Wayne's Daily Diary Archive

20 June 2007

28 February 2014
A Wonderful Face du Charvet!

We had decent to excellent light early on this morning and after giving my team a vote, Fornet or a change of scenery, Chris piped up for a change of sector. I was thinking Wayne’s Shoulder but the Motte was under cloud so we skied the meadows down for the Borsat to the Grand Pre. From there we set the track and opened up the Face du Charvet, which was brilliant, and surprisingly good all the way to the bottom. From there we ‘skinned’ for ten minutes to the Col de la Madeleine and had lovely snow on the top half followed by 10cm’s on a spring base the rest of the way. The light had started to deteriorate by this stage and we finished off with another pleasant surprise with great quality top-to-bottom on the Marmottons/Marmottes to round off an adventurous and rather funky morning.

Chris and Andreas headed back up to the Fornet and had great skiing on the glacier before heading over the Col. They had terrific snow and good light most of the morning as well and it was another outstanding morning of top quality skiing.

I had a great afternoon of initiation to off-piste with Rosemary, Penny and Sandy. The light was flat enough for me to ski off a cornice, the same one that’s been there for thirty years, so I did feel a bit of a berk! Anyway, the girls did really well and they’re going out with Chris in the morning.

A little snow is forecast tonight with some in-and-out sunshine in the morning so with any luck we’ll be in for another great ski tomorrow. Come on you Hammers!

PS Happy Birthday Louise!

27 February 2014
'Maximum-turns with two short 'skins'!

It snowed between 10 and 20cm’s overnight and with clear blue skies overhead it was game on for a wonderful morning. Chris, Henry and I all headed up to the Fornet and for the most part it was really quite stunning. My team skied fast and hard and we had a ‘maximum-turn’ morning with two ten-minute ‘skins’ thrown in to access the best snow of the morning. We started off the Laisinant for an excellent taster, followed by opening the Combe du Signal, then a very good 3300, followed by two ‘skins’ into the Pays Desert, then some bonus turns back home. Chris was in the neighbourhood with his camera gear (see photos) and he probably came up with some great shots.

Meanwhile Andreas ‘skinned’ to Mont Roup before working his way to the Fornet for the Vallonnet, all of which I’m sure was excellent, and Thomas reported a superb Col des Fours with his team. Thomas is rather excited as he’s off to Norway in the next day or two to spend a week touring with JM and Oli. Bon voyage Thomas and have a wonderful time!

I had a lovely afternoon with Doris and her Dad Ron and we returned to the Fornet and walked up into the Pays Desert in the same tracks made by a bloke I was curing this morning. He’s used Chris’ ‘skinning’ track to walk up, which made our second climb this morning more uncomfortable, but I was plenty happy to use his track this afternoon. Merci Monsieur, especially after thinking you were a berk this morning!

It’s peacefully quiet at the moment as Ray has taken the girls out into town and Gill is doing the shop as it’s Louise’s night off, but I’d better finish up and get the girls dinner ready. Stay tuned for more news tomorrow as we await more snow this evening.

26 February 2014
Absolutely Delicous!

It was much brighter than forecast this morning and we profited with a jolly good ski. We skied the Sachette via the Verte and Borsat and as Sylvie said, “It was delicious!” The snow quality was excellent and untracked, and with just enough light shining through it was great skiing. We finished with the Familial, which has taken some wind and although it was still good skiing, it wasn’t a patch on what it’s been over the past few days.

I had a solid technique session this afternoon with Ron and his daughter Doris and by mid-afternoon the forecasted snow had arrived. It’s snowing beautifully at the moment (5:12PM) and with some sunshine expected in the morning we should be in for a fantastic day tomorrow. Stay tuned!

Thanks Russell for taking the girls out skiing this afternoon. They had a brilliant time and look forward to the next time!

(With cloudy and humid weather forecast for this morning I took my old camera out so you’ll notice the spots on the inside of the camera. Chris says my new camera has too much magenta in the mix and that he’ll help to sort it out on the weekend.)

25 February 2014
A Cracking Good Glacier Pers!

We savoured today’s sunshine with relish as it’s forecast to be grey tomorrow and tonight’s predicted snowfall has been put off until tomorrow. Bummer! Anyway, we all had a wonderful day skiing great snow up and around the Fornet. Chris and I skied an excellent Glacier Pers and had a good escape through the grand Torsai, which is always a bonus.

