Wayne's Daily Diary Archive

20 June 2007

31 January 2017
Ouch, that was close!!!

Some snow is finally falling and we had 5 to 10cm’s last night and that added up a pretty jolly good morning. It was mild and almost raining in the village but the higher we went the deeper and drier the snow so we spent most of our morning at altitude off the Grande Motte. We warmed up for the first time in ages off the Verte, followed by the Borsat and meadows into Tignes. TJ and I then skied 135-turns off the Motte (Thomas and Chris came in behind us) while Andreas had an excellent run in the Chardonnet. I then hooked up with Andreas as we skied the Genepy/Cairn and Familial on the way home.

The light was pretty flat for the most part and we even had some dreaded fog patches to deal with at times, but for the most part the skiing was pretty comfortable. I did take a big hit off the Motte by stepping off a rat-track that was a two-metre drop. I knew the piste-bashers cut a trail across our path and where it roughly would be so after 100-turns I started to peer into the gloom to locate it. I finally saw it and stopped, got the team over it safely, then stepped forward to find a second track had been cut, which is higher unusual but will be filed away for future reference! It wasn’t as bad as the one Jean and I dropped off last season, but I was fortunate to not have noodled myself!

With all the wind we’ve had there were some new holes and drifts and lots of reasons for never stopping below the guide or drifting away from the safety of the track. We keep going on at people about staying above and following the track and anyone not playing by the rules could have hurt themselves quite easily this morning.

At 4:30PM it is still snowing so we should have an excellent cushion tomorrow morning, and some sunshine to go with it! Stay tuned!

30 January 2017
Making the most of it!!!!

After six or seven days in a row up at the Fornet I very nearly caved into a change of sector and scenery by heading to Tignes, but at the last second we jumped on the bus to the Fornet. I’m glad I did as we had another excellent morning skiing a couple of pitches in the Col Pers before ‘skinning’ back up to the Glacier Pers, which like yesterday was great top-to-bottom. The gorge is always a brilliant end to any morning and it was another cracking morning even though our options are pretty limited. (Seven straight days at the Fornet is proof of that!) Chris, Andreas, Thomas,TJ and Henry were all up over the Col today enjoying the conditions and ambience.

We had the best of the light today, which was much better than expected, and as the forecasted snow was moving in from Tignes we stayed in excellent to decent light all morning long. Coming out through the gorge you could see that it was snowing in Tignes and by 1:45 PM lovely flakes started to fall here in the village. It is forecast to snow tonight and fingers crossed that we get a decent amount as a fresh canvas is something we haven’t had too often this season. Stay tuned!

29 January 2017
Today will take some beating!!!!

What an extraordinary day that was! First up was a stunning ski to celebrate Chris’ birthday and we ‘skinned’ to some fantastic snow without a track on the mountain. It was excellent top-to-bottom and then we were treated to another wildlife show. We found another chamois that may have died in avalanche earlier in the winter and was dug up last night, or the two chamois we’ve seen the past few days may have been killed by wolves drifting over the border from Italy. They’re big animals to be hunted down and killed by a fox and there have been some sightings of wolves near Courcheval.

Then I found out the Roger and Rafa were deadlocked at 3-3 in the five set while coming home on the bus. At this stage I didn’t know the Roger was losing the fifth set 3-1 and was seriously on the ropes against his nemesis Nadal. I sat at home not looking for fear of jinxing him when Andreas phoned to give me the fantastic news that Roger had won. Andreas was a bit teary himself as he watch the match and the speeches and Roger’s victory made a wonderful day even better. What an achievement for both men and after winning his 18 Grand Slam at 35 years-old, after being out for six months because of injury, and after a five-year drought since his last slam, Roger will be able to retire in peace although he’ll now be thinking about winning Wimbledon again! Just when Andy and Novak thought they had it all to themselves up pop Roger and Rafa to make it all more interesting again!

The next thing that happened was when I was parking my car at Chris and Suzanne’s to do my photos for the Valdinet site (up tomorrow). This parapenter was coming in low right at me, and I thought ‘ this is going to be close’! At the last second he needed to lift his legs to clear the chimney on the chalet in front of me before he crashed into a light-post that was just outside my side-window! Blimey, I couldn’t believe it! He was so lucky to not have seriously injured himself and his pal who had already landed safely and was watching him come in thought it was hilarious. It’s still only 5:45 so who knows what else may occur today?

