Wayne's Daily Diary Archive

20 June 2007

31 January 2014
A super day at the Fornet!

It was sunny towards Tignes this morning but with the Fornet being socked-in for the past couple of days there was potential for fresh snow, and Chris swayed my decision at the last moment. I started off with the Grand Vallon, which was good enough but a little tricky so we then headed upstairs via the Lower Combe du Signal to join Chris on the Pissailles. We dove straight into the 3300, which had beautifully protected snow with an atmospheric light that made for a terrific ski. From there we ‘skinned’ up to access the Upper Pays Desert and it was worth the price of admission on its own! (Check out the job that Chris’ team did on today’s photos) Chris then went over the Col while I skied some bonus turns out towards the Combe du Geant to finish off a wonderful morning.

Meanwhile Andreas decided on ‘skinning’ up to Terre Rouge and they had a great walk and were rewarded for their efforts with excellent skiing. (Check Facebook page) Thomas and Henry were working with a Swedish team but I didn’t hear them on the air-waves and have no idea what they skied.

I ran into Chris at 2PM as he was heading home after his morning and he told me that the Col Pers was good, so after skiing the Combe du Signal and a lovely Pays Desert, Adam, Tom and I finished off our afternoon with a Col Pers. It was a nice reward as we had some tough conditions this week and the boys persevered in the flat-light and finishing with sunshine was fantastic. Bravo boys!

I saw Jean Z at the bus stop and we had a nice chat about the old Top Ski days and our trip to the Artic Circle in Sweden years ago. It was great to see him and reminisce about some fantastic times. Cheers Jean!

Stay tuned for more news tomorrow.

30 January 2014
I love you Big Sam!

No new snow to speak of fell overnight and we had a fairly cold and windy day with flat-light to deal with, but it was a pretty good morning anyway. We started off in the Lower Borsat, which was very good, followed by the Rosolin, which wasn’t the best, and then a 15-minute ‘skin’ to the Little Borsat West, which was a lovely walk and a good ski. It was Sue and Dave’s last day of a month-long stay with us so we took it easy and avoided the Familial by skiing piste to the bottom, even though Sue and Dave took the Olympique!

Meanwhile Andreas had a great couloir morning with Catherine, Richard and James while Thomas and Henry were working together with a Swedish group, and the last I heard they were heading towards Les Brevieres for lunch!

Conditions were tough this afternoon so Adam, Tom and I ended up knocking the off-piste on the head and concentrating on some technique instead, which worked out to be a better use of our time. The boys did really well and hopefully we’ll get better conditions tomorrow afternoon so they can apply themselves. Fingers crossed that we’ll get the forecasted snow tonight followed by the promised sunshine tomorrow.

And way to go Big Sam for frustrating that ‘Moaning Mourinho’ and picking up a huge point at Stamford Bridge!

The best news of the day is that Jean’s scan showed no ligament tears and no new cartilage damage. He did have a small break in his tibia plateau (I hope that’s correct) but the overall news is very positive. Jean is already planning his return and a new pair of safer bindings to go with a pair of Movement Response. Brilliant Jean!

PS I forgot my camera today so only have a photo of this afternoon in the Borsat before moving on to technique.

29 January 2014
Happy Birthday Chris and Fred!

The forecast wasn’t great for today but we profited from unexpected sunshine that gave us decent light for most of the morning. We all headed towards Tignes via the Lower Borsat (Andreas skied the Chardonnet as well) and I skied my first Sachette of the season, which was excellent top-to-bottom. Chris and Andreas came in afterwards and we all finished up with the Familial. It was a great morning that was enhanced by the patches of light and the snow quality was very good as some slopes had been compressed overnight by the wind, but the Sachette was well protected and offered up some great snow. (Thomas started in Tignes and I’m not too sure where he ended up)

The wind picked up towards the end of the morning and it clouded over as we’re expecting some overnight snow, which should continue through tomorrow.

Just when you think it couldn’t get any tougher, the Hammers have a date with Chelsea tonight at Stamford Bridge. I’m not expecting much joy but you never know!

And Happy Birthday to Chris and Fred!

PS We’re awaiting news on Jean’s scan and hoping for the best. Bonne chance Jean!

28 January 2014
Another stunning day at the Fornet!

The sun was out in full force today and we all headed to the Fornet for a change of scenery, as it just doesn’t get any better visually and the snow was brilliant as well. We were forced to stay in the shade longer than we wanted as the bubble lift and Col poma were slow to open, but we had some wonderful skiing while waiting. My team had one under the bubble lift and a couple in the Lower Combe de Signal while Andreas skied a run in the Grand Vallon. Once upstairs we skied variations of the 3300 and Pays Desert and Chris and Andreas eventually went over the Col towards the end of the morning. It was a pretty stunning morning as today’s photos and Facebook page will verify, and was well appreciated as we’re expecting several days of grey skies and hopefully some snow.

I returned to the Fornet this afternoon to ski with Adam and his son Tom and we had some great skiing out in Margaret’s Gulley in the Pays Desert. I had planned on taking them through Chris’ Chimney but that slope was totally destroyed between 12:30 and 2:30. Sad but true! Anyway, I’m pretty impressed with 14-year-old Tom’s skiing and his Dad is rather proud! It was lovely to ski in some sunshine as the boys and I have been skiing in flat-light the past couple of afternoons, and today’s sunshine was thoroughly savoured!

