Wayne's Daily Diary Archive

20 June 2007

30 April 2016
Much better weather than forecast!

Wow, were we lucky today! The forecast wasn’t great for today but the sun shone and stayed out much longer than expected giving us the chance for some great skiing. We skied piste into Tignes before having an excellent run on perfect spring snow near the Palafour Couloirs. Next up was a lovely run on the steep and impressive Tourne before heading into the Sachette. Paul and Peter skied the couloir and had some fantastic snow on the slope below while I took the rest of the team into the Sachette, which was excellent. We skied a mix of powder up top and finished off with spring snow down below before skiing down through the trees to Les Brevieres.

I left the team on the top of Tommeuses while they went in for a coffee to kill some time before their table would be ready at the Folie Douce. They’re missing Derek, both on the skiing and party fronts but he’s there in spirit has he keeps texting Peter and Paul for updates. Hope to see you in Scotland in September Derek!

John Yates-Smith got in touch this morning for a photo for his Photo of the Day posting. John was feeling a little rough after a big night and wasn’t skiing today. Hang in there John but better you than me!

Tomorrow is my last day of a long and wonderful season and snow is forecast. It looks like we’ll have some powder to ski with flat-light, but we’ve been very fortunate this past few days with the sunshine. I’m leaving at 2PM and driving back to England to be with the girls on the Bank Holiday Monday so I won’t have time for an update before I leave, but I’ll post something on Monday.

Have a brilliant summer and stay tuned for periodic updates over the summer!

PS Millie has another golf match tomorrow away at the Royal Mid-Surrey and may run in Debra and Richard Finlay or perhaps Ian Noble. Meanwhile Katie will be riding while Gill taxi’s them about. It was a great win for the Hammers this afternoon as I tried to catch the second-half but was forced to watch Newcastle beat Palace instead. And I made it to the gym for my 76th visit of the season. My target was 75 so I’ve got myself in good shape for the upcoming golf season!

29 April 2016
Blue skies and powder snow!

The sun was shining brightly today, which was already a winner, and I decided that the big spring slopes weren’t ready due to the unseasonably cold temperatures over the past few days and opted for powder instead. We headed up to the Fornet and dove over the Col Pers to ski a great warm-up pitch before ‘skinning’ to the Lechoir. (See photos) From the Lechoir we ‘skinned’ again to the Glacier Pers, which was excellent top-to-bottom, especially for this time of year. We skied the funky exit from the Torsai, which was very good until we reached the last two slopes above the Pont St Charles. As usual they were a little scratchy but we made it down pretty comfortably to finish off a very pleasant morning.

Peter and Paul took themselves off to ski the Couloir des Pisteurs before settling in for lunch and hopefully they had a great run.

I’m busy packing and cleaning and trying not to forget anything and I did forget Thomas’ birthday yesterday. It turned out to be Paul W’s birthday as well so Happy Belated Birthday to both Thomas and Paul!

Thanks for another great meal last night Dave and the company was terrific as well.

Hopefully we’ll get some sun to kick-start the morning tomorrow but it’s forecast to come in by 11-ish and snow in the afternoon. Stay tuned!

PS All we’re missing is Derek who is missing the closing weekend for the first time ever due to family commitments. We’re thinking of you Derek!

28 April 2016
Chris' last day!

Chris skied his last day of the season today and what a nice day to finish on. We were travelling light today as I skied with Clementine and Chris had Alistair and John so we teamed up and started with a nice run off the Mont Blanc piste, followed by a good run on the Alti-port en-route to the Little Lavachet. From there we skied and excellent run in the Sachette and finished off a great morning with the Familial.

There was some heat this afternoon but I’m not too sure if it was hot enough to transform the spring slopes so tomorrow may be a trickier day. Some sun is forecast for tomorrow before snow on Saturday and Sunday. Wish me luck as I’m on my own now!

I’ve been a bit stressed with paperwork all afternoon so hence the short update. Stay tuned!

PS Andreas had a nice tour with Tansy this morning!

27 April 2016
Another cold wintery day!

At 6AM it wasn’t very inspiring as the wind was howling and it was overcast, but by the time we arrived at the Rond Point there was a glimmer of light towards the Fornet, which gave us hope. Sylvie came by the Gourmandine to say good-bye as her season is over, and we had a nice social with Henry, Chris, Clem, Alistair, John, Sylvie and I. And thanks for the coffees Sylvie! We all headed up to the Fornet and had a great warm-up off the Laisinant before diving into the Grand Vallon, which was very atmospheric. There was a misty cloud up the upper section to deal with and through the mist we could see avalanche debris from above, which warned us that the wind had deposited enough snow to cause trouble if one looked hard enough. After a good run in the Vallon we skied an excellent run in the Combe du Signal (see photos) before I skied two in the 3300 on the Pisaillas, while Chris skied the Pays Desert through his passage in the rocks. We met for hot chocolate because it was bloody cold and found Pat Z and co warming up as well. I then headed down as Jean was still in one piece for the season and Clem wasn’t feeling 100% while Chris had a good finale over the Col Pers.

As always I’ve had a wonderful time skiing with Jean all winter and he did about 110 mornings, which is seriously good work! Bravo Jean. It was fantastic to get him through the season without injury as his past few seasons have ended prematurely. (Although we both came close to hurting ourselves when we fell over the enormous rat-track off the Motte a while back) Jean is a class act and always a pleasure in any group he skis in and I look forward to seeing him again next winter. In the meantime Jean, enjoy your diving and golf!

My ankle gave me some problems again today because all winter long I’ve had no stiff plastic around my ankle and have been able to squeeze my leg through the fabric. But I’ve bruised the bone a little on the stiff tongue and plastic and it’s pretty sensitive so I went into Jean Sports and Didier has lent me a pair of Dynafit touring boots which are much softer and they feel great. I’m really looking forward to trying them as my old boots (which I used to love) are heading for the bin! (I sound like a whimp don’t I!)