Thomas was back in action and skied the Glacier Pers a couple of hours later, and witnessed 8 people being helicopter out of the gorge around 2:30. It’s the second time in the past few days so tourists are obviously following the wrong tracks! A skier was taken in a small slide yesterday in the Point Pers and escaped with a broken arm, and the Foglietta avalanched last week with a stack of people waiting to go in so we’ve had a bit of action considering the 2/5 avalanche risk.

Andreas has Peter H who’s here celebrating a belated 60th with Olivia and they skied the Col des Fours this morning along with Sky and Sean, and the Fours is still in top condition. Bravo to you all and Happy Sixtieth Peter, and I’ll know how you feel in the not too distant future! Henry was also skiing doing a HAT day and I’m not sure what he was up to on his adventures.

Wish us luck tomorrow but we’ve just enjoyed a fantastic run of wonderful skiing, and looking back on the season as a whole it’s been really good, and I’m sure we’ll ‘sniff’ something out tomorrow too! Sat tuned!

24 February 2014
A great morning after a frustrating start!

The sun was out again today and we enjoyed another stunning day with wonderful weather and great skiing. Chris and I were heading to the Sachette via the Lavachet but ran into lift problems at Tommeuses, so we both went from ‘Plan A’ to ‘Plan C or D’. I ended up skiing the Borsat West, which was excellent and made better with a lovely sighting of six or seven Perdrix and the fact that the entrance was much easier than it could have been. From there we had a run on my shoulder, followed by a nice run in the steep in warm powder off the Genepy. We then ‘skinned’ for 10-minutes for winter snow in the Little Borsat West and finished with a brilliant Familial, which is at it’s best at the moment. It was a cracking morning after a slightly frustrating start!

Meanwhile Chris backtracked and ‘skinned’ to Mont Roup, and after climbing up in really warm conditions and worrying about it being cooked, Chris sniffed out some great snow. Andreas had a fantastic morning up at the Fornet where he ‘skinned’ up for the top pitch in the Pays Desert and finished up going over the Col for a lovely Col Pers.

Chris and I both worked this afternoon and skied the Col Pers while Andreas took Tansy for a ski and ‘skin’ in preparation for their upcoming trip to Norway.

I tried my new camera today so you’ll notice a lack of water spots in the scenic shots. It will take a while to get used to as I had trouble with the zoom because it’s quite powerful and I ended up over-zooming and taking loads of shots of patches of snow and no skiers! Hopefully I’ll have better luck tomorrow.

23 February 2014
Blimey, that was wonderful!

Wow! What a stunning morning Louise, Gideon and I savoured! We had a nice warm-up off the Verte and in the Lower Borsat en route to Tignes where I was thinking about the Hourglass Couloir off the Balme. After a closer inspection I decided to give it a miss and we headed upstairs via a lovely Alti-port to Wayne’s Shoulder, where we skied four rotations in deep, cold, winter snow, and we didn’t see anyone else all morning. (See photos) We then skied down by a terrific Cairn followed by an ‘as-good-as-it-gets’ Familial. It was a truly brilliant morning of maximum turns of the highest quality!

Meanwhile, TJ was up at the Fornet with his boys, Russell and Min for their last day of a wonderful holiday, and I’m sure they had a fabulous finish. Andreas had the day off and was skiing with a free-rider named Chippie and they skied the couloir on the Grande Balme, followed by the Petite Balme, then Mickey’s Ears on down to the lake where they walked across the bridge and hitch-hiked home. Nice one boys! Chris had a less adventurous day off and stayed at home and rested while working on their Gite’s website. Thomas and Henry were also off.

Thanks Laura for a superb evening last night with TJ, Rollie, Oscar, Russell, John, Margaret, Dawn, and the girls and I. The food was fantastic as usual and it was a lovely good-bye to the Baird clan. Thankfully John had forgiven me for yesterday’s Face du Charvet!

Sports Report- I was over the moon with West Ham’s fourth win in a row yesterday and the heady heights of 10th place. Thank goodness the owners kept faith in Big Sam, who’s a massive character and great for the game. Today’s Canadian Gold Medal against the Swedes in a 3-0 win in the Ice Hockey Final wasn’t too bad either!

PS Chris has been playing around with the website and is changing photos regularly so do run through the site and have a look.

22 February 2014
An excellent Face de Charvet!

The sun was out in full force today but with -11C at altitude and a breeze on the ridges it was fairly chilly in places. With that said my morning started off warm as I headed towards the Face du Charvet and had no idea that it was cold elsewhere. It was John and Margaret’s first off-piste morning since John broke nine ribs in early December and you might have thought that we’d do something simple, but the Face was beckoning and needed to be done, so we took the opportunity. Sorry John! The ambience was stunning as it’s always an impressive place, and with no one else about we could take our time. The snow was deep and although it wasn’t perfect, it needed some application and was great skiing right to the bottom. John was pretty tired by the Clochetons so he and Margaret peeled out. Bravo you two, it was a big ski after a long lay-off and you both did really well! Gideon and I then made our way to the Pays Desert where we felt the cold, via the ‘L’, Laisinant, and Combe du Signal.

