Wayne's Daily Diary Archive

20 June 2007

31 March 2015
Difficult but much easier than yesterday!

After a really tough day yesterday it just had to be easier today, and with some sunshine early on and with a very limited 9 o’clock opening we enjoyed a pretty decent morning. On the upper half of the mountain we skied nice strips of creamy winded snow, and some patches of soft snow about 10cm’s deep that we could leave tracks in. The lower part of the mountain had a slight rain crust that was ‘educational’ and we could ski through it, but for the most part we stayed on the pistes as they were in good condition. Eventually Bonnevie’s Drag opened and we managed two good runs there before it became over-crowded so we ‘skinned’ for 5-minutes to access the slopes between the Mont Blanc chair and Tommeuses. It was challenging but really enjoyable skiing (see photos) so we circled back around for one more run. Unfortunately the weather was moving back in and with the flatter light we returned to the piste as by this time everyone was ready for lunch.

Meanwhile Chris’ team ‘skinned’ up to the top of the Tommeuses Chair and skied down the Familial, which for the most part was really good to excellent. By the time they arrived at the bottom third of the mountain the sun had warmed up the rain-crust making it easier for them to ski through. Well done to Chris and his team for making the most of the day! Thomas was skiing with the Parker clan and Henry and Andreas were also on the mountain. We all skied at La Daille as the Fornet and Solaise were closed, as was the liaison with Tignes.

Here’s hoping that the wind dies down so we can start travelling a little farther afield as the past two days have been as limited as you can get without the resort being totally closed! Stay tuned!

PS 200kph winds are forecast at altitude tonight and it looks like another very tricky day again tomorrow.

30 March 2015
A tough, tough morning!

Radio Val announced 20cm’s of fresh snow this morning but in reality there was a metre on top with a howling wind, all of which led to a slow opening and really difficult skiing. We relaxed with coffee at Les Tufs before going on a short ‘skin’, which had it’s desired effect and triggered the opening of the Funival. Once up top it was blowing a hoolie with deep and humid snow, and it was they type of snow where you might think about borrowing a pair of those ridiculous looking skis some of the kids ride on, but we soldiered on and had a pretty decent morning skiing right to 1 o’clock. Bravo to all who participated this morning!

I took some photos this morning of the village when dropping Millie off for her school bus, and it was absolutely stunning with the fresh snow and street lights. At this stage I had no idea how much snow was waiting at the summit!

I’ve heard everything weather-wise that tomorrow the wind will be worse to the wind will die down and the sun might even make an appearance. Fingers crossed on the latter! Stay tuned!

PS I forgot to mention the tragic avalanche death behind the Col du Montet on Sunday. With these mild temperatures and heavy snowfalls accompanied by ferocious winds we are entering a period where prudence is an absolute must!

29 March 2015
A rather funky morning!

Last night Ginny threw Henry a fantastic surprise 50th birthday party and it went really well with great company, excellent food, and some lively music. With the hour time-change I left early (and missed Henry dancing) as I was the only one working today. Thankfully Dan Egan showed up for coffee at the Gourmandine this morning and saved me from looking like one of those ‘no-mates’ characters. Thanks Dan! Dan is a great friend of Henry’s from the Boston area who brings clients from America to Val d’Isere every spring, and it’s great to have Dan back.

The forecast wasn’t very good this morning and it was expected to get worse rapidly, so I was very happy to have some sun for most of the morning and decent vis right up to 12:30. It was a rather funky-type morning as we started off with some lovely creamy snow off the Verte for a little tester, followed by another taste of the Jardin du Borsat, all of which led us straight to the Face du Charvet. The Face was excellent with wintery snow on the upper half and spring snow below the cliffs, and it was a cracking result! From there we took the Lower Chair on Bellevarde to ski the Lower Banane and we just got away with that one as it kept us afloat right to the bottom. We then skied the Lower Borsat and meadows en route to my shoulder off the Motte, followed the northern slopes in the Campanules before finishing with spring snow. We skied a nice mix of wintery snow and powder along with spring snow, and for a tough morning it was a good result that left us all pretty satisfied with our mornings work. (See photos)

At 2:30 PM it is snowing hard and we’re expecting up to 50cm’s by the morning. Fingers crossed that the wind doesn’t get up and put a damper on everyone’s expectations. Stay tuned!

PS We didn’t see anyone off-piste this morning, anywhere!

