Wayne's Daily Diary Archive

20 June 2007

28 February 2015
Sunshine after a foggy start!

Last night’s forecast was for clear blue skies this morning and when awakening to grey skies and fog I must admit to a bout of temporary depression. After spending one-and-a-half hours in a white-out yesterday I was desperate for an easy morning and there wasn’t a happier man in the Savoie than me when we broke into beautiful sunshine and it was evident that we could stay in the sun at altitude. Jean and I had the pleasure of a lovely ladies team with Patrycja, Michele (who I haven’t skied with since my Top Ski days) and new-comer Jenny. (see photos) We enjoyed a maximum-turn morning with a short 15-minute ‘skin’ and warmed-up off the Verte before skiing the Borsat Nord from the top. Then it was Wayne’s Shoulder twice, the Rosolin with a short ‘skin’ before continuing across the Glacier, then off the Genepy and a Familial to finish. Jenny, who is fairly new to off-piste, skied brilliantly and made good progress during the morning. After 23-years it was great to have Michele along again and the last time we skied together we skied the proper Gros Caval from the Glacier Pers, which isn’t possible anymore.

I was so thankful for a sunny day today but it looks as if we’re in for cloudy weather and snow for the next few days. Skiing in flat-light and snow we can deal with but fingers crossed that we don’t have any more fog for awhile!

Unfortunately the Hammers are down 1-nil at half-time, come on boys!

PS It turned out to be a bad day for the Hammers but my lovely niece Rosie passed her driving test today. Bravo Rosie! And check Facebook for a posting from Japan.

27 February 2015
Great skiing into a white-out!

After an absolutely magnificent day of sunshine and powder yesterday we were plunged into a white-out this morning. Andreas and I headed to the Glacier Pers and up until around 11:30 it was all looking pretty good with just enough visibility and beautiful snow. We ‘skinned’ up with a lovely ambience and the skiing down was brilliant until suddenly the fog rose and we were stuck in it for the rest of the morning, just trying to safely negotiate our way home. It was a cracking good adventure with some excellent skiing, and we certainly made the most of the morning. (See photos) Chris was thinking about the Sache and I hope he didn’t get caught out in similar conditions.

Hopefully we’ll get 10 to 20cm’s before the morning when much brighter skies are forecast, which will make life a lot easier than today! Stay tuned.

26 February 2015
An absolutely stunning Crete and Mont Roup!

Andreas and I certainly wanted some peace and quiet after yesterday’s excursion to the metropolis of Tignes, and we both took our groups for a walk. I did the ‘double-skin’ of the mini-Crete du Genepy followed by Mont Roup, and both were exceptional from top-to-bottom. (See photos) I’ve rarely had both so good back-to-back on the same day and it made for a stunning ski, and being alone added to the pleasure. Andreas and Henry both ‘skinned’ to the Col des Fours and they were rewarded with a fantastic descent. I saw Elizabeth in the shop this afternoon and she said, “That was epic, but my legs are jelly!” Meanwhile, Thomas was starting in Tignes with his group while Chris, who is skiing with a team from Hong Kong, took them for a scenic Col Pers. Bravo all round boys!

A little light snow is forecast for this evening and we’ll wait and see what tomorrow brings. Stay tuned!

Sports Report- The English teams aren’t looking too well in Europe, are they? Hopefully the Europa teams will do better!

25 February 2015
Clear skies and high quality!

Yesterday Andreas, Thomas and I had a fabulous ski in Tignes and the quality of the snow drove us all back that way again this morning. Although there were strong northerly winds yesterday afternoon and during the night the snow stood up to the wind and for the most part remained excellent. We all had superb mornings again skiing off the Verte, then the Borsat Nord from the top, next up for Andreas and Thomas was the Chardonnet while I worked my way over to open up our little Col in the Sache, (Andreas and Thomas came that way later), then we all finished up with the Familial. Again it was stunning snow and a cracking good morning! Chris and Henry were also in action today and I’ve no clue what Chris skied and the last I heard Henry was heading towards TJ’s Shoulder in the Tour du Charvet, which I’m sure was a good call.

The only drawback today was the unexpected crowds in Tignes. Yesterday Andreas, Thomas and I skied in total solitude. Beside ourselves we didn’t see another skier off-piste, but today with the sun shining it was bedlam. After a calm Borsat we arrived to a big queue at the Tichot, then another at the Grattalu, and there were so many skiers and boarders hiking up into the Chardonnet I turned around and headed to open the Sache Col instead. Still, we remained patient, but only just, and managed a brilliant morning.

I had some new French clients this morning (see photos) who have had apartments here for 40 and 21 years. It was a pleasure to have them along and we look forward to seeing them again soon.

