Wayne's Daily Diary Archive

20 June 2007

31 March 2014
Happy Birthday Derek!

Unfortunately Wayne’s internet connection is not working. Happy 50th Birthday to Derek Louden, who celebrated in style by skiing the steep north face of the Pramecou with Thomas. As to the rest of us we skied everything from cold winter snow on the northern aspects to spring snow on the sunny sides. Stay tuned with Wayne’s internet connection reinstated. JC

30 March 2014
Another better than expected outing!

The time change made for a rushed start to the day and with it starting off overcast it was a bit of a decision about where to go. But fortunately by ‘show-time’ there was a big bulb of light above the Fornet so Henry and I headed that way and had a lovely ski and ‘skin’ in the Pays desert followed by an interesting trip from the Col Pers into the Vallonnet to the bottom. Along with Derek I had some new skiers today, Anthony and his 15-year-old son Charlie who’d never ‘skinned’ or skied off-piste before, and Nick who was also on his first ‘Alpine’ outing, and the boys did really well.

Thanks to Henry who was ahead in the Vallonnet and testing the big slopes at the bottom. He gave us the ‘thumbs-up’ as the big slopes at the bottom are very steep and if the snow isn’t the right quality the ‘whipper’ factor becomes very real and it’s not a good place to be. Today the snow was chalky and just right so I could bring my new boys down safely. Thanks Henry!

Meanwhile Andreas was training some people for Norway and they ‘skinned’ for two-hours-and-twenty-minutes to ski the Barmes de l’Ours, which was great skiing top-to-bottom. Chris had an all-day private on piste showing some people the resort and I’m not too sure what Thomas was up to this morning.

Sports Report- I was really proud of Katie yesterday as she came 105th out of 180 racers from various resorts. Being one of the youngest and lightest she was put in her group on trial at the beginning of the season, and she managed to do enough to hang in there. Now she’s beating boys and girls not only in her age group, but also a few in the year above! Forgive me but bravo Katie! And let’s hope Liverpool can go top of the table this afternoon!

29 March 2014
Stunning scenery off the Motte!

There was a thin layer of high cloud drifting in-and-out today and a very strong foehn wind blowing that intensified as the day went on. (Bummer really as it’s stopping the spring snow from transforming and isn’t doing the exposed winter snow much good either.) My team were feeling a little worse for wear this morning so I took it easy (just three short ‘skins’) and we had a great morning around the Motte, skiing the Rosolin, the Little Borsat West and the Familial to finish. The Rosolin was excellent as we skied down quite low and the scenery under the Motte and La Grande Casse is absolutely striking.

Meanwhile Chris headed up to the Col de la Barme de l’Ours but I haven’t yet had a report, and Thomas was skiing the Col des Fours and staying in the Fours refuge tonight with his team. I ran into John D who was skiing alone with Andreas this morning, and he was well pleased with his morning as they worked on ‘technique-in- the-steep’, and John really enjoyed it.

Gill has driven down to La Plagne with Katie and some of her Ski Club friends for a race today and they’ve just walked in the door. Apparently Val d ‘Isere’s team came first out of about ten teams. Bravo! (Gill took the camera today so I’ve posted a few shots of Katie’s day)

The wind is forecast to die down and high cloud is expecting in the morning. Wish us luck!

28 March 2014
Wonderful scenery and great skiing!

There wasn’t a cloud in the sky this morning and after a few days away we decided to give the Fornet another try. I had a moment of indecision when arriving in the Combe du Signal to find a layer of crust on every exposure due to the cloud cover and sun combination yesterday. The crust caused some serious doubts but we continued on to the glacier and ended up have a cracking good morning. We skied some slightly ‘educational’ snow on the first pitch in the Pays Desert but the snow improved as we could turn further north and we had an excellent run down. We then dove over the Col and skied the Tour de Lechoir, which needed some ‘sniffing’ to find the best pockets of snow, but it was great skiing and fortunately the ski down from the Grand Torsai was easier than anticipated and was actually pretty jolly good. (See photos)

Chris ‘skinned’ up to ski the Col des Fours and needed to ‘sniff’ about as well but they had a fantastic morning out while Andreas went down to St Foy with John D, Stephen Leckie and his sons Richard and Charlie, and they had an excellent trip.

I’m sitting here debating with myself about tomorrow’s options and the forecast calls for some in-and-out cloud cover, which makes planning anything too far a field a little less appetizing. Taxi’s are also difficult to get on Saturday’s as they’d rather have a fare to Geneva then a short trip to St Foy and Gill has the car to take Katie to La Plagne for a ski race. Maybe I’ll just stay in the resort. Stay tuned!

PS Good luck finding your phone Andreas, that Folie Douce is a dangerous place!

