Wayne's Daily Diary Archive

20 June 2007

30 April 2014
A good day to have off!

I don’t have much to report today as everyone had they day off and none of us were skiing. After yesterday’s heat it would have been a potentially tough day, and with snow and wind to deal with it was probabIy a good morning to have off. I spent the day relaxing, and then backing the car, checking the oil, and tidying up. Only four more days to go and hopefully we’ll get as of skiing as we’ve had lately, although visibility has been a little nerve-wracking at times! Fingers crossed fro some good snow and enough vis to really enjoy the end of what’s been a fantastic season.

I haven’t heard any news from the boys in Norway and Oli will be at home relaxing as his season is over. Bravo Oli!

Stay tuned for news, weather and sports tomorrow!

29 April 2014
What a brilliant morning!

After pretty flat conditions yesterday we were encouraged this morning with a bit more light getting through the clouds, which allowed us to make the most of the conditions resulting in a wonderful morning. It was much warmer today so the snow wasn’t as cold as yesterday, but with the better vis everyone creamed it and thoroughly enjoyed themselves. We started with a stunning run in a trackless Grand Vallon, and we were the only people in sight. We ran into fog just when we needed to cut out and enjoyed the atmosphere as we ‘felt’ our way back to the Pyramid Chair. (Chris and Suzanne came down behind us and caught us up as we cut the trail out.) We then had a fantastic run in the Combe du Signal with the upper half in sunshine before dropping back down into a light fog. From there we headed up to the Pissailles where we had better light for the most part and skied one in the 3300, followed by two more in the Pays Desert. We finished off a brilliant morning with some warm powder turns off the Super S before joining the piste. Chris and Suzanne spotted two Perdrix and a white hare, which was starting to take on its summer colours, so they had a great wildlife show to go with the terrific skiing.

Snow is forecast again for tomorrow so stay tuned as we only have five more mornings to entertain the troops!

Check the Facebook page as Chris may post some photos and Andreas will also if he can get a signal in Norway.

28 April 2014
Flat-light and fog, but great powder!

The good news was that enough snow has now fallen to give us a fresh canvas and a soft feeling underfoot, but we had pretty flat-light most of the morning, and at times fog to deal with. My team were a little unsure heading up the Pyramid Chair into the fog first thing (see photos) but it didn’t take them long to get into the swing of things once they realised the surf was up! After a warm-up on the piste we skied one in the Combe du Signal en route to the Pissailles for one in the 3300. They then closed the Cascade chair due to wind so we headed back down for three more in the Combe du Signal before finishing off with a Super L into the L. Chris and Suzanne were out skiing together and they were just ahead of us for the first part of the morning enjoying an excellent ski, made even better by the low expectations at the Gourmandine.

Tomorrow’s forecast isn’t great but with the amount of wonderful skiing we’ve had when the forecast said otherwise I’m not going to worry about it. Stay tuned!

Yesterday’s football didn’t go to plan and for the first time ever all Liverpool fans will be cheering for neighbouring Everton when they take on City!

PS JM and Andreas have some internet connection in Norway so log-on to Andreas’ reports on our Facebook page.

27 April 2014
Not the easiest of mornings, but good fun!

I was on my own again this morning and it was nice to have a last coffee at the Gourmandine with Francoise as she’s closing down for the season and she and her staff were there doing the annual ‘spring clean’. After yesterday’s extravaganza of superb spring snow with stunning clear blue skies, today was a total contrast, with fog, light snow and a little wind at altitude. Still, Tilly, Jean-Eves and I had a jolly good morning skiing piste in the fog and diving off-piste whenever the fog lifted and we could see enough to navigate. The good news is that it froze hard at altitude meaning the fresh snow will be falling on a stable base, and that bodes well for tomorrow. It only snowed a few centimetres overnight but it did start to accumulate by the end of the morning and by tomorrow we should be looking at a very serious powder session.

I’m off soon to the Pacific to watch the Liverpool v Chelsea match and help David Mac cheer his boys on to glory. Stay tuned!

26 April 2014
What a ridiculously brilliant day!

After the toughest morning off-piste of the season yesterday, today we enjoyed an absolutely stunning morning with great weather, wonderful snow, outstanding scenery, some highly impressive terrain. Wow, it really was good! Chris and I headed up to the Fornet and had a positive ‘test’ off the Laisinant, followed by a good run in the Combe du Signal en route to the Pissaillas Glacier, where we had a terrific run in the Pays Desert. Just enough fresh snow had fallen to give every exposure a good feel so we weren’t dependant on the sun for warming those slopes up. We then had a cracker over the Col Pers followed by the best of the day on the impressive steep slopes between the Vallon and the Vallonnet. It was so good I circled back around for another and finished late while Chris skied one in the Vallonnet down to the bus. Brilliant!

Henry had a great morning as well skiing Tignes classics.