Blue skies are forecast for tomorrow (so don’t forget your ‘skins’) followed by more snow on Friday. Perfect!

24 February 2015
Simply outstanding!

It snowed overnight but none of us expected what was in store for us. Andreas, Thomas and I all headed to Tignes and had one of the best days of the season. The snow was deep and of superb quality, and there isn’t too much more to say! We warmed-up off the Verte before skiing the Borsat Nord from the top. Next up was the Combes des Lanches and then Andreas and Thomas headed to the Chardonnet while I skied off the Motte before finishing with a Funky Familial. Between us we opened up the Borsat, the Combes des Lanches, the Chardonnet and the Funky Familial, and it was an extraordinary morning of wonderful snow in flat-light where it was necessary to trust yourself and use your experience while ‘feeling’ your way down the slope. It was all hugely satisfying and this morning will definitely take some beating! (See photos)

Better visibility is forecast for the morning and I’m already looking forward to it! Perhaps I’d better get my Air-Bag out of storage! Stay tuned.

23 February 2015
Another lovely morning at the Fornet!

I awoke around 5AM to a clear sky and shining stars, but by show-time the skies were overcast and we were looking at a flat-light day. Andreas, Thomas and I all headed towards the Fornet as it was so good yesterday and a little brighter towards the border, and we were rewarded with some fantastic skiing. The light was flat in the Pays Desert so I headed over the Col and ‘skinned’ for 15-minutes to the Lechoir, where the snow was trackless with a beautiful quality and we had the added bonus of being totally alone. (See photos) We skied down as far possible before cutting out and the vis was pretty good for a grey day, which was greatly appreciated. Meanwhile Andreas and Thomas had great skiing in the Col Pers before heading back up to ski the Pays Desert while Chris had the day off.

The girls are back at school after a superb half-term. The first week they skied with their Club des Sport teams in beautiful sunshine, with Katie picking up two Silver Medals in her races (Millie’s group was boarding!), and the second week they had their cousins here for a fantastic week of skiing, lunching, off-piste skiing, après –ski, dining out, and the odd session in a bar. It really was brilliant fun!

At 2:40PM it’s snowing huge flakes and the forecast is for on-and-off snow for the next few days. Bring it on and let’s hope the wind doesn’t spoil the snowfall!

22 February 2015
Millie skiing in Daddy's group for the first time!

We finally received a little snow, which made a massive difference and we enjoyed a stunning day with a mix of in-and-out light lower down and clear blue skies at altitude. Katie was down in Les Arcs for a Club des Sport race so I decided to take the opportunity and bring Millie along with my group this morning for the first time. We headed up to the Fornet for some fabulous skiing and Millie didn’t let the side down, in fact she skied like a seasoned pro, much to her Mum’s delight. (And mine too for that matter!) Jean R and Chrissy were also along and we started off with some great snow off the Laisinant Express (See photos), followed by an excellent run from the top of the Combe du Signal. We then had a run in the Pays Desert but it was evident that the deepest snow was lower down so we dove over the Col Pers just behind Chris for a terrific ski, and with the bonus of powder from the Grand Torsai to the bottom. Chrissy and I then went up to finish off a great morning in the Grand Vallon, where we managed to find clean snow all the way. It was a real treat for Gill and I to have Millie along, and she absolutely loved it!

Meanwhile, Chris and Suzanne were skiing with a new client Gary, who was skiing on a pair of slalom skis that measured 73mm’s under the foot. Bravo Gary, you’re my kind of guy! By the look of Chris’ team’s tracks Gary wasn’t having any problems on his skinny skis.

West Ham gave up an equaliser with the last kick of the game in the 97th minute away to Tottenham, but as Millie said, “At least they didn’t lose!” I was gutted but would have gladly taken a point before kick-off.

I’ll report again later when I hear about how Katie’s team did down the valley. Stay tuned!

21 February 2015
John and Jean!

We were hoping for a few centimetres of snow overnight but it didn’t happen and instead we had grey skies and a punchy foehn wind. Our options were limited and we (Chris, Andreas and I) all headed towards the shelter of the Sachette where we were protected from the wind and treated to jolly good skiing. (See photos) We also had some decent visibility, which made for a much more enjoyable ski. I’d almost forgotten the wind was blowing until we exited the bubble from Les Boisses and from there on it was rather chilly and getting home became a desired option.

If it had of snowed 5 to 10 cm’s last night I was planning on bringing Millie along but without new snow ‘skinning’ was a must and Millie doesn’t yet have the gear. She so enjoyed her Col Pers the other day that she is now keen on the off-piste, which is music to my ears!

