the lower Combe du Signal. Once on the Glacier we followed Chris and Thomas down the Pays Desert and through Chris’ Passage, which was all brilliant. I was running out of time after stopping to find a lost ski from one of Christophe’s clients, and with a big queue at the chair and wanting to get home on time to check on Gill, I decided to head home and make it up en route. We took the up-and-over and found some bits and pieces and eventually found some nice snow in the middle of the Super L before cutting towards the Mattis tress to ski a line I haven’t skied in 15-years or so. Good fun and I wondered why I haven’t skied that area for such a long time?
Anyway, all the boys had a wonderful morning and sunshine is forecast again for tomorrow.

I had an afternoon session with Charles and his girlfriend Izzy, and we worked on some technique and skied the Jardin du Borsat. Charles was the fellow who emailed from a bar just before closing and had now done two mornings, brought two blokes (Paul and Paul) from his Chalet, has subjected his girlfriend to my afternoon technique, and has talked his sister into doing the same tomorrow. You’re a good man Charles!

Gill is feeling much better this evening and managed to eat dinner with us at the table before climbing back into bed at 8:30. Thank you everyone for your telephone calls, emails and visits. And thank you Laura for taking care of them all day yesterday and teaching them to make home made fresh pasta, ice cream and sorbets, and proper carbonara, which was superb last night.

PS Henry was in action and headed towards the lee slopes in Tignes where quite a bit of fresh snow blew in. I haven’t had a report but I’m sure he ‘sniffed’ out some terrific skiing.

20 March 2013
The Motte at its best!

After all the snow we’ve had over the past few days it was no wonder that there was a lot of avalanche activity yesterday, both natural and skier/boarder triggered. The signs were obvious and we took extreme care while finding a morning of stunning snow. A young lad working here for the season set off the Grand Torsai yesterday and went for the ride of his life but fortunately all he lost was his skis and poles. Anyway, with less vis today we needed to be extra careful to not push the boat out, and the entire team came up with another special morning. Bravo boys!

While skiing yesterday afternoon I noticed that the Grande Motte was looking pretty tasty and with so much snow that the dreaded dreadlocks had been covered in so I headed that way this morning via a good warm-up off the Verte and into the Borsat. It was looking a little grey upstairs but I decided to take a chance and go up for a look and exited the Funicular to a 100w light bulb burning above us in the sky. Hallelujah and it was game on! After three excellent runs off my shoulder we headed up the cable car for a real treat. It’s been a long time since you could step out of the lift and start skiing deep powder all the way down to the Leisse chair, and it’s a jolly long run. We skied the cable car twice, the first time with great visibility and the second time the weather had moved in and it was snowing again, but it didn’t spoil our fun. We then skied off the edge of the Genepy on the way home before skiing piste to La Daille. All in all it was another morning of ‘maximum turns’ of very high quality. (See today’s photos)

Chris came up to the Motte as well but missed my train and I never saw him again. He was having a great time off my shoulder and variations and did 5 or 6 rotations before heading down off the Genepy and finishing with a terrific Familial. Meanwhile Andreas and Thomas started with a superb Kern, then skied the Borsat and Chardonnet before working their way into the Sache. They had a fantastic morning and like me, they finished with piste as the Familial was foggy and it was starting to get late. Andreas was taking Chrissy down to catch her train as today was the last day of her brilliant season. Enjoy your horse competitions and sailing Chrissy!

Gill became dizzy last night around 6PM and has been in bed ever since. She can’t get up and can’t eat or drink, and she is feeling extremely poorly. The doctor has been by and given her an injection and I’ve picked up her prescription so hopefully she’ll start to feel better soon. Thank you Laura for taking care of the children all day, it’s very much appreciated, especially when you’re not feeling your best either.

It’s snowing quite hard again at 3:45 PM and rumour has it the sun will reappear tomorrow morning, so hold on tight and stay patient during the upcoming powder frenzy!

19 March 2013
Slow start, outrageous finish!

Blimey, after a slow and somewhat frustrating start, the morning turned out to be absolutely stunning! At least another 30cm’s fell overnight and with the sun coming out people were chomping at the bit to get going and the slow opening left everyone a little edgy while waiting to get started. I headed up Solaise for one on the piste and unfortunately Inga injured her calf and had to pull out. Sorry Inga! (Poor Wynne injured his calf with Andreas yesterday and is out for a month) From there we headed up Bellevarde and made the best of it skiing great snow here and there while waiting for more lifts to open. Eventually Tommeuses opened and while Chris and Andreas skied the Familial in wonderful snow, Thomas and I decided to head to Tignes via an untracked Campanules. I was thinking about the Motte but Thomas mentioned the Chardonnet, and with a track already cut the risk was greatly reduced so we decided to give it a go. And wow, what a good call that turned out to be Thomas! Whoever was first in set off the couloir, which was jolly convenient of them and much appreciated. We skied straight down the guts of the Chardonnet and I don’t think I’ve ever skied it that deep. It was deep and light and ridiculously good! (See photos) From there we had a brilliant run under the Balme before finishing with a lovely run down my funky route in the Familial. Chris and Andreas circled around after the Familial and followed us into the Chardonnet and their teams had terrific mornings as well.