And Chris shares a birthday with the girls Grandpa Fred, and the girls are there now celebrating with him. Happy Birthday Fred and have a fantastic time in India!

Stay tuned for more fun tomorrow! (Although today will be tough to beat!)

PS TJ’s boys Rollie and Oscar arrived safely last night and are ready to go. Have a great time boys!

28 January 2017
Adventure in the gorge!!!!!

The entire team skied in the same sector today and the east wind did its job again last night laying down another lovely cushion of fresh snow. There was 10 to 15 in places, 20cm’s in others, some nice creamy strips on a smooth base, and places where we just had to use the souffle as a last resort. We had chamois and bouquetin above and Chris had two Canadians from Vancouver, Mike and Bruce, who thoroughly enjoyed their morning. (We have had about twenty Canadians this week as Thomas, Jerome, and Yohann were all skiing with Canadian groups. Oh Canada!)

We had much more fun than usual in the gorge this morning as one of Chris’ clients came pretty close to going into the drink. Chris pulled from above while I pushed from below and all was well in the end. Fortunately it wasn’t in a bad place and the worst that could have happened would have been wet, freezing cold feet, which would have been a morning-wrecker instead of a life-wrecker! Hugh took some great photos so hopefully we’ll get them up sometime soon.

TJ’s youngest boys Rollie and Oscar arrive tonight and will be skiing with their Dad tomorrow with Sandy’s team. TJ is pretty excited about their arrival while my girls arrive two-weeks tomorrow so I’m starting to count down the days. Millie is bringing a school friend so that should be fun and add a different dynamic to the week.

I made it to the gym today for the fifth-day-in-a-row, which is my best so far this season. I’m starting to feel strong again and should be in good shape for next golf season! Chris is threatening to join me but hasn’t yet taken the plunge and hopefully he and Suzanne will start coming tomorrow.

I thought it was another excellent day on the mountain and tomorrow is shaping up to be pretty good as well. Stay tuned!

27 January 2017
What a cracking good ski!!!!

Chris and I headed into the wind and the weather for the third day in a row and once again we were rewarded with a fantastic morning with ten to 15cm’s of fresh snow in places, some creamy snow in others and strips of souffle that always work as a last resort. The ambience was impressive and everyone had a brilliant time topped off with a bouquetin sighting!. I’m still in code-mode as times are tough but things are improving although we’ve managed some pretty good skiing through this tough patch.

Andreas had a great day in Tignes with his Vikings while TJ, Jerome and Yohann were all in action today. We all benefited from the light being better than forecast and hopefully we’ll see a little more snow tonight (little meaning not much) but it is blowing snow in and I’m counting on another excellent day tomorrow. All we’ll need is a little light to show us the way!

Sports Report: Wow Roger and Rafa! Who would have expected those two guys to play such stunning tennis, Roger at 35-years-of-age and after being out for six months through injury, and Rafa who has endured years of physical problems. Both men will be looking to crown their glorious careers in the most glorious of fashions and this will be the toughest loss that one of them will have ever suffered. Sport just doesn’t get any classier than a contest like this between the two best players to have ever graced a tennis court! Come on Roger!

Stay tuned!

26 January 2017
Blowing a hoolie near the border!!!

I thought I’d do the update while waiting to meet TJ for a drink. It was a totally different day today as the wind was howling and the sky was grey, meaning flat-light for parts of the morning. Chris and I headed into the teeth of the wind and had a great trip over the Col Pers and through the gorge. I had some new skiers and we thought ádventure’ would be a good theme for the morning. I had Neil, Robert, Andrew and David (6 week skier) and the boys did the business, as did Terry, Ian and the rest of Chris’ team!

Meanwhile Andreas braved the elements and headed for the Col des Fours, bravo Vikings!, while TJ headed towards shelter and better light in Tignes. Thomas and his pals were out there somewhere but I’m not too sure where they skied.

It looks as if we’re in for a stormy weekend but the good news is we should start to see some snow and February is usually a great month for snow. Fingers crossed on that one!

