Wayne's Daily Diary Archive

20 June 2007

31 December 2013
A lovely change of scenery!

The sun was shinning again today and after several days at the Fornet it was time for a change of scenery and to have a look at what’s been happening around the mountain. Chris and I ‘skinned’ half-way up the Crete du Genepy where we had some lovely skiing en route to a second climb up to Mont Roup, which was also great skiing. Andreas and Olivier went directly to Mont Roup from the Grand Pre and Thomas initiated Craig’s boy Jamie and Adam with a climb up to the Crete du Genepy. I’m not too sure what JM and Henry skied, but it has another excellent day on the mountain. (Great work on the photos Jean)

Olivier put on a wonderful drinks party at Jean Sports last night with delicacies from the Pyrenees. It was great to have everyone together and Oli went to a lot of work to organise it and prepare all the food. Bravo and merci beaucoup Oli! Pietro and Sue were there with their children Ben and Lorenza, both who have grown enormously since the last time I saw them.

John E is slowly on the mend but is a little wary of the ‘silly season’ drinks party circuit as he doesn’t want to come down with an illness. Needing to cough or sneeze with 7 broken ribs would be incredibly painful and having a chest problem would make breathing extremely difficult as well. We miss you John and look forward to you getting out and about again.

Andreas, Thomas and Oli have all been out all day and have spent the afternoon at the Fornet skiing the Col Pers, which is still very good indeed!

Millie and Katie are so busy skiing with their cousins that I haven’t yet skied with them. Maybe I’ll get a look in tomorrow! Stay tuned as another sunny morning is forecast with a chance of a few flakes during tomorrow evening.

PS And Happy New Year to you all!

PSS The avalanche risk is still rated 4/5, which is over-rated in my view and sending the wrong signal out to the public. There is definitely trouble lurking out on the mountain, but a risk of 4 should put a little fear into people and make them think seriously about what and where they are skiing, but at the moment people are ignoring the risk level and going everywhere imaginable without incidents. I hope when a more serious 4 rating is posted that skiers and boarders will respect it and take more caution. Is our current situation a bit of a ‘cry wolf’ scenario, which could lead to problems in the future?

30 December 2013
What a cracking good morning!

Meteo France bumped the avalanche risk up to 4/5 today, which seems a little extreme but there has been a lot of activity from the Arcelle through the Lavachet and into Tignes. Chris, Henry and I decided to head back to the Fornet with new teams and had some great skiing in the Pays Desert aided by a short ‘skin’ and I finished off with a trip over the Col Pers. Ray took the girls skiing so Gill could come for her first trip off-piste this season, which she greatly appreciated, thanks Ray!

Meanwhile the rest of the team headed towards Tignes for some excellent skiing and had a run in the Chardonnet, the Sache and then the Familial to finish. The boys reported signs of avalanche activity over the past couple of days and with six deaths in surrounding resorts the warning signs are definitely there.

Dave and Sue have arrived and are staying for a month in Johnny Alpine’s apartment. They’re really excited about their holiday and enjoyed a stunning first morning, and are hoping for more of the same!

After a beautifully sunny day today, sun is forecast for tomorrow morning with partly cloudy skies in the afternoon, heading towards some snow on Thursday. Sounds good!

And thanks for the drinks last night John!

PS And what dreadful news about Michael Schumacher off-piste accident!

29 December 2013
'Maximum turns' of high quality!

It started off a little overcast, which probably put some people off for awhile, but it cleared quickly and with 15 to 20cm’s of fresh snow we enjoyed a ‘maximum-turn’ type morning. All the boys, (JM, Olivier, Chris Andreas, Thomas, Henry and I) headed up to the Fornet and were treated to a stunning morning off the Pyramid, Signal and the Glacier. My team skied three rotations off the Pyramid before heading upstairs for four runs on the Pissailles, while JM was the first over the Col for the second time in three days, and after filling their boots upstairs Andreas and Thomas finished off in the Grand Vallon. It was fabulous skiing and all the boys’ teams did the business. Bravo!

I unfortunately won the ‘splat du jour’ award with a ‘park-and-fly’ of the highest quality in the meadows just above the river with about three turns left in the morning. Fortunately I didn’t hurt myself but I must stop throwing myself to the ground with such violence as I’m not as young as I act!

Olivier is skiing with the Foster family and it’s Suzie’s first time off-piste in about 20 years. She tore her knee up skiing with Giles in Alpine’s infancy, and has finally taken the plunge to get back off-piste. Welcome back Suzie!

We took the girls ice-skating this afternoon to check out their new skates and so far my plan of ‘having so much fun that we can’t take anymore’ is working out nicely.

Friday has been called ‘Black Friday’ in France due to all the avalanche deaths, which range from 4 to 6 depending on your source. The French media is really having a go at off-piste skiing and trying to stir up support for some sort of ban. It’s horrible news but hopefully the accidents will stop and things will settle down and go away.

Sun is forecast for tomorrow so stay tuned for skiing news and great photos, on Jean and my links, as well as out Facebook page.