After a frustrating start, especially with what happened to Inga, the morning really took off and became a memorable one. And what an outstanding first morning with ‘Alpine’ it was for Charlie, who emailed several ski schools last night at 10:40 from a bar looking for a space. Gill answered him this morning at 7:30, and he turned out to be a not only a great bloke, but an excellent skier as well.

I had great afternoon with Diana T and her childhood friend Kirsten working on some technique and skiing a little soft snow when the Borsat finally opened around 3:30. We’re going to get Kirsten up and running so she can join an off-piste group in the future.

I’ll sign off now as I’m on supper duties, but I must say I’m still buzzing!

18 March 2013
30cm's, just enough vis, and 'maximum-turns'!

The wind dropped overnight and it was snowing lightly this morning but no one expected the superb ‘maximum-turn’ skiing we were treated to today. Solaise was slow to open so I headed up Bellevarde and had a lovely appetizer just of the edge of the piste. I was surprised by the depth and quality so I came back up to try the Fontaine Froide, which was brilliant! It was so good we skied it four times, and with the new lift you can pack in a lot of skiing in a short period of time. From there we had some great skiing off the edge of the piste en route to the Borsat, where we opened up the Borsat Nord from the top. By this time the vis had improved dramatically, which added to the experience, and the snow quality was excellent top-to-bottom. After skiing the meadows we circled back to ski the Borsat again because you don’t get it to yourself in those conditions very often. We didn’t see anyone else all morning during four rotations on the Fontaine Froide and two in the Borsat, which is weird but I’m not complaining! I tried to finish off with the Familial but a fog bank was rolling through and I didn’t fancy spoiling our morning by getting lost, so we skied bits and pieces off the edge of the piste on the way home.

Chris and Andreas headed up Solaise and made their way to the Pissaillas Glacier, where I’m sure they enjoyed some fantastic skiing as well. Chris had a warm-up on Solaise while Andreas started in the ‘L’, before skiing the Combe du Signal from the Pyramid. They then skied the 3300 and I’m not sure what else after that.

The visibility improved around 11 o’clock for a short time but it’s come back in and is snowing fairly hard at 2:45PM There was a good 30cm’s this morning and it should snow the rest of the day and into the night so conditions will become serious by tomorrow. Stay tuned!

PS I forgot to mention falling into a ‘creeper’ on the Fonatine Froide this morning. I stopped, and while turning around to watch the next skier I felt myself starting to slip and dropped into the ‘creeper’ that had been camouflaged by the new snow. I was lucky as one more turn would have resulted in a ‘park-and-fly’! And it was nice to have Diana T along.

17 March 2013
Tough conditions but good skiing!

After a gloriously sunny day yesterday we were greeted with a strong Foehn wind, grey skies and light snow just starting to fall. It wasn’t very inspirational but Chris, Andreas and I headed out to make the best of it and we ended up with some jolly good skiing. The little Lavachet down through the trees was excellent so we continued down as far as we could before ‘skinning’ back out. From there Chris and I skied the Sachette while Andreas skied the Sache and my team finished off with the Familial. I’m not too sure what everyone else did in the end but it was a decent morning in pretty tough conditions.

The wind is shifting some snow and building some areas of plaque, which need some awareness and caution. Andreas triggered one yesterday and I set off a little one today on the traverse to the Lavachet. We knew they were ready to go and they were easy to deal with, but with more snow forecast accompanied by wind it’s going to get interesting over the next few days as the risk will definitely be on the rise.

I forgot to mention Thomas’ day yesterday when he had some hot-to-trot skiers and he gave them a good ski in some couloirs, as well as the Lavachet while Chris took his team up to the Fornet for the Glacier Pers.

Harry’s hand injury was serious enough to keep him off skiing today, and from the look of it he won’t be back for the rest of his holiday. It’s swollen and very tender and poling and pushing would be impossible. Bummer Harry!

Jeremy had the perfect end to his day yesterday when after proposing to Faye he watch the Saints beat Liverpool to greatly increase their chance of Premiership survival. I’m hoping for a similar performance today as the Hammers play Chelsea away. Come on boys!

PS Check Henry’s website for an excellent article on air-bags and the pro’s and con’s. It makes for very interesting reading.