Stephen was incredibly lucky to not to have been wiped out by a boarder this morning on the piste at the end of the morning. The boarder was a right prat and was totally at fault, but he did pull off an fantastic hop-and-spin to avoid the collision. It was a spectacularly athletic manoeuver and just in the nick of time!

Stay tuned for more news and photos tomorrow and good luck with your scan tomorrow Jean!

27 January 2014
Great snow quality today!

It snowed again overnight and although there were gusts of wind recorded at 65kph, the snow quality today was stunning. Even the snow that was winded and compressed skied easily and all the teams had a fabulous morning. Andreas has a theory about wearing goggles if you want the sun to come out, so we gave it a try and blimey, after skiing a couple of runs in flat-light the sun came out for the rest of the morning!

It was a maximum-turn session up until 11 o’clock when technical problems shut a couple of lifts down, but we made the most of it and covered a huge amount of ground during the morning. My team opened with a clean run down the Face de Bellevarde, which is a jolly long way top-to-bottom, and it was excellent. Chris and Andreas were the first into the Familial for a great run and Andreas ended up heading to Tignes for a beautiful Chardonnet, while Thomas was entertaining a group of boarders around the Super S and Arcelle. (Check today’s photos plus the Facebook page)

Just when I thought it was clearing up for a cracking good afternoon the clouds rolled back in and Tom, Adam and I were left to ski in flat-light. We did our best and had a good outing while Thomas was boarding all-day with his group.

We should get a little more snow overnight and the forecast is for partially cloudy skies tomorrow, which means partially sunny! Fingers crossed!

26 January 2014
Fairly pleasant for a potential 'stinker'!

The forecast was pretty spot on and early this morning the wind was howling outside the bedroom window and groaning through the chimney. Winds were recorded at 110kph on top of Bellevarde around 5AM and rumours of 200kph on the Grande Motte, which is of hurricane proportions. Blimey! With that said Andreas, Thomas and I all went out and gave it a go, and it wasn’t as bad as anticipated. Andreas is skiing with Ian while Thomas had Duncan’s team and I skied on-piste with Dave and Sue working on technique.

It’s suppose to calm down a little this afternoon when I’m out with Adam and his son Tom, so I’ll add to the update later. Stay tuned! (I’ve posted a lovely photo of Thomas’ family so have a look.)

PS Young Tom, Adam and I had a really great afternoon and sniffed out some good snow, while Andreas finished an excellent four days with Ian. Well done you two as it hasn’t been the easiest but you skied right to the end!

PSS Tom, Adam and I saw a young skier set off a small plaque under and beside the Tommeuses chair and he was swept into a hole and buried up to his neck. (It was the same hole that Penny almost slide into earlier in the season.) It was a perfect example of how a little snow can become serious above a hole or embankment and the importance of a good run-out zone.

25 January 2014
A cracking good performance from the entire team!

The wind over the last couple of days has really battered the snow but there are some good pockets of good snow and a lot of wind compressed snow in others. Today I could have perhaps found some easier skiing but we had a great time and my team of Catherine, Patrick, Gideon, Dave, Sue, Penny and Gill handled themselves incredibly well and I was really pleased with them all, and I’d like to mention Gideon’s performance in particular. He’s bought himself a new pair of Movement’s that are fairly wide and the problem with wider skis for a good skier is that one can become lazy as you can get away with a minimum effort and movement, and one’s skill level can start to deteriorate as the life-learnt skills start to become under-used. Today however, the snow needed some positivity, some application, some controlled aggression and it needed to be skied, and Gideon answered the call with a solid performance. Bravo Gideon! (Check today’s photos)

Meanwhile Chris and Andreas headed to the Chardonnet and then Andreas skied the Sache while Chris skied the first Sachette of the season. Andreas lost his radio at some stage and he and Ian finally found it on their third run through the Sache. Well done boys, great perseverance and what a relief! Not only is a new radio costly but getting it reprogrammed with Security Vanoise plus our channel is a pain and time consuming.

Henry had some fun as he skied skiing the Tour de Charvet through the Couloir de Mont Blanc, the skied the couloir into the Marmottons/Marmottes and then finished off in the Spatule and Couloir Centrale. Blimey and nice one Henry!

We’ve a bad weather day with brutal winds forecast for tomorrow, but fingers crossed that it’s better than expected! Stay tuned!

24 January 2014
Ambushed by ferocious winds!

It snowed between 10 and 15cm’s overnight but unfortunately the fresh snow was accompanied by ferocious winds that created havoc not only with the opening this morning, but worse, the wind has caused some serious building up of dangerous plaques. It was a matter of finding something open to start with and Andreas and I ended up working our way to the Fornet while Chris headed to the Funival hoping for an earlier opening. Andreas and I eventually backtracked towards Bellevarde as the Fornet was also slow in opening plus the snow was winded. I was incredibly surprised by how vicious the wind was on the summit of Bellevarde and it made it so cold I could barely take any photos as my fingers wouldn’t work properly. I skied one on the Fontaine Froide before hooking up with Chris for a very good and atmospheric Tour de Charvet. Andreas and Henry came in behind us and we all made the most of a pretty difficult day. (See photos)

I’m having trouble with my camera as it’s developed a black dot in the middle of the screen, and I need to crop around the dot. I’m in need of a new camera but will do my best to get some decent photos in the meantime.

A partially sunny day is forecast for tomorrow and hopefully the wind will die down. Stay tuned!