28 December 2013
Well done Jean Marc!

There were a few avalanches in neighbouring resorts with a couple of deaths over the past couple of days, and with poor light and wind I wasn’t in the mood for exploring this morning. My team was pretty relaxed so I spent the morning around Bellevarde and in the Familial, and we had some good skiing with moments of sunshine. I forgot my camera today so I haven’t posted any ski photos but Jean did post a few on his link. Merci Jean!

Meanwhile, Chris, Andreas, and Jean Marc headed towards Tignes and skied the Chardonnet followed by the Sache, and Chris finished with the Familial. Millie went off with the Club des Sports and Gill and Katie had a ski with Ray.

Jean Marc went out this afternoon with Peter and Clare C, Mike A, Tilly, and a couple others to do some rope and crevasse rescue work. Well done you guys and what a great way to make the most of a tricky afternoon! And Millie did her first beep search on the terrace early this evening, and did pretty well.

With the Hammers being down 2-1 early in the second-half I was pretty worried but thankfully they fought back for a 3-3 draw. Still, it’s a tough time in Hammerland!

27 December 2013
What a top morning that was!

As promised the sun was shining this morning and the entire Alpine team headed up to the Fornet for a fantastic morning of great snow, ambience, and unparalleled scenery. (Thomas had Gordon and Jordan from Canada and they were suitably impressed and are already talking about a return visit next season! Well done Thomas!) My team warmed up under the bubbles as John missed the cable-car and then the Signal poma unexpectedly opened just as we were arriving allowing us to take advantage and open the Combe du Signal, which is always a treat. We circled back to do it again before joining JM for a trip over the Col. Meanwhile, Andreas, Chris and Thomas were all filling their boots in the same sector and Andreas and Chris had a trip in the Pays Desert before heading over the Col. Andreas had an surprise rest on the Grand Torsai as Mike pulled out a bottle of Champagne to celebrate life in general, which is as good as it gets! Skoal!

Red Ray volunteered to take Millie and Katie skiing and they’ve had a wonderful time and have just arrived home for lunch at 2:35. It was a very generous offer considering a sunny day with fresh snow was forecast, thanks Ray!

My trip to the airport went well last night and it was wonderful to see the girls again. We had cuddles and kisses and a huge chat in the car before they finally fell asleep. Unfortunately my night took a turn for the worse at 1PM when I made the mistake of checking the Hammers score. Not only did we lose, but everyone below us won and we’re now in the relegation zone. ——!

I like to say a big hello to Mark S who we haven’t seen in years but he’s been following the diary avidly and got back in touch through Facebook.

Tomorrow’s forecast is for a partly sunny morning followed by light snow in the afternoon. Stay tuned!

26 December 2013
Great skiing mixed with emotion!

It was an emotional morning as I was thinking about David and looking forward to seeing the girls, who I haven’t seen for a month, and the combination had me going first thing. I had a nice moment with Chrissy at the Gourmandine, as well as JM, Andreas and Jerry, and then we all set off to enjoy the fresh snow that fell overnight. Visibility was poor but the new snow made for wonderful skiing and everyone enjoyed a great morning.

I started off-piste on piste on Solaise and after 110-turns stop and turned around to find that I’d lost most of my group. Fortunately all roads lead to Rome and we met up at the bottom and headed up Bellevarde where JM, Andreas, Chris and Thomas were skiing. Between us we skied the Fontaine Froide, Bonnevie’s Drag, off the Mont Blanc, the Borsat and the Familial, all of which were excellent.

It has snowed lightly during the day and the forecast for tomorrow is for full on sunshine, which would be wonderful first day for Gill and the girls, who’ve been stuck in pouring rain in England. I’m hoping the roads are decent for my trip to Lyon and a miracle at Upton Park this afternoon. Stay tuned for more news tomorrow!

25 December 2013
Not the easiest of mornings!

Two days ago I needed to sort through 111 photos, yesterday 59 shots, and today I only took 8, which tells a story in itself! It was grey and miserable with a strong Foehn wind blowing and it wasn’t the most inspiring morning of the season, but the boys all went out and made the best of it. JM and Andreas headed up Solaise and ended up skiing the Combe du Signal a few times, which was quite decent on a difficult day. After fives days on the trot at the Fornet Chris and I decided to head the other way and the pickings were pretty slim. We ended up doing a beep search and I finished the morning doing technique with Michael R, who did really well. Bravo Michael!

I spoke to my girls on the phone this morning and they didn’t have any electricity today. Fortunately they’re going to Auntie Viv’s for Christmas lunch and she luckily does have the juices flowing so they’ll have their wonderful feast as usual! Bon appetit and see you tomorrow girls!

If you check Henry’s blog you’ll see some photos Andreas took yesterday while heading to Mont Roup with Jean Marc. They set off a few plaques from 50 metres away, which shows how fragile the snow pack is becoming and how dangerous it will be when the snow finally arrives.

Hopefully we’ll receive a few centimetres of snow tonight and the wind is forecast to calm down a little so we should have an easier time of it tomorrow.

24 December 2013
That was a first!

The forecast today was for cloudy skies and strong Foehn winds, which were to increase as the morning wore on. It was decision time at the Gourmandine and Chris and I opted to head back to the Fornet one more time before the storm hit, hoping to get over the Col Pers. It was blowing a hoolie but we made it to the Col and were just about to get on the Cascade chair when the STVI decided the wind was too violent and they pulled our plug. Not to be denied we ‘skinned’ up to the Col, which in 32 years was a first, and we made it in 45-minutes or so. We were rewarded with great snow again and it was a cracking good morning as conditions were tough everywhere in the resort.