Olivier has had a great tour in Switzerland and has bounced back positively from the trauma in Greenland. Bravo Oli! JM is now touring in Norway with Andreas and after this week Oli and JM will be taking a summer break. (As will the rest of us!)

The forecast for tomorrow is a little depressing so I’m hoping for the best and also for West Ham to come back from a goal down against West Brom. Stay tuned!

25 April 2014
Really tough off-piste but a great morning anyway!

I was on my own this morning as Andreas is off to Norway with JM, Chris is down in Lyon, and both Henry and Thomas were off, and when I awoke to +8C in the village, grey skies and the threat of rain, it wasn’t very inspiring. I started off with a test in the holes that were superb yesterday and those slopes were egg-shell fragile so we made it down working on fragile snow technique, then I tested the Rosolin, which was also a negative so we cut back to the piste, and finally we had an interesting ski down my shoulder, which worked but just! (see photos) In between we skied dynamically on some brilliant pistes and with a great cast of characters, we had a thoroughly satisfying outing. We didn’t finish until 1 o’clock and for the toughest morning of the season after about 155 days, I really enjoyed it!

I have Chris and Henry back tomorrow to keep me company and we may see a few flakes of snow tonight with a much better chance of a re-freeze, (today’s was non-existent, even on the Motte) so life should be easier again tomorrow. Stay tuned!

PS It’s now raining lightly in town at 2:15PM, which means some snow at altitude!

PSS It only drizzled for about 20 minutes before clearing up into a lovely afternoon, so who knows about tomorrow?

24 April 2014
Fabulous skiing in Tignes!

We had another decent freeze and clear blue skies and with the weather forecast to deteriorate tomorrow we wanted to make the best of it this morning. After spending a few days in the Fornet and yesterday around the Charvet sector and Arcelle, Chris and I opted for a change of scenery and headed towards Tignes. We started out with a funky run off Bonnevie’s Drag through the holes to the Tommeuses chair, which I’ve never really done before, and it was a brilliant start to the morning. With perfect spring snow we could ski quite low into the holes before jumping on an edge and traversing back out at the last moment. From there we skied an excellent Familial from the top and down around and corner and on down through the Little Lavachet. Next up was a lovely Sachette followed by a great run in the Familial to finish another cracking morning. We had the pleasure of Rupert’s friend Kinga with us this morning, and it was great to have her along.

Meanwhile Henry did the double ‘skin’ of the Crete du Genepy and Mont Roup, and his team will have had a stunning morning, and JM and Peter went off to ‘skin’ to the Col de la Galise. Andreas took the day off as his car broke down on the way back from dropping his Dad off at Geneva, and after a motor-way service rescue and repair he still needed to drive home from Albertville at 30kph. Bummer to say the least!

Fingers crossed that tomorrow’s forecast won’t be that bad, especially when I’m the only one skiing! It’s tough dealing with difficult conditions and flat light without a partner so I’m hoping for a least a little vis. Stay tuned!

23 April 2014
Wonderful spring snow on 'clean' slopes!

The sun was out again and after a good freeze we all had a superb morning skiing spring snow. Chris, Andreas and I all started with an excellent mini-Crete du Genepy before ‘skinning’ up to ski a fantastic Mont Roup, while Henry skied the Crete from further up. After an interesting exit (see photos) we skied either the Cugnai or Col de la Madeleine and I finished off a terrific morning with one on the edge of the Marmottes. It was Sylvie’s last day of her season and it was a good one to finish on!

Chris and Andreas were stuck on the Manchet chair for at least 20-minutes so let’s hope there’s no technical problems that may shut that lift down as there’s some cracking good skiing to be accessed from it, especially with a good forecast and freeze in store for tomorrow. Fingers crossed on that one!

Jean Marc and Peter went off for the day to ski La Grande Aiguille Rousse and then walk out of the summer path. I haven’t heard how they fared but I’m sure they had a wonderful day out.

I was feeling like a million dollars this morning after an early night and no booze but somehow still managed to win the ‘splat du jour’ award for falling over on the top of the Verte then thrashing about like a dying trout trying to get up. I felt like a bit of a berk really. Anyway, stay tuned for more news tomorrow.

22 April 2014
Not exactly what we were expecting, but still great skiing!

It rained during the night but clear in time for a solid re-freeze and none of us really found what we were expecting this morning. Chris and I headed up to the Fornet thinking we get some powder up high but had to be satisfied with lovely supporting snow with a couple of centimetres on top, which was just enough to give a nice texture. We skied a good opener in the Combe du Signal before heading over the Col Pers, where we needed to ‘sniff’ about to ski supporting snow to the bottom. Unfortunately we were given incorrect bus times so instead of waiting for an hour we ‘skinned’ high enough to traverse our way back to the piste. From there we had two more excellent runs traversing high through the Combe du Signal to access the slopes leading down to the poma line. (See photos)

Meanwhile Andreas and Henry had a good day in Tignes, and they needed to search about as well to make the most of the conditions. It was a bit of a ‘transition’ day so all the boys did a great job finding good skiing.