Some photos of the past few days are up on the Valdinet site, but I can only post between ten and twelve, which is about the amount I normally post on a daily basis so don’t expect a starring role!

Come on Roger!!!!!!!! and stay tuned!

25 January 2017
Wow, that was a nice surprise!!!

We thought we’d change sector today and go for ambience and a scenic tour but we didn’t expect the 5 to 10cm’s that had floated in on the wind! Wow, what a difference, not only to the feel underfoot but to everyone’s spirit as well and it all added up to a cracking good morning with smiles all around. I had a new skier show up from down the valley who hasn’t skied with us before and Rupert had a brilliant time complete with a bouquetin show to finish. There was absolutely no one around except for Chris, TJ and Henry and we all felt pretty good about our morning’s work!

Thomas and Jerome are skiing with the Wendell’s Canadian team, Yohann is also skiing with us and Andreas had the day off to take care of paperwork, but is back in action tomorrow.

I’m managing to get to the gym again as the girls aren’t here for the moment, the afternoons have calmed down, I’ve recovered from whatever was trying to get into my system, and not having any photos to deal with has all added up to more time in the afternoons. Chris is hoping to join me soon so I’m looking forward to that.

No snow is forecast although we did have some miraculously appear during the night and Millie tells me we have snow on the way according to her i-phone from the UK. Fingers crossed that Millie is right! Stay tuned and the last few days photos will appear on the Valdinet site on Friday.

PS Well done to Andreas and TJ who have both gone up the mountain for the annual torchlight descent memorial for ‘Friends Lost in the Mountains’.

24 January 2017
Back in action!!!!

Good old Chris has lent me a computer so that I can continue with the diary, but photos are still beyond us for the moment. Photos are still updated on Monday and Friday’s on the Valdinet website that I also write for, so have a look!

We had another great morning and I’m really impressed with the work all the boys are doing. Bravo boys! It’s ‘bottom-of-the-barrel’ time but fortunately the barrel seems pretty deep and we keep scratching out excellent skiing. Thomas is skiing with Canadians along with his pal Jerome, his friend Yohann is also helping us out, and TJ is in action along with Henry. It’s business as usual for Chris and I and Andreas did a great job with some Vikings today as they skied all day long!

It has warmed significantly and a few days ago when I drove up to Chris’ the thermometer read -18.5C and today it registers a balmy -2C! The sun is still beating down and unfortunately no snow is forecast in the immediate future.

I can collect emails again but I’ve no address book so I can’t get in touch until you get in touch with me.

Stay tuned and don’t forget to check out the Valdinet site for photos!

23 January 2017
Mini Terre Rouge

Wayne sniffed out a mini Terre Rouge with excellent snow. The warmer temperatures are very welcome. Photos will be posted as soon as possible once the new laptop arrives. thanks to Geoff D. and Red Ray for sorting that out. In the meantime its a third party update. Chris

22 January 2017
Trying to cope without my computer!!!!

I’m up at Chris and Suzanne’s doing my Valdinet post for tomorrow so I’ll take the opportunity to do an update, although I won’t be able to post any photos. It looks as if my computer is truly stuffed so Chris will do most of the updates until I get organised. Hopefully I’ll be able to post some photos on the Valdinet site on Monday and Friday’s so you will be able to see some ski shots by logging on there.

We had a fantastic trip through the gorge yesterday after an interesting entrance over the Col Pers and India, Jacek, Francoise, Sylvie, Baz and Chris’ team of Sandy, Mick, Graham and Louise thoroughly enjoyed the ambience and experience.

Today Baz, Louise and I had an easy morning combined with a reconnaissance mission for next week but we didn’t find much, but we did have a very good chamois sighting in the ‘L’ of all places!

After almost losing my camera and then trashing my computer I was very pleased with the Hammers result yesterday. A defeat would have been a tough end to a difficult couple of days of me being clumsy! Stay tuned!

PS Thanks for the Christmas card Paul, it arrived yesterday!

PPS Thanks JC and Suzanne for putting up with me all afternoon!