16 March 2013
Will you marry me?

What an action packed morning that turned out to be! The sun was shining, it was significantly warmer than yesterday, and the wind had dropped. Perfect ! Andreas’ day took an unusual turn when Jeremy proposed to Faye on the Col des Barmes de l’Ours, which after a big ‘yes’ made for a jolly festive ski down in great snow. Congratulations you two, what a brilliant place to pop the question Jeremy. And thank goodness she said yes, it could have spoiled a terrific ski! Olaf and Anja skied their last day of a wonderful week and we look forward to seeing them same time next year.

Meanwhile Stephen forgot his backpack in le Petit Danois last night and was looking a little naked without his equipment this morning, but he behaved himself well this morning. My team started out with a lovely Alti-port en route to an excellent little Lavachet down through the trees, and from there we skied an even better Cocaine Nord. Gill had to peel out to meet the girls while the rest of us carried on and things started to get more interesting. I was trying a run I hadn’t skied in ages because the Aiguille Percee chairlift has been broken down and some of that sector has been left untouched. I came around the corner on a traverse and we were confronted with an impressive little drop off a cornice. After stamping about and trying to prepare an easier take-off and landing zone we dropped in one-by-one, and everyone made it with Harry being the last one in. Unfortunately he caught his ski, swung around and took a fabulous purler, which was pretty impressive. Harry dusted himself off but because he’d dropped down too low we needed to change our plans and headed for the Cocaine Sud instead. That wasn’t a problem because we knew there was still some great snow to be had after traversing through there earlier in the morning. Unfortunately Harry’s day got worse as he slipped off the traverse and accidentally managed to deploy his air-bag during his fall. He skied the slope (see photos) but we couldn’t work out how to deflate the balloons so Harry needed to head off to the Pisteurs hut for assistance. (I knew that was a good move because Chris always calls in after he’s mistakenly deployed his) Harry injured his wrist during his fall so I’m awaiting news and hoping he’ll be able to ski tomorrow. The rest of us carried on and finished with a very good Familial, after which we witnessed some very impressive flying during a helicopter rescue in the Piste Perdue. The pilot had his craft hovering beautifully still in a very narrow and dangerous space while they winched up the injured party.

I then needed to rush home to take care of the girls as Gill was off to pick up Laura from the hospital in Bourg. Laura has been down there since her accident on Tuesday and I’m pleased to report she’s feeling much better and has her wicked sense of humour back. Poor Chris, who likes a quiet life, has Mel living with him as Suzanne has volunteered to take care of her until Laura is ready to take over.

PS I just spoke to Harry and he’ll need a few days out with a hand injury, and the Pisteurs didn’t know how to deflate his bag either!

It’s a big day of sport with Six Nations Rugby and Premiership football on the cards, and a win for the Saints would round off a perfect day for Jeremy!

15 March 2013
One of the colder days of the season!

It was one of the coldest mornings of the season with -22C on Bellevarde, and for mid-March it was a bit chilly! The wind had been blowing overnight so it wasn’t the same scenario as yesterday as certain slopes had been touched up during the night, making it a little trickier. We had some low lying cloud cover but it was clear at altitude and towards Mont Roup and Tignes and the idea was to stay in the sun whenever possible, so Chris and I headed for the Chardonnet. It was excellent ‘skiers snow’ having been slightly compressed but it skied well and the team did a great job and enjoyed it. (See photos) From there we returned to the Sachette as it was so good yesterday, and it had withstood last night’s wind and was still probably the best snow on offer high up, and it just got better and better towards the bottom. We finished off a really good morning with the Familial, which was even better than yesterday. Faye who is fairly new to off-piste, was skiing with my team and she skied really well. Bravo Faye!

Thomas and Pascale were heading to the Motte, TJ had an all-day private and started out in the Sachette, while Andreas was heading towards the Glacier Suspendu but decided to pull out and skied back into the Sache, and Henry had an all-day private and I’m not too sure what he skied.

The girls are very excited as Kari is picking them up from school and taking them swimming. (Of course I’m not invited) They are also privately planning to meet Kari at the Folie Douce tomorrow afternoon after their Club des Sports. They think they can finish at the Club at 4:30 and then make their own way to the Folie Douce and find Kari in the crowd, all before closing. Good luck girls but I admire your independence and enthusiasm!

I’m happy to announce that Doctor Laura is on the mend after a nasty crash on the piste while skiing with Gill this past Tuesday. We’re all thinking of you and get well soon Laura!

Another cold day is forecast for tomorrow, but as long as it’s sunny and we can see, we’ll take it!

PS Today was TJ’s last day and he’s off tomorrow morning around 6:45. It’s been great having TJ back for a few weeks and we look forward to seeing him again next season. Bon voyage TJ!

PSS And a big hello to Frans. I’ve just finished a terrific week with Adrian and Frans would have been with us this week. We’ve been thinking of you Frans!