27 March 2014
Another bonus day of sunshine with quality snow!

I let out a huge moan at 6AM when looking out the window at a heavy overcast sky, but thought to myself that there was still 3-hours until show-time and things could change. Sure enough by the time we left the Gourmandine it was clear towards Tignes but socked-in and possibly snowing at the Fornet so we all headed up Bellevarde with smiles on our faces to start our mornings. Chris and I ‘skinned’ to the Crete du Genepy, which was excellent top-to-bottom, and had a wonderful morning. I did a double ‘skin’ on the Genepy while Chris continued to ski Mont Roup on Corrine’s last day. Meanwhile Andreas had a great morning as he took his team for an atmospheric Borsat West to start, then the Sachette and Familial, and Henry was skiing today as well but I’m not to sure where he skied.

Needless to say I was well pleased with the Hammers massive three points last night. They didn’t play well but managed to scratch out a very important victory against a tough and desperate Hull side, and the boo-birds should f-off! And well done to Liverpool who sneaked by Sunderland and find themselves one point off the top. Brilliant!

The forecast is for a few clouds in the morning and clearing in the afternoon, but the forecast has been pretty useless this week so we’ll wait and see. Stay tuned!

And a very Happy Belated Birthday to Henry, who turned 49 yesterday! Looking good Henry!

26 March 2014
Unexpected sunshine helps to make the morning!

For the second day in a row we profited from unexpected sunshine and everyone was in the mood to take advantage of the good visibility. Chris and I started with an atmospheric hike up to the Borsat West and were rewarded with excellent skiing. The wind was blowing overnight and the snow was slightly compressed, but the snow had stood up to the wind and it was still fantastic skiing. From there we bussed around and skied the Sachette, which was beautiful skiing top-to-bottom. My team finished off with the Familial, which was a little warmer than yesterday, but still a great finish to a lovely morning.

Meanwhile Thomas and Henry skied the Little Lavachet and Henry continued on and ‘skinned’ out. Thomas was cut up by an ESF group from Tignes, who had 12 in the group, and they all skied above him at the same time. Thomas was none too pleased and quite upset when the guide gave him some lip when Thomas told him he didn’t appreciate being put at risk on a potentially dangerous slope on a 3/5 day. Anyway, Thomas continued on and skied the Sache afterwards and had a cracking good morning.

Andreas took the day off and had a brilliant time taking his family for a ski into Italy and a pasta lunch. Nice one Andreas!

I met Simon and his wife Karen, who were playing ‘Where’s Wayne?’ very successfully last week while I was in code-mode. We ran into them by chance on-piste after the Borsat West with Jean Marc from the ESF, and it was great to meet you two!

Partial sunshine is forecast for the morning but it doesn’t look like we’ll get any overnight snow, so we’ll need to work with what we have. As long as the vis is decent we should have a pretty good morning. Stay tuned!

Come on you Hammers as we have a massive game against Hull tonight!

25 March 2014
Unforecast sunshine with fabulous snow!

This morning the team had a good chuckle over coffee at the Gourmandine about our foray to the Fornet yesterday, then we all promptly headed up Bellevarde en route to Tignes. After a good cold night the snow dried out enormously and with everyone expecting cloudy skies this morning we all rejoiced when it cleared up and left us with great vis to go along with superb snow. What a result! My team started with a good Borsat before skiing a fantastic Sachette followed by the Familial, Chris skied the Chardonnet, Sachette, and Familial, Andreas skied the Balme, Chardonnet and Sache, and Henry skied the Borsat, Chardonnet and Sache. Meanwhile, Thomas had great skiing around the Col du Palet and Motte. It was a brilliant morning enjoyed by all, with wonderful snow and the unexpected sunshine was such a bonus.

I’d like to mention Suzanna’s ‘skier of the morning’ award for a much improved performance this morning. After a bit of a struggle yesterday she changed her skis and used the rhythm of the track to get herself moving, and her progress today deserves congratulations. Well done Suzanna!

The forecast calls for a few more flakes tonight with cloudy skies in the morning, but how knows? It doesn’t look as if we’ll get anywhere close to the 65cms during the week that was forecast four or five days ago, but we can’t complain as enough snow has fallen to cover up all the messy spring snow tracks and as experienced this morning, some slopes have a good 30 to 35cms of cold winter powder. Stay tuned!

24 March 2014
Tough start, great finish!

Part 1. Being a perfectionist I really take it personally when I get it wrong, which fortunately isn’t very often, but today I chose the wrong direction and headed to the Fornet for a change in scenery, and to where the sun was shining. I knew the snow was better towards Tignes but after skiing so many days lately Tignes-way a change of environment seemed like a good idea. Fortunately I wasn’t alone as Chris, Andreas and Henry came as well but after Chris and I skied a difficult Grand Vallon and Andreas and Henry had no success on the glacier we all changed sectors to save the morning.