21 January 2017
Computer burn out...

Wayne will not be able to update his diary till the computer is repaired or replaced. Wayne’s trusty Dell laptop did not fare well when a glass of French wine was accidently spilled all over it.
Any emails to be sent to info@alpineexperience.com and not to Wayne’s idms email address. Thankyou and till this is sorted. Chris on behalf of Wayne

20 January 2017
That was fun!!!

With limited options I didn’t want to do too much walking today to give everyone a bit of a break and we ended up having a fantastic morning. We ‘skinned’ twice, once for ten-minutes and the second for only five-minutes and we were rewarded with some excellent snow, especially when you consider what’s out there. Mike and Sarah stayed in Les Brevieres for lunch and the rest of the team (Sylvie, Francoise, Baz, India, and Jacek) had a superb piste blast back down for a 1:30 finish. It was a surprisingly good morning and I for one really enjoyed it. (one always feels good about a good ‘sniff’)

For the first time all season I ran into Didier P and it was great to have a chat with him. It turns out his team read my blog regularly so I’ve posted a couple of photos of the boys.

Meanwhile Chris and TJ went for a reconnaissance ‘skin’ and had an ‘educational’ but great morning, Thomas was very pleased with himself so I’m definitely not mentioning where he was, Andreas was out for the day and was skiing in Tignes, and I’m not too sure what Henry and the Green family skied. Everyone is doing the business and I’m proud of the team for the skiing they are delivering on a daily basis. Bravo boys!

I’m off for the afternoon so I’m going to the gym for the first time in ages to lie about and stretch myself out. If I find some energy I’ll do some sit-ups and light weights but nothing too taxing.

I might go for an adventure ski tomorrow to show India and Jacek the views at the Fornet, although I know the snow isn’t great. It’s a must to see certain places up there when you’ve never been to Val d’Isere before so I think we’ll go for it! Stay tuned!

PS I’ve had no news from Tommy so I’m assuming that his knee isn’t too bad. Fingers crossed!

PPS It was great to ski with Mike and his daughter Sarah this week. When Mike worked for Rolex he used to invite me to the PGA at Wentworth and it was a stunning day out with fabulous catering and excellent company. Gill came with me the first time when she was pregnant with Millie and we met Justin Rose when he was just turning professional, and David Robinson came twice while Richard Finlay accompanied me once. They were wonderful days out and much appreciated. Thanks Mike!

19 January 2017
I hope you're alright Tommy???

The sun continues to beat down and it has warmed up significantly over the past two days. Today was the first day in four or five that I haven’t worn my boot warmers and I even ended up with just a head-band at the end of the morning. We traversed through some great snow yesterday so Chris and I altered an itinerary to make sure we didn’t miss it today and we had some excellent skiing. I skied the first pitch and went to dig out my camera, couldn’t find it anywhere and realised that I must have missed my pocket and the camera slid through my clothes. Anyway, I had to ‘skin’ back up to where we’d taken off our ‘skins’ and fortunately it was sitting right where I’d left it! Unfortunately Tommy twigged his knee on the last turn on the last pitch and after he’d done so well. What a bummer! I’m waiting to hear how serious it is and my fingers are crossed for Tommy!

Thomas and TJ were in Tignes and had a great morning after a fairly serious climb while Andreas was off skiing couloirs with some friends. I knew he was up to something when he showed up with a helmet this morning!

Chris and I had our last afternoon with the school children today and we both had a new group, which was a bit of a surprise as we knew all their names and had developed a bit of a bond with them. Tansy was there as well today although we didn’t really cross paths.

I’m waiting on a report about the Fornet from Henry as we haven’t been up there in about ten days and I’m getting ready for a change of scenery and sector, and we all know why we avoid certain areas for big stretches at a time! Stay tuned!

18 January 2017
'Skiers snow' and much warmer!!!!

The Canadian-cold of the past few days has finally moved on and today we had a very pleasant day temperature-wise. It was still chilly with a punchy wind but not nearly as cold. In fact, this afternoon I had a great session with Steve and Helen where we could do exercises and talk without perishing, the skis glided instead of feeling like they had glue on the bottoms, and it was lovely to be able to teach properly again. And well done to you both for making some solid progress!