14 March 2013
A wonderful Sachette!

The wind was howling last night and when awakening to grey skies and flat light it wasn’t very inspirational while laying in bed wondering what to do. Fortunately a few centimetres of fresh snow fell during the night and by ‘show time’ there was enough light filtering through to promise at least enough light to navigate and have a go. It’s been a while since the last trip to the Sachette and with wind and -17C at altitude it seemed like a good time for a visit, especially when there was a good chance that more snow fell at lower altitudes. I cut under the Borsat chair then traversed across the Borsat Nord to the far side and we found a great patch of clean powder to get us started. It was surprisingly deep and promised more good skiing to come. We bussed around to the Palafour en route to the Sachette, where the snow was superb and deeper than expected. No one has been back there for a while so Chris, Thomas and I had the place to ourselves and by staying north it was excellent top-to-bottom. (See photos) We all then finished off a lovely morning with a very good Familial.

Andreas headed up to the Fornet to ski the Glacier Pers, which is still in great shape. They had good vis up top for the main slope then Andreas needed to feel his way around a little for the trip down from the Grand Torsai. After the avalanche last week there is rubble laying about that needs to be avoided and being able to see makes life a lot easier.

Thanks to Geoff and Inga for a great evening last night. Sitting across the table from TJ and Russell takes me back over thirty-years and reminds me of what a wonderful place and part of my life Val d’Isere has been. The food and wine was excellent and we all shared some jolly good laughs as well. I must say however, that none of us are as pretty as we used to be!

Another cold day is forecast for tomorrow but with better visibility and as it’s snowed lightly most of the day we should have more options available in the morning.

13 March 2013
Plan 'B' but excellent!

We had full sunshine this morning, which wasn’t forecast and believe me, no one was complaining. I was planning on a trip to the Col des Fours but we didn’t have enough ‘couteaux’ to go around and with it rumoured to be icy and tricky on the Col I decided to knock it on the head and ‘skin’ up to the Glacier Pers instead. It turned out to be a fabulous trip with brilliant snow and the 5 to 10cm’s that fell overnight added to the cushion and helped enormously. (See photos) The sun is climbing higher in the sky now and the lighting is so much more intense now with a deeper blue to the sky. Quite stunning really!

Meanwhile Andreas, Chris and TJ all gathered ‘couteaux’ and headed up to the Col des Fours without me. Apparently the ‘couteaux’ were necessary as it was pretty slippery up top, which made me feel better about the decision to pull back. They all had a great ski down working the expositions and it was a good result. I think Thomas and Pascale headed to Mont Roup to milk the last of what will be on offer there, and I’m sure Thomas ‘sniffed’ out a good route down. Unfortunately Pascale’s husband broke his collarbone a few days ago and is unable to ski.

Kari has kindly taken the girls off skiing this afternoon, which freed Gill and I up for a little ski, then the three of them are going to the Folie Douce for a bop. Scary stuff the three blondes together! It will be a bit of an education for them with the ‘boys’ strutting their stuff in high heels and funky outfits. Fortunately the girls were adamant that I wasn’t invited! Thanks Kari for entertaining them.

Gill, TJ and I are off to Geoff and Inga’s for a gastronomic delight this evening with great food and wine, and I’m really looking forward to it.

We may get another light snowfall overnight but it would be nice to have good visibility again tomorrow. Stay tuned!

12 March 2013
An excellent Crete and Mont Roup!

When I awoke around 7 o’clock the sky was clear and looking very promising, but by the time we were half-way up the Olympique it was snowing and looking like the visibility was disappearing. Fortunately the cloud cover thinned out enough to allow us to see and navigate comfortably, and with light snow falling and the sun filtering through it made for a lovely ambience and nice skiing. After yesterday’s heat Mont Roup was a calculated risk but it paid off and by playing with the expositions Chris, Andreas and I all had an excellent outing starting with some good ‘bonus’ turns off the Crete du Genepy and followed some great skiing on Mont Roup itself. I finished off with a Spatule while Andreas, Olaf and Anna headed towards the Fornet. (I’ve posted a few photos but missed some as my camera was on the wrong setting for part of the morning)

Thomas was skiing with Pascale up at the Fornet and I’m not too sure what Henry was up to. TJ had the day off and went down the valley to visit Min. He stopped by this morning to tell me the story of Alistair getting lost in the fog and it sounds like Alistair was cut up by an Austrian woman who was cutting in-and-out and wanted to followed TJ.

Gill went out with Doctor Laura this morning and Laura had a bad fall on-piste. She’s down in the hospital in Bourg for observation and TJ is with her now and Suzanne is going down this evening. We wish you well Laura and TJ and Gill will take care of Mel for you, so don’t worry! Stay tuned for more news tomorrow.