Meanwhile, Andreas and TJ ‘skinned’ to the Col des Fours and had a superb ski down in wonderful snow for their efforts. Bravo boys and well done Rollie and Oscar who are enjoying watching their Dad in action! Chris was on-piste this morning, Henry was up at the Fornet and Thomas had the day off after a week with Philip’s family.

Hopefully the Hammers can continue their winning ways this afternoon and that would be the perfect finish to a terrific day!

21 February 2014
Way to go Wils!

It was a funny start to the morning with decent visibility around 7AM, followed by huge snowflakes falling at the Gourmandine and looking set to continue all day, followed by a sudden and unexpected clearing and a bit of sun until ten o’clock before snow and flat-light took over for the rest of the morning. When leaving home this morning I wasn’t expecting too much but we were all pleasantly surprised with a cushion of fresh snow and excellent snow quality off-piste. Chris and I skied off the Verte and the Borsat and meadows en route to the Sachette, which was fantastic top-to-bottom. I then finished off with a cracking Familial and everyone went home happy. My nephew Wils skied with us and he did himself proud, (see photos) and he’s decided he much prefers this off-piste routine to piste skiing. Well done Wils!

Meanwhile Andreas also had a great morning and skied the Borsat, Balme, Spatule and Familial and I’m not too sure what TJ, Oscar and Rollie were skiing.

We’ve a good forecast for tomorrow and John and Margaret are planning their return after John’s accident in early December.

I’m incredibly pleased with Canada’s performance at the Olympics and Andreas is extremely happy with Sweden beating Finland to get to the gold medal ice hockey final. Hopefully they’ll be playing Canada but we must get past a tough USA team first. Stay tuned!

20 February 2014
Happy to be back and what a day!

After really struggling yesterday Gill put me back together with three Physio sessions and some Voltarol (from John E), and thankfully I managed to work all day today. Thanks Gill! Anyway, Chris, Andreas, TJ and I all headed to the Fornet in brilliant sunshine for a fantastic Glacier Pers, which was a lovely walk rewarded with excellent skiing top-to-bottom. The Grand Torsai, which was stunning and perhaps the best we’ve skied it in ten-years on Monday, has taken heat, wind, and a lot of traffic since and we weren’t expecting much, but it was a pleasant surprise and nice finish to a great morning. As Gideon said, “ that was the best bad Grand Torsai ever”, but maybe you needed to be there to appreciated that one!

TJ had Oscar ‘skinning’ for his first time and he and Rollie have had a wonderful holiday with their Dad and skied really well. Bravo boys! Millie and Katie are running around town with their cousins and going to the Billabong/Roxie Burger Bar for supper. I wish I was invited! Thomas has had a great week skiing on-piste with Philip’s team so we haven’t seen too much of him lately.

It’s forecast to cloud over and start snowing tonight so hopefully we’ll get enough of a cushion to enjoy ourselves in the flat-light tomorrow. Stay tuned!

Sports Report- I think the English teams would have a much better chance if they managed to play with 11 men once in a while! What a bummer! But I must say I’m pleased with Canada’s performance in the Olympics with a few gold medal chances still to come. Oh Canada!

19 February 2014
A good one to miss!

I had my first day off due to injury in about twenty years today, but hopefully I’ll be able to ski again tomorrow. Gill’s been giving me treatments, I’ve been to the spa and have been doing lots of gentle Pilates exercises, and it’s starting to ease off.

Thanks to TJ for taking my group this morning including my nephew Wils, and by all accounts it was a fairly tough morning with flat light and warm and sometimes sticky snow. But as usual, all the boys made the best of it and put on a pretty good. Bravo boys!

Millie has just come in at 5:45 after taking the last lift again with her cousin Wils, Rosie, Viv, Cliff and Sam. Well done everyone as it wasn’t that nice of an afternoon!

Sunshine is forecast for tomorrow, which should make life easier. Stay tuned and come on you Gunners!

PS There was a huge avalanche set off by a boarder yesterday in the Foglietta in St Foy. Fortunately no one was seriously injured or killed.