This morning most of us skied Mont Roup and considering the wind over the past few days I thought it was excellent. The snow was ‘educational’ in places but anyone with a well-timed pole plant; a round turn and connected movements did a pretty good job on it. Sarah was brilliant as it was her first morning off-piste and she dealt with it really well. Bravo Sarah! Being India and Jacek’s first trip to Val d’Isere they loved the ‘skinning’, the scenery, and really appreciated just being there.

It seems as if the cold snap is behind us and the forecast calls for a few more days of sunshine. With the warmer temperatures Chris and I will definitely be back on with our adorable 4-year-olds tomorrow afternoon. Stay tuned!

PS Sorry about the late update yesterday but our site was down and there was nothing I could do about it. It wasn’t for a lack of trying!

PPS I’ve John, Margaret and TJ coming over for dinner so I’d better get going and clean up my pad!

PPPS Well done Katie for staying for the net-ball match, we’re proud of you!

18 January 2017
A funny sort of day!!!

It was a funny sort of day that started with Meteo France bumping up the avalanche risk to 4/5, which wound me up and would have put a damper on our plans. Even though we totally disagreed with the rating if anything ever happened the Meteo France rating is what the court goes by and any off-piste guide would have a hard time defending themselves. Fortunately Andreas heard on the radio that the Val d’Isere Piste Service was ignoring the rating and keeping it at 3/5 so we all went back to ‘Plan A’. Unfortunately ‘Plan A’ never got off the ground as there was a ferocious foehn wind blowing that keep several lifts shut and not one of us ended up skiing what we had intended, but everyone rallied and ‘Plan G’ turned out to be pretty jolly good with everyone enjoying a great morning.

My team hiked up to the top of the Borsat in a howling wind and had a good ski down before bussing over to the Palafour en-route to the Sachette, which was protected and excellent top-to-bottom. Chris skied the Sachette as well while Andreas and Thomas arrived at Tommeuses to find it closed due to the wind and they needed to circle back via the Borsat and looking at their tracks they ended up having a great ski in the Cocaine Sud. (It’s incredibly rare to have Tommeuses closed when the Borsat is open, in fact it might just be a first!) Henry was in action with an initiation group and I’m not too sure what he skied, but one thing for certain is that a lot of lovely snow has been rearranged by the wind swinging from northerly to southerly. Bummer!

I had Lisa’s daughter India from Canada with me today as well as her boyfriend Jacek, and neither of them have ever been to Val d’Isere before. It’s always a pleasure to introduce people to our wonderful domain and especially the daughter of one of my best friends! I also had Alex along, who was celebrating his 30th birthday with his friends Ed and Adam, and Baz from Australia, who skied with us back in our Top Ski days.

Millie has had a big day as she wrote her first GCSE exam paper in French. She’s doing her exams two years in advance to take advantage of the years she spent her before her French starts to get a little rusty. She has been studying hard and was really pleased with the way it went, bravo Millie! And Katie has her gymnastic club tonight and she’s really looking forward to that!

I think we all had a few days of options in our heads to look forward to but this wind will take us back to the drawing board. I’m sure we’ll be pooling some ideas to help entertain the troops tomorrow. Stay tuned!

PS To add to a weird start to the day we all needed to bus to La Daille this morning as the Olympique was having rare technical problems.

PPS And the funny sort of day continued when our website has been down and I haven’t been able to post the diary. It’s now 9:40PM and still no joy!

16 January 2017
Cold and stunningly beautiful !!!

It might have been even colder today but if you stayed in the sun it was bearable. I skied with Mike and his daughter Sarah for her first off-piste experience and she did really well. We skied the Borsat, off the Motte and the Familial and by the end of the morning Sarah was leaving ‘Alpine’ tracks, which pleased both her Dad and I! Bravo Sarah!

Andreas, Chris and Thomas went their various ways and had a fantastic morning but I’m going back into ‘code-mode’ as the resort is being quickly tracked out and it isn’t good everywhere, so our ‘stashes’ will remain just that!

You might just be wondering who the good looking chap with the board is in the photos? It’s James, who is Millie’s golf pro and such a great guy that we won’t hold his board against him!