28 March 2015
A fabulous morning skiing spring 'Classics'!

After a wild day weather-wise yesterday the sun was back in full force following by a solid freeze. It was a morning for Val d’Isere Classics so Chris, Henry and I opened up with a lovely Banane/Super Santon, followed by excellent snow on the Jardin du Borsat Sud before skiing a stunning Tour du Charvet into the atmospheric Mont Blanc Couloir. It was Jean’s first trip through that area and he was well pleased! We then skied the Cugnai, which was very good up top, but we then we needed to ‘sniff’ about a little before finding a good passage down. Next up were some bonus powder turns before skiing the Marmottons into the Marmottes to finish off a terrific morning of great snow and wonderful slopes.

Meanwhile Andreas ‘skinned’ to the Crete du Genepy and Mont Roup, where he had a fantastic ski before joining us on the Manchet-side, and Thomas started a little late and skied the Banane and Tour after us, then he surprised us all with a Face du Charvet at noon before finishing in the Manchet. Nice one Thomas!

I skied with Rhian this afternoon and was inspired with Thomas’ Charvet so I tried the Marmottons into the Marmottes at 2:30 and was rewarded with some great snow. It’s Rhian’s first trip to Val d’Isere so I then took her over the Col Pers for a 5PM finish. It was tough going from the Grand Torsai down but she absolutely loved it and did really well. Bravo! (See photos)

It is grey at 6:30PM and trying to snow so hopefully we’ll have something fresh to work with in the morning. Stay tuned!

27 March 2015
Happy Belated Birthday Henry!

After yesterday’s ‘powder frenzy’ it was a total contrast today, with high winds that effected lift openings as well as overcast skies, which dampen moral. Early on the liaison with Tignes was closed as well as the Fornet Glacier, so I headed to the Crete du Genepy and Mont Roup in search of solitude and protection from the wind. Andreas came along and we had the place to ourselves and besides lovely ambience we had a nice combination of powder strips, creamy snow and spring snow that worked top-to-bottom. Enough snow fell and blew in overnight to give us a great cushion that made for an excellent ski, and it was pleasant being out of the howling wind. (See photos)

Chris returned to the Fornet and with the Glacier closed he traversed through the Grand Vallon and Vallonnet before ‘skinning’ up to the Glacier Pers. The snow had taken the wind but they made the most of it and left some good ‘Alpine’ tracks in their wake. Thomas and the belated-50th-birthday-boy Henry were also skiing but I haven’t a clue where they ended up.

Sun is forecast for tomorrow and just being able to see will help enormously. Stay tuned!

PS I forgot to mention that Rob Cochran is selling his lovely studio in Les Clarines. These units are the best one-piece studios in town with good cooking facilities, a big bathroom with space for a wash machine, a huge 13 square metre cave for storage, and has a bus stop right out front. The asking price is 130,000 Euros, which is a great deal, and with the pound being its strongest for years it’s too good to pass up if your looking for a comfortable little place in town.

I also forgot to mention that nine people were rescued from the gorge yesterday!

26 March 2015
Some of the best powder of the season!

I’d had a couple too many glasses of wine with Geoff last night and at 5:45AM I was feeling a little sorry for myself as I looked out onto a gloomy, misty, uninspiring day. But the moment I touched the snow and we could see through the mist my spirits soared and the skiing was absolutely wonderful. It was Gill’s first proper off-piste in over a week and she certainly has her mojo back as she couldn’t believe the quality of snow this morning. Andreas and I started off with a terrific opener off the Laisinant before skiing an outstanding 4-stop Grand Vallon. We then skied an equally good Combe du Signal before heading up to the Glacier for a Pays Desert and Col Pers into the Vallonnet. Chris, Thomas and Henry were all in the neighbourhood and everyone enjoyed a stunning day, even though there was a bit of a frenzy going on once we arrived on the Pissaillas. I must go as I’m pretty busy tonight but the photos tell the story!

PS Merci Didier for the rock warning in the Vallonnet this morning. It all looked good from above!

25 March 2015
A tricky day but good results all round!

It was another potentially tricky day with grey skies and wind but all the boys did the business and put on a pretty good show. Chris, Andreas and I all skied in Tignes with Chris and I skiing the Sachette while Andreas skied the Lower Chardonnet and the Sache. I then went back up to ski the Jardini, which I haven’t skied for ages, and it was good skiing with some great ambience thrown in. Andreas was thinking of the Campanules and Familial on the way home while Chris finished with the Familial.

Henry went up to check out the Fornet but I haven’t yet had a report. It’s snowed gently all day, especially towards the border so hopefully we’ll have a decent accumulation that way tomorrow.

Unfortunately Thomas is still under the weather so Yohan took his group this morning. Thanks very much for helping Yo, especially at such short notice, and as usual the team enjoyed skiing with you.

Gill and I had a short ski this afternoon with the girls as their time is now running out. I forgot to mention Katie did really well at her race last weekend coming 31st out of over 170 racers from various resorts. Bravo Katie!