18 February 2014
Fantastic left-overs!

I hurt my back somehow this afternoon and am really struggling at the moment. I think it’s a combination of those dreadfully heavy ABS bags and the twisting motion when taking photos. (Jean R knows the feeling) Anyway, we had a great ski today with Chris and I at the Fornet while Andreas and TJ skied the Tignes routine, and Thomas was skiing on-piste with Philip’s team. Sorry for the lack of news but sitting is pretty uncomfortable.

Hopefully I’ll be able to ski tomorrow and come on City! Stay tuned!

17 February 2014
Wow, that was special!

After a beautiful snowfall without any wind and minus-12C temperatures at altitude we savoured perhaps the best morning of the season, if not a top three without a doubt! It was stunning with a fresh canvas combined with a rare snow quality, and today was a real reward for our perseverance through the wind and flat-light of late. I had the pleasure of TJ’s sons Rollie and Oscar (my God-son) along with new clients Glyn and his daughter Alice and son Ben, and Gill, and it was absolutely wonderful. TJ, Chris, Andreas and I were all up at the Fornet and everyone agreed that it doesn’t really get any better as we were first in everywhere we went and we stayed ahead of the crowds and seemed to be on our own in a fairly full resort. Gideon asked ‘how do you follow up a morning like that?’, to which I really didn‘t have an answer! Bravo boys! (Photos and Facebook tell the story)

I returned to the Fornet with Dave and Sandy for an initiation off-piste combined with a technique session, and they had a great time and will hopefully be ready to join our groups soon. Well done you two!

A decent day is forecast again for tomorrow but we may need to walk for ten minutes here-and-there, but we should be in for another great day tomorrow. Log-on again tomorrow for more news!

16 February 2014
Snow just in time for the Parisians!

It snowed lightly overnight but I didn’t think it snowed enough to make too much of a difference, so I took the morning off to ski with the family. The girls cousins Wils and Rosie are here with Viv and her husband Cliff and Cliff’s son Sam, so we had a pretty big group. We skied half on and half off-piste for a couple of hours then Wils, Gill and I went off and had a wonderful ski in the Borsat Nord, Combe des Lanches and the Familial. (See photos) It had snowed much more than I thought and I feel badly about not dragging Gideon out this morning. Sorry Gideon!

Everyone is off today but TJ is out there somewhere with his sons Rollie and Oscar, and Gideon is out skiing as well and I’m sure he’ll sniff himself out some nice snow.

It has snowed all day and the wind has dropped so we should be in for a great day tomorrow. Stay tuned!

PS Thomas has been working with Philip’s family.

15 February 2014
A really enjoyable day out of tricky conditions

After a promising looking sky around 7AM by show-time the skies had clouded over and the wind was strong enough to keep the Fornet, Solaise, the Olympique, and the Borsat closed. In fact, so little was open that the STVI were selling lift tickets at half-price! So far it sounds like a ‘stinker’ brewing, doesn’t it? But Chris and I bussed down to the Funival and made it up the mountain fairly quickly and we ended up have a really enjoying morning considering the rubbish conditions. I spent some time working on technique with Gideon, Mike and Mary Anne and when the Tommeuses opened we were poised to get on quickly and be the first ones into the Familial, which was really good fun. We needed to follow strips of creamy soufflé and gullies with 10 to 15cm’s of soft snow but it was much better than it look from afar. We also skied the Fontaine Froide, the Campanules and another Familial during the morning, mixed in with more technique. Thankfully it was Saturday and quiet because with so little open it would have been a nightmare had it been mid-week when the resort was full and everyone in town was still keen. Well done to Chris’ and my team for hanging in there with positive attitudes!

The girls are out all day with the Club des Sports so I took Gill out for the afternoon as the pistes were in superb condition with it being so warm (12C in the village), and we had a great dynamic ski and covered a lot of ground. We met up with Viv, Cliff, Wis, Rosie and Sam towards the end of the afternoon and Gill is still out there now.

A little snow is forecast this evening and should continue through the day tomorrow with the wind dropping considerably, so we should have something to ski in the morning. Stay tuned!

14 February 2014
Another good man down!

After winds of over 100kph during the night Bellevarde opened up on time and we were off and running, although everything else was pretty slow in opening. The Fornet was out of the equation with a power cut and the Borsat remained closed all morning so our options were limited, but we managed to put together a pretty jolly good morning.

My team started with a ‘leg-burning’ Face de Bellevarde, followed by a play off the Verte en route to an excellent top-half of the Familial. Chris was in front and said the bottom wasn’t so good so we cut out back to the Tommeuses chair. Thanks Chris! From there we made our way to the Grand Pre for some beautiful snow and continued down the Epaule de Charvet and into the Santon. I then took a chance on something opening at the Fornet and we skied a decent Super L and then two runs great runs off the Mangard just as the cable car opened. Lucky us!