PS I forgot to mention that we watched three Chamois set off a plaque across the way from us in the Tour de Charvet. One was caught up in it but managed to wiggle out after a short ride in the slide. I felt badly as the Chamois were only trying to get away from us as we spooked them while skiing down, but fortunately none of them were injured. And it was a jolly good reminder about how fragile the plaques are after this wind storm.

23 January 2014
A lovely use of a flat-light day!

After the stunning snow quality at the Fornet yesterday it didn’t take much persuasion to head that way again, especially with flat-light beckoning and knowing we could follow our tracks from yesterday if the clouds and fog rolled in. Chris and I ‘skinned’ to the Glacier Pers and except for two to three minutes in a fog the light was very good considering, and the snow was wonderful top-to-bottom. (Chris did the hard work yesterday cutting the track to the Lechoir and it made today so much easier, thanks Chris!) It was a terrific use of a flat-light day and everyone thoroughly enjoyed the walk and especially the skiing.

Andreas was also up at the Fornet with Ian and they had a great day and a fabulous lunch at the Edelweiss, and Thomas was entertaining the Canadians in Tignes while Henry was busy with an all-day HAT course.

At 3:55PM it’s snowing quite nicely and the forecast calls for some snow tonight and through to tomorrow afternoon. Bring it on!

22 January 2014
A lovely Charvet and Lechoir!

After a couple of days of in-and-out-of-the fog skiing, we were treated to brilliant sunshine and perfect visibility today. I decided on a change of scenery and started off with an excellent Tour de Charvet. The top section was wonderful and the second half was better than expected and was good skiing to the bottom. From there we worked our way to the Fornet via a run off the Mattis, the Laisinant, and Lower Signal before skiing a fantastic Tour de Lechoir, with great snow and lovely ambience.

Meanwhile, Chris ‘skinned’ to the Glacier Pers for a stunning run and his team were buzzing with a feeling of accomplishment after walking up to perfect snow. Andreas was at the Fornet as well with Peter and Val B, and Val is slowing taking the hook and is really enjoying her off-piste. Bravo Val! Thomas, Johann and Jerome were skiing with Wendell’s Canadian team and I’m not too sure what they skied today, but I’m sure the Canucks were suitably impressed with our wonderful domain!

Clouds with light snow are forecast for the morning so we’ll wait and see what we have to deal with, but some sunny spells are expected during the afternoon.

Sports Report- It was wonderful to see the photos of Roger after beating Andy Murray to reach the final four at the Australian Open. I looks like he had his desire back at 32 and he’s still capable of some sweet tennis. I’d love to see him gone on and win but that’s a big ask with Rafa up next!

Stay tuned for more news and photos tomorrow.

21 January 2014
Ambushed by the fog!

After yesterday’s luck with the clear blue skies at the Fornet we were expecting similar today, especially with the forecast calling for a mainly sunny morning, but we were ambushed by fog and flat -light. There was a delay on the opening of the Cascade chairlift so Chris and I dived into a foggy Grand Vallon and felt our way down until we arrived under the fogbank about half way down. It was excellent skiing so I continued down to the valley floor while Chris cut out to join Andreas up on the glacier. By the time I arrived back upstairs it was starting to clear at altitude so we skied a nice Combe de Signal before heading over the Col with Thomas’ team of Wendell’s strong-skiing Canadians. The snow was fantastic top-to-bottom and the top section was in the sun before we dropped back down into the cloud, but after a few hundred metres we skied underneath the fog and had decent light the rest of the way. All in all it was a pretty good morning with great snow and some character building ambience.

Andreas and Thomas continued on this afternoon with their groups while I had a great afternoon technique lesson with Nick and Jo, who will join us off-piste sometime in the future.

Full sun is forecast for tomorrow morning but we’ll wait and see with some optimism!

20 January 2014
Outstanding morning above a sea-of-cloud!

Wow, what a morning that was! I awoke to fog in the village but felt we had a chance of visibility up high, but I didn’t expect to rise above a thick sea-of-cloud into bright blue skies. The Foehn and east wind did its best to blow some lovely snow in up at the Fornet and Chris, Andreas, Henry and I filled our boots with some superb snow made all the better because of the un-forecast sunshine. We all skied variations on the Glacier as the cloud bank below was a deterrent to going over the Col, but it was a royal day enjoyed by all.(Check photos plus the Facebook page)

It was Tansy’s first off-piste ski of the season today and she thoroughly enjoyed herself as she doesn’t get too many opportunities to ski with Andreas, and it was a pretty special morning to boot! She had the biggest grin at the end of the morning and her face was beaming on the way down in the bus. Cheers Tansy!

Meanwhile, Thomas is entertaining Wendell’s team from Canada, who are based in Tignes. I haven’t heard from Thomas but did hear on the radio that they were cracking good skiers. Oh Canada!

Some sun is forecast for tomorrow so stay tuned for more skiing news and photos!

PS We miss you Jean and John E is hoping to return around the end of February.