We ran into the glove-less Herve from the ESF who ‘skinned’ up behind us en route to the Gros Caval and his pal Christophe who had cut around from the Grand Vallon. They are a couple of real characters who do not lack imagination and it’s always nice to cross paths with them on the mountain.

I’d like to give John D a round of applause for his efforts this morning, as he walked really well and skied beautifully. Pascale also skied well and didn’t miss a beat while skiing first behind me on the first pitch, which was fairly steep. Bravo to you both!

Jonathan, in Chris’ group, took a heavy fall and landed on his shoulder coming down from the Grand Torsai. Hopefully he’ll be alright and be able to continue on tomorrow. And John E is still in the hospital, 12 days and counting. He was hoping to get out today so fingers crossed!

JM and Andreas decided on a change of scenery today and they headed up Bellevarde en route to Mont Roup. I’m not too sure how they got on but they’ll have had an adventure and a good ski.

The forecast isn’t great over the next couple of days with high winds expected. Much of the resort was closed today and tomorrow the winds are anticipated to increase, so hopefully we’ll be able to get some skiing in. Snow is also expected over the next two days, but how much is the million dollar question. Stay tuned!

PS Update: Great news, John E has been discharged from the hospital this afternoon. Just in time for Christmas!

PSS It turns out that I’ve been so involved in my own little world of mountains, snow, sun and fun that I’ve been totally oblivious to the storms and devastation in England. I’ve had no idea the Gill and the girls may not arrive on Thursday night. Blimey. Andreas is down having a Swedish Christmas with his family, his Dad and Tansy’s parents, so skoal to you all, Jean Marc is enjoying a family French Christmas, and Merry Christmas from everyone at Alpine.

23 December 2013
Outstanding!

A couple of centimetres of snow fell overnight but the skies cleared and we savoured another stunning day with fantastic snow. Chris, Andreas and I all headed back to the Fornet as it’s been so good to us over the past four days, and we all ‘skinned’ into some wonderful scenery, ambience, and snow. We had the place to ourselves and with superb snow quality it was a fabulous outing. (Check photos)

JM was up at the Fornet as well and his team had a great morning around the Signal, the Glacier and then over the Col. Thomas was on-piste with Angie, who’s here from Australia, and he should her around our wonderful resort. Oli has gone home and I haven’t seen Henry for the past few days.

Hopefully we’ll get some good visibility tomorrow but after checking the forecast we may get a few flakes with wind (yuck!) and a few flakes on Wednesday. We had been expecting a decent snowfall over Wednesday and Thursday but the forecast now seems a little less optimistic. Bummer!

Come on you Gunners!

22 December 2013
Another terrific morning of powder skiing!

The forecast called for a cloudy day but we were treated to great visibility, beautiful lighting, and quite a bit of sunshine. We all headed back to the Fornet and had another brilliant morning. Chris, Andreas and I all ‘skinned’ in the Pays Desert and enjoyed wonderful snow top-to-bottom, then we all finished with an excellent run in the Grand Vallon where we found lots of spaces that hadn’t been tracked. Meanwhile, Thomas was entertaining Gordon H and his family, who are here from Toronto, and he showed them around the resort.

I had a lovely afternoon with Jane and her thirteen-year-old son Stuart skiing about and working on technique. Jane skied with me years ago and we spent many hours on the Verte when I used to work just about every afternoon. It’s amazing what fat skis and 30 new ski schools does for afternoon business, but it’s nice to get back out there for some technique sessions.

Sun is forecast for tomorrow with some snow coming in on Wednesday and Thursday. With the unstable base we’ll be in for a seriously dangerous period once the snow flies, and unsuspecting skiers/boarders could be in for quite a shock if they start lying tracks here, there, and everywhere, and it will be important to stay patient and not get caught up in the upcoming ‘powder’ frenzy. I’m looking forward to a couple more days of sunshine before the snow falls as there is still some great skiing to be had. Stay tuned!

21 December 2013
A wonderful morning to pay tribute!

Wow, what a morning! We knew there was great snow at the Fornet from our foray yesterday, and the fog that blanketed the sector from noon to the end of the day kept it pretty much trackless. Andreas and I dove straight into the Grand Vallon, followed by the Combe du Signal en route to the Glacier. No one had been over the Col and we didn’t need to be invited twice as it’s always a treat to have the place to ourselves. After an excellent Col Pers we headed back upstairs to finish off with another Grand Vallon. Chris headed straight up to the Pissailles and had some wonderful snow in the Pays Desert before coming over the Col to finish his morning.

I thought of Migo today as we skied in the Grand Vallon and when we came up for our second run at the end of the morning his dear friends had left some prayer flags in his memory, right beside David’s Memorial. It was a moving moment and Chrissy and I know exactly how it feels, and everyone at Alpine reflects every time they get off that lift. The Signal opens some of the best skiing in the world and has given us all such great pleasure over the years, but over the past three seasons it has taken six lives that were all too close to home. My heart goes out to everyone concerned and to anyone who has lost a loved one to the mountains.