11 March 2013
Splat du jour!

We had a few centimetres overnight and decent vis first thing with it forecast to clear as the morning progressed. I had such a good day yesterday and a new team today, so I took the easy option and skied much the same again. Off the Mont Blanc was a lovely warm-up, followed by a quick trip through the lower Familial. Then it was decision time as it was socked-in towards the Motte, but with it forecast to clear we took a chance and headed up the Funicular hoping for the best. I must say we got exactly what we deserved and arrived to white-out conditions, but Chris and I continued out into the Rosolin anyway and had a good ski before ‘skinning’ out. (Chris was back in action after being ill for a couple of days) We skied down in a fog but by the time we’d climbed out the skies had cleared and we were in sunshine for the rest of the morning. (It had been foggy enough for TJ to lose Alistair on the piste) After the Rosolin we skied off the Genepy en route to a short walk up the Borsat West, which was excellent, followed by a good Familial to finish.

Andreas finished his three-day private with Ian and his pal Robert, who by all accounts is quite a fun loving character. They’ve been doing some serious skiing but enhancing it all with cracking good lunches. Thomas is back in business tomorrow and Henry is doing a week with the Ski Club of GB while Ginny and the children are back in England.

I took an amazing splat leaving the Gourmandine this morning and was saved by my backpack. I’d just mentioned to everyone to be careful while descending the slippery embankment and relaxed when stepping onto the flat pavement, not realizing that is was covered with a thin sheet of black ice. My feet shot out on front of me and I went down violently like a sack of potatoes, but fortunately my airbag cushioned the blow. What a start to the day!

Millie and Katie were back in school this morning after a two-week break so getting them going wasn’t the easiest this morning. Gill is well pleased to be off childcare duties and back off-piste! Their Canadian friend Kari is back skiing with me and the girls can hardly wait to see her for some dinner and skiing Wednesday afternoon.

A similar day is forecast for tomorrow, which will do nicely!

10 March 2013
What a cracking morning without too much to work with!

Finally after a very difficult week the sun came out and we enjoyed the visibility and found some great snow. My team warmed-up off the Mont Blanc piste, which was excellent and really whet the appetite. We then continued on to ski the lower Borsat en route to the Motte where a 95-turn pitch on the Rosolin was awaiting, followed by a short ‘skin’ that accessed another 35-turns or so across the Glacier. Next up was my shoulder, which was terrific so we circled around to ski it again before another short ‘skin’ to the little Borsat West, which was equally good. We finished off a fantastic morning with the Familial and it was a surprisingly good morning as not that much new snow has fallen but we managed lovely soft snow with a smooth base underneath.

Meanwhile, TJ skied the Borsat before heading upstairs to the Motte where he came in above us on the Rosolin then continued on for a Tour du Balme and I’m not too sure where he ended up after that. Andreas was skiing with Ian and Robert up at the Fornet and the three of them had a great ski followed by a fantastic lunch.

I skied with the girls this afternoon and because the snow isn’t too deep but is light it was the perfect opportunity to take them off-piste and lay some tracks. They love putting on their beeps and skiing the powder and it was nice to get them away from the crowded pistes. While we were skiing Gill was taking her Mum Liz down to Lyon for her flight home. Thankfully she had a sunny day today to finish off her short break.

It was a nervy finish for England against Italy in the Six Nations and it sounds like a cracker between United and Chelsea, and what a good win for Liverpool against Spurs. Stay tuned for more news tomorrow.

PS I hope you enjoyed your day at Twickenham Wils!

9 March 2013
Spirits are on the rise!

It was a little brighter this morning and with a little fresh snow it was a nice change after a fairly tough week. It was Seb’s last day, Mary and Jamie’s first, and Gill managed her first off-piste ski for a week thanks to her Mum, and we headed up to the Fornet for a great morning. We warmed-up off the Laisinant Express before diving into the Grand Vallon for a cracking run in solitude. From there we had an equally good run in the Combe du Signal before heading upstairs to join TJ on the Glacier, where we had a nice Pays Desert with a 5-minute ‘skin’, followed by the Col Pers. It was a fantastic finish to Seb’s week and Mary and Jamie thoroughly enjoyed their ski as well. The Grand Torsai made for interesting viewing as the plaque that popped out a couple of days ago was enormous and a reminder to leave the slopes in the lee alone after those ferocious Foehn and east winds.

Andreas headed to Tignes and skied the Chardonnet and Sache with Ian, and his new American client Robert, who said it was the best day skiing he’s ever had. Robert loved everything and it sounds like he’ll be back! Thomas had a private on piste while Chris is a sick boy and had to cancel. He’s back on antibiotics and won’t be able to ski tomorrow either. Get well soon Chris!

I took the girls swimming this afternoon while Nana had a rest after entertaining them all morning, and they’re now down roller-skating in their pal Anna’s couloir before our dinner party tonight with Doctor Laura and TJ. Hopefully they won’t fall asleep in their food!

Andreas, Chris and I went to the memorial service for Olivier and Caroline who were tragically killed in the avalanche in the Lavachet last Wednesday. It was well attended by friends, family and local off-piste professionals, who always rally around during these difficult times.