I’m really pleased for Katie who had her first net-ball match away at another school. Their team won 7-5 and she seemed to thoroughly enjoy the entire experience. Bravo Katie and all your Tillingbourne team-mates!

Wall-to-wall sunshine is forecast tomorrow and after so much flat light it will be brilliant to be able to see! What we really need now is either more snow for powder skiing or some heat to transform the spring slopes. Sunshine however is a great improvement!

I forgot to thanks Dave, Jim and the two Oli’s for a great meal Monday night and I look forward to seeing you again all tomorrow night! (And you to George!) Stay tuned for more news tomorrow!

26 April 2016
Pretty good for a tough day in late-April!

We certainly didn’t have an easy follow up to yesterday’s stunning outing, but with grey skies, wind and no new snow we did our best. At 7AM it looked quite promising but by ‘show-time’ the clouds returned and in some areas fog became a factor. Chris and I tested the snow off the Verte and it was evident immediately that we were in for a tougher morning, however we started with a nice run in the Lower Borsat followed by the meadows before working our way to the Aiguille Percee via mostly piste. When we arrived at the Sachette the fog arrived with us and I dropped into the couloir as it looked pretty appetising from the top. Unfortunately after a couple of nice powder turns the snow became firm with some scattered snowballs so I radioed Chris to take my team of Jean and Françoise with him into the Sachette proper. I made my way down the couloir and slope below in the fog and waited for Chris to arrive via the classic route. Fortunately the fog thinned and we could see the rest of the way and considering it’s the 26th of April I thought it was pretty jolly good. While traversing to Les Boisse some lovely spring snow presented itself so we skied down through the trees, and that was a good little bonus. We skied home via the piste as the pistes were in fantastic condition and for a tough day it was a pretty good result.

My first day back in my Scarpa’s was a little painful. My right ankle was tender and I knew I loved those test boots but I didn’t realise quite how much. I really missed the sensitivity with the snow and the freedom of my ankles and maybe Mister Salomon will give me a deal on a pair next season?

Snow is forecast tonight with some partially sunny skies around 9AM so with any luck we could have a fantastic day tomorrow. A strong westerly wind is also expected so fingers crossed that the wind doesn’t spoil our day. Stay tuned!

PS Well done West Brom!

PSS Alistair brought his friend John along for the first time today. John absolutely loved it and was grinning from ear-to-ear. Bravo John!

25 April 2016
That was an absolute belter!

At 6AM I could hear the wind howling outside my bedroom window but fortunately the wind died down and wasn’t really a factor, and it didn’t seem to damage the snow either. The day started out grey but with some light towards the Fornet both Henry and I headed that way and for the most part had pretty good vis before periods of full sunshine broke through. It was also the coldest I’ve been all season with -10C and a northerly wind blowing, combined with slightly thinner spring layers. And as for the actual skiing today, it was absolutely brilliant and we relished one of the best ‘maximum-turns’ sessions of the winter! My team skied a nice warm-up off the Laisinant before skiing a cracking run in the Grand Vallon. Next up were two fantastic runs (the best of the day) in the Combe du Signal, followed by three excellent runs in the Combe du 3300, before finishing with a trip over the Col Pers. Wow, what a morning! We were all alone all morning long and it’s rare to have winter snow on the 25th of April.

I’d like to award Sylvie the ‘skier of the morning’ award for her best performance of the season. (See photos) She was flying and I’ve never seen her ski so well. Bravo Sylvie!

We ran into Chris and Suzanne who were out enjoying the stunning conditions while Andreas was busy down the valley playing golf and shot one-over par at the Val d’Isere Open. He was one-under after 15 but missed two short putts over the last couple of holes to finish at one-over. Bloody well done Andreas!

I’m unfortunately giving my test boots back to Salomon today and will be back on my Scarpa’s tomorrow. They had a hole in the sole and were missing some rubber but Didier did a brilliant job patching them up and repairing them for me. Thanks Didier!

And good news on the phone front as Millie’s dried out and Sylvie found hers.

A cloudy day is forecast for tomorrow but followed by sun for the rest of the week. Stay tuned!

24 April 2016
A winter's day!

Fortunately there was a better accumulation of fresh snow this morning and with the wind coming from a northerly direction I headed up to the Motte to ski the southerly slopes in the lee where more snow had blown in. It was -9C on Bellevarde this morning and we had a lovely winter’s day and the snow was cold and light, making for a great morning. Unfortunately we were in a cloud some of the time and couldn’t take full advantage of the wonderful snow, but it was a terrific ski and appreciated by my team of Jean, Sylvie and Louise.

I was very proud of Millie who represented Bramley in an under-14 mixed Match-Play competition against Wentworth yesterday. Firstly because she put herself in the situation playing with a 12-year-old boy in a competition, secondly because Bramley won with Millie and her partner Toby winning their match while Daisy and Oscar won their match as well, and thirdly and the most importantly because she thoroughly enjoyed herself and is looking forward to the next team event. Bravo Millie and all your teammates!

Sorry for the lack of photos today, which is a shame because we left some great tracks and had some amazing ambience. I somehow managed to slide into my camera the black plastic card which slots into the computer to protect it from dust and dirt, and left the memory card in my computer. That’s a first and must have something to do with coming to the end of a wonderful but long season! (Sylvie was going to take some photos on her phone but realised that she’d lost it somewhere during the morning. Good luck finding it Sylvie!)

It is forecast to stay cold for a few days and we should have some fantastic winter conditions ahead. All we need is a little vis and we are in business! Stay tuned!

PS Thanks for an outstanding fish-pie last night Suzanne!

PSS And good luck to the Campbell’s and Pascale in London today!

PSS I’ve posted some English spring shots!

23 April 2016
Good skiing but on-piste!

After drizzling all night I expected much more fresh snow this morning and with bad visibility we ended up staying on-piste for most of the morning. In fact, it was by far the least off-piste skiing that I’ve done in a morning for quite a few years! Still, the pistes were nice and I mixed in some technique as well, and must admit to only my second or third hot chocolate stop of the season. Chris’ team coaxed him into the 3300 but my team showed no interest in venturing off-piste as anything close by was tracked and frozen underneath.