In case you didn’t know Franck Defour sadly died of cancer last week. Franck was a great skier and was a former member of the French Mogul Team, and was a member of Top Ski for 20 years before joining I-Ski. He was a wonderful man and a much loved character who will be sorely missed by everyone who knew him. Franck also played bass in a band and played his last gig a week before he died. Photos of Franck can be found on the I-Ski Facebook Page.

It’s forecast to snow but we’re still waiting. Fingers crossed and stay tuned!

20 February 2015
Another good morning while awaiting a fresh canvas!

After working the boys fairly hard this week we had an easier morning with two short 15-minute ‘skins’, but we did manage to ski lovely snow all morning long. We started off with some great snow while waiting for the Borsat to open, followed by the Rosolin and across the glacier, the Little Borsat West, the Fresse bowl, and the Familial. (See photos) It was Stephen, Tony, Adam P, Adam F and Tom’s last morning of a terrific week and I look forward to seeing you all again the same time next year!

Meanwhile Chris was heading towards the Sachette and Andreas was skiing the steep and couloirs this morning. Doug gave Andreas a little fright when he fell when skiing out of the mouth of a couloir, but Doug managed the ‘self-arrest’ and stopped himself pretty quickly. Well done Doug! I’m not too sure what Thomas was skiing but he had a tough day yesterday when he needed to have a client rescued from Mont Roup with a knee problem. We’ve all had it happen and it’s horrible when someone gets injured, but Thomas did a great job getting the injured person to a safe and easy place for the Pisteurs. Well done Thomas! Thomas didn’t have any phone reception and needed the good old reliable Security Vanoise on our team radios to get in touch with the piste service. (It just shows that the ‘do-it-yourself’ off-piste skiers can’t count on mobiles in case of emergencies.)

The weather is changing and with any luck we’ll have a few centimetres to play with in the morning as we’re expecting a flat-light type of day. Stay tuned!

19 February 2015
Millie and Katie's first Col Pers!

Blimey, what an absolutely stunning day that was! Chris and my teams had a wonderful morning in the Glaciers Pers with lovely snow top-to-bottom, great ambience and the added bonus of no one else in the neighbourhood. Then it was a picnic on the Col with friends and family before taking Millie, Katie, Viv, Rosie and the girls step-cousins Tim and Sam, along with my assistant Wils over the Col Pers. Besides Wils, it was everyone’s first time over the Col and it was Rosie, Viv, Tim and Sam’s first- ever off-piste period! They all did amazingly well and were leaving ‘Alpine’ tracks by the end of the second pitch, and I was really proud of all of them. (See photos) It was a special occasion taking them all over the Col for the first time and I received a nice smile from a Pisteur who wasn’t expecting to see such small children coming out at the bottom!

This morning Andreas had a brilliant ski in the Col Des Fours, which has been excellent so far this season. Bravo to Andreas and his team who were deservedly rewarded for their efforts! Thomas has been doing some great skiing as well although his team don’t have ‘skins’ so Thomas has been working hard finding good snow without the help of a little walk or two. Well done Thomas!

We’ve another day of sunshine to enjoy tomorrow before some snow is forecast over the weekend and into next week. After such a stunning week of weather combined with the busiest week of the season, snow is exactly what we need. Stay tuned!

18 February 2015
What a brilliant day!

After yesterday’s ‘powder frenzy’ we needed to get our ‘skins’ out, not only to find fresh trackless snow but also to get away from the people. Chris skied the mini-Crete du Genepy followed by Mont Roup, while I skied towards the Cabin en-route to Mont Roup and Andreas went directly to Mont Roup followed by the Vallonnet and we all had a fantastic morning. The scenery was beautiful; the snow was fantastic and best of all it was tranquil, especially compared to yesterday. Thomas and Henry also had great skiing but I’m not sure about their itineraries.

Andreas was skiing with the seven youngsters again this afternoon while I entertained Pam, Gary, Sandy and Grant in-and-around the Jardin du Borsat, where the snow is extremely good. The parents and the children had a brilliant time and we look forward to skiing with them all again soon. Chris had an excellent afternoon with Mia, who loves to ski fast and gave Chris a run for his money!

More sun is forecast for tomorrow and as far as I can tell all the holiday-makers are extremely satisfied, and why not with stunning sunshine and great snow? Stay tuned for more news tomorrow!

PS I forgot to mention the stirring comeback from Adam F this morning. Yesterday he was feeling sorry for himself but today he skied much better and thoroughly deserved a ‘skier of the morning’ award. Bravo Adam!

18 February 2015
A cracking Mont Roup!

Photos are up, report to follow.