24 March 2015
Brilliant skiing enjoyed by all !!!!

We were all wondering what to do this morning as it was overcast and we weren’t sure how much direct sun was going to get through during the morning. I decided to head across the Borsat traverse towards the Crete du Genepy and let the feel of the snow dictate the rest of the morning, and with a centimetre or two of new snow the spring slopes felt good without direct sunshine so I knew the morning was going to pan out nicely. Chris came along and we skied a lovely Crete du Genepy and attacked the steep slopes down onto the little lake before continuing on to Mont Roup. By the time we arrived the big spring slopes were perfect and several of my team had never been to Mont Roup before, let alone the steep spring slopes, and they were suitably impressed. Next up was a cracking run in the Arcelle above the little chalet (Snack Bar) before finishing with a run through the Marmottons into the Marmottes on the way home. It was Will and Hannah’s first day with ‘Alpine’ and what a fantastic start to their time with us!

Andreas headed towards Tignes and had a great morning in the Sachette skiing some nice powder up top followed by spring snow the rest of the way. He then skied off the Palafour and the always fun Toothy Rock before finishing with the Familial. Henry was in action but I’m not sure where he skied and poor Thomas was off sick today. It seems there are some gastro problems floating around at the moment, so fingers crossed and get well Thomas!

A little snow is forecast for this evening but with a foehn wind blowing no one is counting on much falling. Still, even 5cm’s would help but we’re in need of much more than that!

23 March 2015
A first trip to the Fornet!

I was skiing with a young lad named Alex this morning, who was skiing with ‘Alpine’ for the first time and with the sun shining I took the opportunity to show him the Fornet before the change in weather. The skiing wasn’t the easiest today but we did manage one in the Pays Desert before a trip over the Col Pers, then a Grand Vallon to finish. Alex was suitably impressed with the stunning scenery and outstanding terrain, and said it was one of his best skiing experiences ever. So mission accomplished, even if it was an ‘educational’ morning! Chris and Andreas were in the neighbourhood making the best of the conditions and I’m not too sure what Henry skied today. (Thomas was off today)

I had a technique afternoon with Alex’s Dad Chris and brother Ben, along with Paul G and we had a cracking session, meanwhile Chris was off-piste with Jane Seaford skiing the Pays Desert, and Andreas was introducing a friend of James to the delights of off-piste skiing while checking out the options in Tignes. Stay tuned for more news tomorrow.

22 March 2015
Less snow than anticipated, but good skiing!

I was expecting 15 to 20cm’s this morning but the new snow must have melted on landing due to yesterday’s heat and moisture and instead there was 5 to 10cm’s. The fresh snow did make a huge difference, cleaning up the mountain, and on the gentler slopes the new cushion made for some lovely skiing. The wind was howling so for the third day in a row I aborted my planned trip to the Motte and instead headed to the Sachette with Chris via the Verte, Lower Borsat, and Lower Chardonnet, and we then finished off a cracking morning with a good Familial.

I took Millie out this afternoon and we tried the Arcelle, which didn’t support so we cut back to the piste after 200 metres or so. We then had a great run in the trees above the Mattis followed by a good run in the Combe du Signal from the top before finishing with a run under the Pyramid chair. The wind was pretty punchy and the snow quality wasn’t a patch on this morning’s, but it was good skiing and fantastic being out there with just Millie.

I didn’t see any rugby yesterday but according to Geoff it was the best day in the history of the 6 Nations tournament. It was a spectators extravaganza with loads of points. I was just happy for the Hammers to eke out a 1-nil win and get back to winning ways!

Sun if forecast for the morning and hopefully we’ll get some snow later in the week. Stay tuned!

21 March 2015
Educational snow but jolly good fun!

The day started out brighter than forecast and for the second day in a row I wanted to ski the Grande Motte but decided against it at the last moment due to cloud cover and headed back to sunnier skies at the Fornet. Unfortunately what was powder on north facing slopes yesterday had started to ‘turn’ and although very ski-able it was ‘educational’. (See photos) I must say bravo to my team of Patrycja, Ali, Penny, Jean, Kevin, Oli and Vanessa for putting in a great effort leaving ‘Alpine’ tracks in tough conditions. And Vanessa, who is new to off-piste skied her way to a ‘skier of the morning’ award. Really impressive performance Vanessa! Chris and Tejina were also in the neighbourhood and we decided there was no point in going over the Col so we headed to the Col de la Madeleine and try the spring snow in the Arcelle. The first couple of slopes were excellent but fragile after a minimal freeze last night, so we cut back to the piste about half-way down. It was perhaps the toughest morning of the season snow-wise and both the winter and fragile spring snow were educational, but it was jolly good fun and everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves.