Part 2. After arriving on the top of Bellevarde to re-set the morning we had some nice skiing off the Verte en route to the Borsat Nord. The snow backside was significantly better than the Fornet, but it had changed overnight with the wind and although deep, it still took some application to get the most out of it. It skied better the lower we skied and after the Grand Vallon, no one was complaining. We then finished up with the Familial, which was probably the best snow of the morning and a difficult day turned out alright in the end. (However I’m still cross with myself!)

Thomas had an initiation morning and went up Bellevarde first thing and had a good morning with his team. It wasn’t easy skiing everywhere but it was much less ‘educational’ than the Fornet. Bravo Thomas!

(See photos. I’m back to my old camera for the moment so there are some water spots.)

23 March 2014
Back to winter!

It snowed between 15 and 25cms since yesterday afternoon and it was wonderful to have a soft feel underfoot again. Chris, Andreas and I all headed towards Tignes and it was evident straight away that we needed north facing slopes to avoid a ‘crunchy’ feel as not enough snow fell to cushion the blow on the sunny exposures. Chris and I opened with a cracking good run on the Face de Bellevarde before skiing off the Verte en route to the Borsat. Chris and Andreas skied the Borsat from the top before heading to the Chardonnet, where they had great snow but had to ’feel’ their way out in the flat light. I skied the Lower Borsat and meadows into Tignes, then circled back around to ski the Borsat from the top out skiers left. Chris and I then hooked up to ski a very good Familial to finish off an excellent morning.

It was weird skiing in flat-light again after so many consecutive days of brilliant sunshine, and needing to be wary of terrain traps, or at times just being able to navigate, took a lot of concentration and was a reminder of how the risk factor to ourselves jumps up in these conditions. Still, we have a clean mountain again to work with and snow is forecast off-and-on for the next few days, so the resort will slowly get back giving us a pretty full range of options, and after the past three weeks that will be great appreciated. Stay tuned!

Thanks Biggy for a fantastic night out at La Grande Ourse with Piers, Clare, Gill and I. It was great to see you again and you definitely made a lasting impression on the girls!

22 March 2014
'Stinker' averted!

The sky was overcast this morning without any overnight precipitation, and with a foehn wind blowing it looked as if we might be in for the first ‘stinker’ of the season, and inspiration levels were pretty low. And out of all the doom and gloom we had a cracking good morning as the pistes were empty and in excellent shape, we skied some interesting spring slopes, and then even managed some steep powder turns. We then spotted a lammergeier soaring just above our heads. (see photos)

Thomas, Andreas, Chris and I all headed towards Tignes and skied either the first par-avalanche or Glattier, which are great slopes and had just softened enough without the sun to make for nice skiing. Andreas and I then skied the Sachette Couloir while Chris went around into the bowl for a few powder turns. I then ‘skinned’ up for five-minutes to access a lovely steep slope that was just north enough to still be powder and we had a good dynamic piste ski on the way home to finish off a very satisfying morning that didn’t look very promising at 8AM!

It clouded over this afternoon and has since started to snow so we should be in for a long awaited ‘fresh canvas’. Yahoo!!!

I just checked the football scores and Chelsea are up 4-0 against Arsenal. Ouch!

PS Henry was about but I’m not sure what he was skiing.

PSS Make that 6-0!

21 March 2014
No 'skins' for the first time in two weeks!

The skies cleared overnight and after a decent freeze we enjoyed what could be the last of the sunshine for a while, and Chris, Thomas and I all headed to Tignes. Chris skied the Sachette, Toothy Rock and Familial, while Thomas skied the Glattier, Toothy Rock, and Familial. Toothy Rock was excellent and as atmospheric as always, and was a great change of scenery. (My skied the same as Chris but started with the Tourne.) It was a cracking good morning and the first in two weeks that I haven’t used my ‘skins’ at some point.

Henry was out there somewhere this morning and Andreas has taken the last two days off.

With any luck we’ll get some precipitation before ‘show time’ tomorrow morning, which would make life easier and we’re certainly looking forward to perhaps 65cms during the next five days. Fingers crossed and stay tuned!

My mate Biggy arrives today for a flying visit and we’re looking forward to his arrival!

PS Happy 50th Wedding Anniversary Fred and Liz!

20 March 2014
Another good morning without many options!

We had another light freeze overnight and Radio Val announced +5C at 7:30AM, which wasn’t very inspiring. There was a cool breeze blowing, which kept the wind-exposed snow firm for longer, but anything protected from the wind and down lower heated up pretty quickly. It all added to the mix of ‘what to do?’, and spiced up the decision making on a rather tricky morning. Chris, Thomas and I all headed to the Crete du Genepy for some spring skiing, and I headed on to Mont Roup to milk the last of what could be considered powder snow. (Without walking too far) I finished back on the spring-side and for a tough morning it was pretty good skiing, and the exit out of the Charvet is interesting to say the least.