Sports Report- I’d like to mention that Peter C ran a sub-three-hour marathon in Dublin recently. He missed out last year by 10 seconds and if you know Peter you’ll know how much that tiny-weenie ten seconds has been bothering him over the past year. Well done Peter for a great effort, terrific perseverance, and you can now happily retire from marathon running knowing your time started with a 2! Bravo!

20 December 2013
Brilliant skiing in 30 cm's!

With the weather pattern over the past few days the chances were that the Fornet would have received significantly more snow than elsewhere in the resort, and sure enough, that was the case again this morning! Andreas headed straight up and had great skiing up on the Glacier, along with Henry while Chris, Thomas and my team worked our way up to the Fornet from Bellevarde.

My team skied the Grand Vallon and Combe du Signal en route to the Glacier where the boys were putting in tracks in the Combe 3300. In the Combe there was a good 30 cm’s of fresh snow, maybe more if you’re a fisherman, and it was the best snow since the second day of the season. Quite brilliant really!

A nasty fog rolled in around noon and it stayed for the rest of the day. Thankfully the boys had skied the Combe before me in decent vis and I could keep follow their tracks and keep them close to help me find my way. Oli had a tough time in the Familial but eventually found his way out, and I can tell you it’s a horrible experience when you get stuck in a real pea-souper. Well done Oli!

I went down to Bourg to see John E in the hospital and he’s been there a week tomorrow! He’s in good spirits and starting to move around a little and hopefully he can come home by Monday. Fingers crossed John!

Sun is forecast for tomorrow so stay tuned!

19 December 2013
One week to go!

It really truly was a flat-light day today and with only a dusting of new snow most of us dabbled a little off-piste and spent some time on piste working on technique. I finished up a great four days with the Lambert’s and Cook’s, and we had a good mix of off-piste mornings with some ‘skinning’ and some hard piste skiing with technique in the afternoons. Check today’s photos for our foray off-piste this morning as it turned out to be fairly adventurous and cracking good fun.

A 16-year-old English lad was killed in an avalanche in Austria today with the risk rated at 1/5. Check Henry’s site for more details and a link to the Daily Telegraph’s coverage of the accident. We’ve been skiing all winter so far at 1/5 and this tragic event t just shows the importance of always concentrating and taking nothing for granted.

A few centimetres of snow fell during the day, with perhaps a bit more towards the Fornet, and hopefully by morning we may get enough to make a difference.

I’m starting to get excited as Gill, Millie and Katie arrive one week tonight. It will probably be their last full winter here so I’m planning on them making the most of it and having a ridiculous amount of fun!

And what a fantastic win for the Hammers last night, shame it wasn’t worth three points, but a win is always a tonic for the confidence!

PS I just checked Henry’s site and the article wasn’t there, so try the Daily Telegraph direct.

18 December 2013
A bit of a 'bonus' day!

We we’re expecting cloudy skies and flat light this morning but we were all pleasantly surprised when it turned out to be another beautiful day. It was a little flat early on but it brightened up quite quickly as did all our moods, and it was a bit of a ‘bonus’ morning. Chris had a good ‘sniff’ on the Little Borsat West and Oli and I kept him company. We found some beautiful frisset on the first pitch but unfortunately the meadows afterwards weren’t a soft as we were hoping. My team finished of with a decent Familial while Oli went off to meet JM’s team for lunch after JM had skied the Tour du Balme. Andreas skied around the Borsat and gave his team a thorough beep search exercise.

It was warm and sunny for my afternoon session with the Lambert’s and Cook’s and we took the opportunity to work on some technique before having a little blast about. Hopefully tomorrow’s forecasted snow will arrive and it was nice to see Mont Blanc with its ‘hat’ on, which in local folk lore means snow. Fingers crossed!

PS John E is still in hospital but is now able to stand up and move around a little, but he is in pain when he does move. Hopefully John will be able to come home sooner than later.

17 December 2013
Great work boys!

It might have been the last of the sunshine for a few days so we all tried to take advantage of the blue skies and stunning lighting and visibility. Andreas had a great ‘sniff’ today and led the way to Terre Rouge (Glacier Suspendu) with JM and Oli right behind him. They had fantastic skiing in the top bowl before needing to work their way out, which was a little tricky in places. Any good skiing at the moment comes with a price, whether it’s a long walk, a nasty entrance, or a tough exit, or even a combination of any or all. Nothing comes for free and any good result comes from careful planning and taking a bit of a chance, and the reward of spending time in good snow is well appreciated by all those involved. The boys have done a brilliant job so far this season putting on a good show in tough conditions and I’m really proud of them. Bravo boys!

Chris and Thomas were entertaining Tom Lindsay’s team and Tom came into the shop to say what a wonderful day they’d had. They really enjoyed the ‘skinning’, scenery, ambience and the skiing topped it off. Thanks Tom, the boys appreciated it!

I had another excellent day with the Lambert and Cook families as we ‘skinned’ into the next bowl along on the Crete du Genepy and were rewarded with some great snow. We didn’t get down until 2 o’clock and we had a seriously good piste work-out this afternoon with 13-year-old Zoë joining us. My legs were killing me at the end and the Face du Bellevarde wasn’t the best way to finish the day, although the teenagers loved it.