Jean Marc is in town for a few days to tour with Peter C, and like Oli he’s happy to be back on his skis.

After yesterday’s lunch I’m tired and heading for bed. Stay tuned for more news tomorrow!

PS Jean doesn’t think he’s done too much damage in yesterday’s fall and is confident to be back strong next season. Yahoo!

21 April 2014
Fantastic morning but bummer about Jean!

The forecast was for a rubbish morning but as the norm the forecast hasn’t been a reason for depression and we had another unexpectedly brilliant morning. (I must mention right now that I’m pissed after a four-hour lunch at the Perdrix with Blue, Hattie, Michele and Penny, and I’m doing my best) Chris, Andreas and I headed up to the Fornet optimistically hoping for powder at altitude on north facing slopes and we were rewarded with some superb snow for this time of year, especially two days after a snowfall. We started off in the Pays Desert and milked every exposition that worked until we could turn north to guaranteed powder, but we’d also taken a chance on the fog lifting, which it did, and bravo to the boys for keeping the faith! It was brilliant top-to-bottom and instead of heading over the Col Andreas convinced me into a return trip as we knew the snow was excellent and if the fog returned we could always followed our tracks. The second time around as equally as good but the last slope had warmed up with the Green-House Affect and unfortunately Jean fell about ten turns from the bottom and my have damaged his knee again. Fingers crossed and I’ll keep you all posted. (See photos)

It’s snowing lightly at 7:45 and tomorrow’s another day. Stay tuned but at least I don’t need to worry about dinner!

PS Olivier reports a positive return to touring in Italy after his trip to Greenland, although both he and Peter C feel a slight problem with their breathing. In the grand scheme of things both are extremely happy and enjoying their skiing! (As is Mike A and Jean Marc arrives this evening)

20 April 2014
A terrific morning of powder at the Fornet!

The skies cleared overnight and we had a pleasantly sunny morning giving us great visibility for the most part, and everyone had a fantastic morning. There had been some wind that compressed the snow in places, so it wasn’t always the easiest skiing, but it was wonderful to be back in winter snow, laying tracks and having fresh snow flying about. My team skied the Lower Combe du Signal followed by a slightly tougher run in the Combe 3300 on the Glacier. (At this stage Jean was worried about his knee so he sensibly peeled off and will be back tomorrow) We then skied two more very good variations in the 3300 before heading back down to ski one in the Grand Vallon. Both Michele and Penny had had enough by this time so they went off for lunch at the Edelweiss while David and I finished off with a cracking run down Katie’s Run off the Grand Vallon. (See photos)

There was at least 50cm’s of fresh snow on the top of the Pissaillas this morning and it was too deep and heavy to really ski properly, so we skied mostly off the Cascade Chair into the 3300 where the snow was a little less deep and easier to ski before trying our luck in the Grand Vallon.

Andreas has returned form his weekend in Copenhagen, where he had a brilliant time, and he was also up on the Pissaillas for most of the morning before finishing up with the Grand Vallon, while Chris was mostly on piste with Richard F’s grandchildren.

The forecast doesn’t look too inviting for tomorrow but I’m going to ignore it and hope for the best.

Sports Report- I went up to the Pacific to watch the second half of the Norwich v Liverpool match, and at 2-0 what seemed like an easy win for the Reds turned into a real nail-biter. Liverpool looked very vulnerable in the air and nothing like champions as Norwich played brilliantly, and there was a huge sigh of relief when the final whistle blew with Liverpool hanging on for an edgy 3-2 win.

19 April 2014
A pretty good morning as the snow was just starting to accumulate!

A few centimetres fell overnight and around 8AM it looked as if we might be in for some sunshine upstairs, so Chris and I optimistically headed to the Fornet for a change of scenery. By the time we arrived it was obvious that there was less snow in that sector and clouds were quickly moving in (plus Chris found out that the scheduled busses from the Pont St Charles aren’t starting until tomorrow) so we quickly did a u-turn and headed back to the Olympique. From there we had some nice snow off the Verte, and then again in the Lower Borsat and meadows into Tignes, then a cracking run on the Rosolin and across the glacier after our little ‘skin’, then some bits off the Genepy before finishing off with a good 20cm’s of great snow in the Familial. It snowed all morning but the visibility was good enough to navigate comfortably, and it really started to snow more heavily as we finished up in the Familial. (see photos)

We should see quite a bit of snow tonight, especially towards the Fornet as a retour de l’est is forecast. One thing is certain however, and that is it will be ‘show-time’ again in the morning, and after 8 weeks it will be time to put the Air-bag back on. Stay tuned!

And come on you Hammers! And thanks Penny for the drinks party!
18 April 2014
How good are you with your beep?