19 January 2014
Not the easiest morning of the season!

After a couple days and nights of strong gusting wind we had tougher conditions this morning, but fortunately decent vis towards Tignes helped to make the most of the day. Thomas, Henry and I all headed towards the light and my team opened up with a pretty good run from the top of the Borsat Nord. From there we bussed around and skied the Sache, which was good in places and a little trickier in others. We finished off a good morning with an optimistic Familial, and after skiing off a freshly developed wind-formed cornice and dropping about 2 metres and splatting myself, which rendered my sunglasses useless, we just skied cautiously to the bottom. Needless to say it wasn’t the best Familial of the season! (See photos)

We had a great time at the Polo final last night, which was 7-7 at the end of full-time and went to sudden-death. The challengers from the UK who forced extra-time with a goal with 15 seconds remaining, beat the four-time champs in a thriller and much to the delight of Radio Wil, who was doing his best to remain neutral during his commentary. We had a fantastic vantage point and could really see the work of the ponies as they jostled and bumped one other, being just as competitive as their riders. The girls had a wonderful time playing with their friends, visiting the stables and eating and drinking as much of the complementary food and drink as possible. Chrissy was there, as were Andreas and Tansy with Ness and Victor and it was a really good event and well worth watching.

It’s snowing lightly at the moment and fingers crossed for some more snow before the morning. Stay tuned!

18 January 2014
Radio Wil is in town!

We had a small window of opportunity this morning as the sun was shining above the Charvet, so after a warm-up on the meadows towards the Grand Pre, Chris and I headed to the Tour de Charvet. There was 50 to 60kph of wind overnight and some snow had been damaged but we managed to ‘sniff’ out pretty good snow top-to-bottom, and it was nice to have a change of scenery. Once out the clouds had started to roll in and the breeze was stiffening so we ‘skinned’ for ten minutes to the Col de la Madeleine and had good snow but the light had flattened leaving us to ski by ‘feel’ and a positive attitude! From there Tejina and Chris cut out to meet Clare and my team finished with a rather funky Marmottons into the Marmottes, which ended with some impressive bush-whacking at the bottom. It was a fun morning and well done to all involved!

I ran into Radio Wil last night while having dinner in the Taverne with the girls and Michael R. It was great to see Wil again and he’s taken a break from his sailing to be here with his girlfriend to commentate at the Polo Tournament. And thanks for a lovely evening Michael!

Jean has been taking photos around town so do have a look and he’s also just joined Facebook so send him a ‘friend’ request and stay in touch.

It will be another nervy afternoon in front of my computer as the Hammers are playing Newcastle at home. Come on boys!

Snow is forecast for the next couple of days and we could see a retour d’est, which normally sees the Fornet receiving a big dump. Fingers crossed!

17 January 2014
Decent light and fantastic skiing!

Another 10 to 15cm’s of fresh snow fell overnight and it was just enough to really give a soft cushion underfoot, and in untracked areas it made for beautifully deep snow. After a good warm-up in great snow off the Verte, Andreas, Thomas and I all hiked up to the Borsat Nord for a excellent run on the big face. From there I followed the ‘Chardo boys’ up to the Chardonnet, which was very good as well. From there Thomas and Andreas continued towards the Sache while I backtracked and had some lovely snow off the Merles, Alti-port, Fresse and Jardin du Borsat to finish. Andreas was skiing with Mikkel’s Vikings and Thomas was boarding with a new Alpine client, Hugh, who had a terrific time. Meanwhile Chris was skiing with Clare and Tejina and I’m not too sure what they skied.

Tansy and I finished up our week with the Ecole Maternelle children and I must say it was cracking good fun. We both had great little skiers and real characters!

Michael R finished up 27 straight days with Alpine this morning and he’s had a superb holiday. Well skied Michael and we look forward to seeing you again next winter!

It cleared up this afternoon and there isn’t a cloud in the sky at the moment, but more snow and cloudy weather are forecast for tomorrow.

16 January 2014
A jolly good morning in flat-light!

After yesterday’s powder feast the energy levels weren’t quite the same at the Gourmandine as we had cloudy skies and flat-light to deal with, but everyone was ready to make the most of it. Thomas wanted to ski the Sache so Chris and I kept him company and we had a really good morning. My team opened up off the Mont Blanc piste where I was skiing with the girls yesterday, and it was a good little warm-up in lovely snow. We then joined Chris in the Borsat Nord where I was terrorized from above by eight or nine skiers (guided) cutting above us and pushing us from behind. A two-minute wait would have given us time to ski comfortably and clear the slope before they had the place to themselves. Some people just have no patience! Anyway, we then hooked up with Thomas for a cracking good Sache and we all finished with a great run in the Familial. Meanwhile, Andreas had a 10 o’clock start and he skied the Sache as well with Sophie’s team and profited from some good light before finishing up in the Familial.

Thomas had a lovely afternoon skiing with Dave and Sue and introducing their pals to off-piste, while Tansy and I skied our third of four afternoons with the local school children, and it was jolly good fun as we both have a pretty good level. In fact, Tansy skied her 5-year-old’s down the Face de Bellevarde to finish!

More snow is forecast over the next few days and hopefully the wind won’t become a factor. Stay tuned!

PS I forgot to mention that Gill tried Millie’s helmet this morning but wasn’t overly impressed. She found it uncomfortably warm and felt like she had a loss of hearing. Hopefully those berks who race around on the pistes scaring law-abiding skiers aren’t losing awareness of their surroundings due to their helmets?