Grey skies are forecast for tomorrow (yuck) with some snow arriving on Thursday (yea!).

PS Apparently Tiger Woods is sniffing around the Blizzard Hotel as it’s the base of the US Woman’s Ski Team. Let her concentrate Tiger!

16 December 2013
Fantastic effort from JM and Oli's team!

What a great day that was! I skied with Robert and Caroline and their 15-year-old daughter Sophie, along with their friends Mike and Julie with their 16-year-old daughter Justine, and we had a cracking good day. We started off going over the Col Pers behind Chris’ team, and after dealing with an interesting entrance it was lovely soufflé all the way to the bottom. Much of it has improved with a little layer of sugary snow on top, which gave it a lovely feel. I must say Chris ‘sniffed’ out an excellent line and it was good skiing with fantastic scenery and no one else around. From there I tried a little pitch off the Laisinant chair where we found some nice gobelet before finishing off with a variation of the Super L.

Olivier phoned while I was in the L to say that all 12 of his and JM’s skiers had made it to the summit of the Sana. They were about to have some lunch and admire the stunning views before heading back down. Bravo to everyone involved as you don’t reach the summit for free! Great effort!

Meanwhile Andreas was back in action (check Facebook) and he skied some lovely strips of our dwindling stash of frisset with Bumble, Chrissy and James. I could tell by his Facebook message that he’s not advertising where as we might need it again over the next couple of days. Well done and my lips are sealed!

I went back out this afternoon with my team and we finished up with a funky trip off the front of the Cugnai into the top of the Super L before cutting out back to the piste. It was in the sun at that time of day and nice finish to a really fun day.

Finally I can report that we are expecting some snow on Thursday, which will be a big relief. I don’t know how much is coming but even 5 to 10cm’s will help enormously. Stay tuned.

15 December 2013
Another lovely day but time for some snow!

The clouds cleared off yesterday afternoon and we enjoyed another warm and sunny day. I skied with 15-year-old Sophie, her Mum Caroline, Louise and Jean, and along with Chris’ team of Paul, Arlene, and Jeremy we headed up to the Crete du Genepy. I was knackered on the walk for some reason, must be accumulative fatigue and I found the 40-minute climb much more tiring than the 2-plus hour to the Lores. Weird! Anyway, it was a good ski down and enjoyed by all.

JM and Oli have a touring week organised with some of their faithful regulars such as Catherine K, Chris E, Peter and Clare C, Roy and Marilyn, Stuart B, and I may have missed one or two. Good luck to them all as it’s a tough time as we await some snow, which may come on Thursday. Fingers crossed!

I’m heading down to Bourg to visit John E in hospital this afternoon and it turns out he had seven ribs broken, not six! Poor man can barely move and he’s in a lot of pain, but thankfully it wasn’t any worse.

Stay tuned for more news tomorrow.

PS I saw John and he isn’t in pain if he stays still, which is great news but can’t be much fun. He was in good spirits and looked better than anticipated, and thanks everyone for their concern.

14 December 2013
A great day ruined by a collision!

It was overcast this morning and after a run of stunning sunshine everyone was a little flat at the Gourmandine. We did however ‘sniff’ out some good skiing and managed to take advantage of some sunny patches, which made a huge difference. (Check photos)

My team skied some lovely gobelet in the bowl off the Fresse before taking the Olympique down to watch some of the World Cup Men’s GS. We then headed to Solaise and stopped for a hot chocolate while waiting for the clouds to clear and sure enough we got our spot of sunshine to ski the big slopes between the Cugnai and the Arcelle. After yesterday’s efforts it was a relaxed morning with a couple of cracking runs.

Olivier stopped early today, which allowed Dave C and I to watch the most wonderful match between City and Arsenal at Johnny Alpine’s. It was end-to-end and fun to watch. I thought of Derek who was at the match with his son Gregor and Derek couldn’t believe his luck with the choice of game that he was invited to!

Up to this point I’d had a wonderful day but it was marred by the news of John Ellis being run down on the piste in Tignes. He was minding his own business and was taken out from behind by an out-of-control skier. John is in the hospital with six broken ribs and the Ellis’ season is now in tatters. The bastard stopped to throw John’s ski back uphill towards him then buggered off never to be seen again! That kind of behaviour just makes your blood boil and reminds one of how dangerous skiing on the piste has become. Everyone associated with Alpine wishes John a speedy recovery.

Stay tuned for better news tomorrow!

13 December 2013
An excellent Lores!

Olivier skied the Lores yesterday so we knew it was worth the walk and with glorious weather yet again we set off for a fantastic outing. Andreas had Chrissy and Tony W, and Chris skied with Roz while I had Jean and Tim in my group. Andreas had a business lunch so he set off like a jack-rabbit and they made it up in around one-hour-and-forty minutes or so, which is bloody good going, and he ended up early for lunch! The rest of us had no deadline so we paced ourselves to around two-hours-and twenty minutes. It’s a long ways up there but the ski down was wonderful with frisset on the gentler slopes and deep goblet in the steeps. The ambience was terrific, the snow was excellent, and with great company it was a brilliant morning, which left us in a totally satisfied but fatigued state. Thanks for lunch Tim! (See photos)

I must say bravo to Jean for a huge effort today. At 72 he wasn’t sure if he’d ever make it up to the Lores again but when asked he voted oui and he had an outstanding time. I’d like to congratulate Roz as well who is here on an ‘initiation’ week. She asked Chris if they could do something for the day but she definitely got more than she’d bargained for as it was a big walk with some very impressive slopes. Well done Roz! And trust Chris to work in the Lores on an intro week, no wonder he’s known as ‘cheeky monkey’!