We had another good freeze last night and with overcast skies the potential problem today was the snow not softening and leaving us with ‘bullet-proof’ conditions. There had been some very early sunshine, which did touch the eastern exposures, and I was pleasantly pleased with our ‘test’ on the bowl near the Fresse where the snow had softened to perfection and gave our hopes a lift for the rest of the morning. Thomas, Chris and I all took different routes but had excellent runs in the Sachette, and a potential ‘stinker’ turned out to be a pretty jolly good morning! Henry was also skiing but I’m not sure were he skied, and Andreas is in Copenhagen for the weekend reliving his youth at a rock concert. I asked him if he had his lighter with him but he informed me that they wave their mobile phones these days. Rock on Andreas!

Now to some serious news. Olivier and Jean Marc have been touring in Greenland and they were involved in an avalanche last Sunday, which was the last day of what had been a fabulous tour. I haven’t reported it until now as I needed to speak with the boys and give them time, and everyone else involved, to digest their traumatic experience. Olivier, Roy S, Peter C, and Mike A were all buried and if it wasn’t for the superb work of those on the surface, there would have been casualties. Olivier wants to stress the importance of regular beeper training and feels he owes his life to the work his dedicated clients have put in over the years. More will be posted in the near future when the boys have written up their reports and are ready to share their story.

It’s snowing lightly at the moment (3:20PM) and we should be in for enough snow overnight to give us some winter snow conditions in the morning. I personally do not want too much snow and would be happy with 15 to 20 cms, enough to give us a couple of powder mornings before quickly transforming back to spring snow, but there is a good possibility that we’re in for some serious snow over the next few days. Stay tuned!

17 April 2014
Another perfect morning of outstanding spring skiing!

We had an adventurous trip to the airport yesterday as I was rallying between Moutiers and Albertville like I like to do, when two motorcycle Gendarmes pulled me over with flashing lights. I was pretty worried as we were really cruising and the girls were afraid that Daddy was going to hauled off to prison, but the Gendarmes were pretty cool guys in the end. I had no ID, had forgotten my drivers licence and when they said, “90 euros and you can continue on”, I though that was a bit of a result! After paying the fine and getting back in the car we’d developed some sort of electrical fault and the car wouldn’t start. We were parked on a slight incline and in the end the two motorcycle Gendarmes and I were trying to push the car up over the incline so that Gill could jump-start it on the other side. We were really struggling when Millie and Katie joined in and their added strength was just enough to get us over the top. We must have looked a picture with a Dad, a ten and an eight-year-old, and two Gendarmes struggling together to push the car. Once started we all jumped in and waved merrily goodbye to the police, happy to be on our way again! I must say it did spoil my driving for the rest of the trip!

Anyway, on to today’s skiing, which was absolutely superb! Chris and I did a double ‘skin’ on the Crete and Mont Roup, and it was brilliant! Chris finished with a Pays Desert while I had a funky trip through Chez Gill (through the cliffs on the sunny-side of the Pays Desert) and a cracking run off the summer road. Meanwhile Thomas had a wonderful outing on the Col de la Calabourdane followed by the Col des Fours, Henry was skiing with Sylvie and her brother and they headed towards the Sachette, while Andreas was skiing with his brother and family.

Our fabulous run of stunning weather may be coming to an end as cloudy skies with a little rain and snow is forecast over the next few days. I guess a little top up to cleanse the spring slopes would go amiss, but this sunny weather has been addictive and even a powder-hound such as myself doesn’t look forward to too many cloudy days. Stay tuned!

16 April 2014
What a lucky escape!

We had a great freeze last night and with brilliant blue skies again this morning we all enjoyed another fabulous ski. Chris and I skied the Face du Charvet followed by a terrific run towards the Cabin, then my team skied two in the L. Thomas and Henry were doing the Crete/Mont Roup routine and Andreas was skiing in Tignes.

There was a massive slide in the Lores yesterday around 12:30PM and the guided group involved were extremely lucky to have escaped without injury or worse. It’s a notoriously dangerous slope, never to be really trusted, but 12:30 after a decent freeze could be considered unlucky. (See photos)

All the best to Pat Z who’s recovering from a knee replacement. Apparently the operation went extremely well and Pat is well ahead on his recovery. Good luck Pat!

I’m off to the airport as the girls are leaving for England this evening. Stay tune for more news tomorrow!

15 April 2014
Another great day as the snow is rapidly disappearing.

It’s another short update as the girls are returning to England tomorrow and there’s a lot going on. Thanks very much to Laura who threw a fantastic going away dinner for Millie, Katie, and their friends. The girls helped to prepare the meal, which was excellent, and all ten of the children had a brilliant, brilliant time! Thanks again Laura, what an effort! (See photos)

As for today’s skiing, wow, what a morning! Chris, Thomas and I all skied in Tignes, with Thomas and I skiing the Lognan, Sachette and Familial, (I threw in the Tourne as well) while Chris’ team skied the Sachette and Familial.

Andreas and Ian had a great morning with the Crete du Genepy and Mont Roup, followed by a trip through the Arcelle to finish.