Good luck to Millie this afternoon as she has a golf match against Wentworth at Bramley. Have fun Millie and I’ll be thinking of you!

And disaster struck last night as Millie dropped her I-phone into the toilet. Bummer Millie! There was a day when people had joke books and cross-words and such on the toilet lid but those days are long gone.

Hopefully we’ll have some fresh snow to play with tomorrow morning and a little bit of sun is forecast. I’m on my own now as the rest of the boys are off tomorrow and maybe for the rest of the season unless some people come through the door. Stay tuned!

PS And good luck to Peter, Clare and Pascale who are all running in the London Marathon tomorrow!

22 April 2016
Wildlife, flowers, and more sun than expected!

It was one of those mornings where it wasn’t at all evident as to what the best options would be. The sky was overcast all night long, which greatly restricted the re-freeze and with cloudy skies this morning it was looking like a potentially tough morning. There was a chink of light towards the Fornet and that was enough to tip the balance for Chris and I so we headed that way along with Andreas and Didier P who are working together this week with a group from St Foy. As soon as we arrived at the summit of the Laisinant Chair the Fornet was covered in a blanket of fog, which was a little worrying but we broke through into beautiful sunshine at the Col. Chris and I headed out to ski spring out wide in the Pays Desert and were teased by a couple of powder turns, but ended up on spring snow. From there we headed over the Col Pers to the Lechoir and skied lightly supporting spring snow before finishing with a great run down a funky variation of the ‘Funky’ exit. I thought it was a pretty good morning and a great result as we didn’t have a lot of options today.

We had some good wildlife sightings again today and spotted one Chamois just as we stopped to put on our ‘skins’ for the Grand Torsai and then a herd of what I think were young Bouquetin on the road out. I also had a second’s glimpse of a white hare out in the Pays Desert and we’ve seen quite a few Perdrix Blanche lately. The flowers are a little late but they’re now starting to bloom as the snow melts way and it’s nice to have a splash of colour added to the landscape.

Ten to thirty centimetres of snow is forecast tonight with snow during the day tomorrow so just when you think it’s almost over it might get interesting for the next few days. I’d be happy with 10 to 20 but I’m not looking forward to so much snow that the avalanche risk shoots up. I’ve nine more days to go before returning to England to see my beautiful girls and I’d be quite happy skiing steep and stable spring slopes from here on in. Mind you a powder morning wouldn’t be too hard to take! Stay tuned!

21 April 2016
We took advantage of a light freeze!

We were lucky with the sun today as it was much brighter than forecast and with a minimal freeze we all headed to Tignes for a change of scenery. Thomas and I skied the couloirs in the Palafour before heading towards the Sachette behind Andreas and Chris who had gone direct. Chris skied the Sachette Couloir so I skied the other one skier- right that I haven’t skied in years, and it was pretty jolly good with warm winter powder. It’s quite steep so we had some sloughing to add to the atmosphere and it was a good option. It’s wide enough on the top before it funnels down so Thomas’ team came down as well. It was great skiing right to the bottom although it was starting to get fragile and we all avoided the regular traverse and skied piste to Les Brevieres. We then had to very good runs in the Campanules and Thomas and Chris took the lifts down while I skied the northern route on the Upper Familial but I cut out as the snow turned sticky.

The weather looks a little bit tough tomorrow with cloud cover and a little drizzle. At least drizzle means snow higher up so we may get lucky and it seems the skiing is always better than anticipated when reading rubbish forecasts in the middle of the afternoon or evening. Fingers crossed that I haven’t jinxed myself!

Stay tuned for more news tomorrow as this wonderful season slowly winds down!

20 April 2016
Another outrageously good morning!

I was a little worried about the strength of the freeze last night but once on the snow we knew it had froze really well and with the help of some high mid-morning cloud the freeze lasted right to the end of the morning and beyond. Chris, Thomas and I all skied a ‘classic’ morning of big slopes in wonderful spring snow warming-up with the Cabin de la Garde, before ‘skinning’ and skiing another stunning Mont Roup. Wow, it doesn’t get any better and those big slopes are impressive! From there Thomas and I skied the Cugnai, which was slightly firm but we managed to play with the exposures and it was pretty good all the way down. We had time so we circled back up and skied it again before finishing with an excellent Marmottes into the Marmottons. It was another fantastic morning of high quality spring skiing on steep slopes, which is always a fun way to wind down the season, although it does wind me up something rotten!

Thomas had a young Austrian and his father skiing with him this morning, and young Magnus skis for the Austrian Europa Cup team. Needless to say the boy could ski and Thomas and the rest of his team thoroughly enjoyed watching him shred in the steep. Speaking of Thomas, he stayed up last night in his campervan to watch the film festival and came over to my place for breakfast. It was nice to have his company and have a chat about the day before ‘show-time’.

Meanwhile Andreas finished his two-day, one-night away tour and they had a great time. They didn’t make it quite to the top but had a fantastic run down the Mean Martin, then enjoyed drinks in the chalet in the Manchet followed by the Clochetons. That sounds like a nice ending to a couple of lovely days!

It has clouded over this afternoon and that will have an effect on the freeze tonight. Fingers crossed it does get cold enough because some sun is forecast for tomorrow morning and another morning of spring skiing wouldn’t be too hard to take. Stay tuned!

19 April 2016
Another top morning at the Fornet!

It froze well overnight and with a few extra centimetres of fresh snow we headed back to the Fornet to ski winter snow and allow the spring slopes to bake. There was some wind overnight but the snow wasn’t really affected and with the sun shining we enjoyed another terrific morning. Chris and I warmed-up off the Laisinant before skiing the Combe du Signal en-route to the Col Pers. The Col was so good I circled back around to ski it again while Chris skied the Lechoir. Meanwhile Thomas skied the Lechoir to the bottom and walked out the summer path then headed back up towards Oh My!, and I’m not too sure where Henry ended up although he may of walked out as well.