Olivier went off towards the Aiguille Percee to do some ‘skinning’ with his team and I’m sure he’ll come up with something interesting. That sector is still closed so you must work hard for your turns in that area. JM was skiing with Jo H and her husband David and was working on some technique when I saw him around 2 o’clock.

Stay tuned for more skiing news tomorrow!

PS I must add it was one of the best trips to the Lores that I can remember. We usually ski it on a spring-snow surface but it’s rare to take it on with such deep snow. Brilliant! And I just realized that it’s Friday the 13th!

12 December 2013
Very satisfying!

There was no change in the weather today but with each passing cold night the snow that was once winded and unskiable is slowly breaking up and become pleasurable to ski. We still need to ‘sniff’ about and pick our line but it’s becoming easier and our options are improving. (Check photos)

I went from Plan A to Plan D at the very last minute this morning (egged on by Chris) and we had a surprisingly good ski after ‘skinning’ up towards the Crete du Genepy. We had good snow from top to bottom with decent length pitches before we needed to stop to avoid wandering plaque. The sunshine is an absolute must not only to read the snow and keep it pleasurable, but also to avoid the plaque and protect our knees from injury.

Andreas was skiing again today and he skied off the Fresse, the Lower Familial and the Epaule du Charvet with new clients Kim and Trevor, and they had a great morning. Oli and his team ’skinned’ to the Lores, which was excellent and Oli’s wife Claire is in town skiing with him. It’s lovely to see her again and hopefully she’ll be able to spend more time here now that their children have grown up. JM was skiing privately today and Thomas and Henry were off.

We had a evening beep search last night followed by a drink a JM’s and it reminds one that we should all practice more often. Andreas had the equipment that Alpine bought with the money from David’s fund and it’s an impressive bit of kit that allows you to search for between one and four beacons. Thomas feels we should spend more time training on really horrible days when the wind is howling and we struggle for things to do, and he’s dead right so be ready!

More sun is forecast for the morning with a possible flat-light day on Saturday. Yuck!

11 December 2013
One run too far?

It was another lovely day with mild temperatures and the sun beating down all day long. Chris and I had some great skiing starting with the Combe off the Fresse chair, which was a wonderful start to the morning. We followed it up with a nice run in the lower Familial then bussed over to Solaise to ‘skin’ to the Col de la Madeleine, where we met Henry. By this stage we’d had a cracking morning and Chris headed home while I was greedy and decided to try the Marmottons into the Marmottes. The snow was very good deep goblet but getting to it and out at the end was jolly hard work and pretty tiring. We all headed home with our tongues hanging out wondering if we’d skied one run too many, but with these tough conditions you have to have a look, but you can’t win them all!

JM and Oli were heading up towards the Sana, and I’m not too sure if they were going to the Col or all the way to the summit. We’ll find out later when we all have a beep search practice and a quick beer afterwards this evening.

Andreas came up this afternoon to ski with Ness and Victor and I’m sure he will have enjoyed that enormously. His kids are getting big and will be skiing him off the mountain soon. I should know as I can hardly keep up with Millie when she’s in the mood!

Stay tuned for more news and photos tomorrow.

10 December 2013
Some surprisingly good goblet!

Hallelujah, the sun was back out today giving us a chance to make something of the morning! After yesterday everyone was smiling and happy to be skiing under blue skies again, and we had a pretty jolly good ski. My team started off in the sun skiing soufflé in the Combe 3300 on the Pissaillas before heading over the Col Pers to ski more soufflé with the odd soft bit thrown in. We then headed above the ‘L’ from the Laisinant to ski some beautiful deep goblet, which I must say was bloody good! (see photos) We then finished off an excellent morning with a good piste blast down La Daille.

Chris had some new skiers today, Roz and Bernie, who’s from Cape Town, and they skied the Fornet as well and finished above the ‘L’ while JM skied the Lavachet before ‘skinning’ out. Henry is back in action and I know he finished off around the Col de la Madeleine, Oli was on piste, Pietro was skiing with Fiona, and Andreas and Thomas were off today.

The cold nights are slowly improving the snow and some options are finally starting to open up. Strips of frisset are appearing as well as areas of deep goblet, which is wonderful to ski now but has a price as it will cause instability and danger when the snow finally comes. No snow is expected in the near future so we’ll happily enjoy anything that comes our way at the moment.

And we’d like to wish Chrissy a very happy birthday.

9 December 2013
Toughest morning yet this season!

After nine consecutive days of sunshine it was a disappointing shock to awake to cloudy skies this morning knowing that a difficult task had just become even tougher. With these tricky conditions being able to see is imperative to reading the snow to find the best line and to give one the confidence to ski instead of becoming defensive, and without vis it was tough going. Still, Olivier, JM, Andreas and I were all out there doing our best to maximize the morning.