15 January 2014
It doesn't get much better!

Wow, what a magnificent morning! The sun was out and after a cold night the snow was beautifully light and after yesterday’s fabulous ski at the Fornet the team headed back for more. My team opened up off the Combe du Signal in Henry’s Gulley, which as a lovely little sharpener. From there we skied the sunny-side of the 3300 followed by an outstanding run in the Pays Desert. It was so good we ‘skinned’ up for 15-minutes to get the upper slope from the top before cutting over to Margaret’s Gulley, and then finished off with some bits-and-pieces to the bottom. Stuart the Sea Captain was on terrific form and stayed on his feet all morning long, even after I praised him, which is usually a recipe for a splat or two! And well done to Sue who’s making progress each and every day, bravo!

Meanwhile, Thomas was the first over the Col for a superb Col Pers and he followed that up with the Vallonnet. Andreas was skiing with Peter and Val and they started in the Grand Vallon before heading upstairs for one in the 3300 and then over the Col, while Chris was skiing with Tejina and Clare introducing Clare to her first taste of off-piste skiing, and she thoroughly enjoyed herself and skied really well. Henry was also in the neighbourhood and every one finished a wonderful morning extremely satisfied.

Andreas and Chris both skied this afternoon up at the Fornet while I had a family off-piste session with Gill, Millie and Katie. I was extremely pleased with the progress the girls made and was proud of their ‘Alpine’ tracks. Well done girls.

Sorry for the late update but I took 250 photos today so it took awhile to sort them out and I’m now cooking while writing as the girls are out watching the polo pony parade.

Clouds are forecast for tomorrow morning but I’m not going to let that spoil a stunning day. Wow!

14 January 2014
Absolutely brilliant!

It snowed around 10cm’s overnight but up at the Fornet it was much deeper and made for superb skiing. Andreas and Chris persuaded me into the Fornet and we all enjoyed a brilliant morning with just enough light to have a real go. (Check photos) My team warmed-up with a cracker powder on the Mattis piste, followed by a run from the top in the Combe du Signal, two in the 3300, one off the top of the T-Bar towards the Col, and one in the meadows above the Mattis to finish. Andreas and Chris were both enjoying the wonderful snow in the same sector and everyone had huge smiles at the end of the morning.

I skied with half of Tansy’s team from yesterday and they were great little skiers for 5 years-old. I skied gentle powder with them all afternoon and they’d follow in my track, which was much smoother than the bumped up piste. Meanwhile Andreas had a fabulous afternoon with Mikkel’s Vikings up at the Fornet and Thomas finished his two-day engagement with Brian Millar’s team from Australia after a jolly good lunch at La Fruitiere!

Stay tuned for more news and photos tomorrow!

13 January 2014
Wow, that was spectacular!

The forecast for this morning wasn’t too promising but we enjoyed a lovely morning with stunning light and pretty good visibility up to around 11 o’clock. My team started off with a Jardin du Borsat, followed by a Lower Borsat, the off the Leisse towards my shoulder en route to a little ‘skin’ to the Little Borsat West, which was excellent. Well, excellent except for one turn that gobbled Geoff up and spat him into a ‘splat du jour’ of epic proportions. A twenty-year-old would have been proud of it let alone a gentleman with two knee replacements. Bravo Geoff, it was a beauty although a little scary to watch! After re-grouping we finished off a very good morning with a lovely Familial.

Andreas had a great morning as well and skied the Borsat and then the double ‘skin’ to the Borsat West, followed by the Familial and a Spatule to finish. Chris was skiing with Tejina and Clare while Thomas was one piste with the Millar’s from Australia, and Henry was busy with one of his HAT days.

Tansy and I skied with the Ecole Maternelle this afternoon for our Community Service hours. I ended up with a private with a little chap who was suppose to be a beginner, but after skiing the Village chair once I smuggled him onto the Olympique and we ended up skiing three runs on the Marmottes Express. Tansy had twelve in her group and maybe tomorrow I could help her out and give my little man to someone else. Andreas was busy as well this après-midi with Mikkel and his team of Danish Vikings.

It’s snowing lightly at the moment and it’s forecast to continue during the night and during the day tomorrow. Sounds good!

12 January 2014
First Sache Col of the season!

After the Hammer’s brilliant win yesterday I was in great spirits at the Gourmandine this morning, and the stunning blue skies and sunshine didn’t hurt either! I was skiing with Michael and Jenny, while Chris had Stuart, Kit and Louise, so we decided to head towards the little Col of the Sache for the first time this season. After a nice warm-up in the Lower Borsat we bussed over and it was lovely to see some different views. The steep slopes of the Sache have taken a lot of wind and weren’t in great shape but we found some soft snow followed by supporting soufflé to ski our way down. We then ’skinned’ for 10-minutes or so and had some excellent snow in the meadow towards the Glacier Suspendu. (Chris had his camera out so he should have some up on the Facebook page tonight.) It was good skiing to the bottom and we finished off with a very good Familial/Altiport.

Andreas was back in action today after a couple of ‘family days’ and he had an intro to touring session with Peter B and his wife Val, and they had a great morning out towards the Crete du Genepy. Thomas is off today and I’m not too sure what Henry is up to.

The avalanche risk has dropped to 2/5, but there have been several spontaneous plaques popping out over the past few days. Most notably above the Alti-port, and on the sunny slopes near the Col de Fresse. Plaques have also let go on the traverse to the Kern and one up around the Signal during the past week. The moral of the story is ‘beware and don’t let a 2/5 rating fool you!’

Gill is out basking in glorious sunshine on the terrace but a cloudy day tomorrow and snow tomorrow night are in the forecast. Snow tomorrow night sounds good but clouds in the morning isn’t very inspiring. Fingers crossed and stay tuned!