I had a lovely walk on the Balcone this afternoon with the girls plus Stephen, Kaye, Christian, Kaye’s 76-year-old Mum Yvonne, Michelle, Cassius, and Jensen. It was a great adventure and a special bravo to Yvonne!

More good weather is forecast for tomorrow!

14 April 2014
A fabulous Crete and Mont Roup!

After a day off yesterday I was raring to go this morning and with a good overnight re-freeze and beautiful blue skies we had a stunning day. Chris and I did a ‘double-skin’ starting with the Crete du Genepy followed by Mont Roup. The snow on both slopes was superb and it was excellent skiing on mostly steep slopes. Thomas ‘skinned’ to Mont Roup as well and he and Chris finished off in the Arcelle while my team skied the L twice.

Andreas and Ian skied the Lognan and Sachette before finishing with the Familial and Henry had the day off and was taking care of his children.

I must run as Laura and the girls are putting on a dinner party for their school friends and I’m official photographer. The girls have made fresh pasta from scratch as well as starters and ice cream. Should be fun!

More sun is forecast for tomorrow but with high winds that may cause a few problems with the lifts. Stay tuned!

13 April 2014
A wonderful day off!

After an excellent birthday evening for Gill last night I had a the day off and thoroughly enjoyed myself. After getting the girls off to their last day with the Ski Club, Gill and I had a lovely walk on the Balcone, which runs from the Fornet back above town and down to the Hotel/Pub Moris. We spotted some magnificent bouquetin and the flower show is just getting started. (See photos)

It was just Thomas and Andreas skiing this morning and they didn’t have the easiest of conditions because of overcast skies, but I’m sure they showed their teams a good time. The forecast is for a good freeze and sun again tomorrow, so we should be back in business.

Millie had a fantastic day with Tchenko as they had a picnic followed by a Jacuzzi at the Hotel Le Marais in Les Boisses. The entire team were in their underwear as the Jacuzzi was a last minute thing. Well done Tchenko, vive la France!

Sports Report- What a fabulous match between Liverpool and City and what a result for the Reds! Brilliant and thanks John. And tonight’s final round of the Masters should be superb with Westwood and Rose still in with an outside chance. Come on boys!

12 April 2014
A terrific Face du Charvet on Gill's Birthday!

We didn’t get quite as good of re-freeze last night but it was still cold enough for us to enjoy another quality morning of spring snow. I had two new ‘Alpine’ skiers this morning, Maureen and her husband John, and along with Jean R, Quentin and my lovely wife Gill on her birthday, and we had a brilliant birthday ski. Henry and I started on the Face du Charvet, (which is always a good place to test out new skiers!) and it was excellent top-to-bottom and as atmospheric as always. Henry then went off to ski the Kern while my team skied a great run out towards the Cabin de la Garde, followed by the L and Familial to finish off. It was fantastic to have Jean back in the saddle and he loved his return and seems pretty confident with his knee.

Chris skied Mont Roup before finishing off with Henry around the Arcelle while Andreas and Ian, and Thomas with Martin’s family, all had a wonderful morning skiing Tignes ‘classics’.

It clouded over during the afternoon and we may see a few flakes but sunshine is forecast again for the morning. Hopefully we’ll get a good freeze first so we can continue this lovely run of spring snow skiing.

And Happy Birthday Gill!!!

PS Actually the forecast for tomorrow is crap!!!!

11 April 2014
It just doesn't get much better!

The entire team of Thomas, Chris, Andreas, Henry and I enjoyed another truly outstanding morning of spring skiing! Considering the resort has about 2% of its options available, within that 2% lays some stunning skiing and the boys are doing the business showing everyone a fabulous time. Bravo boys!

Chris and I ‘skinned’ up to Mont Roup and it must be said it doesn’t get any better. It was one of the best spring snow runs I’ve had there in years with steep pitches, perfect snow, great ambience and a couple of Perdrix Blanche thrown in. Brilliant! We then skied a great run in the L with some off-piste higher up before re-joining the piste for a belter, and Andreas, Chris and I all crossed paths for a terrific finish in the Familial.

I was on-piste this afternoon with Paul G and Kate’s children Anna and Ellen while Thomas had a wonderful afternoon up at the Fornet with Martin and his family, and Andreas was blasting about with a Swedish friend of his and I spotted them at the Coin des Amis early evening but I snuck by him as he looked to be falling into a bit of a trap, and I’ve fallen into that one before!

Tonight’s re-freeze may not be as good as the previous couple of nights but hopefully it will be enough as sun is forecast again for the morning. Stay tune and long may this run continue!

10 April 2014

It was another wonderful day of spring snow skiing and all the boys were in action this morning. No one was in the mood for a big walk so the team headed towards Tignes and everyone had a great morning skiing the various ‘classics’. I started off with the Kern, which was a good start and very atmospheric as we cut back to the second chairlift at the last moment. I then decided to join the others in Tignes and we skied the Tourne, then enjoyed a little powder in the top of the Sachette before turning to spring snow to the bottom, then the Familial to finish.