Meanwhile Chris continued on around Bellevarde and Andreas ended up in Tignes skiing around the Alti-port, Lower Chardonnet and Col du Palet. Andreas’ day was marred by and injury to Frans, who took and innocent little fall onto the piste and broke a bone in his shoulder. I’m not too sure which bone and how serious it is, but Frans is definitely out of action for a while. Frans has been skiing beautifully and is just coming back from a broken ankle in January 2013, and it’s really bad luck. We’re all hoping it isn’t too bad Frans and hopefully you will be ready for your skiing in March. Fingers crossed!

Millie and Katie are getting excited as their cousins arrive tomorrow and TJ is equally happy as two of his children, Rollie and Oscar, also arrive tomorrow. Should be fun! (Gill is also pretty excited about seeing her sister Viv)

Stay tuned for news, weather and sports again tomorrow!

13 February 2014
A really fun morning in zero vis!

I went to bed last night thinking we were in for a horrid day according to the forecast, but I awoke to pretty clear skies at 7AM, and was so optimistic about the skiing that I left home without my goggles. What a big mistake that turned out to be! By the time Chris and I (only ones working) arrived at the Fornet it was snowing and just starting to blow, and I was fairly blind for the rest of the morning. But as Jean Marc would say, “there is nothing to see!” so it didn’t really matter too much. Anyway, I skied with Frans and Gill and we started in the Combe du Signal en route to the Glacier where we skied half on-piste and half off, and we had a cracking good morning. Chris was skiing with Mike from Ireland and Simon and his son Tim. We haven’t seen Simon in years and it was great to see him back and Tim came fourth last week in the World Ice Climbing Championships. Bravo Tim!

We definitely had the best of the day as it wasn’t too windy on the Pissailles this morning and the snow was beautiful, but it’s blowing a hoolie now at 3:40PM and the forecast for tomorrow isn’t good. Snow with high winds are expected tonight and the avalanche risk is forecast to raise to 4/5, so tomorrow may be a little delicate! Stay tuned!

12 February 2014
A change in wind direction but still great skiing!

The sun was out again this morning and everyone was jolly relieved as the flat-light days of late have been hard work. Unfortunately the wind blew from the north last night, just enough to damage some beautiful snow, but there was still some great snow on certain exposures and all the boys had an excellent morning. Chris and I skied the Borsat and Sachette before finishing with the Familial and I snuck in a sneaky one near the par-avalanche en route to La Toviere.

Meanwhile TJ ‘skinned’ to Mont Roup for a lovely outing, Andreas started in Les Brevieres with a new Swedish family and skied the Chardonnet, Sachette and the Cocaine Sud, and Henry was in Tignes with Barbara and Wynne. Andreas’ team thought it was the best day they’ve ever had skiing so that was a good result!

Gill, Millie and I skied with Russell this afternoon and skied some nice soft off-piste but needed to blend in some bullet-proof piste for Millie’s benefit. Katie spent the day in Tignes at a Boarder-Cross competition with around 10 different teams and their Val d’Isere team came second, which she was rather pleased with!

I must say West Ham’s third win in a row last night was a huge relief and thank goodness the Hammer’s owners kept the faith with Big Sam, who has not only really delivered over the past 6 games, but during his entire career.

I must say the forecast isn’t great for tomorrow but fingers crossed it isn’t too nasty!

11 February 2014
You're still a class act!

After a tough outing with wind and flat-light yesterday we enjoyed a stunning day with wonderful snow, clear blue skies and hardly a breath of wind. Chris, TJ, Henry and I all headed towards the Fornet, which was closed all day yesterday. My team started in the Super L before opening up the Grand Vallon, and it was so good that we circled back around for another run. We then skied an excellent Combe du Signal before heading upstairs to dive straight over the Col Pers, which was lovely top-to-bottom, and good skiing under the Grand Torsai is always a bonus! TJ, Chris and Henry spent a brilliant morning on the Pissailles before heading over the Col.

Meanwhile Andreas headed to Tignes and opened the Borsat, then skied the Chardonnet and Sache, all of which were excellent, and he, TJ and Chris are still at it this afternoon. Fill your boots boys!

Sun is forecast again for tomorrow so stay tuned for more news and photos.

Happy Birthday Pete and hopefully the Hammers can deliver a birthday win tonight at Upton Park. Come on boys!