Thirty-five years ago one of my best friends from my Banff/Lake Louise days Lisa sent me to Val d’Isere for the first time. She told me I had to go and organised my apartment through Val Agence for me so when I arrived I just needed to pick up my key. In those days it was incredibly difficult to find a place to stay and Lisa made my arrival to my new home as easy as possible. Today Lisa’s daughter India is coming to Val d’Isere for the first time and I’ll be showing her into Penny’s flat along with her boyfriend Jacek. I’m sure they’ll be suitably impressed with the world’s best ski resort and thank you so much Penny for the use of your flat! Lisa was a world-class party girl all those years ago when I still had a bit of a reputation for being a fun guy, and we had some seriously great times together. (I’ve since turned into a bit of a whimp!) Lisa had a major influence on how my life here began and I can’t imagine where I’d be without my 35-years here and still counting here. Thanks Lisa!

Thanks to Geoff and Inga for a great evening last night and after the Steelers win over the Chiefs followed up the Hammers victory on Saturday I’m feeling good about my sporting world for the moment! Rock on and stay tuned!

15 January 2017
Claer and cold!!!

Sorry for the late update but I’ve had a rather busy day. It was -18C on the summit of Bellevarde this morning with beautiful clear blue skies and after a couple of tough days on the weather-front it was game on as far as the skiing goes. I had a short but sweet morning with Geoff and Inga (see photos) and we skied the Fontaine Froide, the Campanules, the Genepy-off-the-Motte and the Familial, all in pretty perfect conditions. Andreas started with the Fontaine Froide before heading to the Chardonnet along with Chris, and I’m not too sure what Thomas skied with the Green family. I know that everyone had a cracking good day and it will have changed Sandy’s mind forever about thinking she needs a warm up day!

I had a nice afternoon with Steve and Helen as we combined a little off-piste with some technique to get them ready for the jump into our off-piste world, and we’ve another session planned for Wednesday.

On the sports front I was really pleased with the Hammers performance and result on Saturday but my main news is the performance of my nephew Wils. He was chosen to play for the Birmingham University First Team and against the Medics. Because of the length of their degrees the medics are quite a bit older and as Wils said, “they’re proper men!” who have an aura about them of being a tough team to deal with. Anyway, Wils team won and he was chosen ‘man-of-the-match’, which is brilliant! Well done Wils!

I still have my Valdinet post to write tonight and if you haven’t logged-on it before it comes out every Monday and Friday. You may find some extra photos of yourself plus some Val d’Isere news that may not get mentioned on the blog.

Stay tuned for another cold but excellent day tomorrow!

PS Thanks Geoff and Inga for a wonderful supper and the footie!

14 January 2017
A limited opening but pretty good!

There was ‘cabin-fever’ brewing today as most people didn’t get any skiing at all yesterday and thankfully the resort did a pretty good job getting things running by 9:15. We managed to stay a step ahead for most of the morning and had a run off the Verte, three on Bonnevie’s Drag, and one under the Mont Blanc before we needed to spread our wings a little. I then decided to cross the bridge into the bottom of the Familial for the first time all season because up until now we’ve used the bridge as an escape route to avoid the bottom, and we just got away with it as the snow quality was excellent but it was a little thin down low and one needed to ski with finesse while stay as light as possible. We then played around a little bit with bits and pieces while waiting for Tommeuses to open but it was worth it in the end and we finished the day with a terrific Familial.

Dave and Sue recruited a couple of new skiers from their chalet and it was great to have Adam and Dave along this morning. They both had a good time and hopefully we’ll see more of them in the future. Thanks Dave and Sue, the more the merrier and it’s always nice to get some new faces into the team.

We ran into John E and Jean R today as they were out ‘sniffing’ for the best on offer. With a limited opening it wasn’t easy and we didn’t have too many options but I think the boys did themselves proud.

Another 15cm’s is forecast tonight and tomorrow we should see less wind with a little more sunshine, but the temperatures are forecast to drop quite significantly next week. Dress up warm because it is rather nippy out there! Stay tuned and come on you Hammers!

PS I’ve just added a photo of Victor who’s off to hockey practice in his Red Wings uniform! Brilliant Victor!!!!!