I’m not too sure what the rest of the boys skied but they’ll have made the best of wherever they ended up.

Hopefully we’ll receive a few centimetres of snow tonight and have a decent freeze. Stay tuned!

PS Thomas, Andreas and Henry have just finished a great week with some lovely Americans from Boston. It was their first visit to Val d’Isere and I don’t think it will be their last! And it’s now snowing huge flakes after some early afternoon drizzle! (5:35PM)

20 March 2015
A bit of a bonus day!

The day started off better than forecast and my plan was to head to the Motte for a change of scenery, but the Motte sector was covered in cloud and Tignes in general was looking a little gloomy so I did a u-turn and skied the Face du Bellevarde piste en-route to the Fornet. I’d wanted to ski the Motte, which would give me a spring/winter option as no one was sure if the eclipse would have an effect on the spring snow coming around, but we the added cloud cover I decided to ski winter snow on the Pissaillas where it was much brighter as well. We ended up doing the ‘desperate Dan’ Pays Desert but the snow quality was excellent and we had a very positive outing as Letitia (skier of the morning), Mark and Kevin all made really solid progress during the morning. Bravo you three!

Meanwhile, Andreas took over from Henry with one of the American groups and took them over the Col Pers for the first time and they loved it, while Thomas was getting the younger ones ‘skinning’ for the first time to Mont Roup. Chris and Tejina ended up ‘skinning’ to the Col des Barmes de l’Ours for great winter snow. Bravo you two! I’m not sure what Henry ended up doing but he was trying to fight off the dreaded gastro at the Gourmandine. Good luck Henry!

It was amazing today how quickly it warmed up after the eclipse. During the eclipse it was gloomy and rather chilly but suddenly the temperature shot up and it was incredibly warm. As for tomorrow, the forecast changes every time you log on, but at the moment we’re expecting partially cloudy skies in the morning, which means some sun, with some rain/snow in the afternoon and evening. Hopefully we’ll get in a good morning before it all hits the fan! Stay tuned!

19 March 2015
Wonderful skiing in Tignes.

The sun was shining again today and after three days on the trot at the Fornet it was time for a change of scenery. Andreas, Thomas, Henry and I all headed to Tignes to ski spring snow and we all had a brilliant morning as we covered a lot of ground and skied great snow. After some lovely piste we skied the big face of the Tourne a couple of times before going over the Sachette for a mix of winter and spring, before finishing with the Familial.

Meanwhile Chris and Tejina had a great trip to the Col des Fours. Bravo you two!

I’m really excited as Gill and I have booked flights to India for the girls half-term in October. I’m so looking forward to Millie and Katie experiencing the sensual bombardment that awaits them as well as riding camels, horses, elephants, tuk-tuk’s and visiting the tiger park. Mary Anne, who has spent her adult-life building a specialized Indian tour company is organising the trip for us and she personally knows every hotel and restaurant owner that she uses, as well as drivers and the camel and elephant people. Check out her website on www.mahoutuk.com if you have a desire to visit India.

We should have some sun in the morning if we’re lucky before a change of weather on Saturday, when rain in the village is forecast. Rain in the village means snow further up the mountain so rain is a positive forecast!

18 March 2015
Stunning weather, fabulous views and great skiing!

The promised sun arrived and all the boys had a fantastic morning up at the Fornet. The Pissaillas Glacier survived the wind quite nicely and although the snow was slightly compressed by the wind it skied beautifully and was full of rebound, which is always good fun! Andreas and I had one run in the 3300 then went directly over the Col to avoid the growing crowd on the Glacier and to be one of the first groups in. It was great skiing top-to-bottom and we then circled back around to ski a lovely Vallonnet to finish. Chris is skiing with Tejina and Suzanne while Thomas and Henry are skiing hard in the mornings with their Bostonians before spending most of the afternoon eating in great restaurants. Nice one boys!

The ‘skier of the morning’ award today goes to Dave in Andreas’ group. Dave made huge improvements as the morning wore on and did himself proud. Bravo Dave!

The forecast is for another beautiful day tomorrow, which won’t be too hard to take! Stay tuned!

And thanks to Russell for taking Millie and Katie out skiing this afternoon. Ahhh… the need for speed!

17 March 2015
Tougher snow but still great skiing!

The atmospheric conditions were similar to yesterday, meaning it was blowing hard with a little light snow falling, but the visibility towards the Fornet was much better than yesterday. Unfortunately the wind had compressed the snow and much of what was perfectly light and deep powder 24-hours previous had become fairly tough ‘skiers’ snow. Still, some slopes were excellent and all the boys enjoyed a great morning. My team skied two Combe du Signal’s from the Pyramid Chair, then two from the top of the Signal Poma, followed by a funky ski down ‘Katie’s Run’. (See photos) Chris and Andreas were skiing the Fornet as well and Thomas and Henry were up there entertaining two teams of Americans from Boston, and I had the impression they were thoroughly enjoying themselves!