17 February 2015
Wonderful skiing at the Fornet!

During yesterday’s attempt at the Fornet we learned enough to head straight back up there this morning with the sunshine, and boy what a morning! Andreas and I were first into the 3300 after a little warm-up off the Signal, and it was slightly compacted but excellent none-the-less. Then it was into the Pays Desert behind Chris where the snow must have been between 60 and 80cm’s at the top, but it skied better the lower down where it was steeper and not so deep. Next up was a trip over the Col Pers where the snow was a little more protected and quite outstanding. The only drawback was how many people showed up and after a calm beginning to the morning we needed to ignore the ‘powder frenzy’ as best we could.

Thanks to Pat Z who helped located a ski that was lost by Ruth in Chris’ group. Lots of people skied straight passed her but Pat stopped and found her ski almost immediately. Pat is true professional and gentleman on the mountain, and Chris was grateful for the help.

It was great to have my nephew Wils along again this morning, along with Adam, his son Tom, Stephen S, Adam P, Tony and Jeremy and they make quite a team! I also had a lovely afternoon skiing with Debs and Greg and their daughters Eliza and Zara. They did really well and it was nice to see them again.

Sun is in the forecast until the weekend so we’ll be ‘skinning’ for the next few days as the resort was hit hard today as it’s the busiest week of the season. It’s amazing how many more people turn up when the sun is out!

16 February 2015
A good accumulation but undone by a technical hitch!

Although the skies were brighter towards Tignes we all opted to head into the gloom at the Fornet in search of 20 to 30cm’s of fresh snow on the Pissaillas. We guessed right about the new snow but unfortunately the Cascade chairlift had technical problems and didn’t open, but we did have some great skiing in the Combe du Signal and Grand Vallon before circling back to finish the morning off the Borsat and Familial.

This afternoon Andreas had seven young teens for ‘bumps and jumps’ and they had a wonderful time while I occupied three of the parents. I couldn’t help myself and we ended up off-piste most of the afternoon and we’ve decided to equip the children with beeps for a little ‘taster’ Wednesday afternoon. It should be fun!

The Fornet remain overcast all day, which is great news and a brighter day is forecast for tomorrow. Stay tuned!

15 February 2015
Great snow and unexpected blue skies!

I didn’t think that we received any snow last night so I was ecstatic to awake to clear blue skies, which meant we were in with a chance. It was surprising however to see that more snow had arrived than anticipated, filling in little gullies and shoulders. It was tempting to change my mind and head to Tignes, but at the last minute I decided to stay with Plan A and ski the Crete du Genepy, which was wonderful. (See photos) All the tracks had filled in and the snow was excellent top-to-bottom and with no one else around it was lovely ambience as well. (My nephew Wils came along and it’s always a pleasure to take him powder skiing, and it was his first time towards the Crete.)

Meanwhile, Andreas and Thomas were back in action with Andreas skiing the Chardonnet and the couloir in the Sachette, while Thomas was on telemarks this morning. It was a stunning morning and all the teams had great skiing and with a little ‘sniffing’ the little snow that did fall made a huge difference. Well done boys!

It was a day of two halves and by the time I went back out this afternoon to ski with Adam and his son Tom it was totally grey with wind and a few flakes floating about. The most optimistic forecast is still calling for some snow tonight so we do have a chance. If it doesn’t snow another sunny day would do!

Millie and Katie are having a fantastic time with their cousins and besides skiing all day it’s a great social with lunches and après-ski. Not bad for 11 and 9-years –of-age! Stay tuned for more news tomorrow.

14 February 2015
Please let it snow!

Unfortunately no new snow fell overnight so we didn’t have any relief, but we did have a ‘light-bulb’ hanging above of that gave us good vis for a flat-light day. It was the last day for many so Chris and I headed to the Sachette to round out everyone’s week with a different sector and the snow was pretty jolly good. (Mind you the traverse was dreadful, but what else is new!) I skied with Tony G for the first time in 25-years and it was great to have him along and so long to Stephen, Bernard and John who had a wonderful week.

I had an e-mail from a gentleman who thought I had a bad attitude for my ‘get off my mountain’ comment yesterday. He mustn’t be a regular reader of the diary or he wouldn’t have taken that comment seriously. Of course it’s not ‘my mountain’ although I spend a lot more time on it than most, but it does bother me when people show a lack of respect, such as track abuse, reckless and dangerous skiing on the piste, men not covering up their yellow patches with fresh snow after they’ve taken a pee, and people ruining ‘skinning’ tracks. I could go on but I’ll spare you from one of my rants!

Hopefully we’ll get some snow tonight because we are now in need of a fresh canvas. The skies are overcast and a few flakes are floating about but it doesn’t really feel like it’s going to happen.

There won’t be a sports report as a 4-nil defeat isn’t worth writing about. Stay tuned!