PS I’d like to say what a fabulous job TJ is doing. He’s only here two or three weeks a season now and over the past few days he’s had really strong skiers all-day long and TJ’s entertained them with some fantastic skiing on big, big slopes. Today he’s had a group of youngsters who’re less than half his age and who normally ski in La Grave, and TJ’s out skiing couloirs and the Banane and rolling back the years. Bravo TJ, I’m proud of you and you’re still a class act! (And bravo to you too Andreas!)

10 February 2014
Strong winds and a limited opening!

It was overcast and blowing a gale this morning, to the point of most of the resort being closed and leaving us with very few options. Still we preserved and everyone stayed out all morning and enjoyed some pretty good skiing around Bellevarde as Solaise, Tommeuses, the Manchet and the Fornet were all closed.

TJ is out all day and is skiing with some very strong French skiers. Solaise opened up after lunch so he’ll have a few more options and hopefully he’s had a good afternoon.

The Fire Brigade were out this afternoon as a fire broke out somewhere on the Rue de la Balme. We know several people with flats in that neighbourhood so I might go out and have a look.

Sun, thank goodness, is forecast for tomorrow.

Sports Report- It’s a sad state of affairs when you’re in a relegation battle and you can’t count on Man U to beat Stoke and Fulham. Very sad in deed!

PS Speaking of sad, there is a serious fire burning and news can be found on the Radio Val website. It’s quite a serious blaze and a woman has jumped out of a sixth floor window and is in serious condition. With the high winds they’re extremely worried about the flames spreading to neighbouring buildings and fireman and medical people have come from other resorts to help.

PSS In an earlier report I said that it was Richard and Dave’s building, but fortunately that was incorrect. It’s not Richard and Dave’s building after all, but it’s close by!

9 February 2014
Flat light but fantastic skiing!

It was back to flat-light and wind this morning, and with -14C at altitude there were moments when it felt jolly cold. TJ, Henry and I all headed up to the Fornet and with the Glacier closed due to wind we skied the morning away in flat-light in the Combe du Signal, and managed a Grand Vallon to finish off just as the light was starting to improve. My team skied the L followed by four rotations in the Combe before skiing the Grand Vallon, so although we couldn’t see much we did a lot of skiing and the snow quality and depth were excellent. (See photos)

It sounded as if Andreas was having a good time around Bellevarde and he skied a couple on the Epaule de Charvet. Andreas is skiing all day with his team so they should have a wonderful afternoon as the clouds cleared off during lunch and the visibility is much improved as I write at 3:30PM.

Thanks for a great evening last night Laura! The girls loved it and it was wonderful to have a good laugh with Dolores, Jeff, TJ and Russell again. Brilliant!

And speaking of brilliant, what a win for the Hammers yesterday!

8 February 2014
Another fantastic day in the Espace Killy!

It was teasing looking out my window at 6AM to see clear skies, but by ‘show time’ it had clouded over although the light was still decent. After a couple of days at the Fornet TJ, Henry and I headed towards Bellevarde and Tignes and enjoyed some great skiing on a quiet Saturday. My team opened up with a good run on the Fontaine Froide, followed by on off the Verte en route to the Borsat, which opened just as we arrived. The Borsat and meadows into Tignes were excellent followed by the best of the morning, a brilliant Combe des Lanches. Gideon said, “My God, where did that come from!”, which pretty much summed it up. From there we took the train upstairs to find out how windy it really was, and it was blowing a hoolie! We found some good snow in the gullies and then headed back to the Val-side as it looked like some sunny spells were developing, and we skied the Jardin de Borsat and Spatule to finish. TJ’s radio went dead so I don’t know where he ended up, and I never heard from Henry after Les Lanches.

Meanwhile, Chris was out with Suzanne who was skiing for the first time in a month, and they ran into Jeff, Delores and Russell up at the Fornet. Andreas is back from his mini-break in Switzerland and was skiing with his team that are going to Norway later in the season. They skied an excellent Combe du Signal a couple of times and were heading over the Col with Chris’ team last I heard.

Light snow is forecast off-and-on over the next 36-hours and a cloudy start is expected in the morning.

Fingers crossed for the Hammers this afternoon as they take on a rejuvenated Villa at Villa Park without the suspended Andy Carroll, who was just finding his form and starting to cause defences some serious problems. And ouch, poor Arsene!

PS And it was great to have Linda and Sandy with us all the way from Washington State. We look forward to seeing you same time next year!