Andreas has gone off on a tour for a couple of days with Didier P and if he has Wi-Fi I’m sure he’ll post something on Facebook.

The sun is forecast to shine again tomorrow and if we have a cold night with a good freeze tomorrow should be a ‘classic’. Stay tuned!

PS I had a fantastic evening with John, Margaret and Richard last night. It was a great send off and we look forward to seeing them again next season. John is threatening to join the gym with us, which would be brilliant!

PSS I’m a little worried about tomorrow as the freeze will be minimal, which will seriously affect our options. Fingers crossed that it gets colder than forecast!

18 April 2016
Oh My!, that was a big morning!

A few more centimetres of snow fell overnight and combined with Saturday night’s snowfall it added up to a really nice cushion of fresh powder. All the boys headed to the Fornet to ski the coldest snow possible while saving the spring slopes, and everyone had an amazing morning.( Andreas, Thomas and Henry were back in action after the weekend off) I started off with a nice warm-up off the Laisinant before diving into the Grand Vallon, followed by the Combe du Signal via David’s Shoulder, then the Pays Desert with a ten-minute ‘skin’, followed by the Col Pers and the ‘Funky’ exit, which was superb, and the Oh My! to finish off a wonderful morning. Blimey, it was another good one!

It was the quietest morning of my career because for the first time ever I forgot my radio and was out of contact with the boys all morning. I could see their tracks here and there and knew what people were up to, and I must say there were some lovely sets of ‘Alpine’ tracks dotted around the Fornet. Bravo boys!

After a six-year absence it was great to have Mike Cran back. Mike was a little nervous first thing but he skied brilliantly and enjoyed a stunning comeback. Well done Mike! I’d also like to mention Dave H who skied with me last week. Dave was coming off a knee injury from last season when he damaged ligaments getting off a chairlift and he had a brilliant week.

I must get going as I’ve John and Margaret, along with Richard, coming for dinner tonight. They leave tomorrow morning so I thought I’d save Margaret some washing up and cooking tonight. Plus it’s always nice to see them!

It’s snowing lightly again this afternoon and we may see another 5 to 10 cm’s before morning, when the sun is forecast to shine! Stay tuned!

17 April 2016
Another one out of the fire!

The morning wasn’t looking too promising but when we arrived at the Gourmandine a ‘light-bulb’ appeared towards the Fornet and that was enough for Chris and I to head that way. There was a decent cushion of fresh snow but after testing the Lower Combe du Signal we knew we needed ‘clean’ underfoot and we didn’t trust the Pays Desert as it’s been skied to death, so after a few lovely runs on the Pissaillas pistes we headed over the Col Pers. The Col Pers was excellent with a good 15cm’s of fresh snow on the top section and as we skied lower the snow was less deep and warmer, but good skiing right to the bottom of the Grand Torsai. We then headed back up and entered the Vallonnet to ski wonderful winter snow in the upper combe, before turning left towards Oh My! Oh My! Was excellent with a nice firm base and 10cm’s on top and I thoroughly enjoyed my ski down, but when I stopped and turned around about 5000 snowballs had followed me down! I’ve never experienced that before and everyone left their tracks through the snowballs, which you didn’t feel, to keep the rest of the mountain ‘clean’. I felt a bit bad about the mess but you can’t do much more than ski north at altitude and we did minimise it by skiing in the snowballs and sometimes in the same track.

I thought it was a fantastic morning and another potential ‘stinker’ turned out to be a hugely satisfying morning. It was Penny’s last day of her season and what a finish, and Jean was really pleased to have his daughter Cathie skiing with us.

After six-days at the gym I’m giving it a miss today and going to watch Leicester v West Ham instead. This is one game I wouldn’t mind losing as I’m desperate for the Foxes to win the title. Stay tuned!

PS What a match! The referee had a poor game, the Hammers weren’t much better and I was happy that Leicester equalised at the death. It was probably a fair result in the end but what a tough game to officiate.

16 April 2016
From 'doom and gloom' to stunning!

It was all ‘doom and gloom’ on Radio Val this morning with +8C in town, drizzle, wind and grey skies. Chris and I had thought of going over the Col Pers to ski the Glacier Pers but with the drizzle we didn’t want to deal with the Grand Torsai around 12:30 so we headed for the Motte. But on top of the Borsat we realised that it had frozen better than forecast and with a bit of light towards Mont Roup we changed our plans again and skied a fantastic run down the meadow to the Cabin de la Garde before ‘skinning’ up to Mont Roup. We started off in pretty gloomy conditions but it was forecast to clear up a little and we hoped that by the time we arrived and were ready to ski that we’d have better visibility. We weren’t disappointed as on cue the skies cleared and we skied wonderful snow top-to-bottom with excellent support. We had the bonus of a fantastic wildlife show with Perdrix and Chamois up close and personal. (See photos)

It was starting to warm up by this time but Chris and I managed to squeeze in a great run in the Super Arcelle after ‘skinning’ up to the Col de la Madeleine. It was becoming fragile towards the bottom but we searched out supporting snow where it had been previously skied and it worked right to the bottom. There was no question of being able to ski the Marmottons/Marmottes so we finished off a stunning morning on the piste.

I had the pleasure of skiing with Joe for the past three days. He’s never skied with us before and he’s had three fantastic days and we’re looking forward to seeing more of him in the future. It was also nice to have Simon back on Wednesday as well as Ron who had a brilliant week. See you all next season boys!

Glen Allen stopped by the Gourmandine to say hello this morning and ask me about going to India with Mary Anne. He and Flash are planning on going for Christmas and I’m jealous as I know they’ll have a fabulous time and be incredibly well taken care of. (I really want to go again!)

And thanks Michele and Cassius for a fantastic evening last night at the Baraque and Lodge!