Chris and Thomas back-tracked together to stay on the spring-side of the mountain and one of Thomas’ new clients was heard using the ‘f-word’ several times as Thomas skied her down a steep slope. You know it’s interesting skiing when a lady starts using the ‘f-word’! Well done Thomas!

It clouded over this afternoon and a strong Foehn wind is blowing, but the good news is some sunshine is forecast for the morning. Nothing would be more depressing at this time than no freeze and flat-light. It frightens me just thinking of it! We should see some snow over the weekend and that would give us a new lease on life, but in the meantime, wish us luck for tomorrow and stay tuned!

PS Today’s photos are up and I’ve posted something Facebook with a bit of a difference.

19 March 2014
Great scenery, better company, and pretty decent skiing!

I was greeted by cloudy skies this morning when opening the curtains but thank goodness the sky was blue by the time we got going. It was warm overnight and although it was cold enough at altitude the re-freeze was fairly non-existent down low, which cut out most of what little options we have left. Being Emmett’s last day I decided on a change of scenery, as did Andreas and Chris, so we took a chance and headed towards the Fornet. I must admit to not being very confident about snow conditions Fornet-way but we went anyway, and although it’s pretty rough to say the least we did manage a pretty good morning. I ended up doing a slope I’ve never noticed before in excellent spring snow before a little ‘skin’ out, and then I went over the Col towards the Lechoir where I met Andreas and his team on their way down from the Glacier Pers. We were the only ones out there and the ski down from the Grand Torsai was better than expected, and that’s always a bonus! Meanwhile, Chris headed to the Col des Fours to ski the spring-side and I’m not too sure what Thomas skied but I think he went towards Tignes.

More sun is forecast for tomorrow before a change of weather starting on Friday. We’d better make the most of it then!

18 March 2014
Another lovely morning in tough conditions!

Options are really drying up as the heat-wave continues but rumour has it we’re due some snow and relief over the weekend. Fingers crossed on that one as it’s been a tough period, which is getting harder day by day. But after that little moan, we made the most of what’s on offer yet again and all the boys put on a good show this morning. Thomas is back in action and was skiing with a family with young children, and he had them skiing some off-piste classics, while Chris and Andreas were in the centre of the resort, and I skied in Tignes. There are still some powder turns to be had as well as some good spring snow, and photos and Facebook tell the story.

I must say bravo to Simon and his pals who are extremely good at guessing where my team had been skiing. They’re about 7/7!

More sun and heat is forecast for the next couple of days before the hopeful arrival of snow towards the weekend.

17 March 2014
Spring/ Powder combo !

It was even hotter today as this heat-wave continues. It’s hard to imagine that we were moaning about flat-light and wonderful powder not so long ago, but for the most part we’ve really enjoyed the wonderful sunny weather and we have had some absolutely brilliant skiing, but some relief snow-wise would now be welcome.

The boys continue to put on a cracking good show making the best of what’s on offer for the various levels and desires and today was another example of great skiing with about 1% of the resort in play. I had a wonderful morning mixing spring snow with rapidly disappearing powder snow, all for two short ‘skins’, while Chris skied on the far-side of Tignes and Andreas was adventure seeking in a steep couloir off the Motte with Fi, who has skied off of Everest, plus Peter and Clare C, and Jeremy. Check the photo link and Facebook page for today’s action.

It was a great afternoon of Premiership football yesterday, unless you’re a United or Tottenham fan, as the top of the table is shaping up for the best finish ever. Brilliant!

More sun and heat is forecast for tomorrow!

16 March 2014
A mystical start to the morning!

I was shocked to pull open the curtains this morning and look straight out into a thick fog. It took a couple of seconds to process the information and to have a totally different set of options popping into my head than the ones I’d thought about before bed. Anyway, by ‘show-time’ it was evident that we had good vis at altitude and we managed a pretty good morning and didn’t need to full back on too much technique.

Chris and I skied around the Motte and did a couple of short walks to find winter snow with some spring snow to finish and Andreas skied the far side of Tignes for a winter/spring combination as well. We didn’t have too many options today with the low lying cloud bank in the valleys and a minimum freeze at lower altitudes but the boys managed to put on a decent show this morning, and better weather with a good freeze is forecast for tomorrow. Stay tuned!

PS It was nice to see all the Irish boys in such a good mood this morning. There’s nothing like victory in the sporting world and a chance to fly your flag to put a smile on your face. Well, that and a couple of other things…..!

PSS Jean Ribart is back on his skis and working his way back to off-piste fitness and more importantly, confidence. Welcome back Jean! And well done Liverpool, it’s getting interesting at the top.