PPS I was thinking of TJ this morning when we skied down to the bottom of La Daille via the Triffolet. It was type of snow that TJ skis beautifully as he’s brilliant at standing up tall, flattening his skis and staying as close to the surface as possible when necessary. The snow cover was thin and you could feel the ground in places so staying light and flat without ever jamming in was essential and TJ would have loved it!

13 January 2017
The resort is on shut-down!

Winter has finally arrived as 25 centimetres of fresh snow fell overnight but when I heard the wind humming in the chimney I knew that we were in for a tough time this morning. It was blowing a hoolie in town and it must have been incredible on the summit, but with the resort shut down we were never going to get the chance to experience it. Chris and I headed down to La Daille hoping for the best and eventually our teams ‘skinned’ up to the Triffolet. Even at the low altitude the wind was ferocious but everyone really enjoyed being out and experiencing the storm, and the ski down was a bonus. (See photos at the bottom of the file)

It was Michael’s last day of 27 today and he’s had a fantastic holiday, even though it hasn’t been the easiest conditions-wise. Bravo Michael for hanging in there day-after-day and always showing up with a smile on your face.

And I’d like to thank Dave and Sue for a lovely dinner and evening at their YSE Chalet Chardon last night.

I’m now tucked up at home and planning on going to the gym later as I have hardly been during the past three weeks with the girls being here then trying to fight off some bug over the past five days. I’m feeling better again but I’ll take it easy. Stay tuned as more snow is forecast for the rest of the day and the night ahead!

12 January 2017
Here comes the snow!!!

The day turned out to be much better than forecast as we enjoyed decent visibility this morning and the expected ferocious winds never materialized this afternoon. Chris and I were expecting our children’s ski school session to be cancelled as 100km/h winds with driving snow were on the cards but we ended up having a peaceful afternoon. (Except poor Chris had one kid starting to kick and punch and he turned out to be a real handful!) Anyway, the skiing was pretty good this morning and we all skied in Tignes. (See photos at the bottom of the file)

Michael R made a comeback today after three days out with a nasty lurgie, and considering what he’s been through the past few days I thought he did a pretty good job. Bravo Michael. And a big Happy Birthday to Jim who turned 66 today and Jim thoroughly enjoyed his ‘birthday ski’! TJ took a big hit yesterday on the Motte Glacier when he hit a rock, which is seriously bad luck as there aren’t many rocks on the glacier, and he did a spectacular ‘park-and-fly’! He landed on his radio, beep and whatever else TJ has there under his jacket and really bashed his sternum. He was a bit sore yesterday but he’s on the mend.

It started to snow about 3:45PM and it looks like we are finally going to receive some ‘season-changing’ snowfalls over the next few days. Fingers crossed and stay tuned!

PS The Alpine office and much of the village is experiencing internet problems so it may take a day or two to process your requests, and we apologise for any inconvenience.

11 January 2017
Wow, winter powder!!!!

Perhaps about 10 cm’s of fresh snow fell yesterday and with the north-westerly winds the greatest accumulation was on the south and east facing slopes so I headed back to Tignes and up to the Motte for the second day in a row. The skiing was fantastic and it was such a pleasure to ski cold, light, winter powder again. (See photos at the bottom of the file) Andreas also skied in Tignes and started with the Chardonnet, which had filled in nicely, and followed that up with the Sache before circling back around for a little Spatule. I saw TJ off the Motte early on but I’m not too sure where he ended up. Chris and Thomas went up to the Fornet and Thomas had a group of six boarders so he was looking for ‘gravity-fed’ slopes such as the Grand Vallon. Henry was in action as well but I haven’t heard from him but I noticed some lovely tracks in the Familial and they may have been Henry’s or perhaps Pat Z’s.

Thanks to Adrian and his lovely wife Kari for a wonderful evening in the Baraque last night. The food and wine were fantastic and the band was brilliant, all leading to an ambush that saw me staying too late and paying the price today. TJ was there having early evening drinks and it was great to see Russell for the first time this season.

More snow is forecast this evening but high winds are also expected and tomorrow may be a tough one. Stay tuned!

And happy birthday to Kari’s sister Kirsty!