It’s been nice having fellow Canadian Blair along these past two days with his daughter Nicola. It’s her first trip to Val d’Isere and she’s loving it, and being a cracking good skier she’s able to make the most of it. I’m hoping the forecasted sun for tomorrow arrives so that Nicola can see the stunning views that so far have been hidden under cloud cover. Stay tuned!

PS It’s also great having Paul Gains back after an 11-year absence!

PSS And well done to Emmett for a ‘skier of the day’ award. Emmett skied all morning with a broken pole, and since he was skiing better with one pole than I would have, I just let him get on with it. Nice one Emmett!

16 March 2015
Great call Andreas!

We wind was howling this morning and with it being a retour de l’est we all knew there would be much more snow at the Fornet so everyone jumped on the bus and headed into the teeth of the wind. The only problem was that when we arrived the Fornet was closed so the entire team needed to turn around and bus back to the Gourmandine. I was bordering on depression after skiing off the Verte because there was hardly any new snow, one could feel the base, the Borsat was closed, and I was muttering the ‘f’-word under my breath. Andreas wasn’t impressed either and when he suggested skiing the Santon and working our way back to the Fornet my arm didn’t need twisting. We had a good blast down the Santon, then a lovely run near the Mattis (with a good 30cm’s) and to our delight we arrived just as the Signal Poma opened and it was game on for the rest of the morning. In places 50cm’s had floated in and by using the gullies and the lee-side of shoulders our teams enjoyed a superb morning with just enough light to show us the way.

Chris, Thomas and Henry ended up Tignes-way and had great mornings as well. They didn’t have as much snow but did have much better light with moments of sunshine, and that always helps!

Unfortunately my camera battery died so I have no photographic proof of our exploits, but Andreas put up a couple of shots on Facebook. More wind with some snow from the east is forecast through the night and hopefully they’ll get things going on time in the morning. Stay tuned!

15 March 2015
Still waiting for some snow!

It didn’t snow overnight but at least the light was decent this morning allowing us to have a go. The sun wasn’t going to warm up the spring slopes so staying north-ish was the only option and Andreas and Thomas had a couloir morning while I skied some piste and the Sachette, as did Chris, and it was a pretty good morning considering the forecast and the state of the mountain.

It’s trying to snow at the moment (2:25PM) and hopefully we’ll have a few centimetres to play with tomorrow. The wind is blowing so some gullies along with slopes and shoulders in the lee should attract some sort of cushion at the very least, and any fresh snow would make for a nice change. Stay tuned!

14 March 2015
Another fantastic morning out of nothing!

We weren’t expecting too much today but the forecast was wrong again and we ended up with another beautiful morning and a terrific ski. Being Saturday I started off with a couple of hard runs on the piste while waiting for Tommeuses to open, and the pistes were absolutely brilliant! (Gill said she and Laura had their best piste skiing of the season) Chris and Andreas were ahead of me and heading to the Lower Lavachet for some winter snow before ‘skinning’ out at the bottom so instead of over-crowding the sector I headed straight into Tignes to start on the spring slopes. We had a funky run off the Palafour through the Para-avalanche and rocks before skiing two excellent runs on the Tourne. Andreas and Chris arrived for one on the Tourne before we all headed to the Sachette, which was lovely winter snow followed by spring snow at the bottom. It was a ‘maximum-turn’ type of morning with some great spring snow mixed with a few powder turns, and I thoroughly enjoyed myself! I then left my team of Adrian, AL, Ian, Frans, Derek, Paul and Emmett (what a first morning Emmett) as they were heading down into Les Brevieres for lunch at the Sachette. Bon app boys!

It was my team’s last morning after a fantastic week and Andreas’ Norwegian team of Olav, Anja, Cato, Line, along with Kari and Derek, also had a fabulous week and we look forward to seeing them all again same time next season. And good luck to the Rangers Olav! Bravo again to all the boys for working hard this week and putting on a really good show!

Maybe we’ll get some snow tonight but no one is counting on it. Stay tuned and come on you Hammers!

PS I forgot to mention my ‘Berk of the Morning’ award for starting to ski a steep pitch while still having one ‘skin’ on. I thought my skis felt a little sticky! Thanks for the photo Frans.

PSS What an afternoon of rugby!