11 January 2014
Welcome to 'Alpine'

Today’s forecast wasn’t the brightest but Chris and I headed to the Fornet and profited from really good light most for of the morning, and after yesterday it was well appreciated and helped to make the most of our skiing. The Pays Desert didn’t look particularly good after yesterday’s wind so we headed straight over the Col and ‘skinned’ up to the Glacier Pers. I had three new Alpine skiers in the group today, Will and his son Hugo, along with Adi, and the boys did the business and thoroughly enjoyed themselves. (I’m always pleased when new skiers have their cameras out photographing their team tracks!) Considering the wind over the past 24-hours the Glacier Pers came through again and was excellent top-to-bottom, and a great intro to ‘Alpine’. (See photos) Thanks Peter B for the intro!

Thomas and Andreas were off today and Andreas is swimming and ice skating with Ness who is having her birthday party today. (Her birthday was last week) What a great way to celebrate a birthday, have fun Ness!

The girls are about to arrive home from the Club des Sports so I’d better sign off and get ready for the whirlwind!

Sun is forecast for Jenny’s last day tomorrow and come on you Hammers!

PS Like a sad git I’ve spent the afternoon sweating in front of my computer in my West Ham shirt while drinking beer out of my West Ham mug, and when we went down to ten-men with 25 minutes to play, nursing a 1-0 lead, it was extremely tough going. But what a performance and what a reaction after last week’s humiliation, and I’m so pleased for Big Sam, because I love the guy. If the Hammers go down, I want to go down with Sam leading the fight, but I feel today was a turn-around and he’ll lead us to 12th place or so. What a finish to a great day!

10 January 2014
Not at all what we were expecting!

It wasn’t the morning we were expecting as blue skies were forecast and instead we had flat-light and a howling wind to deal with. The grey skies and ridiculously warm temperatures put those who were thinking Mont/Roup or Crete du Genepy off and the entire team headed towards the Fornet for altitude and colder temperatures and with the Col Pers/Glaciers Pers in mind. Chris and I arrived first to find that the Glacier was closed so we jumped back on a bus and headed back to Bellevarde to start the day all over again. Resorting to ‘Plan C or D’ we ended up having a pretty good morning skiing the Lower Borsat, followed by a nice run on Wayne’s Shoulder before ‘skinning’ to the Little Borsat West, which was excellent. I then finished with the Familial/Alti-port with a sudden appearance of the sun, which was greatly appreciated by one and all and finished off the morning quite nicely.

I skied with Sonny from Gothenburg for his first time with Alpine and his first time ‘skinning’ and he had a brilliant morning. We also had for the first time this week Aidan as well as Robert, Tom and Alice from Wales, and they all thoroughly enjoyed their time with us.

New Ski Report- In the old days we’d never ski on a new pair of skis with out hand-tuning them first as they never came out of the factory ready to be skied. New skis always needed to be flat-filed before being used. Sadly as time has passed this is still true. If you’ve bought new skis, and it doesn’t matter what make or where you bought them, if they feel uncomfortable on the piste get them tuned immediately. With the warm snow of late my new skis were jumping around all over the place and causing me discomfort in my hips so I took them into Jean Sports last night and the boys did a great job servicing them for me and today they felt like completely different skis. They pivoted beautifully and never ‘grabbed and jerked’ and reminded me of how important a service can be to a new pair of skis, and how my Bond‘s are suppose to feel. If you have new skis and aren’t totally comfortable and happy with them, do yourself a favour and get them tuned without delay!

Stay tuned for more news, weather and sports tomorrow.

9 January 2014
Another wonderful morning!

After a 6-nil drubbing last night at the hands of the mighty City I needed a bit of a sporting pick-me-up this morning, and boy what a fabulous morning we had. Andreas, Henry and I all headed towards the Crete du Genepy and skied various options, and it was excellent top-to-bottom. We have had a lot of heat this week but with the sun still low in the sky there hasn’t been the sun damage at first expected and we could avoid crusty snow by playing with exposures and staying off steep sunny slopes. It was a first-rate morning during a fairly tricky period and we were all pretty pleased with today’s result. Meanwhile, Chris and Thomas headed to the Fornet to ski variations off the Glacier Pers and Suzanne reports fantastic skiing up there as well. Bravo to all!

We enjoyed sun and good vis for the most part this morning with some thin high cloud floating about, but this afternoon the clouds are thickening up a little although sun is forecast again for tomorrow. Stay tuned and no West Ham jokes!

8 January 2014
Another terrific day without a lot of options!

The heat wave continued today with Radio Val announcing -1C in the village but +5C at altitude at 8AM! After a great day at the Fornet yesterday most of us headed towards Tignes for a change of pace and Chris and I started with an excellent Borsat Nord followed by decent Rosolin. My team then skied my shoulder and the Combe below before ‘skinning’ to the little Borsat West behind Chris, and it was a great reward for our efforts. We then finished off a really good morning with a lovely Familial.

Meanwhile Thomas and Henry were up at the Fornet, and Andreas was on a private with Peter B and they skied in Tignes and made their way to Les Brevieres for and excellent lunch, and they skied the Familial on the way home this afternoon.(I had a little ski with Katie this afternoon and we skied the Familial not too far behind Andreas.)

I’m a little worried about the Hammers at the minute and the last thing we need confidence-wise and with all our injuries is an away game against the mighty City. Woe is me! At least more sun is forecast for tomorrow.