15 March 2014
A great combination of powder and spring!

We had our first cloudy day in almost two weeks but we managed a pretty good morning. Chris and I headed to Tignes and had a nice mix of powder and spring, while Andreas skied up at the Fornet, and I haven’t had a report. Simon had correctly guessed 3 days in a row and a couple of today’s photos should help him make it four!

Al and Ian took Adrian shopping yesterday and kitted him out with a new ski outfit. They’d had a 3-hour lunch so hopefully the colour scheme isn’t too outrageous and I look forward to seeing the new Adrian later in the season. It was nice to have Pete N along yesterday, and earlier in the week I had one of Denny’s (an ESF guide who we often see on the mountain) clients ask me out in the middle of nowhere to, ‘please make snow-saving tracks!’, which I thought was quite funny.

Light cloud is forecast for the morning but hopefully we’ll get a decent freeze and enough sunshine will get through to soften up the spring slopes. Stay tuned for more news and photos tomorrow.

14 March 2014
4/5, but well adapted boys!

You’ll need to excuse me as I’ve been at the Perdrix all afternoon having a fabulous session eating and drinking in the hot sun with Adrian, Al, Ian and Gill, and to be honest I’m a bit wobbly and not too far off a ‘chemical reaction’. Those of you who’ve spent an afternoon in the sun drinking with me know how vulnerable I am but at least I could walk home without leaning on walls and staggering about. It was a great afternoon to top off a wonderful week, thanks boys!

After yesterday’s avalanche, and there were others popping out here and there without skiers involved, the authorities in charge bumped the risk from 2 to 4, and that drastically changed our plans and expectations this morning. Chris and I cancelled our trips to St Foy, Thomas altered his plans and Andreas decided against his trip to the Sana. We all headed towards the Fornet and stayed high and enjoyed wonderful skiing, although it wasn’t ‘Plan A’.

The forecast is for sun in the morning with cloud arriving in the afternoon with some possible rain in the village during the evening, which would be fantastic as snow would fall at altitude. Fingers crossed for that one!

Stay tuned for skiing new and hopefully Hammers joy tomorrow!

13 March 2014
A big avalanche in the Arcelle!

Today was significantly hotter than what we’ve experienced so far during this high-pressure spell and as the powder dries up today’s heat will help to set up some of the spring slopes at altitude. Still, for my team it was another day focusing on powder snow with about 20 turns on spring snow thrown in. This period of keeping quiet about where we’ve skied makes the update much easier to write and bravo to Simon who’s guessed correctly two days in a row!

I stayed in the centre of the resort and did a couple of short walks, as did Henry, and Thomas was in the neighbourhood but his team ’skinned’ for two-and-a-half hours for some wonderful snow. Blimey, well done Team Thomas! Chris and Andreas ‘skinned’ in Tignes and they had a great morning for their efforts.

There was a huge avalanche in the Arcelle towards the Cugnai at noon today. Rumour has it that someone was buried for 30-minutes but was dug out alive due to the superb work of the rescue services. We saw a helicopter take off from the top of Bellevared and as soon as it headed towards the Arcelle we could see it’s purpose. Three heli’s were in on the rescue, which is pretty rare, and I’ve posted a couple of photos taken from long distance.

More and more sun is forecast so stay tuned for more photos and news tomorrow.

12 March 2014
10/10 !

I received a fun email from Simon yesterday who’s been playing a game with his pals called ‘Where’s Wayne?’ Since I’ve gone into ‘code mode’ due to the lack of fresh snow, tracks, and sun and wind damage, they’ve been trying to guess where we’ve skied through the photos. Well done on correctly guessing yesterday’s itinerary Simon!

After taking a long traverse yesterday and getting a good feel for the snow on various aspects, Chris and I took a calculated risk and ended up having a superb morning. We had three ‘skins’, one of 30-minutes, then 12-minutes and finally18-minutes, all of which opened up some wonderful skiing in powder snow. I’m under pressure now as Ian and Adrian have promised me some golf in Scotland in exchange for two more days of powder, but it’s not getting any easier!

Thomas meanwhile ‘skinned’ to where we skied yesterday and will have had a stunning time and Andreas had a brilliant day skiing down to Bonneval. I can tell you that one because I can’t see too many people following his tracks down there!

Millie and Katie loved their torchlight descent last night followed by fireworks. Unfortunately Millie took an ice-ball in the eye while standing up for a friend and was in a lot of pain last night, but fortunately she made the trip to Italy today with her Ski Loisir group. She’s been looking forward to the trip for two seasons and has text to say how much fun they’re having. Merci beaucoup Tchenko! And well done Katie for getting your Fleche de Bronze yesterday. Brilliant!

More sun is forecast and I need to get my imaginative thinking cap on as I’d love to play golf in Scotland with the boys!