Stay tuned and come on Big Sam!

PS Andreas is playing tennis against the Club Champ this afternoon. Give him heaps Andreas!

15 April 2016
Fewer options than anticipated!

We had a pretty good result today but it was a much tougher morning and we had fewer options than I thought we would while having a laugh with Henry, Dan and Mike at the Gourmandine. (Talk about not congratulating yourself while you’re still in motion, but I hadn’t even started yet!) I expected more of a transformation with a decent supporting layer with a nice wintery texture on top because it wasn’t warm enough yesterday for a full transformation to spring snow. But there was much less of a transformation and although we had a good support layer the surface was a little trickier than anticipated. Chris and I started with a Little Lavachet and the surfaced layer sloughed leaving us with a nice spring surface to ski down. From there we skied the Sachette Couloir, which had some nice warm powder all the way down to the flats. I was then expecting to hit spring snow on the sunny-side but there was such an accumulation of fresh snow from yesterday that we needed to stay north in the warm powder. The snow became too sticky so we headed back to the piste and I finished off the morning with some technique, which never goes amiss.

Henry was entertaining a group of journalists today in conjunction with Mark Warner and after starting around the Aiguille Percee he back peddled towards the Motte to gain altitude. It wasn’t the easiest day to impress the press but I’m sure Henry did a pretty good job of it. My friend Larry used to say, “When in doubt, dazzle them with your footwork!” It was that type of morning but there was some good skiing to be had nonetheless.

Hopefully we’ll get a decent freeze tonight although I’m not counting on it, and we should see some sunshine tomorrow. I’m pretty certain that we’ll be spending the morning at altitude, either on the Pissaillas Glacier or the Grande Motte, wind permitting. Stay tuned!

14 April 2016
Sunny skies and wonderful views!

With the heavy snowfall yesterday afternoon I expected a little more fresh snow this morning, but the sun was shining and we had a lovely cushion of fresh snow to enjoy. All the team headed up to the Fornet where the snow would remain cold and we all had a great morning. We all warmed-up of the Laisinant and then I skied the shoulder in the Combe du Signal before diving over the Col Pers. The Col Pers was excellent top-to-bottom and we exited through the ‘Funky’ route before heading back up to ski Oh My! (M & K) and then Katie’s Run. All the boys did various routes and everyone had a cracking good morning. (See photos)

I had a new skier named Joe today and he’d never been over the Col Pers before, which is always a treat. We sometimes forget how stunning it is back there and Joe thoroughly appreciated the experience, and having great snow and sunshine never hurts!

Thanks Geoff for supper and the footie last night. I was disappointed with the Hammers performance, especially Payet who probably had his worst game of the season as far as delivering killer balls into the box goes. Still, United played well and it was a fantastic finish as Man U held on. Geoff was a gracious winner which always helps, thanks Geoff!

Tomorrow’s weather isn’t looking the best with clouds expected most of the day, but I’ll wait until the morning to worry about that. Stay tuned!

PS We added a few stones to the late Graham Plant’s Cairn on the Grand Torsai. Graham was a great character and we all had a few moments of thought in his memory.

13 April 2016
Trickier weather conditions but a stunning result!

Gill reported a fantastic day yesterday for her 50th birthday. The sun was shining in all its glory and along friends and family she went for a 5-mile walk followed by a lovely lunch in Shere. In the evening Gill went out to dinner with her Mum and Dad, Millie, Katie, her brother and sister, and Wils and Rosie. It was a perfect day and she was really pleased with the way it all went, especially the sunshine!

I thought yesterday was an incredible morning of spring skiing and with tricky weather conditions and low expectations I thought today was a pretty special morning as well. Chris and I headed to the Face du Charvet as it had taken some early morning sun before the clouds started to appear and it had a chance of being soft. The top was excellent and the bottom could have been a tad softer but since we were throwing the dice a little it was a great result. It was evident that the transformation was going to be slow due to the clouds and we needed ‘clean’ snow underfoot so we headed to the Cabin de la Garde, which was lovely, en-route to Mont Roup. We skied it an hour later than yesterday and it was exquisite top-to-bottom, and we even had the sun pop out for our descent! From there we skied an excellent Marmottons to the bottom (because I missed my exit) before skiing the Marmottons into the Marmottes to finish. It was an extremely satisfying morning so Michele dragged the entire group off to Bananas for a beer!

Andreas and Henry headed towards Tignes to ski the Glattier and whatever else presented itself and although I haven’t had a report I’m sure they had a great morning.

Between 10 and 40 cm’s of snow is expected tonight with a sunny day tomorrow. Hopefully it will snow about 10 to 15 cm’s which would give us a powder day tomorrow while cleaning up the tracks and having a chance of transforming back to spring snow within a day. (40cm’s of fresh snow takes much longer to transform to spring snow and the mountain gets trashed with deep powder tracks in the meantime leaving the spring slopes unskiable) Stay tuned for more news tomorrow and come on you Hammers!

PS Thanks very much to John and Margaret for a fantastic dinner party last night. As Richard said, “It was nice to have a group of people who’d all known one another for at least 25 years!” Except Luke of course but we’ve all know him since he was a baby!

PSS And at this time of year with the snow getting so sticky I’ve been hot-waxing my skis on the terrace every afternoon. If you don’t have the opportunity to wax your own skis get into Jean Sports to have your skis waxed as it makes an enormous difference.

PSSS Andreas just reported a great morning as well with lunch at the Panoramique, nice one boys!

12 April 2016
A big Happy 50th to Gill !!!!!

It was my beautiful wife’s 50th birthday today and while she celebrated back in England with friends and family I was thinking of her as I had one of my finest spring morning’s in years. It was about as perfect as it can get from the first to the very last turn as every slope we skied was ‘clean’ with just the right texture. We started off with a 15-minute ‘skin’ for a fantastic run down the Crete du Genepy on the steep slopes above the pond, followed by an exquisite Mont Roup, then a wonderful Col de la Madeleine after a ten-minute walk, and we finished off with a brilliant Marmottons into the Marmottes to finish. Blimey it was good! Chris skied the same as my team with Andreas and Ian skiing similar in the same sector, while Thomas skied the Couloir 3500 off the Grande Motte. Henry was also out there somewhere but I’ve no idea where he skied today.