13 February 2015
A beautiful morning with great skiing!

The forecast was for clouds moving in as the morning progressed and at 9:30 the sky was darkening rapidly and I was thinking that we’d already seen the best of the day, but suddenly the sky brightened and we all enjoyed a beautifully sunny morning. We made the most of it with Andreas skiing the Crete du Genepy in excellent conditions before circling back to ski the Col Pers, where he needed to ‘sniff’ out the best of what’s left. Meanwhile Chris and I skied a lovely Pays Desert before ‘skinning’ back out, followed by an equally good Tour du Lechoir, which caused us both to be late getting down.

I was a little annoyed by some boarders ruining the ‘skinning’ track. If they’re going to ski off-piste they should be equipped with rackets so that they can make their own track. (Sometimes it’s unequipped skiers as well) Once holes have been punched into the ‘skinning’ track it becomes very uncomfortable as well as horrible to look at, and making a new track isn’t always an option. I wish these unequipped boarders and skiers would f-off and get off my mountain!

Katie and her friend Anna talked their coach into taking them down the Piste Perdue, which I told them would be horrible, and sure enough it was worse than horrible! They had a great time but apparently it was pretty scary and quite dangerous in one spot, and they were all happy to get down in one piece. (Millie’s group also ended up in the lost valley.)

The girls cousins Wils and Rosie, along with Viv, Cliff, Sam and Tim, are arriving this afternoon for a week’s holiday. The girls have just has a fantastic week with the Club des Sport and now they have their cousins to play with next week. What a perfect half-term holiday for them!

Snow is forecast tonight but no one is very optimistic about receiving a decent amount. Ten to thirty has been mentioned but we may only get ten centimetres over a three day period. Here’s hoping for a retour de l’est!

12 February 2015
Blimey Katie!

I thought I’d mix it up a little today and decided to ski around the Motte. We had a cracking warm-up in fantastic snow while waiting for the Borsat to open (see photos), then skied a decent Lower Borsat into Val Claret. Next up was the Rosolin, which got better and better the lower we skied and the ‘skin’ out is always stunning with the Motte and Grande Casse in the background, and we then skied some nice bonus turns across the glacier. Then it was on to my shoulder, which was chalky and good skiing, en-route to the Little Borsat West, which needed some ‘sniffing’ to get the best out of it. We finished off playing around and finding some great snow in the Upper Familial before skiing the Alti-port.

Meanwhile, Chris and Andreas ‘skinned’ to the Glacier Pers and had a lovely outing with good snow and outstanding scenery, while Thomas skied the Crete du Genepy and Mont Roup. Henry was also in action today and did a nice little tour in the Pays Desert in excellent snow.

Sports Report-It was a fantastic point for the Hammers away to Southampton last night as they played the last 35 minutes with ten-men and then finished the game with nine-and-a-half men as Andy Carroll was injured and just hobbled about trying to be a nuisance. Well done boys! I must admit to being a little embarrassed by not knowing that the Alpine Skiing World Championships have been on for the last week or so in Beaver Creek. And I call myself a Sports Journalist!

More sun is forecast for tomorrow before a much needed snowfall on Saturday. Fingers crossed!

PS Late Breaking News- Gill and I went to watch Katie’s Chamois Race this afternoon and she’s done it again, winning herself another Silver Medal. The first was in a GS a couple of days ago and today’s race was a Slalom. She’s so pleased with herself and Gill and I are really proud of her. Bravo Katie!

11 February 2015
Technical breakdown!

The sun continues to shine and the heat is now affecting the snow and with it our options diminish with each passing day. (Not to mention the increasing track damage as well.) I went for a change of scenery this morning and headed up to the Fornet and skied the Pays Desert. The upper section is a real mess with winded snow and it was a matter of using anything that worked to get us down to where the snow improved and we could really start skiing. Once past the difficult section the snow was excellent and we accessed the lower slopes with a ten minute ‘skin’. (see photos) Guy and his lovely wife Nicole came along and it was Nicole’s first-ever off-piste experience, and she did extremely well making enormous progress throughout the morning. Bravo Nicole! Unfortunately the Cascade chairlift developed technical problems and we couldn’t continue on and ski the Col Pers, which is always a scenic crowd pleaser, especially when it would have been their first time. Anyway, I did my best to finish off the morning and ‘sniff’ out what we could, and it didn’t turn out too bad.

Andreas skied the mini-Crete and Mont Roup and had a lovely ski, with Henry skiing around the Crete as well. Meanwhile Thomas headed to Tignes with his client Olivier and had a cracking good morning skiing P3.

Extremely warm temperatures and sunshine are forecast for the next couple of days with snow expected on Saturday. Sounds pretty good to me!

10 February 2015
Bravo Katie!

Chris and I decided on a mini-Crete du Genepy en route to Mont Roup today and the mini-Crete was excellent and a real bonus. The snow was beautiful as we worked our way down before putting on our ‘skins’ for Mont Roup. Mont Roup itself was very good as well, especially the lower section beside the gorge, but I was surprised at how much the snow higher up had warmed up, making choice of exposition imperative. It was a terrific outing and thoroughly enjoyed by all.