My team started off hiking up to the Borsat West and the walk up was the highlight of the morning as the ambience was impressive and it’s always an adventure. The skiing was trickier than I’d hope due to the lack of visibility but Tim (first morning) and Jean did the business. Well done boys! From there we skied off the Motte and I resorted to spending some time on technique, which usually only happens on difficult mornings. Good work again on the photos Jean, merci!

Andreas went adventure seeking on the Tour du Balme and they had their solitude and ambience but suffered as well from not having enough light to make the most of the snow. Good work Team Andreas as it’s not an easy place to get to anymore! I’m not too sure what Oli and JM skied but they’re out there all day and there is a saying that goes, “Better them than me!” Good luck boys!

I had a superb steak at the Perdrix last night with Derek, Paul, Peter and Clare Burns. It was a good laugh and thanks very much boys!

Wish us some visibility for tomorrow because no snow is in the forecast.

8 December 2013
Surprisingly good skiing!

The sun continues to shine and the weather is truly magnificent, and although we’re desperate for snow everyone is enjoying the bright blue skies. I started off this morning skiing some nice soufflé under the Borsat chair before heading to the Little Lavachet behind JM and Andreas, which was excellent considering the lack of options. It was good deep goblet, lovely to ski and enjoyed by all. From there we skied some piste en route to Solaise where Jerry, Jean and I ‘skinned’ for ten-minutes to the Col de la Madeleine, and we were rewarded with some great views, nice goblet and good ambience.

After ‘skinning’ out from the bottom of the Lavachet Andreas headed towards the Motte on a reconnaissance mission followed by the scenic Tour du Charvet to finish. I’m not too sure what JM or Olivier skied although I thought I’d spotted Oli ‘skinning’ up the piste towards the Sache. (Aiguille Percee sector is still closed) Chris had a new client Quentin this morning, who has only skied for 6 weeks, and they headed up to the Fornet to ski the Combe 3300 and the Col Pers. Bravo Quentin! (Thomas and Henry are off at the moment)

More sun is forecast as this high pressure system is strong and well installed. Stay tuned!

7 December 2013
Making the best of it!

It’s getting tougher by the day but we’re still enjoying ourselves and finding some good skiing under beautiful blue skies. The boys are working hard and doing a terrific job to make the best of the conditions on offer. We’re skiing various forms of soufflé, from hard to soft and creamy, some strips of frisset, and the odd patch of deep goblet. Today they opened the Signal poma and my team were the first in but the pickings were slim. It was a matter of ‘sniffing’ about to find nice strips of supporting snow and the odd bit of goblet, and just find a safe way down. It was good fun as I love the challenge of finding the best route when it’s not particularly pretty, and it was great to be out there again and have a change of scenery. From there we had an excellent run in the Combe 3300 before heading over the Col Pers to finish.

Chris, Andreas, JM, and Olivier were all in the same sector and we all skied more or less variations of the same slopes.

My highlight of the day was watching Luis Suarez’s four mid-week goals on a Match of the Day repeat at Johnny Alpine’s this afternoon. Pure class!

Stay tuned for more news and photos tomorrow!

6 December 2013
Grateful for the sunshine!

Andreas and I headed up to the Fornet to ski the Pays Desert and Col Pers but the wind picked up to the point where they had to shut down the Pissailles Glacier and we were forced into a U-turn and headed back the other way. Andreas headed towards the Chardonnet and I never heard from him again while I skied under the Borsat chair before finally skiing the Tour du Charvet, where I met Jean Marc and his merry band of Ski Clubbers. It was another morning of skiing anything that worked, from soufflé dur, to soft creamy snow, the odd strip of frisset and some superb pistes.

The good news today was that the forecasted clouds stayed away and we skied all day long in beautiful sunshine, but the bad new is no snow is forecast in the near future. It’s so pleasant that I’ve been eating my lunch on my terrace every afternoon, but I’d trade that in for some snow and a fresh canvas!

The best news of late is that Physio Lou and Gavin had a baby daughter, Mea Louise, five days ago. Mum and daughter are both doing well and Gavin of course is an extremely proud papa. Congratulation you two!

5 December 2013
Another very pleasant day!

It was another stunning day on the weather front and everyone is soaking up the sun and enjoying having the mountains to ourselves. My team headed to Tignes via the Borsat where we met up with Olivier before skiing one on my shoulder, the meadows under the Borsat West after a 10 to 15-minute ‘skin’, the Familial and some perfect pistes in between. All in all it was really very pleasant!

Andreas and Jamie headed up to Mont Roup for some exercise and solitude and had some decent skiing as well. Good result boys! JM was about with the Ski Club while Thomas, Chris and Suzanne were out for a look around.

Margaret bought herself a new pair of Movement skis from Jean Sports the other day and says that they’re the best pair of skis she’s ever had. I think it’s fantastically positive to be buying new off-piste skis at 76 and it was lovely to see her smiling about her new purchase. Bravo Margaret!