7 February 2014
It's a winter wonderland!

After yesterday’s brilliant day in the sun it was a total contrast today, with falling snow, flat-light, and the Pissailles entirely to ourselves. Chris, TJ and I headed back up into the weather and ended up having a terrific morning on and just off the piste. Chris and I skied the 3300 but ended up in a total white-out and needed to ‘feel’ our way out with the help of some periodic compass checks. Thanks Chris, I’d have never gone without you! Once back to civilization enough new snow had fallen to really make the pistes feel good and anything off the edges of the piste was deep enough to eliminate yesterday’s tracks from the equation. (Check photos) I ended up finishing at 1:30 and a late finish certainly wasn’t on the cards when leaving the Gourmandine this morning! Gideon had such a good time he stayed on and skied some more on his own. Bravo Gideon!

Henry and Thomas probably took the sensible option and headed towards Bellevarde and Tignes, but I haven’t heard how they got on. Andreas is battling his way home through the snow and will be back in action tomorrow.

The snow is forecast to continue into the early evening and gradually stopping during the night, and after a cloudy start in the morning more snow is expected during the day. Already it’s been the first proper snowfall that we’ve had all winter and I’m expecting a serious increase in avalanche risk over the next couple of days. Stay tuned!

6 February 2014
Boy, that was a bit good!

Wow, what a morning! It was a ‘maximum-turn’ session of the highest order and the snow quality and depth at the Fornet was brilliant. TJ, Chris, Thomas, Henry and I all headed that way and my team was lucky enough to be on the first Signal poma of the morning, and we dove straight into 130-turns worth in the Combe du Signal. It was wonderful looking back up at clean mountain with just our tracks top-to-bottom, but it didn’t take too long for that to change! From there we headed upstairs and followed Chris into the 3300, which was superb, so we did it again, and next up was the Pays Desert through Chris’ Chimney. At this point we had a mechanical problem with the Pays Desert poma so my team finished the morning around the Mattis and above the ‘L’ for some excellent bonus turns. Meanwhile Thomas stayed on to ski the Pays Desert again and TJ and Chris had gone over the Col Pers to finish their mornings.

TJ was skiing with Sandy and Linda, and Richard Humphries came along. It was Richard’s first time over the Col for three years and he was well pleased with his performance as well as just being out there again. It was great to have you skiing with us again and bravo Richard!

Andreas is in Switzerland for a couple of days to ski with Jean Marc so he should be having a good time and Derek, Paul and Chrissy will be finishing up Chrissy’s first-ever heli-ski trip to Canada.

It’s clouded over this afternoon and we’re expecting a little snow tonight and through tomorrow. Stay tuned!

5 February 2014
A long morning when there isn't too much to do!

I had an unexpected morning off at the last minute for various reasons, and when you’ve not too much to do you realise how long a four-hour morning seems. The rest of the boys went out into a tough looking day and everyone had a jolly good time. TJ and Chris skied up at the Fornet and found some lovely deep snow in the combes, while Andreas headed to the Sachette and who knows where Henry ended up? Thomas had a terrific morning skiing the Kern and the Spatule and he had a big grin on his face when I saw him this afternoon. Bravo to all the boys!

A few flakes are floating about this afternoon but clear blue skies are forecast for the morning, and needles to say, we’re all looking forward to that! Stay tuned for news and photos tomorrow and I’m sure someone will update the Facebook page tonight.

4 February 2014
A cracking good Sachette couloir!

The Fornet was still looking socked-in so we all headed towards the brighter light in Tignes and the Sachette. The Borsat was closed for ‘blasting’, which was a pain, so we skied piste to get to the Sachette as quickly as possible. There was a group of Vikings climbing up in the rocks high above us and it made us nervous as there was a lot of slabby snow above so we opted for the Sachette couloir to avoid any potential problems. It was a good option anyway and the snow was excellent top-to-bottom, with the couloir making for some great ambience. (Chris, and TJ also skied the couloir) The middle section was very good as well but I was surprised by how the wind had affected the lower slopes, and the snow in Tignes in general compared to what we skied yesterday. Thomas and Henry were also working but I’m not too sure what they skied and Andreas was off so he did a reconnaissance mission above the Pigettes.

Snow is forecast for tomorrow so stay tuned for some powder news and photos.