It was quite amazing the signs of avalanche activity today and it’s been a long time since we’ve witnessed so much dropping off on every exposition. Some of the purging happened last week, such as above the Borsat traverse and the upper slopes of the Crete du Genepy but much of it has occurred during the past couple of days, especially around the Col de la Balme de L’Ours and the entire width of the lower slopes on the Lores. Plaques have popped out of the Arcelle and Cugnai and in general the big slopes are still dodgy, just as they have been all winter long, but people continue to attack the big slopes as if the mountain is stable. And at around 12:30 some skiers set off a huge plaque in a notoriously dangerous zone from the summit in the Col des Fours. (Notice the signs of activity in the various photos today)

Andreas did have a fantastic ski in the Col des Fours today but he stuck to the gentler slopes and well away from the danger. They even skied in some tracked snow on one pitch and weren’t enticed towards the untracked snow, which is always tempting. Well done Andreas! Henry had a lovely morning as well and as far as I know he skied towards the Sachette, while Thomas was off this morning.

I had a technique lesson this afternoon with none other than John Yates-Smith, his girlfriend Lizzie and Quentin. It was great to have John along and hopefully we can turn him from a mogul-masher into a ‘powder-hound’! Come on John!

And my best news of the day is Katie getting her Fleche d’Argent in the Club des Sport race this morning. It was a fantastic achievement as she is very light and doesn’t glide as well as some of the bigger children, and she was really proud of herself and very surprised. Bravo Katie!

And Happy Belated Birthday Nana. Whoops!

9 February 2015
Wind touched but deep and great skiing!

The wind towards the Fornet died down significantly and Chris and I headed up that way this morning. The T-bar had been closed yesterday so we had a clean canvas in the Pays Desert, but it wasn’t good everywhere and needed some ‘sniffing’ to make the most of it. Even though the snow has been touched by the wind I was surprised how deep it still is and how well it skis. (see photos) It was a cracking good morning and my team was exhausted by the end of the session.

Andreas and Thomas were back in action after a ‘family day’ yesterday and they had a great morning skiing the Borsat, Chardonnet and Sachette. Henry was also skiing today and I think he skied similar to the boys but I’m not too sure.

Sports Report- I must say I would have taken a point before kick-off yesterday but to have United equalise in the 93rd minute was cruel. Still, it was a proud performance by the Hammers, and a great job by Big Sam giggling the team due to injuries. And what’s happened to City? It seems the only team intent on winning the title is Chelsea and everyone else is doing their best to make it easy for them, but the race for 2nd, 3rd and 4th should be exciting.

Sun, sun and sun is in the forecast so don’t forget your ‘skins’! (Like I did this morning) Stay tuned!

8 February 2015
An excellent Sachette!

The sun was out in full force this morning and Chris and I had planned on a trip to the Fornet, but there were signs of strong winds (see photos) and Radio Val had announced 50 to 80kph of northerly wind so we changed our minds and headed to the Sachette instead. We warmed up off the Verte then I skied the Lower Borsat while Chris went in from the top and the snow was excellent. We then headed to my first Sachette of the season and it was wonderful to be out there again. The scenery was stunning and the snow was beautiful as well.

Chris had Roddy Finlay and his family and it’s great to see them back. Little Callum is now huge and it reminds you of how time flies! Matthew S is also back in town and I skied with John, Margaret, Jean, Richard H and Lizzy this morning. It was Lizzy’s first off-piste session and she made great progress during the morning and was admiring her tracks by the end. Bravo Lizzy! And well done Richard, who has skied himself back into fitness and is thoroughly enjoying being off-piste again.

West Ham play Man U this afternoon and I just might sneak out to watch some of it. Come on boys, top off a brilliant day with a point or three!

7 February 2015
Well done Richard!

When Gill and I walked home from TJ’s last supper last evening (thanks Laura) the wind was howling through the street and sure enough the wind did some damage during the night. It wasn’t as sunny as expected this morning but the vis was still much better than what we’ve been dealing with these past few days and everyone was raring to go at the Gourmandine. We decided on a change of scenery while giving the Fornet a chance to open and started with our first Tour du Charvet of the season. The snow had been ‘touched’ during the night and needed a positive approach but it was still good skiing and great to be out in that wonderful scenery again. Next up was the Arcelle, which was much better and we then worked our way to the Fornet, where the Combe du Signal was deep and by far the best snow on the mountain, followed by a very good Combe du 3300 on the Glacier. Chris, Andreas, Thomas and Henry were all in the same neighbourhood and a great morning was enjoyed by all.