PS Trevor, it was a pleasure skiing with you and I look forward to seeing you next season.

11 March 2014
What a brilliant ski that was!

Wow! After some deliberation this morning and a prod from Chris the two of us headed for a 1-hour and 45-minute ‘skin’ and we were rewarded with stunning snow top-to-bottom. I haven’t been that way for years (because it is quite a long way) and after cutting out right for a ‘sniff’ we found some great slopes up high and lovely gullies towards the bottom. (See photos)

Thomas and Henry headed off towards Tignes while Andreas went down to St Foy on a reconnaissance mission. He had a great day out with ambience and an interesting-to- say-the-least entrance, but it’s not the easiest of conditions on the North Face. After the massive avalanche a few weeks back the fracture line, which is over a metre deep, needs to be negotiated on the side-slip in and it’s making for a pretty tricky entrance. Thanks for the info Andreas!

Millie and Katie are doing their first-ever torchlight descent tonight with their Ski Loisir groups. They meet at the Triffolet restaurant at 5:30 and are entertained until the descent at 7 o’clock. Gill and I haven’t seen them all day as Ray took them for lunch and they’re staying with their ski groups until the torchlight. Boy, they’re going to miss this place!

More sun is forecast for another week but we still have some options. Stay tuned!

10 March 2014
Great effort all round boys!

Ray’s forecast of some light cloud cover was correct this morning, but whatever thin cloud we had disappeared pretty jolly quickly and was never really a factor, and it ended up even warmer than yesterday. It was another fantastic morning of powder snow with Chris heading towards the Fornet, my team skiing towards Tignes, and Andreas hanging around in the middle. Thomas has returned for his trip to Norway and was working this morning but I’m not too sure where he skied. Henry had an intro to touring day and I’m not sure where he was either, although I could take a guess!

Check the photos and Facebook page and as Trevor, who’s from Newcastle in Northern Ireland and skiing with Alpine for the first time said, “that was a high-five kind of morning!”

Relentless sun is forecast and it seems ages ago when we were skiing in fabulous snow in flat-light and hoping for some sun to give us a little relief. A day of snow and flat-light would be extremely welcome now! Stay tuned as the boys continue to ‘sniff’ out great skiing in tough circumstances. Bravo boys!

9 March 2014
Ridiculously stunning weather with great skiing!

The sun continues to beat down and the resort is totally tracked out, but we are still ‘sniffing’ out fantastic snow and great skiing. Maybe I should start using code for where we’re skiing as each little stash becomes more precious with each passing day. I’ll let the photos do the talking and Chris and Andreas will post some Facebook shots, but I thought this morning was excellent with my team skiing in Tignes and Chris and Andreas skiing up at the Fornet.

Millie and Katie are skiing all day every day this week with their Ski Loisir teams, and my old beau-frere Pav is in town and I’m about to meet up with he and his pals to watch a little rugby. Speaking of rugby, I hope TJ survived Scotland’s agonising defeat yesterday. It would have been excruciating for him to watch!

Full on sun is forecast again for tomorrow although Ray’s site seems to think it may be cloudy without any new snow. I don’t like that the sound of that site much! Stay tuned!

PS Just watched the England vs Wales match and thought it was fantastic. And boy, that Leigh Half-Penny bloke has a serious boot on him!

8 March 2014
The Pers comes through again!

With the high temperatures the sun is damaging just about everything that isn’t north and this morning a strong north-easterly wind started to blow, which is exactly what we don’t want as the wind is attacking what’s left of our precious powder. Andreas and I headed up to the Fornet for an excellent Glacier Pers while Chris and Tejina skied the Borsat West and Sachette. The Pers has so far survived the wind and was still beautiful and I’m waiting to hear from Chris about what’s going on towards Tignes snow-wise.

West Ham have the weekend off so it’s a relaxing and stress free Saturday afternoon!

Sun is forecast for the next week so anyone skiing powder could you please show some respect to your fellow addicts and keep your tracks tight! Stay tuned!

7 March 2014
Fabulous weather, wonderful snow!

After dealing with flat-light and wishing for sunshine, after a few days of blue skies we’re suddenly finding ourselves wishing it would snow again. We’re in for another week of solid heat and we’ll need to be using our imagination to find soft snow as this sunny spell continues. We that said we all enjoyed another great day of skiing today as we milk whatever the mountain will give us.

I headed towards Tignes for a change of scenery and found some excellent skiing in the Borsat West. We spotted two Perdrix Blanche on the hike up and fortunately the entrance was the easiest it’s ever been, but first-timers up there still find it impressive and it’s always good ambience. After the Borsat West we worked our way to the Sachette, which was superb up high, great through the middle sections, and we found some good ‘scraps’ at the bottom. We finished off with a good Familial and I stopped off at the ruined farmhouse to have a picnic with the girls.