I must sign off as I’m on salad duties. A little sunshine is forecast for tomorrow, yahoo!

8 March 2013
Half and half!

The sun came out yesterday afternoon to tease us because after several days of pretty grotty weather without any fresh snow, the sun popped out to remind us of how pleasant the alternative was. And just when you started to think that a sunny day might be in store it was back to flat-light again this morning, but at least this time it had started to snow lightly. I ended up giving Seb and Tony an hour of technique before venturing off-piste and then finished the morning with another 45-minutes of tuition. It made a nice change and with the boys being into it we ended up carrying on until 1:15! I ran into Henry up on the Motte, Chris was in the vicinity, Thomas was on-piste as well, Andreas opted out to get some paperwork done, and TJ was planning on heading to the Fornet with Russell. It’s still snowing lightly at 2:30PM and the new snow will now make our lives easier again over the coming few days. Hallelujah!

Gill drove her Mum down to Les Brevieres for lunch while Laura skied Mille and Katie down to join them. They were planning on eating at the Sachette, which is always a safe bet. Bon appetit and thanks Laura!

I had a lovely drink at the Taverne last night with John and Caroline Scott, who I haven’t seen since TJ’s 50th, and not since leaving Top Ski before that. It was great to see them again and hopefully they’ll come and ski with us sometime in the future because besides being excellent company, John is pretty handy and Caroline is one of the finest female skiers I’ve ever had the pleasure of skiing with.

If you missed the photos Thomas took of yesterday’s avalanche in the Fornet they can be found with today’s photos. They are impressive so do have a look.

7 March 2013
No new snow to speak of!

We awoke to +4C in the village this morning but the good news was the wind had almost totally died away. It’s been totally socked-in up at the Fornet for several days during the violent Foehn winds, which normally means that some snow has fallen towards the Italian border. With the wind dropping overnight and we all headed up to the Fornet hoping for the best but at the same time expecting some new snow, especially on the lee slopes and in the gullies, but we were disappointed at how little fresh snow there was to be found. I started off cutting into the Combe du Signal from the Pyramid Chair and didn’t find much for our efforts. We then followed Andreas into the Combe 3300, which was much better with strips of soft snow that were very agreeable underfoot. Andreas then headed out into the Pays Desert while I headed to the Col Pers with Chris not too far behind, and my team were the first in, which is always good ambience. It was good skiing top-to-bottom with wind compacted snow, gullies of softer snow, and lower down some great slopes of soufflé that had been warmed up and softened with the warmth of the day. There were chamois and bouquetin on the way out to round off a very pleasant trip.

Thomas came down later on and apparently someone had set off a pretty substantial plaque. As far as we know no one was injured and I’ll post some photos that Thomas took when I receive them.

As for yesterday’s tragic accident, we’re not really certain exactly what happened as there are conflicting reports mix with rumours, which is difficult to sift through. One thing for certain is that two skiers died, and the guide was a very experienced and well respected.

Katie and Laura prepared a superb meal last night with a gorgeous carrot and beetroot starter, followed by homemade pasta with red pepper pesto, then lovely ice cream and cookies, followed by a selection of dried fruits and cheese. Katie helped Laura prepare all the food and helped serve and clean up. Bravo and thank you girls!

After enduring a few days of nasty windy and grey weather, we never received the 40 to 60cm’s of snow that we were expecting and desperately needed. It’s starting to clear up this afternoon so who knows what’s going to happen over the next few days?

PS Thomas’ photos now on my link. Impressive and scary, merci Thomas!

6 March 2013
Another tragedy!

The wind was still blowing a gale this morning and it was probably even stronger than yesterday. Sectors such as the Fornet were non-starters and Chris, Andreas and I sheltered ourselves towards Tignes in the Sache/Sachette, and couloirs. There is still patches of frisset about but some of the best skiing is now the chalky, soft soufflé type snow found in some couloirs, steeper slopes, and around ridges. Considering it was a tough day everyone had a pretty good time and we found some nice skiing. Bravo boys and nice idea in Les Tufs Andreas!

There was a tragic accident this morning and as far as I know two skiers were killed in an avalanche below the Little Lavachet where we ski down sometimes and then ‘skin’ back out. As far as I can tell it was even lower than where we usually stop, somewhere down near the waterfall. The Pisteurs apparently found two airbags, which suggests that the skiers had stopped to put on their ‘skins’ when the avalanche took them from above them. Bloody sad and it will be someone we know but I won’t mention the guiding service involved.