The morning was so good that I didn’t want to stop so I phoned my mate John Ellis and met him up at the Fornet cable-car. From there we skied a great run down Millie’s Run (Chez Henry) in the Grand Vallon before dropping into the Vallonnet to ski the always impressive Oh My! John said, “This is a little steeper than what I’ve been skiing lately” but he was rock-solid and performed brilliantly. It was just like old times and it was a real pleasure to get him out there. (See photos)

And a huge Happy Birthday to Gill! Have a great day and I’ll see you May 2nd.

Tomorrow’s weather is a bit iffy so we’ll wait and see what we have to deal with. Fingers crossed and stay tuned!

11 April 2016
A good result on a potentially tricky morning!

Last night I had pretty good expectations for today as it was forecast to freeze followed by a bright sunny morning and I had visions of classic spring slopes in pristine condition. It certainly froze overnight but the clouds rolled in earlier than expected and the Fornet was under cloud straight away, the Motte was looking dodgy and even the Mont Roup/ Charvet sector was clouding over. So, we headed towards the Aiguille Percee where the sun was shining longest and the slopes had a chance to take some warmth before the clouds blocked out the sun. I skied over via the Little Lavachet, which was much better than it might have been. The debris was easy to cross and the avalanche was impressive, but the best bit was the snow on the other side was clean with a nice texture on a support layer, and miles better than the frozen piste. Next up was a run on the Tourne that had had some early sun and it was soft enough, although another 15-minutes would have helped. Then we went over the little Col into the Sachette with Andreas and Chris and that was pretty good top-to-bottom. For a morning without enough sunshine I thought we did as well as we possibly could have, and I was pleased with the result.

After 35-years of riding that dreadful chair up to the Aiguille Percee I noticed something I’d never really seen before. Just to the right of the Aiguille is what’s left of another Aiguille that probably fell apart 1000 years ago. You can see where the hole was and an arm on either side that would have supported the arch. Once noticed it’s incredibly obvious and I can’t believe it’s taken me 1000 chair-lift rides to finally see it! (See photos)

What a great result for Leicester yesterday and what a fabulous final round for Danny Willet, who’s life will never be the same after winning the Masters. He’s the first Brit to win since Faldo in 96 and the first European in 17-years. What a wonderful young player with a huge future ahead of him, and logging on this morning at 7AM and seeing the result was a great start to the day!

Similar weather is forecast for tomorrow and we’ll see what the day brings. Stay tuned!

10 April 2016
A brilliant morning with Millie!

The sun was shining today for the girls last day of their season and while Katie and Gill skied with Margaret I had the pleasure of Millie joining my group for the morning. Chris, Thomas, Henry and I all headed to Tignes to ski spring snow and everyone had a fantastic morning covering a lot of ground. Chris skied the Lavachet, Glattier, Sachette and Familial while my team skied off- the Verte, the Borsat, the Lognan, from the Aiguille Percee down through a Palafour couloir, the Sachette and the Familial to finish. Both Thomas and Henry skied variations and combinations of and it was a cracking morning enjoyed by all, and Millie loved it!

I’m enjoying the banter at the Gourmandine in the morning as Dan Egan and his friend Mike are there along with Henry and the rest of our team. Dan and Henry go back a long way as they are both from the Boston area and our morning meeting is always good for a few laughs.

The roads to Lyon were incredibly busy today and I’ve never seen so many Gendarmes on duty. The two motorcycle cops who caught me a couple of years ago and ruined my rally driving through their patch had caught someone in exactly the same place as me. Then Gill spotted a couple of motorcycles lying in wait outside the airport and she reminded me to take it easy when leaving. Sure enough this guy went flying past me and was pulled over thirty seconds later. Good spot Gill! Unfortunately I was flashed between Albertville and Moutiers doing 110 in the 90-zone by an innocent looking car in a lay-by. Hopefully I’ll be saved by the UK plates but keeping a modern car down to 90 isn’t easy! Lame excuse but the only one I have!

It was a brilliant win for Leicester today as they inch towards the impossible. Tottenham kept the pressure up by thrashing Man U but it’s getting agonisingly close to the finish line for Foxes.

We should see some more sunshine tomorrow along with some wind. The freeze won’t be as strong tonight but it should get cold enough for another good morning of spring skiing. Stay tuned and I’ll miss you girls!

9 April 2016
What a truly stunning day!

It snowed 20cm’s overnight and like yesterday we started off in the clouds but broke through into stunning blue skies near the summit of the Laisinant chair. We had an absolutely wonderful morning starting off with great snow and a clean base off the Laisinant chair, followed by a cracker in the Combe du Signal, then the Pays Desert into the 3300, followed by a Pays Desert with a little ‘skin’ and finished off with a fabulous Col Pers. (See photos) It was only Gill’s third off-piste morning of the season but it was a ‘maximum-turn’ outing of high quality and one to savoir! Chris, Thomas, and Henry were all on action at the Fornet enjoying the stunning conditions)

After a terrific lunch with the girls and John, Margaret and Luke at Les Crozets the girls and I headed up to ski a Grand Vallon and Combe du Signal. We were hoping to get into the Vallonnet but the fog restricted our opportunities. Still, we made the most of it had enjoyed a great family ski.

Thanks again to Luke for taking the girls this morning. They had a fantastic time again and it also allowed Gill to ski with me. Thanks Luke!

I must run as I’ve a lot to do with the girls leaving tomorrow. Stay tuned for more news tomorrow and bravo you Hammers!

PS I had a lovely drink with Dave Watts at the Taverne last night. I haven’t seen him in a few years and it was great to catch up and talk sports! I’m off to the airport tomorrow so the update my be late.