7 January 2014
Great skiing at the Fornet!

After yesterday’s heat it was time to leave the sunny slopes in Tignes alone so we all headed up to the Fornet for a surprisingly good ski. Chris and I stayed on the Glacier where the snow was much better than it looked and my team skied the Pays Desert followed by a Combe 3300 from the top of the T-Bar, then the sunny slope from the Col back down to the poma, which was predictably warm but jolly good anyway. Meanwhile, Andreas and Thomas both dove straight over the Col then came back up for a run in the Grand Vallon, and they both had excellent skiing as well. (See photos and check our Facebook page)

Derek was well impressed with his brother Adrian’s skiing this morning as it was the first time they’ve skied together in years. Nothing like a little brotherly love and competitive spirit to spruce things up. Well skied boys!

It was forecast to be sunny but we did have a little cloud cover from time to time, but it was a very pleasant day on the weather front, especially when you see what’s going on in England, which is quite incredible! Gill and I sat on the terrace and enjoyed our lunch under brilliant sunshine, and Gill thought it was warm enough for shorts. It was blissful although we could use some snow, but sun is forecast for the next few days.

6 January 2014
Another fantastic morning!

The avalanche risk dropped from 4 to 3 this morning but caution was still a must. The forecast was for brilliant blue skies but there was a slight haze from time to time but the vis was still pretty good and flat-light wasn’t really a factor. I debated what direction to head this morning but was swayed by Thomas’ description of his ski in the Chardonnet yesterday, so I headed that way via a nice opener off the Verte and a good run in the Lower Borsat. Penny did a great job hiking up to the Chardonnet and we were treated with some excellent snow on the first pitch before being the first ones over the little Col on the left, which was brilliant. Merci Thomas! It started to heat up so I then headed up to the Motte via a good run under the alti-port, then skied off the Genepy before finishing with the Familial.

Meanwhile, Andreas started off with the Borsat Nord before skiing the Chardonnet, Lower Cocaine, Little Spatule and Familial and Thomas skied the same with a Col du Palet thrown in.

Chris was the only one to go to the Fornet and by looking at the photos he posted on the Facebook page it looks as if he had wonderful skiing as well. Nice one JC!

The girls had their first day of school today and Gill and I are relieved to say it went fantastically well and they both had a great time, and are happy with their seating arrangements and even better, their teachers! Yahoo! Ray picked them up for us as we were down in Borg shopping and we celebrated with an excellent Chevallot fruit tart, which was delectable! Thanks Ray!

Millie gave us a fright last night as she somehow managed to fall out of her top-bunk, which is pretty jolly high. Gill heard her land and flew out of bed and fortunately Millie didn’t hurt herself, although she does have a sore and stiff neck. It was a very scary incident and she was so lucky to not have hit her head and perhaps killed herself. Ray has built an added protector to stop it happening again but Millie seems to have talked her sister into swapping places.

Sun is forecast for tomorrow and after today’s extreme heat we’ll need to stay high and north. Stay tuned!

5 January 2014
'Maximum-turns' all morning long!

Radio Val reported winds of 75kph during the night, meaning snow was being transported and the result was an avalanche risk of 4/5 this morning. The day started off overcast but it cleared quickly, especially on the Tignes-side, and we all enjoyed a fabulous ski. It was a ‘maximum-turn’ session and we put in a lot of miles quite quickly. To give you an idea, my team skied the Face de Bellevarde, two on the Fontaine Froide, one off the Verte, one on Bonnevie’s drag and then under the Mont Blanc, a Campanules, one off the Genepy and then under the Fresse chair, and then one off the Borsat towards and Grand Pre and onto the Epaule de Charvet to finish.

Meanwhile to name a few of the runs, Thomas, who had new Alpine clients, and Chris skied the Borsat Nord from the top and Thomas continued on into the Chardonnet, Andreas was over in Tignes and skied the Lognan and lower Chardonnet and the boys finished with variations in the Familial. It was a wonderful morning with lovely variations of snow, ranging from perfect and knee-deep to slightly compressed and creamy, and there wasn’t a bad turn to be found all morning long.

There is an article to be found on-line form the Sunday Telegraph featuring Dr. Alan Griffiths and John Ellis. The article is by Tom Roleys and called ‘Skiing has become too dangerous’.

We missed you today Jean, what a shame!

PS Thomas’ new team of Robert and his daughter Alice and son Tom have turned out to be cracking good skiers and Thomas had a great time with them this morning. Welcome to Alpine and we look forward to seeing more of you in the future!

PSS To make Louise’s life easier could anyone who stays for prolonged periods please settle up their bills weekly, instead of waiting until the end of your holiday. It would make it so much easier for her to keep track of who owes what to whom. Also we’d like to remind everyone of our 48-hour cancellation notice. Anyone phoning up the night before with a sore throat, a cold, a niggly injury or any other reason, will be charged unless the place can be filled. We are the only ski school in town who doesn’t take payment in advance so this policy is necessary to keep our losses to a minimum, and we really don’t want to start to charge in advance like everyone else. The Christmas -New Year period is the trickiest time of the season planning-wise and it’s extremely difficult to satisfy everyone, but we hope that you’ve all had a great ski with us during this period. Thanks for your understanding.