Below is a report from Radio Val:

Un guide-moniteur, enseignant d’une école indépendante de Val d’Isère, et sa cliente ont trouvé la mort ce matin, pris dans une avalanche au niveau du Bois de la Laye à Tignes bien à gauche des pentes du Lavachet. L’accident s’est produit au niveau de la cascade bien connue des randonneurs pendant l’été. L’avalanche s’est produite à 11h30 couvrant une très longue distance sur cette pente située en face de la route d’accès à Tignes, pente qui s’est transformée en toboggan. L’alerte a été donnée sans savoir qu’il y avait des skieurs qui avaient emprunté cet itinéraire. Les pisteurs en retrouvant 2 airbags au pied de cette avalanche ont tout de suite compris que des personnes étaient ensevelies. 10 pisteurs, 1 chien d’avalanche et le PGHM sont intervenus pour effectuer les recherches et des hommes spécialisés dans les recherches dans l’eau sont intervenus car le pied de l’avalanche est venu s’arrêter dans le torrent en contrebas. Des recherches, les sauveteurs devaient extraire les 2 corps, profondément enfouis sous la neige un peu avant 14h. Le vent important et violent de ces derniers jours a formé des « plaques à vent » particulièrement instables.

On a happier note, Happy Birthday Anna, who turns 8-years-old today! Have a great party and enjoy your friends and presents.

Gill, Millie and Liz should be back up shortly from the airport, after some shopping and lunch. Thanks Laura for taking care of Katie all day. I’m looking forward to tonight’s meal of homemade pasta and pesto sauce, and ice cream, all of which was prepared by Katie and Laura. Thanks ladies!

Unfortunately no new snow fell last night when we were expecting 10cm’s, but fingers crossed something will fall out of the sky tonight, otherwise we’re in for another difficult day tomorrow.

And bad luck to all you United supporters out there, you deserved better!

PS I’ve just updated a photo of today’s avalanche sent by Jean R. Thanks Jean!

5 March 2013
Tough conditions this morning!

It was never going to be an easy morning with grey skies, a howling Foehn wind, and absolutely no new snow, except the odd strip of cream blown in by the wind. After some nice turns in frisset off the Mont Blanc piste Chris and I were forced to try the Campanules, as the Borsat was closed due to wind, and after a predictably unpleasant traverse we fortunately found some good strips of soft soufflé where it turns back towards the north. From there we headed up to ‘skin’ to the longer of the Borsat West walks but as we arrived on my shoulder a nasty cloud descended upon us leaving us almost blind, so we backtracked to the Leisse chair to regroup. We then skied the Genepy en route to the shorter Borsat West walk and once off the piste the cloud rolled back in and we needed to wait it out, moving forward with each moment of visibility. Eventually we made it to the starting place and just as we were putting on our ’skins’ the cloud cover broke and we could see enough to comfortably carry on. What a relief! Most of us finished the morning with the Familial but George and I went back up to ski the Spatule, which was actually jolly good with the snow blown in to smoothen it all out a little and give it a soft ‘feel’.

Gill’s friend Alex was skiing with me today and Alex skis with me once or twice a season whether she needs it or not. She always enjoys herself and skis pretty well, especially considering how little off-piste experience she has. Bravo Alex! Along with Penny and Tony I also had George and Hannah from Norway. George is an avid reader of my Daily Diary and came to us because of the blog.

Gill and the girls are out with Laura walking Mel, and that should keep them all busy for a while as I write today’s entry. Gill’s Mum Liz is arriving tomorrow but unfortunately (if you’re a non-skier) it’s forecast to snow for the next four or five days. Hopefully Gill won’t have too much trouble on the roads as she and Millie are driving down to pick her up. Once they’re back up safe and sound I’ll really be looking forward to a fresh canvas as it’s pretty tough out there at the moment. Stay tuned!

PS Does anyone know anyone going down to Lyon Airport early- afternoon this coming Sunday? Gill’s Mum is looking for a lift.

4 March 2013
Against the Wind!

A change of weather is forecast by tomorrow and already this morning a strong Foehn wind was howling, especially up towards the Italian border. Andreas and I both headed up to the Fornet to ‘skin’ up to the Glacier Pers, and we were surprised by the strength of the wind that we needed to break trail against, as Chris’ track from yesterday had disappeared. The good news was that the snow was still excellent as it had withstood the wind so far, the sun was shining brightly, and we were the only two groups on the mountain. I had Seb with me today and it was his first-ever ‘skin’, but after putting them on and taking them off twice in a gale, he’s not a novice anymore! My friend Tony is back and along with Catherine and Penny we had a cracking good day, as did Andreas’ team.

Meanwhile, Thomas and Chris were showing a lovely group of Canadians around the Espace Killy, and TJ was out skiing with Richard and Clive. Gill and the girls had a blast around the pistes but they had to hide in the woods in order to have their picnic as the wind was hitting their regular spot. I skied right passed them when trying to meet up and didn’t hear Millie calling me from their secluded hideout.

Hopefully it won’t be too dire tomorrow and perhaps we’ll be lucky enough to get a few centimetres of snow!