8 April 2016
A troublesome sea-of-cloud!

It was drizzling on my way home last night and with some white on the trees of Solaise I expected a little bit more cushion this morning than we had. We headed up to the Fornet and started off in sunshine before the sea-of-cloud enveloped us. The fog was an unwanted complication to the morning but it was pretty good skiing for the most part. Only the Pissaillas and Grande Motte were above the cloud so it was a 50/50 call this morning at the Gourmandine and I did expect the new snow to soften the spring snow a bit more than it did, but we did our best. Snow is forecast for tonight so we should be back to a day or two of powder in the next couple of days.

I’d like to give Martin’s daughters Amelia and Evelyn a mention. Both of them have performed admirably while skiing with Henry this week. Well done girls!

Derek was awarded his 20-years Fidelity Medal last night by none other than Patrick Chevallot at the Baraque. It was a great presentation complete with wonderful nibbles and drinks and well done to Richard Finlay for finding his way in to help with the celebrations! Derek has promised to wear his medal while Heli-skiing in Canada next year and Patrick was impressed with how many heli-skiers Derek has introduced to Val d’Isere. Bravo Derek!

And thank you very much to Caroline for a wonderful evening at the Taverne d’Alsace last night. (and for the fantastic variety of your fridge’s contents)

Stay tuned for more news tomorrow!

8 April 2016
A troublesome sea-of-cloud!

It was drizzling on my way home last night and with some white on the trees of Solaise I expected a little bit more cushion this morning than we had. We headed up to the Fornet and started off in sunshine before the sea-of-cloud enveloped us. The fog was an unwanted complication to the morning but it was pretty good skiing for the most part. Only the Pissaillas and Grande Motte were above the cloud so it was a 50/50 call this morning at the Gourmandine and I did expect the new snow to soften the spring snow a bit more than it did, but we did our best. Snow is forecast for tonight so we should be back to a day or two of powder in the next couple of days.

I’d like to give Martin’s daughters Amelia and Evelyn a mention. Both of them have performed admirably while skiing with Henry this week. Well done girls!

Derek was awarded his 20-years Fidelity Medal last night by none other than Patrick Chevallot at the Baraque. It was a great presentation complete with wonderful nibbles and drinks and well done to Richard Finlay for finding his way in to help with the celebrations! Derek has promised to wear his medal while Heli-skiing in Canada next year and Patrick was impressed with how many heli-skiers Derek has introduced to Val d’Isere. Bravo Derek!

And thank you very much to Caroline for a wonderful evening at the Taverne d’Alsace last night. (and for the fantastic variety of your fridge’s contents)

Stay tuned for more news tomorrow!

7 April 2016
Great morning, maybe my best ever afternoon?

After what seems an eternity the sun finally appeared and we all had a superb day. We headed to Tignes will the powder was in transition and skied great snow off the Borsat, around the Palafour, in the Sachette, the Campanules and the Familial to finish. It was a cracking morning and it was so wonderful to be able to see again!

My afternoon was truly one of the finest afternoon’s of spring skiing I’ve ever experienced, and to share it with Millie and Katie made it that much more special. Chris reported ‘clean’ snow in the Grand Vallon so the girls and I had two perfect runs in the steep Millie’s Run (Chez Henry in winter) before we met up with Chris and Tejina. We then skied Millie’s run again before heading back up and dropping into the Vallonnet and traversing back around the corner past Oh My! It was clean and steep to the valley floor, and it was absolutely exquisite! (See photos) It was too good to stop and all the girls wanted more so we did it again and finished at 4:30. Wow!

Thanks very much to John and Margaret’s grandson Luke who took Millie and Katie for a lesson/ski this morning. The girls loved it and it allowed Gill to ski with me off-piste for only the second time all season. Thanks Luke, you’re a star!

I’m getting ready to go to the Baraque for Derek’s Medal ceremony. It should be fun and I’ll get some photos and post them tomorrow.

Andreas and Ness had a huge disappointment yesterday. Ness has been practising her singing for an audition to get into a music school and she sang in front of the judges with Andreas proudly accompanying her on his guitar. She sang beautifully and nailed all her notes and she and Andreas were really pleased with their performance. Then the judges announced that they weren’t taking in anyone who didn’t play an instrument as well! They were livid as this should have been stated months ago and Andreas would have had the chance to get Ness started on the guitar or piano. Well done Ness and your Mum and Dad were really proud of you, and so are we!

I’m not too sure about tomorrow’s weather but I’m buzzing after my afternoon with the girls. Stay tuned!

6 April 2016
A belter up on the Motte!

After two stunning days at the Fornet it was time for a change of sector and scenery so the team headed towards Tignes. It was evident from the first turns off the Verte that we were in for a fantastic morning and everyone had a brilliant ski. From the Verte we skied a great run in the Borsat and down through the meadows before heading up to the Motte where we skied one off the Leisse, which was good but warm, before skiing three rotations on the Rosolin. The Rosolin was excellent but got a little warmer with each passage but no one was complaining too much about that! Thomas and Chris waited for the cable-car to open and got the first ride up, which I’m sure was wonderful.

I’m back out this afternoon with Lottie and Heather and then I’m hoping to ski with the girls for their last three afternoons. Chris is skiing all-day with Tejina and the two of them are covering some ground! And Chris has an extra bounce in his step as Suzanne returns tonight after almost three weeks away. Welcome back Suzanne!

Stay tuned as sunshine is forecast for tomorrow!

5 April 2016
Momentarily back to winter!

Chris and I had a great morning at the Fornet yesterday and we knew if the wind wasn’t a factor that we’d have fresh snow again today. But, wow, it was even better than anticipated and all the boys had a fantastic morning in at least 20cm’s of great snow. For the most part the snow was cold enough but it did warm up in places although no one was complaining! The light wasn’t brilliant but it was enough to navigate about and the vis did improve towards the end of the morning, which was good news as both Thomas and I were in our sunglasses! (Thomas gave his goggles to a client while I forgot mine!)