4 January 2014
A sad day on the mountain!

It was grey today but for a flat-light day the visibility was decent for the most part and with a little fresh snow overnight we were looking at a pretty good morning of skiing. Unfortunately Jean fell in the Little Borsat West and needed to be taken off the mountain by the Pisteurs, who were brilliant. I don’t yet know the extent of the damage to Jean’s knee but it doesn’t look good and I fear his season is over, but fingers crossed that it’s not as bad as that! Everyone associated with Alpine feels for you and wishes you the very best Jean! That took the wind out of our sails but we skied on and thought of Jean.

Meanwhile, Thomas skied the Borsat and Chardonnet, Chris was up on the Motte and skied down via the Combe les Lanches, Oli skied the Campanules and I’m not sure what else, and as the weather intensified we persevered and had a good morning.

Katie was having a trial with the Club des Sports today about getting into a stronger group with her pal Anna. Apparently they did race training all morning and she did really well, but we’ll find out later what her coach thought. I was proud of her anyway as she thoroughly enjoyed her racing and had a big smile on her face at lunchtime.

It snowing fairly hard as of 2:25PM and I’ll re-post when I have more news on Jean and Katie. Stay tuned!

Latest: Jean is back and in a brace that can be seen on his Photos of the Day link. He’s in the brace for 10 weeks and we’ll see how he is after that. Katie has another trail afternoon tomorrow, which is good news. They wanted her on 10cm longer skis so we’ll see how she goes.

3 January 2014
Happy Birthday Ness!

At 6AM the stars were shining but by ‘show-time’ it had clouded over and it was threatening to snow. The team headed up to the Fornet and we had the best of the early light and even managed a run in the Pays Desert/3300 with some sunshine. By the time my team headed over the Col Pers it was snowing and we were back to flat-light, but the snow was so good it didn’t matter and everyone had a great ski.

Thomas and I started off the Laisinant Express for a nice little warm-up before skiing a run in the Combe du Signal, followed by a run in the Pays Desert/Combe du 3300 in the sun. We then followed Chris over the Col Pers and I finished on Bellevarde while Thomas and Chris skied the Grand Vallon. Andreas, Olivier and Henry were all skiing in the same neighbourhood and JM went home yesterday.

Ness showed up at the Gourmandine with a huge smile and some balloons as it’s her birthday today. Happy Birthday Ness, and have a great day! (Check photos)

If you want to see where Michael Schumacher’s horrific accident happened check the photos on the Daily Mail website. It’s a shame that the press are using this accident as an opportunity to attack off-piste skiing and after seeing the photos you’ll realize how ridiculous that is.

Snow is forecast for this evening and we’re expecting some great skiing again tomorrow.

2 January 2014
Back to winter!

After days of glorious sunshine it was back to flat-light this morning. It started snowing around 7 o’clock so we had a little cushion and with some wind-transported snow it was pretty soft and forgiving in places. I started off the Mont Blanc piste for a nice little opener, followed by a Lower Borsat, the Rosolin (with a short ‘skin’), the Combe les Lanches, the Tignes alti-port and then off the edge of the pistes home as we were hit by a blizzard, which shut down some lifts.

Chris was caught out by the sudden storm in the middle of a ‘skin’ to the Borsat West and needed to feel his way back to the piste. Well done Chris as being stuck in a white-out on your own is never comfortable! Andreas skied the Borsat, Chardonnet and Familial before the storm and I’m not too sure what the rest of the boys skied.

Jenny had a scare as she fell on a rock and hit her knee with some force in les Lanches. She continued on in pain for the rest of the morning and hopefully she’ll be ready to ski again tomorrow.

It cleared up this afternoon just when we though we were in for a seriously decent snowfall, and rain is forecast in the village tomorrow morning. Whatever happens we received a nice cushion of snow today and rain in the village means snow upstairs, so stay tuned for more news tomorrow.

I forgot my camera this morning so all the ski shots are on Jean’s link.

1 January 2014
A lovely Glacier Pers!

A few unwanted clouds were drifting about first thing but the cleared off quickly and we enjoyed another beautiful day. Chris, Andreas, Thomas and I all headed to the Glacier Pers, which was excellent top-to-bottom. We had Jean’s daughter Katie with us today and it was a pleasure to have her along. Oliver and Henry were also skiing the Fornet and I’m not too sure what Jean Marc skied today. (Good work again on the photos Jean!)

I had a lovely afternoon with my girls and their cousins Wils, and Rosie, plus their Dad Rob and a couple of friends Matty and Elliot. We skied some easy off-piste as the pistes are scary at the moment and all the youngsters did really well.

The boys are doing a torchlight descent tonight but I’m not as skiing with the school children will cover my ‘community service’ hours.

Thank you to Penny for a superb New year’s drinks party. She has been hosting her annual event for close tom ten years now and last night was perhaps the best. It was a brilliant evening Penny, and thanks again!

I’d like to wish my brother-in-law Rob and happy birthday today, as well as Physio Lou and Clare Campbell. Peter carried a bottle of champagne all morning and Andreas’ group toasted Clare on the Grand Torsai towards the end of the morning. Bravo Peter, what a nice touch!

We may see a little snow overnight so if we’re looking at flat-light tomorrow hopefully we’ll get enough snow to make a difference tonight. Fingers crossed!

The Hammers are down to ten-men thanks to our captain being sent off and I’m not happy at the moment, and I was having such a good day too!

1 January 2014
Happy New Year!

Come on you Hammers! Skiing news to follow.

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