Andreas and I had a stunning afternoon up at the Fornet as Andreas was skiing with his mate Neil, and the two of them covered a lot of ground. Gill had such a great afternoon yesterday she suggested giving John, Margaret, and Jean R a call and the three of us had a brilliant ski. We attacked some big steep slopes and a couloir, and it was a fantastic confidence boost for them all as they haven’t skied much off pistes since their accidents, and certainly not slopes like those. Bravo you three! In these conditions you can reach slopes you can’t really get to in mid-winter, or risk skiing in deep snow, and you certainly get a different view. It was also nice to have my 8 and 10-year-old daughters and a pair of 76-year-olds with a 72-year-old out on the same slopes over the past couple of afternoons. Millie thinks the older folks are pretty ‘cool’!

The high pressure system is forecast to continue so stay tuned for more great skiing tomorrow.

9 April 2014
What a totally satisfying day!

Wow, what a fabulous day! The sun was back in all its splendour and with yesterday’s cushion of fresh snow everyone profited with a great ski. The team headed up to the Fornet and Andreas and I skied a very much improved Pays Desert, followed by a lovely Col Pers and then a cracking good Grand Vallon to finish. Andreas’ team spotted a White Hare, which although you see their tracks all the time to actually see one is a very rare occurrence. (The last one I saw was about 8 to 10 years ago on the Grande Balme)

Meanwhile Chris took his team up to the Glacier Pers and they had a fantastic morning as well, and I’m not too sure what Thomas skied today. Andreas skied with his son Victor this afternoon so who knows what those two got up to!

I had an absolutely stunning afternoon with my children today, plus Gill and her friend Julia, and Julia’ s husband Andy (from Snowman’s Larder) and their 11-year-old daughter Anna. We started off with a warm-up from the top of the Combe du Signal, followed by the Grand Vallon (Millie’s Run near Chez Henry) down to the valley floor, then a run on Katie’s Run, which is way left in the Grand Vallon on the steep slopes between the Vallon and the Pyramid. That was so good we grabbed Dan Egan and his friends and dragged them along for another! (Dan is a long-time friend of Henry’s from Boston, who’s a larger-than-life-character and jolly good fun.) Then we finished off with a run way-out above Chez Henry starting on the ridge between the Vallon and Vallonnet, which I named Anna’s Alley, then all the way down to the bus. It’s wonderful skiing with young children on big slopes like those when you know they’re perfectly stable and secure on their feet, and they just get on with it and perform. It was brilliant!

It looks like another cold night and beautiful sunshine again tomorrow. Yahoo!!!

Thanks Ray for sorting out my computer so the Photos of the Day are back in business!

8 April 2014
Not the easiest!

It was a tough day today, probably the hardest morning of the season, but we still managed with a Pays Desert just as the fog and snow storm rolled in. After a hot chocolate, and I’ve never seen so many different off-piste groups enjoying a hot chocolate at the same time before, we skied some piste before finishing up with some decent skiing off the Verte as the snow was starting to accumulate. Bravo to all who weathered the morning and the good news is tomorrow should be sunny with a fresh cushion of snow to spruce things up a little.

I’m having computer problems and none of my ports seem to be working. I’ve no mouse, connection for my Skype camera, and the port for my photo card isn’t registering so unless one of my clever friends can sort it my Photos of the Day are now finished for the season. Sorry!

Sports Report- I was pleased to see Sunderland lost last night. I love an underdog but when you’re involved in a relegation battle every loss from a team below is cause for a mini-celebration. It’s such a cruel league!

PS Thank you Ray for sorting out my computer problems!!! The mouse works, the Skype camera works, and more importantly, my photos card socket is responding! Todays photos are now up. Thanks again Ray!

7 April 2014
A terrific Mont Roup!

Radio Val announced a light re-freeze this morning but you never really know until you feel the snow before making any decisions. Chris and I headed out towards the Crete du Genepy and at the moment of truth, the moment when it’s play extra safe or go for it, we decided we had time and went for Mont Roup. The ski down past the Cabin was good and today’s ‘skin’ was much less gruelling (for me with my funny tummy) than yesterday as the walk up Mont Roup is northerly and much cooler than climbing up the Crete, which can be brutally hot. Anyway, we were rewarded with superb clean snow top-to-bottom and Philip’s brother Hugh, and his wife Penny who’ve never been to Val were well impressed with the snow, slope, and scenery. We spotted a beautiful Lamergeier soaring just above our heads, which added to a lovely ambience.

Chris reported some sort of slide across the path coming out of the Charvet sometime after we passed through, which was very early in the day for snow to be moving and shows the importance of a good re-freeze. I don’t think anyone was injured but the path out is no place to be sight-seeing or stopping for photos or a picnic, and moving through quickly is always important at this time of year.