I had another top afternoon with Tom and Charlie and we managed to make some tracks off-piste off the Verte. (See photos) Meanwhile Chris was out with Tejina and I’m sure they stayed up at the Fornet.(Good work this morning in the flat-light Chris!)

It’s drizzling in town at 5:25PM, which means snow at altitude and some sun is forecast to shine tomorrow, which is good news for tourists but not so good for powder hounds. And there goes our private powder stash! Stay tuned!

PS Gill, Millie, Katie and I had a lovely drinks session at the baraque with Ellie, Jesse and lara last night. It’s always great to see them and the girls have a good laugh together!

4 April 2016
Wow, that was a brilliant result!

It was slightly colder last night and the wind was still blowing but not nearly as strongly as it has over the past few days, so Chris and I headed up to the Fornet to capitalize on any fresh snow. And wow, what a morning! We were treated to strips and gullies with anywhere between 5 and 15cm’s of fresh creamy snow and it was wonderful to have a ‘winter-feel’ underfoot again. After a nice run around the Combe du Geant while waiting for the T-Bar to open we had a great run in the Pays Desert and an even better run over the Col Pers. It was excellent all the way to the Grand Torsai before turning to more spring-like conditions which worked right to the bottom. We were the only ones in sight and having the place to ourselves was an extra bonus. (See photos)

Chris was out all day with Tejina, Andreas was working this afternoon, and I had the pleasure of skiing with Jerry Hill’s nephews Tom (15) and his younger brother Charlie (13). They are a couple of pretty cool kids and Tom sails, play trumpet, and is influenced by Miles Davis, while Charlie prefers rugby and electric, acoustic and bass guitars. Rock on boys and I’ll see you again tomorrow afternoon!

There was a huge avalanche in the Marmottes/Marmottons today. It starts up high in the rock and then spreads out to about 150 metres. We need some cold weather sooner or later to stabilise the big spring slopes so that we have something to ski once the sun returns.

The weather does suck for this time of year but I must say I’ve been enjoying the skiing anyway. We’ve been coming up with good outings daily but none of us would complain if it cooled down at night and the sun came out. It will happen one of these days! Stay tuned!

3 April 2016
Another possible 'stinker' avoided!

After several warm, wet days and warm nights without a proper refreeze the snowpack has been increasing unstable with each passing day, and last night around 6:45PM a huge avalanche came down from the Super L and onto the Laisinant piste. (and through the L and Mattis junction) Thank goodness it was at night and not during the afternoon when a lot of people could have been in its path! Anyway, avalanches letting go on their own at night is cause for concern and it was on Chris and my minds when we set off this morning. Fortunately we had a slightly better freeze last night and because it was too windy at the Fornet with potential 100km/h gusts we headed to shelter in the Sachette. We skied beautiful piste into Tignes la Lac before skiing the Sachette Couloir, which was excellent, and then continued through the meadows before cutting out back to the piste of avoid ‘quick-snow’! On the way home we finished off with the Familial and all in all it was a jolly good morning in pretty tough conditions. Bravo to all those aboard this morning! (See photos)

More of the same is forecast for tomorrow and one could get depressed about it all except that it’s almost always much better than anticipated and the skiing is actually jolly good with a spring-snow-feel on the pistes and good spring snow off-piste. It could be worse although my wife for one would love to see the sun!

Come on Leicester!

2 April 2016
Making the best of it during a difficult run!

The warm, grey and windy weather continued but all the boys did a pretty good job dealing with tough and limited conditions. After a very successful day at the Fornet yesterday it was time to head to Tignes for a change of scenery and we skied off the Verte, Borsat, Grande Motte, the ‘Wall’, the Chardonnet and Chris continued on into the Sachette to lunch in Les Brevieres with Tejina. It was a rather funky morning as I skied a couple of lines that I’ve never been drawn to before and it’s amazing how desperation can open one’s eyes! Top marks boys for a great morning in uninspiring conditions.

I forgot to mention my gaff with my ‘skins’ yesterday, which should make Harry feel better. I haven’t totally become accustomed to my new ‘pin’ bindings and I forgot to release the ski-brakes before taking off my ‘skins’. I took one ‘skin’ off and the instant I placed my ski down in the snow it shot off like a rocket over a cornice. Luckily it landed tip down in the snow and planted itself or I would have been in a spot of bother. Hopefully I’ll file that away for future use!

Thanks very much to Geoff and Inga for a brilliant drinks session last night. It was a big effort with lovely food and stunning wines along with great company. Thanks again and it was very much appreciated!

Similar weather is forecast again for tomorrow with perhaps a little less wind so we’ll need to just get on with it. Stay tuned!

Come on you Hammers!

1 April 2016
Tricky times but excellent skiing!

We had another tricky day but it didn’t have the same potential ‘stinker’ factor as yesterday. Chris, Andreas and I headed up to the Fornet to face the dragon (wind) and it was evident immediately that we had the chance of a pretty good morning. After a warm-up run on nice supporting snow with a few cm’s of fresh on top Chris and I headed over the Col to ski the Glacier Pers, which was jolly good top-to-bottom. I exited out my funky route in lovely clean snow and loads of ambience as it’s a pretty impressive route. Andreas stayed up on the Glacier and had a great morning while Thomas and Henry had excellent skiing in Tignes. Bravo boys!

I had a brilliant social evening last night as I met my brother-in-law Rob W at the Baraque for a drink, then Ellie, Matt and Lara came in and they’re always great fun. I also saw Suzanne and Sally and I haven’t seen Sally since the Alamo days and that’s going back some! Then I picked up Gill and we went off to Derek’s for his birthday drinks session, which was fantastic. Thanks Derek! It was a top evening to say the least.

And thanks to Russell for taking the girls skiing this morning. They had a fabulous time as always!

I must run so that’s all for today. Stay tuned!

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