It was great to have Richard H along today as we haven’t really skied off-piste together for years, as well as John, Margaret, Jean and newcomers Julia and Kirsten. Everyone did extremely well as it wasn’t the easiest morning but we did visit some stunning places and it was a cracking good outing.

Sunshine is expected tomorrow and with a cold night some of the trickier snow should improve, so we will be looking for another excellent ski. Stay tuned and come on you Gunners! (My second team)

6 February 2015
Truly outstanding!

An unexpected 20cm’s of beautiful snow fell overnight in the village, with much more towards the Fornet, but unfortunately the resort was incredibly slow in opening and we all played a guessing game as to what would open first. We finally got going around 9:40 and all was forgiven pretty quickly as we had one of the best ‘maximum-turn’ sessions of the season. The quality was excellent and for the most part we were out of the wind and enjoying good visibility. Andreas and I skied together and started off first into the Fontaine Froide, followed by a play off the Verte, then under the Mont Blanc chair, a funky Familial, off the Verte again, then the Lower Borsat and meadows into Val Claret, (Andreas then headed home via the Familial as Ian had a plane to catch), then a Combe des Lanches, a Campanules and then another funky Familial to finish. Wow, it was really quite outstanding morning of non-stop skiing!

Meanwhile Chris headed up Solaise for a superb opener, saying he’s never skied a better Solaise. He then skied around the Laisinant and I’m not too sure where Thomas and Henry ended up. It was TJ’s last day and he finished off in grand style with his Belgian team. TJ has had a fantastic three weeks but it’s time for him to head home to Scotland.

At 3:30PM the skies are clearing towards Tignes but it’s still socked-in at the Fornet and probably still snowing, but sun is forecast for the next week. Stay tuned!

5 February 2015
Hard work but great skiing!

TJ’s time is running out as he leaves on Saturday so I thought I’d keep him company today, and we had a fantastic morning skiing a mini-Crete du Genepy followed by Mont Roup. We worked hard for our turns but the snow was excellent and we had beautiful and atmospheric light all morning. (see photos) Unfortunately when we arrived in the Manchet Valley the Manchet Chair was closed so we needed to push out against the wind, but that didn’t dampen the feeling of accomplishment!

The rest of the boys headed towards Tignes with Andreas skiing the Chardonnet and Sache with Ian and Tansy, while Thomas skied the Sache, and I’m not too sure where Chris and Henry ended up. The light was better than expected and everyone had a cracking good morning with great vis (for a grey day) and lovely snow.

I finished my community service with the school children today and it was a pleasure to ski with them as they laughed and sang all afternoon. I should explain ‘community service’. It’s because we have a choice of various activities to help the commune and in return we get our ski passes for free. It’s not because I’ve been done for drinking-and-driving or being drunk and disorderly. Just in case you were wondering!

It snowed all day towards the Fornet and it’s snowing lightly in town at 4:50PM so if the wind doesn’t become a factor we should have another brilliant ski tomorrow.

PS Suzanne reports a big day for herself, Chris and Tejina as they skied the Chardonnet, Sache, five circuits on the Tourne and no lunch! Blimey, hard core!

4 February 2015
Much better than expected visibility!

We had a bonus day of decent light and at times sunshine this morning, which wasn’t expected and really helped to make the morning. I was 50/50 between the Pays Desert and Lechoir and at the last moment dove over the Col Pers with TJ and Chris and after a short ‘skin’ skied the Lechoir. It was very atmospheric with wonderful light and pretty good snow, but not as good as I was hoping. (With hindsight the Pays Desert would have been better) However, I was extremely pleased with how the Grand Torsai skied as it firmed up overnight with the wind and was fairly smooth with a lovely chalky texture. It hasn’t been that pleasant for quite some time and was much better than anticipated. (I then finished off with a really good Jardin du Borsat.) Meanwhile, TJ and Chris continued on from the Lechoir and ‘skinned’ to the Glaciers Pers while Andreas had an excellent morning in the Pays Desert. Thomas and Henry were also in action and as far as I know Thomas was heading to the Sache.

Millie and Katie are out this afternoon with Russell and Delores, which should be great fun for all those involved. (Gill and I weren’t invited) They were very excited and what a foursome!

Hopefully we’ll get some snow at the Fornet with this east wind and with any decent vis we should have another great day tomorrow.

PS Late news- Andreas managed to set off his air-bag in a resturant today, which is always entertaining and usually leads to someone spitting out their food with fright! And Russell had a bear break into his home in Lake Tahoe.