3 February 2014
Fairly unplanned but great skiing!

I was raring to go this morning after a day off yesterday, and we had a fantastic morning using ‘plan e’! I almost headed to the Fornet but at the last minute decided on Bellevarde and we ended up having a rather ‘funky’ morning. After warming up on some lovely snow off the Mont Blanc piste we opened up the Borsat Nord and with the wind howling we could see the built up slab at the top entrance. I went out to ‘cut’ the slope and sure enough got the reaction we were hoping for and triggered a pretty impressive bit of snow! (See photos) With the entrance secured we had a great ski that got better and better the farther down we skied. I was thinking about the Sache but the snow in Tignes looked more wind affected and I didn’t fancy messing about with another entrance so we backtracked and headed back to ski the meadows en route to the Tour de Charvet. The Tour was excellent, especially the top section and TJ’s Shoulder was very good as well, and for the second trip through that sector in a row we spotted Chamois below us, which is always a nice bonus. Up until now we’d managed to stay in the sun, or at least in decent light, but the clouds from the Fornet were starting to threaten our light, but we managed to sneak in a good run in the Arcelle. The Arcelle was good skiing but definitely a little tougher than what we’d skied so far, and fresh legs from yesterday’s day off were appreciated. We then circled back around to ski a second Arcelle before heading home via the piste to finish off a terrific morning.

Meanwhile Andreas, Chris and Henry all headed up to the Fornet and they had some great skiing but had to deal with some flat-light. Andreas skied the Grand Vallon several times and Chris eventually went over the Col Pers to finish his morning. TJ is back and skied with a delightful American couple, Sandy and Linda, and as far as I know they were around Bellevarde and perhaps in Tignes. Welcome back TJ!

I must thank Laura for taking such good care of Millie and Katie. She’s been teaching them to make home-made pasta, almond biscuits, ice-cream and sorbets, and giving them a priceless love of preparing and cooking fresh food and experimenting with flavours and ingredients. Thanks very much Laura!

The weather has moved in and it’s now snowing again (at 3PM) Hopefully Andreas will have an easy afternoon as he’s out all day and at the moment it‘s looking a little wild out there. Bonne chance Andreas!

My great buddy Stretch will be crying in his beer after his beloved Broncos were totally embarrassed by the Seahawks in last night’s Super Bowl. Wow, what a walloping! But my friend Jimmy T and many other Canadians just north of Seattle will be over the moon with the Seahawks first Championship. Enjoy the festivities Jimmy!

PS Chris set off the big steep slope under the Grand Torsai this morning and ended up pulling his handle just to be sure. He’d told his team to ski one-at-at-time and set off to test the slope when it cracked in front of him. It was about 10 to 15cm’s deep and he stayed on top of it, but he pulled his handle in case snow from the couloir above was joining in on the proceedings. Chris did say that his ‘papillon’ wings came in handy and worked like sails to blow him down from the Pont St. Charles. Good one JC! The morale of today’s story is ‘beware’! The wind and snow over the past 48-hours have built some very fragile plaques, even in places that have been heavily skied and deemed pretty safe up until now!

2 February 2014
A lovely day off!

It was my first morning off this season and with fresh snow on the ground I had a moment of temptation to go off skiing with Gideon. But, having already promised to take the girls swimming and Gill waking up with the flu plus a stinking cold, the moment passed very quickly. Instead we had pancakes with bacon and maple syrup before heading off to the pool, which was relaxing and jolly good fun.

On the hill Chris and Henry were out and they enjoyed some great skiing around Bellevarde and Tommeuses and I’m sure Chris will post something on Facebook, and I’ve posted a few non-skiing photos.

Chris has been updating the photos on the website so have a look through the various headings for a fresh look, and you may just spot yourself!

Andreas and Thomas are also enjoying a ‘family’ day and we’ll all be back in action tomorrow so stay tuned.

1 February 2014
Not the same story this morning!

After yesterday’s great powder ski at the Fornet I returned with Andreas for more of the same, but the wind was unexpectedly savage and strong enough to close the Cascade behind us, and it was straight to ‘plan c’. We dove over the Col for shelter and had pretty good soft-snow skiing to the Grand Torsai, then nice creamy compacted snow for the rest of the way down. Andreas then headed towards Tignes to ski Les Tufs couloir with his small team of Catherin, Richard and James, while I skied the Jardin de Borsat and the Familial. It was a tougher day than expected but pretty positive nonetheless, and I finished with a little technique to help out the ‘Blue Dragon (Quentin’s Chinese name)’.

I have my first morning of the season off tomorrow and my little holiday started with a wonderful 2-0 win over Swansea. It was nerve-wracking as we went down to ten-men with 30 minutes to go but the boys were magnificent in defence for a well deserved and an extremely important victory. Thanks Geoff!

TJ arrives tonight and his pals Russell, Delores and Jeff are also in town so it should be fun catching up with them all. I popped down to see Jean after the Hammers match and he’s in good spirits and extremely pleased with his scan results.

A little snow is forecast this evening through to tomorrow morning and we wish Chris luck as he’s working on his own in the morning. Bonne chance JC and thanks for dinner last night!

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