We continued on with a great blast down the L and then skied a very nice Pays Desert. The snow was excellent and it was nice to show Hugh and Penny some more of the resort, as they’d spent the past two days in Tignes with Andreas. Philip and Tash have been trying to persuade them to come to Val d’Isere for years and I think the past three days have done the trick!

Andreas was skiing with Ewen and his son Aiden in Tignes and they skied the Glattier, the Sache and Toothy Rock for young Aidan’s first go off-piste. Bravo!

Tomorrow’s forecast is a bit iffy with a little sun and perhaps some rain, which sounds like no one is too sure, so we’ll wait and see what we have to deal with in the morning. Say tuned!

PS I’m still a little wobbly but thankfully stayed on my feet in the bus this morning, unlike yesterday when I was flopping around on the floor like a dying trout. I did manage to forget my camera however so any photos today will be on Facebook.

PSS Millie had a wonderful time today as her class spent the day with the Pisteurs. They were buried in snow holes for the avalanche dogs search and rescue training and they learnt how to use beeps, shovels and probes. It’s a fantastic day our for the school children and bravo to all the Pisteurs involved. Merci beaucoup!

PSSS Henry was in action today and skied with Andreas on the Tignes spring tour.

6 April 2014
No legs today!

I was still feeling pretty rough this morning and managed to fall over in the bus, which was a bit embarrassing and a great start to the day. We ‘skinned’ to the Crete du Genepy but I didn’t make it all the way up as it was boiling hot and my legs weren’t responding, but I traversed underneath to meet Gill, Penny, Derek, Paul and a lovely new French skier named Daphne. The re-freeze was minimal over night and we had excellent snow but it wasn’t too far off being ‘limit’. We finished up the morning with some great piste skiing and a not-so-good run in the Borsat Nord. It is no longer winter snow that can be skied anytime of day and after yesterday’s heat (while I was sleeping in bed) in now needs to be skied around 3PM, which doesn’t do us early-birds much good!

Andreas went off to ski the Couloir 3500 with Philip, Tash and their friends, but I haven’t had a report from him.

Johnny Alpine has invited me to watch the Hammers v Liverpool match so I’m about to head up to his place. If the Hammers were guaranteed to be safe I wouldn’t be too disappointed if Liverpool won as I’d like to see them win the title, but of course a win wouldn’t be turned down!

5 April 2014
Hit by the gastro!

I had an unexpected day off due to the gastro so nothing to report. Andreas was the only one skiing in a dense fog, which made for tough going but he made the most of it with a run in the Glattier, one on the Wall, and one in the Combe de Leisse in sunshine on the Motte. Well done Andreas, and at least it sounds like I chose a good day to miss!

Hopefully I’ll be feeling better tomorrow. Stay tuned!

4 April 2014
What a buzz!

What a day! I must say that I’m really enjoying my skiing at the moment and have just finished another terrific week. This week the team consisted of new clients Anthony and his son Charlie, Trevor and his son Alex, we had Alex and Henry Nelson along for a morning, and Jeremy and his young nephew Charlie this morning and Jean Pascal. We’ve had lots of new faces coming into Alpine this season along with our faithful regulars, and we’re all feeling pretty good about life at the moment.

Anyway, I was trying to chose between the Crete du Genepy and Mont Roup this morning and at the last moment Mont Roup won out, and we ended up skiing a couloir that I’ve been eye-balling for years, and today conditions were just right to give it a go. With a little cloud cover the normal slopes that we ski way out skiers-left were still firm, so I could turn a little more easterly, which brought the couloir into play. Normally it would be too soft to ski and wouldn’t be an option but today it was just right to have a go. It was fairly nerve wracking as it’s very steep and impressive at the top, and a long way to the bottom, and to say it was atmospheric would be an understatement. I needed everyone to behave and apply themselves, and the entire team skied really well and did me proud. Bravo and merci everyone! Chris and I have never seen tracks there before (although I’m sure someone has skied it before) so for ‘Alpine’ purposes I’m going to call it Couloir Wayno. (It’s corny but I’ve always liked the ring of Couloir Lorenzo.)

Chris also skied Mont Roup this morning with his team, who’ve had a fantastic week with excellent variation. Well done Chris! Andreas finished a lovely week with the Nelson family and today they skied the Cocaine, Glattier, and Sachette before have a great lunch in Les Brevieres. Andreas then skied with the Henry and Alex this afternoon and they had a brilliant time on La Petite Balme and the ‘Wall’. Nice on boys!

And this afternoon Tim and I capped off five great afternoons with a fabulous Col Pers featuring no one else about, excellent snow, light snow with sunshine filtering through, and a trip down the ‘funky’ route to exit. This is Tim’s third year in a row skiing off-piste in the afternoons with me, and this week has been our best yet. See you next year Tim!

Something may fall out of the sky tonight but if it doesn’t a decent freeze and some sun will do.