3 February 2015
Just like old times!

I was tempted to head back to the Fornet as it was so good yesterday, but at the last minute decided to ski the Sache with TJ. We had fun off the Verte and a really good Lower Borsat before I had one of my worst ‘splat du jour’s’ in years on the piste into Val Claret. I was skiing the edge of the piste where the wind had blown in a nice cushion of snow and because of the drifting snow I couldn’t see the rock-hard drift that I pranged into causing a park-and-fly of the highest quality. I landed on my shoulder, jaw, lips and nose and the force threw my extra beep out of my rucksack. Blimey! The bleeding stopped fairly quickly but I’d better start behaving as my luck isn’t going to last forever! Anyway, on to the Chardonnet, which was excellent top-to-bottom and deeper than expected. We then skied a few good turns on the edge of the Tourne en route to a cracking good Sache followed by bits-and-pieces on the way home. (see photos) Thomas skied in Tignes as well although we didn’t cross paths and it was great skiing in the same sectors as TJ again, which reminded me of old times. (You’re still a piece of work TJ!) Meanwhile, Chris, Andreas and Henry all headed back up to the Fornet and everyone enjoyed another terrific morning up there.

I was back on community service with the school children this afternoon and it was a brilliant session and really good fun. Instead of 8 four-year-olds I had 4 five-year olds and the difference in a year was startling. They could carry their own gear, put their own skis on, and skied jolly well allowing us to manage some good mileage. It really topped off a great day!

A little snow is forecast tonight with another flat-light day tomorrow, which everyone knew so we all tried to milk today to the maximum. Stay tuned!

2 February 2015
Wow, that was a winner!

The wind fortunately died down and although it was a little gloomy at the Gourmandine there were signs of light getting through the clouds, which always helps with the optimism. Andreas talked me into a trip to the Fornet as his 8:30 weather forecast said it would brighten there first and with the Glacier being closed for the past few days we wouldn’t need to deal with old tracks. Sure enough, we went from flat-light to wonderful sunshine pretty quickly and the snow was fantastic, especially considering the wind over the past few days. (see photos)

Andreas, Henry and I skied over from Solaise and had some great skiing in the Upper Mattis trees before cutting back to the piste, followed by a lovely run off the Laisinant Express and one in the Combe du Signal. We broke into the sun as we arrived at the Cascade chair, where we met Chris, and we all had several brilliant runs in the 3300 and Pays Desert. With the risk at 4/5 it was the perfect terrain and the snow was stunning! (TJ was in action but I’m not sure what he skied)

Speaking of 4/5 avalanche risk, it’s incredible where people are laying their tracks. The Arcelle/Manchet has been hit hard, the Banane has been skied to death, and I’m sure it’s the same on the big slopes over in Tignes. The base is still rotten and all that new snow has added to the weight on the snowpack. Over the past few days there have been quite a few deaths in the Alps and here we’ve had avalanches in the Super Santons and Combe des Lanches where skiers needed to be dug out, plus slides in the Lower Manchet, the Combe du Signal and the Face du Charvet to name a few. It’s dangerous out there and people seem to think that they’ve made a good call if they ski a big slope and it hasn’t slid. It’s quite sad really, and very worrying!

Congratulations to Michael R and all those Pats fans out there. It must have been one of the best Super Bowl’s in quite some time and extremely exhausting to watch! And commiserations to Jimmy T and all those broken-hearted Seahawks fans!

PS It turns out 10 people died in the Alps yesterday, by far the worse day of the season.

1 February 2015
Wind and -15C on the summit of Bellevarde!

We had about ten centimetres of fresh snow overnight and in protected areas there was a nice accumulation that made for some lovely skiing. The avalanche risk is still 4/5, and with several avalanches yesterday it is clear that caution and patience are a must and will be for some time to come. Andreas headed up Solaise en route to the Fornet while Henry and I skied the Bellevarde/Tommeuses sectors, and with the wind blowing at altitude there wasn’t a lot open but we all managed an excellent morning. (See photos)

It’s still snowing at 1:50PM with 20cm’s expected and another cloudy day with off-and-on snow is forecast for tomorrow.

Sports Report- It was a bad day for the Hammers yesterday but an even worse day for Andy Murray today who was taken apart by one of the greatest players of all-time in Novak Djokovic. The press seem to be on Andy’s case but the lad has done extremely well to just get to the final and playing in an era with Roger, Rafa, and Novak can’t be easy. And good luck Michael tonight in the Superbowl!

Stay tuned for more skiing news tomorrow and all the team will be back in action.

PS Have a look at Henry’s blog and Facebook regarding the horrible hit-and-run collision that happened a couple of weeks ago. Horrible doesn’t even start to describe it!

PSS I spent the afternoon clearing the terrace with Gill and Millie before Mils and I continued on and started our Snow Palace. Then Katie came home with her friend Anna and they’ve been out there playing in the snow for nearly two hours. Brilliant!

1 February 2015
It's still snowing!

Report to follow.

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