3 March 2013
A blast from the past!

The sun was shining again today and I had the pleasure of skiing with Clive and Richard H for the first time in several years, and the boys did really well. Penny came along as my assistant and we had a cracking good ski, both on and off-piste. We ‘skinned’ to the Little Borsat West, which was excellent and well worth the walk, and Clive was extremely pleased to be off-piste once again. It was a real blast from the past as we used to ski some pretty serious off-piste together dating back 25-years, and it was great to be in their company again. I remember one in early December about 15 years ago when I opened the Face du Charvet with Richard in about 40cm’s of ultra-light powder. We were the first group onto the Face that season and the team laid a perfect set of tracks. The Face du Charvet with one set of ‘Alpine’ tracks is quite a sight and it was a special day to say the least!

Meanwhile, Chris ‘skinned’ to the Glacier Pers, TJ and his pal Russell headed up to the Lores, and Andreas had an all-day private and started out in the Fornet then worked his way back to Tignes via the Borsat West from the top.

Gill and I skied with the girls again this afternoon, but you can hardly call it skiing as they seem to spend most of their time in the air! Millie is skiing incredibly fast but I wish she’d think about her technique a bit more, and Katie has a lovely stance with good hands and arms positioning, which is fairly unusual for such small children. Bravo Katie!

Needless to say I was over the moon with the Hammers 1-0 win at Stoke yesterday. It was three point that were much needed and I can now relax until next Sunday when we play Chelsea away.

More sun is forecast for the next couple of days before a chance of snow from Wednesday through to Friday. But who knows?

2 March 2013
A great day off with the family!

I enjoyed my first full-day off of the season and it’s been an interesting day. The girls made our tea this morning and delivered it in bed, then made breakfast and set the table. So far so good. Once on the hill Millie was being pretty obnoxious first thing but after threats of cancelling the burger-bar at lunch she rallied, said sorry, and we ended up having a terrific morning racing about, doing some one-legged exercises, and mixing in a little off-piste.

We had a good lunch at the Billabong/Roxy Burger Bar followed by a hot-waxing lesson on the terrace afterwards. The girls spread the wax pellets and ironed their own skis, and hopefully we’ll try them out tomorrow afternoon. Millie and Katie continued to play on the terrace and this mean woman in the Mont Roup complex yelled out her window, “Shut up!” She then started using the f-word on them and told them to go back to their own country. I think she thinks that we’re here for the week renting so she’s in for a bit of a surprise when she finds out we’re not going away. Gill is going to invite a load of kids over soon for a terrace party, so if you’ve any noisy children, send them along! (That’s what happens when the Marie builds illegally too close to other buildings)

TJ and Chris were the only ones working this morning and Chris took his team of Catherine, Tripp, and Graham up to the Col des Fours. The first few turns were a little ‘educational’, but the snow improved with each turn and they ended up having a cracking good ski. Chris avoided the second ‘skin’ to the next little Col and was pleased he did as there was avalanche activity on the other side. TJ had an all-day private with a mix of piste and off-piste, and I’ve no idea what he got up to.

At the moment I’m sweating it out as the Hammers are leading 1-0 away to Stoke after 56 minutes. Come on boys!

More sun is forecast for tomorrow.

1 March 2013
Deep, Deep, Deep at the Fornet!

The sky wasn’t as clear as forecast but it was good enough and the team headed up into the wind at the Fornet for a fantastic morning. My team skied a very good 3300 followed by a stunning Pays Desert, and an excellent Col Pers to finish. Chris, Andreas, Thomas and TJ were all in the same neighbourhood and we skied 50cm’s of deep light snow in places, and 20 to 30cm’s in others. While I was cutting a track around the corner above the poma after the 3300, Chris was doing a brilliant job cutting a track in very deep snow into the Pays Desert. It was hard work and as usual Chris cut it higher up then normal to put off anyone who wasn’t committed to working for their snow. Well done and thanks JC! Chris then set the track into his little passage through the rocks to access a lovely slope and with all the new snow, plus avalanche activity yesterday, he will have been pumped up with adrenalin. Bravo again Chris! We all then headed over the Col Pers, where the first pitch was sublime with at least 50cm’s, but the lower we went the more the wind became a factor, and on the Grand Torsai it was blowing a gale but it was still good skiing. (See photos)

TJ skied with Russell and Doctor Mike this morning and what a trio they make. Gill managed to ski the 3300 and Pays Desert before picking up the girls after their morning Club des Sport session. They finish their seven day blast with the Club this afternoon and will be skiing with Gill all next week. Millie’s trip to Les Arcs was a big success although three of them managed to get lost for about 30-minutes. Millie dug out her piste map and got them back to the car, much to Tchenko’s relief! She said it was really scary but great fun at the same time.

I’ve my first full-day off tomorrow and am planning a big ski with the girls in the morning, followed by lunch at the Billabong Burger Bar, and then an afternoon swim. Sounds like I’ll need to go back to work to recuperate! Stay tuned!

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