13 March 2015
Lucky Friday the 13th!

We were lucky enough on Friday the 13th to have a bonus day of sunshine and the boys made the most of it. Thomas and I skied a mini-Crete du Genepy en-route to Mont Roup, and the Crete was still on the firm side as it was much colder last night and with a light breeze it took awhile for some slopes to soften. Mont Roup however was perfect and Thomas, Chris and I all attacked the steep slopes that are always impressive. (See photos) After Mont Roup we had a blast on- piste and had a play in the Familial as the Manchet-side would have remained firm and would not have been pleasant. Meanwhile Andreas ‘skinned’ to the Barmes des L’Ours for a lovely ski with a mix of frisset and spring down towards the bottom, and Henry was off today.

Much needed snow was forecast for tomorrow but it’s starting to look unlikely now. A big snowfall to help us through the rest of the winter would be ideal, but at the moment even 10 cm’s would be gratefully received as most of the mountain is un-skiable. Fingers crossed!

PS Well doneto all the boys for a great week of skiing in increasingly difficult conditions!

12 March 2015
A brilliant day enjoyed by all !!!!

The forecast is for a change of weather with a deterioration tomorrow followed by snow on Saturday so I took the opportunity and headed down to St Foy, for better or for worse. The place is absolutely empty and I’ve never had the Foglietta to myself before, which was a privilege as well as being incredibly peaceful, but the best part of it was the snow was much better than anticipated. We needed to move about a bit on the upper section as it had been hit hardest by the wind, but we did manage to find strips that worked down to about half-way where we put our ‘skins’ back on for ten-minutes to access the slopes toward the Col de L’Argentiere. From there on down we stayed north, the snow improved and we worked our way through some rocks for some nice pitches that make for a terrific finish. We made our bus with about five-minutes to spare and the team of Adrian, Ian, Al, Frans, Paul and I then enjoyed a cracking lunch in the sun at the Hotel Monal. Thanks boys!

Meanwhile Andreas and Thomas skied to Bonneval and they had a brilliant day out. At one point it looked as if the outing would be cancelled due to strong winds at altitude but they had the go-ahead from the helicopter company and continued on. They stayed north and had frisset down to the waterfall followed by spring at the bottom and it was an excellent day out. (Most people are searching for the spring option, which is why I had the Foglietta to myself, and the boys ignored the ‘go-south-young -man’ advice and went looking for winter snow instead. Bravo boys, that’s the ‘Alpine’ spirit!)

Chris stayed in the resort and ‘skinned’ to Mont Roup while Henry skied around the Motte. Well done all round boys for a great day in difficult conditions. Stay tuned! (Can you tell I’ve had a few at lunch?)

11 March 2015
Excellent spring skiing on steep terrain!

A cloudy day was forecast but it was much better than that with only a sea-of-cloud lower down that burnt off fairly quickly, giving way to another beautiful day. I headed to the Motte with Andreas to ski the Couloir 3500 but decided against it and ended up spending the morning working on technique for the steep off the Motte with some lovely spring snow. (See photos) Andreas did ski the 3500 with his team and they had a fantastic run down followed by a one-hour-35-minute ‘skin’ out. Bravo and well done Anja! Meanwhile Chris skied the Little Lavachet and Sachette while Thomas ‘skinned’ to the Col de la Barmes des L’Ours and Henry skied Mont Roup. It was another really good day on the mountain and all the teams came home happy!

More sun is forecast over the next two days before some fresh snow on Saturday. Fingers crossed!

PS Thanks to Kari who has taken Millie and Katie to the Folie Douce this afternoon. Sounds like scary fun to me!

10 March 2015
The boys are making the best of the conditions!

It was another stunningly beautiful day and that’s always a great starting point when people are on holidays, especially when times are tough snow-wise. Chris and I returned to the Glaciers Pers where the snow was pretty good for the most part with the odd sticky patch, and the ambience was enhanced with a Perdrix Blanche and some Chamois on the way out. It was a lovely outing and thanks to Adrian, Ian, Frans and Al for a fantastic lunch at the L’Arolay afterwards. (See photos)

Thomas was skiing in Tignes again with Henry while Andreas went down to St Foy to test the waters. The snow is far from perfect at the moment and Andreas’ team was very happy with their outing with a good mix of snow and no one else around, which always adds to the atmosphere of the Foglietta. Bravo Andreas!

Thanks to Geoff for a fantastic meal last night with stunning wine followed by the Man U-Arsenal FA Cup match. Geoff is a Man U season ticket holder who still invites me along when he knows I’m an-anyone-but-United fan with a soft-spot for Arsenal. Thanks again Geoff and it was great to see Maurice!

A cloudy day without fresh snow is forecast tomorrow before the sun
returns on Thursday. Stay tuned!