3 April 2014
One of the season's toughest days!

It wasn’t the easiest of days as an extremely punchy foehn wind was blowing and it was grey all day long. Even with temperatures of +7C in the village this morning, the pistes remained bone-hard all day long (except the very bottom of the mountain) and the sun never had a chance to soften any spring snow. Doesn’t sound very inspiring does it? Still, we had a pretty decent morning and Chris and I opened with the Borsat Nord from the top, which was still firm winter snow with a good grip, and we then skied the Sachette, which was winter snow followed by firm but clean spring snow. I ended up skiing the couloir as young Charlie dropped his pole down it and the team enjoyed the ambience. We also managed to retrieve Anthony’s helmet that he dropped and had slide away a few days back, so it was a pretty useful outing in the end. I’m not too sure what the rest of the boys skied but it was one of the tougher days of the season.

Tim and I didn’t have a massive ski like yesterday afternoon but we did ski the Borsat Nord from the top as well as the big face of the Balme. Good work Tim!

It blew all day and a few flakes appeared this afternoon, but it doesn’t look like we’ll receive much snow. It may snow a little more towards the Fornet and it would be nice to profit from this cloudy weather, but we can only hope. Stay tuned!

2 April 2014
What a cracking good day that was!

I was debating with myself (always dangerous) this morning between the Glacier Pers and Mont Roup and the early morning sunshine swayed me towards the spring snow option. But as soon as we came around the Borsat traverse and were committed the sky started to rapidly cloud over and by the time we arrived on the summit of Mont Roup the sun was blotted out of the sky. (sounds like a line from an old Stones tune) Fortunately the cloud cover working with the sun caused an ‘oven’ affect and the snow had softened to perfection without direct sunlight. What a result! It was excellent skiing top-to-bottom and Thomas was just behind us showing his Dad, who’s an excellent skier, just what he gets up to on a daily basis. We finished off with some cracking good piste skiing on La Daille, which was immaculate!

Chris meanwhile had ‘skinned’ to the Barmes des l’Ours and beyond with his team and they had a great morning. Chris has the bit between the teeth at the morning and is taking no prisoners! Andreas had good skiing out under the Crete du Genepy with Lyndsay and Philip, well done Lyndsay, before a nice lunch and a ski with Alex and Henry at the Fornet this afternoon, and Henry had a terrific morning in the almost-always-faithful Sachette. Bravo boys!

It miraculously cleared up this afternoon and Tim and I profited with a big ski, skiing the Borsat Nord from the top, then spring snow under the Fresse, followed by the Campanules, then two adventurous runs down the ‘Wall’ off the Motte before heading home. Well done Tim!

Thanks Russell for taking Millie and Katie skiing this morning, they loved it!

Tomorrow’s forecast isn’t great but we should see something falling out of the sky, which is good news. Stay tuned!

1 April 2014
A terrific morning despite the odd complication!

I had problems with the internet yesterday, which caused havoc with my family as they’re all addicted, and I couldn’t post an update. Thanks Chris for posting some news! Derek’s 50th was the big news yesterday and Thomas did a superb job entertaining him. Well done boys! I missed the internet most last night went I went to bed not knowing how the Hammers were faring against Sunderland. Like a sad git I went to bed in my Hammers shirt hoping for the best and didn’t have a clue about the result until David Mac filled me in at the Gourmandine. Wow, I can’t tell you what a great start my day that was!

Anyway, on to today’s skiing. I needed my upbeat start because when we arrived to put our ‘skins’ on for the Crete du Genepy one of my team had forgotten their ‘skins’ throwing my plans into disarray. We continued on and skied spring snow down to Mont Roup and the rest of us climbed up to ski the northern slope on Mont Roup while our ‘skinless’ skier waited at the bottom. The problem was we walked up in a nasty crust and I had to keep the faith about getting north enough for it to turn back to powder, because if it didn’t we were in for a tough time. After taking off our ‘skins’ I started to traverse around praying I could get north enough and when my feet arrived in beautiful soft powder I was almost as elated as when Mac reported the Hammers score! We had an excellent steep line through the rocks giving us ambience and great snow, and a relieved me! We continued on down on the spring-side and finished a really good ‘Plan B’ with the Spatule.

Meanwhile Henry kept going and skied the classic Mont Roup in fantastic spring snow, Andreas had a great outing on the Barmes de l’Ours in powder with Henry and Alex, Chris had a brilliant time in St Foy where he did a double ‘skin’ to get clean snow, and Thomas had a wonderful day skiing with his Dad! Just about perfect really! (Chris had some complications as well has he need to duck-tape a boot together and sort out some bindings!)

I’ve been skiing with Tim and Gill in the afternoons and we had a lovely ‘skin’ into the Pays Desert yesterday and today I took Tim over the Col Pers for his first time. We ended up in the Vallonnet and Tim was suitably impressed with the scenery and terrain.

The weather has been better than expected the past few days but tomorrow’s is for more cloud cover in the morning than the previous days, so fingers crossed we get lucky and have enough sunshine to soften the spring slopes and to light the way. Stay tuned!

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