I had the boys over for a chilli and a team meeting last night as it’s not that often we can get all of us around at the same time. We had a great discussion and everyone is looking forward to the season and beyond.

There is no real threat of snow forecast but some cloud and wind are due to arrive this evening, so fingers crossed for a decent day tomorrow.

And Happy Birthday Tansy!

4 December 2013
Well skied Jamie!

It was sunny and warm today and the wind has pretty much died away and is no longer a factor. (but the ‘damage done’ as Neil Young would say) Anyway, Andreas and I headed back up to the Fornet to take a trip through the Pays Desert, which was it’s usual scenic self with some good pitches of snow. Olivier came through with his Ski Club group so he was in the same neighbourhood, and it was a very pleasant outing.

We had binding problems in our group and ended up being overtaken from below and had our slope stolen just as I was about to ski it. Their tracks were all over the shop so we had nothing left to ski, which as you know would make my blood boil.

Margaret had a new pair of skis today and at 11:30 we finally noticed she’d skied the entire morning in ‘walk’ mode. Blimey Margaret, good effort!

I managed a couple of great photos of Jamie who is skiing with Andreas. I’d be proud of that body position myself Jamie, bravo and well skied.

And we’d like to wish Suzanne a very Happy Birthday today!

PS No comment on last night’s game!

3 December 2013
A top morning but for different reason!

The sun returned in full force today and the Foehn wind was much calmer, making for a very pleasant day. The wind has unfortunately destroyed most of what was wonderful powder and we’ve needed to totally change our thought process and desires, and in tough conditions I thought today’s outing was a 10/10. Chris, Andreas and I all headed over the Col Pers for the first time this season and found lovely strips of frisset, creamy snow and soufflé dur and well as fragile supporting snow. It was an excellent trip scenic-wise with great ambience, and the hunt for the snow that worked was very satisfying. We had good skiing top-to-bottom and were thankful for snow that worked the entire way.

I had a rather unexpected and adventurous finish on the steep slopes under the Tommeuses chair. Penny fell above one of the big holes that was guarded by rocks and went for a bit of a slide. At first I didn’t worry too much thinking she’d be stopping soon, but eventually I had to jump around and head off to try to stop her before she hit the rocks. Fortunately she reined herself in just in the nick of time and Robert was able to come down and collect a ski and pole to save the day. It must have been great entertainment for those on the lift and what a finish on the way down to lunch! (Check photos)

JM and Oli are with the Ski Club and Oli skied Mont Roup for an outing then headed to the Col Pers this afternoon to finish off his day. Thomas was off and was enjoying some family time down the valley.

Jean Sport have decided to give Alpine clients a 30% discount on rental equipment this season, up from 20%. Bravo et merci beaucoup Didier!

It is tough out there and we’re scratching our heads a little as to what to ski tomorrow, but ‘ when the going gets weird-the weird turn pro!’ Stay tuned!

PS Great photos again Jean, merci!

2 December 2013
An unexpected Foehn!

I opened the curtains and groaned this morning as I was greeted by clouds and a strong Foehn wind. What a bummer! We were expecting another gloriously sunny day with similar snow conditions to yesterday, but the overnight wind did some serious damage and much of the resort was cast in flat light. JM, Oli, Thomas, Andreas, Chris and I all headed to Tignes via various routes and made the best of it. There was some good pockets of snow here and there, but compared to yesterday’s extravaganza, the pickings were slim. Andreas and Oli probably had the best of the snow in the Chardonnet and my team found our best snow in the Little Lavachet. Now that we’re down the clouds have cleared away and we’ve a beautiful afternoon in store, which is great for Oli and JM as they’re entertaining the Ski Club all day while Andreas skis with his nephew and pals.

I had a good laugh with David Mac at the Gourmandine yesterday morning. It was great to see him again and I’d almost forgotten what a fantastic sense of humour the man possesses. Cheers Mac! And this morning I got my day started on the right foot by spilling my coffee while hastily trying to plant my morning kiss on Francoise’s cheek! What a berk!

Thanks to Johnny Alpine for the football followed by a wonderful curry last night, and my internet is now up and running so my life will be much easier.
PS Good photos yesterday Jean!

1 December 2013
Marvellous!

As promised by Meteo France the sun was shining this morning and after yesterday’s flat-light, everyone was in the mood. Chris and I decided to head up to the Fornet and enjoyed stunning skiing with three runs in the Combe du Signal (from the Pyramid) before finishing off with a couple of runs up on the glacier. (with a 15-minute walk) It’s incredibly peaceful at the moment as we’ve the place to ourselves and there’s no competition for the snow. Wonderful!

Jean was a surprise participate this morning as I wasn’t expecting him for a few days. He showed up in new boots and his first turns of the season were down the steep slope from the Pyramid. Bienvenue Jean!

Andreas and Thomas skied together and as far as I know started on the Borsat and went off exploring. I’m sure Andreas will post something on our new Facebook page so look out for that this winter with updates from all the boys!

I’m in a bit of a hurry as my internet is still down and I need to go up Chris’ to post the diary and photos before rushing off to Johnny Alpine’s for a football double-header this afternoon. And I slept like a babe last night after West Ham’s 3-0 win against Fulham!

We’re expecting another beautiful day again tomorrow so stay tuned!

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