PS After beer, wine and genepy at lunch I forgot to mention Frans’ inspirational ‘skier of the morning’ award. Well skied and well done Dutchman!

9 March 2015
Great outing but not the easiest!

I thought about a change of scenery today and headed to the Col des Fours with Chris, and although the snow wasn’t the best we had an excellent outing. It was the first time to the Col for many in the group and besides a jolly good walk the views were fantastic. I had to ‘sniff’ hard to find snow that worked and with hind-sight and being able to look back uphill could guide Chris to the best lines so his team had an easier time of it than mine. We then did the extra short climb to the little Col and had a good ski down from there. (See photos) It was a great morning out in the mountains but being a connoisseur of fine snow I must admit that it wasn’t the best snow I’ve skied lately.

Thomas skied some funky steep slopes in Tignes and ended up skiing down to the lake before walking across the old bridge and hitch-hiking home. Great imagination Thomas! Andreas was up at the Fornet and skied the Glacier Pers with his Norwegian team (along with Derek and Kari) while Henry was going on a recognisance mission to the far side of Tignes. I hope he has good news to report!

More sun is forecast for tomorrow before a cloudy day on Wednesday. Stay tuned!

8 March 2015
Stunning weather and good skiing!

Chris was working this morning so I had some company and we headed up to the Fornet for a great ski in the Glacier Pers. The sun was shining, the snow was pretty jolly good, the scenery was stunning and we didn’t see any other groups. Jane I made a return this morning after 5 years away and it was great to see her again, and as usual she never fails to entertain! (See photos) And I must say well done to Sylvie today who performed admirably after a little pep talk. Bravo Sylvie!

It’s getting a little tougher with each passing day but so far we’re ‘sniffing’ out some pretty good skiing and long may that last! It was incredibly hot today and more sun is forecast for the next few days. Stay tuned!

7 March 2015
'Sweet Home Alabama' !!!

It’s getting tougher every day now as the wind has ruined much of the mountain and along with tracks we now have the sun working the sunny expositions. With sun in the forecast I decided to try the Crete du Genepy before the heat ruins it and we managed a pretty good ski. While ‘skinning’ up I knew we’d need to ‘sniff’ hard as it wasn’t good everywhere but we found some great snow mixed with some ‘skiers’ snow that skied well, and the odd sticky patch where we stopped and looked for better snow. (see photos) I was pleased with the outing and although the snow wasn’t quite as good as I’d hoped, it was very good for the most part and the rest could have been a lot trickier.

We had an excellent ‘Alpine Social’ last night in the Pub Moris as Andreas made a guest appearance with Mike and Ritchie and played ‘Sweet Home Alabama’. Tansy, Ness and Victor were there to see Dad on stage for the first time and they were extremely proud. There were quite a few Alpine skiers along (25 or so), some with family members and it was a fantastic couple of hours. Bravo Andreas! (See Facebook page) Sorry as I took quite a few photos but with the lack of light and movement many of the people shots didn’t come out very well so I only posted a few and will have missed most of those present.

And Happy Birthday to Jean Ribart, you’re a class act!

6 March 2015
A cracking morning with good snow and great ambience!

The wind died down overnight and the sun was shining and after the damage done by the storm we all had our ‘sniffers’ going this morning. Chris and I chose the Fornet and after a few turns in the Lower Combe du Signal we headed upstairs where I skied a nice 3300 where we had supporting snow, soft frisset-type snow and some snow that needed to be avoided, while Chris skied the Pays Desert. Next up was the Col Pers, which wasn’t skied yesterday, and it was a good mix of soft souffle, lovely frisset and some patches of slightly stiffer snow, but it all skied well and made for an excellent run. We both finished off with a little ‘skin’ in the Vallonnet, which for the most part was really good and as always was atmospheric. I managed the ‘splat du jour’ award for a stunning ‘park-and-fly’ when I hit a rock at the bottom of the Vallonnet and was ejected out of my bindings, landing a good ten feet from my skis. Of course the group loved it and Jerry may be posting photos. Thanks Jerry! And thank you Jerry for bringing your lovely friend Miranda along, who fit right in immediately and skied really well. (Photos are up)

Andreas and Thomas both went to Tignes and skied a great Chardonnet followed by a trickier Sache, but you can’t go anywhere at the moment without dealing with something ‘tricky’ somewhere en route. They also had a fantastic morning and Andreas was heading up to ski the Col Pers this afternoon as he’s skiing all-day with Jurgen’s team.

The forecast is for wall-to-wall sunshine again tomorrow with extremely high temperatures for this time of year. Stay tuned!

PS We are off to the Pub Moris tonight at 6PM as Andreas is playing ‘Sweet Home Alabama’ with Mike’s band. Rock on!