Meanwhile, Andreas and Henry headed up to the Glaciers Pers, which is still wonderful, and Chris, Tejina and Suzanne ‘skinned’ up to the Col Des Fours, which was great skiing but coming to an end due to tracks. It would be nice if people made a bit more of an effort to conserve the snow but most people just don’t get it, and besides spreading out and wasting snow some skiers and boarders seem to ski across the fall-line, which compounds the problem and is extremely annoying.

There was a one to a one-and-a-half metre plaque pop out on the traverse towards Mont Roup from the Borsat Chair. Someone on ‘skins’ set it off between 2 and 2:30 in the afternoon but I don’t think anyone was injured.

Stay tuned for heat and blue skies for the next week!

6 March 2014
A stunning Vallonnet and Lechoir!

It was another stunning day on the weather front and I returned to the Fornet for a fabulous morning in great snow. Gideon, Jerry, Alan and I started off taking the high road into the Vallonnet before ‘skinning’ for about five-minutes to access ‘clean’ and deep winter powder snow pretty much to the bottom. The views were wonderful (see photos) and it’s been a while since the last time I visited that part of the Vallonnet. From there we took a high-line into the Combe du Signal to ski above the shoulder on the far side, where the snow had taken a little heat but was still good skiing and the boys handled it really well. Next up was a trip over the Col for a Tour de Lechoir, which was excellent top-to-bottom, and we managed ‘clean’ snow from the Grand Torsai down, which was a real bonus!

Meanwhile, Andreas and Chris went off to Bonneval this morning and I haven’t heard from them. They should be returning in an hour or so and I’m sure there will be coverage of their adventures on the Facebook page this evening.

There was a tragic accident yesterday and a 22-year-old Frenchman was killed and his companion is in critical condition in hospital after they were swept off a cliff by a small avalanche. The slide took place between the two chair lifts on the Face de Bellevarde.

Thanks to Laura who’s taken care of Katie today while Gill and Millie have been down to Lyon to take Nana to the airport. Liz had a great time and thanks to all those who helped with the entertainment!

More sun is forecast for tomorrow so stay tuned!

5 March 2014
A brillaint day at the Fornet!

It was cold overnight and with clear blue skies we were all chomping at the bit to get going this morning. We all headed up to the Fornet and my team started off with an excellent run in the Combe du Signal, followed by two short ‘skins’ to make the most of a beautiful Pays Desert, then a terrific run over the Col Pers to finish a great morning. Andreas meanwhile, ‘skinned’ to the Col des Fours for an fabulous run down followed by some bonus turns over the little Col. Bravo to his team for their efforts!

Unfortunately everyone’s mood was dampened by an injury to Clare who was skiing with Chris. She injured some knee ligaments and needed to be carted off the mountain by the Pisteurs, who did a fantastic job rescuing her from way out in the middle of the Pays Desert. Clare, Tejina, Chris and Suzanne were enjoying a hot chocolate and rum when I last spoke to them and Clare’s injury may not be as bad as originally feared. Good luck Clare!

Clare’s rescue makes you think about the chances we take during periods of flat-light, when we’re all skiing way off-piste in the middle of nowhere. Injuries in these circumstances would greatly increase the complications of the rescue. It also emphasises the importance of constantly finding the best snow possible, especially in poor vis, because besides being more pleasurable, good snow is much safer and less risky to injury.

Henry had a HAT day down in St Foy with a focus on beeper training and Thomas should be back from Norway soon.

Gill, Liz, Laura and the girls had a brilliant lunch in Tignes Les Boisses at the Hotel le Marais. They had a lovely table in the sunshine, the food was excellent and Gill definitely recommends it. (Booking is a must)

Sunshine is forecast for the next few days but we may have some clouds floating about in the morning. Stay tuned!

4 March 2014
Surprise sunshine upstairs makes the difference this morning!

I skied with Rory, a relation to TJ, and his pals Kit and Barney today and we benefited from some unexpected sunshine that really made for a stunning morning. After a quick Verte we skied the steep pitch under the Borsat chair and into the lower Borsat, followed by an excellent run in the Hourglass Couloir on the Balme, then three rotations on Wayne’s Shoulder. The clouds by this time had crept back in and we needed to ski the Cairn and Familial in flat-light to finish the morning.

After a good lunch at the Gourmandine we headed up to the Fornet but it was pretty foggy and after a run in the Combe du Signal we took the up-and-over and finished off a great day into the L.

Meanwhile Chris, Tejina and Suzanne skied the Borsat en route to the Chardonnet before opening up the first Col in the Sache, then he finished up a wonderful morning with the Familial. He then skied on the Pissailles with Clare and Tejina this afternoon. Andreas had a fantastic morning up at the Fornet and after skiing off the Signal poma had a couple of runs in the 3300. The fog rolled in, which put him off going over the Col, but the snow on the glacier was so good it didn’t matter.

Thanks Ray for taking the girls skiing this morning while Gill and Liz went to Cache 2000.

Sunshine is forecast for tomorrow so stay tuned!

3 March 2014
What a change from yesterday!

After a stunningly beautiful day yesterday it was back into the ‘white’ today, and visibility was pretty poor at times. I had Gill’s friend Alex along with Nick and Gill this morning, and we worked on some technique and skied some off-piste as well. We skied off the Verte, Borsat, Tignes Alti-port and meadows, one from the Grande Motte cable car, one off the edge of the Genepy and a Familial to finish. On hind-sight, we didn’t do too badly!

Chris is skiing with Clare and Tejina and they took it easy on their first day and headed down to Les Brevieres for lunch, while Andreas started with the Borsat Nord and I’m not too sure what he ended up doing.

I’m planning on a trip to the pool with the girls this afternoon and Nana entertained them royally this morning, allowing Gill to ski with me. Thanks Nana!

More snow is expected for the rest of the day and during the day tomorrow, with sunshine returning on Wednesday.

PS Thanks for taking care of the girls Laura and for another amazing dinner!

2 March 2014
Happy Birthday Mom!

I had a relapse with my back yesterday afternoon and this morning had serious doubts about being able to ski today. I knew it was going to be good and didn’t want to let anyone down so after a superb physio session from Gill on the kitchen table and some drugs I went off to give it a go, and what a stunning morning we had up at the Fornet. We had Eric, a telemarker from Oregon on his first visit to Val d’Isere, and he had an incredible morning and couldn’t believe the views. (It reminded me of Andy’s visit last spring) He was great company and an excellent telemarker, and had no trouble keeping a perfect track. Bravo Eric and we look forward to your next visit. It was a maximum turn morning of high quality and we rose above the sea-of-cloud and started with a wonderful run off the shoulder in the Combe du Signal, followed by 2 belters in the 3300, a fantastic run in the Pays Desert and down through Chris’ Chimney, then another in the Pays Desert with a ten-minute ‘skin’, then a run home from the up-and-over chair down into the Super L. Blimey, what a morning!

Meanwhile, Henry was entertaining Sandy, Rosemary and Penny, and believe me, these ladies are seriously good fun! They had a fantastic time and after two sessions in a row in flat-light they were rewarded this morning with brilliant snow and beautiful sunshine above a stunning sea-of-cloud. Bravo ladies and thanks Henry!

Nana has arrived for a five day trip and the girls have dragged her off to watch them ice skate. It’s their first session since watching the figure skating at the Olympics so it should be interesting as they try out their new moves!

And a huge Happy Birthday to my most wonderful mother Ruth, who is 80-years-young today. Happy Birthday Mom!

A little snow is forecast this evening and into tomorrow morning with it clearing during the afternoon, but with any luck we’ll have some decent vis in the morning. Stay tuned!

PS Chris was out with Suzanne this morning and spotted four skiers stuck in the gorge with sluffs from the slopes above starting to slide into the gorge, and he phoned the pisteurs to let them know. The helicopter has been busy the past ten days rescuing stranded people who for some reason have ignored all the signs and reports on the radio about the gorge being closed.

1 March 2014
Lovely snow with a 'light-bulb' overhead!

We were expecting some bright sunny periods this morning but instead it was overcast with light snow falling. Fortunately a little ‘light-bulb’ showed itself through the clouds for most of the morning and the visibility for a flat-light day was actually pretty decent. After our ritual warm-up in lovely snow off the Verte Andreas and I started with the Borsat Nord from the top, which was excellent. Andreas did a nice job ‘cutting’ the entrance then it was full steam ahead. (Chris came in underneath with his team of Sandy, Rosemary and Penny.) The meadows into Tignes were very good as well and from there Andreas headed to the Chardonnet, I went upstairs to the Motte and Chris tried the Combe des Lanches. Unfortunately the Motte was closed for blasting so I skied back down in great snow off the Genepy before skiing the meadows under the Alti-port, then the big slope of the Grande Balme, and the Familial to finish.

Andreas finished with the Balme and Spatule as he was eating at the Fruitiere with Peter, Olivia, Sky and Sean to finish off a terrific week celebrating Peter’s 60th.

Clare B broke her ankle last week and Wilkie from Surefoot injured himself as well yesterday in the Couloir des Pisteurs. The injury list this season is pretty long so fingers crossed that that’s the end of it. Get well soon you two!

More light snow is forecast this afternoon and clear blue skies are expected all day tomorrow. Nana’s arriving in the morning so some sunshine will go down nicely with her as well!

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