5 March 2015
That was impressive!

Wind was forecast for today but no one expected 130kph on top of Bellevarde! A hoolie is a gross understatement and as you can imagine everyone’s ‘Plan A’ turned into ‘Plan J’ by the end of the morning. Hats off to all the boys for thinking on their feet and pulling out a pretty good morning and everyone seemed to enjoy the elements and the challenge this morning. (See photos) And bravo Rory for some great skiing in tough conditions!

I skied with Gemma and Andy again this afternoon and took them for a scenic Tour du Charvet via TJ’s Shoulder and a Grand Vallon and I think they’ve seen enough to ditch their piste skis and get stuck in. Bravo!

Sun is forecast for the next few days and the wind should die down but unfortunately a lot of damage has already been done. Wish us luck and stay tuned! (Sorry for the short one tonight as I’m pretty busy)

4 March 2015
Good light a great snow!

After yesterday’s beautiful sunshine it was back to ‘whiter’ conditions today but it did snow 10cm’s or so overnight and the skiing was excellent. The forecast is for windier conditions again tomorrow so Henry and I decided to take the opportunity to ski at the Fornet. We skied the Combe du Signal en route to the Pissaillas where we were lucky with the light and profited from really good visibility (for a cloudy day). (See photos) My team skied the 3300, and then two lovely runs in the Pays Desert, where we met Henry’s team on our second time around. Besides Henry there was no one else about and it was nice to have the place to ourselves. We had planned on going over the Col but changed our minds as we had both good light and snow and didn’t want to risk dropping into a fog lower down. It was just as well because around 12:30 the vis disappeared, the wind picked up and it started snowing.

The rest of the boys headed to Tignes and I’m not too sure what all they skied. Andreas tried to tell me on the radio but there was so much static I couldn’t make it out.

A brighter day is forecast for tomorrow along with 100kph winds, which sounds like a tough morning but at least it’s snowing at the moment (2:30PM) Stay tuned!

3 March 2015
Boy, how good was that? !!!

After the hurricane force winds of yesterday it was surprising just how good the skiing was today on the Tignes-side of the resort. The only drawback was a ridiculously slow opening that had everyone frustrated, but once we got going it was all forgotten. It was a ‘maximum turn’ type morning and even with the slow opening we covered an amazing amount of mountain. (See photos)

I had TJ’s cousin Rory with me again today and another of TJ’s cousins Mark showed up as well. Mark and Rory didn’t know the other was in town and they haven’t seen each other for awhile, so it was all a bit of fun. This afternoon I had an off-piste initiation with Gemma and Andy and they both did really well, especially considering they were on skinny piste skis! Bravo you two!

Hopefully we’ll get some fresh snow tonight as a cloudy day is forecast tomorrow. Fingers crossed!

2 March 2015
Wet, wet, wet and high winds!

I dropped Millie off at her bus stop this morning at 6:50 and it was wet and almost raining. By 8 o’clock there were some big flakes falling but with the wet snow lower down it was going to be necessary to get to altitude, and that wasn’t going to happen due to extremely high winds. We managed one run on Les Etroits chair at La Daille, and I must say it was much better than expected. The snow was compact and warm but it skied well until we arrived at the pisted snow around the Trifollet where it suddenly felt like glue. Jean and Gill decided to call it a day and the rest of us tried for a second run but just as we were about to load onto the chair they closed it down. Frans and Jerry stopped as they were on the doorstep of their warm and cosy apartments so Barney, Rory and I ‘skinned’ up a few hundred metres then did a beep search as Barney had never ‘skinned’ or used his beep before. It was a short morning but at least we skied a few turns and a beep search never goes amiss. (see photos)

Chris managed a run as well and Andreas and Thomas cancelled as they had private groups and felt they couldn’t deliver a quality morning in these extreme conditions. Tomorrow’s forecast is much better so fingers crossed as ‘cabin fever’ will become a factor. Stay tuned!

1 March 2015
My first day off!

After ninety-one consecutive days I’ve taken my first day off of the season! I’ve been out there day-in-and-day-out in all kinds of weather and if I’m going to miss a morning today is as good as any. It started snowing lightly around 7AM and it’s now dumping it down at 7:45 so hopefully there will be a decent cushion of snow for Andreas who’s alone on the mountain today. Good luck Andreas! I may go out with my girls later but Jean is going to rest up as we’ve a group of strong skiers for the next two weeks. The forecast for the next few days is for quite a decent amount of snow but unfortunately the wind will also be a factor.

I’m looking forward to meeting up with Pav later to watch the rugby and commiserate together about West Hams unfortunate turn in fortunes over the past month. Stay tuned!

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