10 January 2017
Blimey, that was a surprise!

Hallelujah, finally a change of weather that may turn out to be quite significant! At 6AM it wasn’t looking too promising and when Andreas and I had a chat around 7:30 neither of us were expecting too much, but what a morning it turned out to be! There was a dusting of fresh snow and again the gullies and lee slopes were excellent, and up on the Motte we had enough sun getting through to light up the morning. My team skied two from the top of the Grande Motte cable car, two variations of Wayne’s Shoulder, a Cairn and then some bits and pieces on the way home. All the boys were in the neighbourhood skiing variations and everyone had a big smile at the end of the morning. It’s funny how these ‘low expectation’ days have a way of turning out to be really satisfying!

And then Chris and I watched as these tiny people filed off the bus for our afternoon community service ski and we both wondered momentarily why we put ourselves through it? I mean these children are only four and can hardly carry their poles let alone their skis. But, we had a great afternoon skiing with the most delightful little characters and came away feeling like we’d done something useful, and I know both of us will be signing up again next season! Well done Chris!

And to top off a brilliant day the snowfall has continued and the door is open for the change in weather we’ve all been waiting for. Fingers crossed that this is the start of another big winter, just like last year. Stay tuned!

PS Unfortunately Michael is still ill and I’m missing you Jean!

9 January 2017
Are you out there Radio Will?

It was back to clear blue skies again today but we are expecting some snow this week. The forecast doesn’t really say how much but we are in need of a change conditions as we are probably operating with about 5% of our options open to us. And that 5% isn’t frisset either but the odd strip of creamy snow or strips of soufflé. I’ve really enjoyed the winter so far and we’ve had some excellent skiing with stunning sunshine, but I’m ready for a change now! (Andreas and Henry headed up to the Fornet this morning while Chris, Thomas and I stayed around the centre of the resort.) (See photos)

Thanks to Michael R for a lovely supper last night followed by my beloved Steelers seeing off the Miami Dolphins 30-12. It was great to watch American Football live again and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Are you out there Radio Will? I think I noticed something from you in my ‘junk’ file and I just realised it too late as I hit the ‘delete’ key. I hope you’re well and it would be great to hear from you.

I’m fighting off some microbes that are trying to get into my system and I’m not feeling my best today so fingers crossed that I rally for tomorrow as Chris and I have the school children tomorrow and Thursday afternoons. Stay tuned!

8 January 2017
Just enough light with creamy snow!!!

It was a little overcast this morning with cloud cover moving in-and-out, but for the most part we enjoyed good visibility. Another centimetre of fresh snow fell and combined with the wind we were treated to similar conditions as the past couple of days with creamy strips of lovely snow in the gullies and in the lee. Chris and I headed up towards the Motte for a change of sector as it’s been about 4-weeks since I was last up there. We weren’t disappointed with some great strips around my shoulder, the Little Borsat West and the Cairn.(See photos at bottom of file) Meanwhile Andreas and Thomas headed towards the Aiguille Percee and enjoyed some great skiing as well.

Millie is off playing golf this afternoon and she’s looking forward to getting back out on the course, and Katie is going into Guildford to spend some of her Christmas vouchers. Andreas’ son Victor had his first ice-hockey practice in full padding yesterday and the wee man absolutely loved it. He looked brilliant with his shin guards, shoulder and elbow pads, gloves, helmet with face mask and his stick. Bravo Victor, and if I could I’d play in goal so you to shoot at me but my days of doing toe-saves while doing the splits are long gone!

It clouded over this afternoon and it seems that this 6-week high pressure system is finally breaking down and with any luck we may start to see some regular snowfalls. It was about this time last season when it all kicked off and we had one of our best winters in years. Here’s hoping!

TJ has arrived although I haven’t seen him yet. His friends Russell and Charlie are in town so he’ll be busy skiing with them until work calls. Stay tuned!

PS I’d like to thank Doug for a sterling job helping people in need at the back of the group. He always looks out for people who may be struggling and often foregoes his own skiing to help others. Bravo and thanks Doug!

7 January 2017
Watch out on steep slopes!

It was another lovely sunny day and being Saturday Chris and I decided it would be a good day to head to Tignes for a change of scenery. The pistes were empty and in superb condition so we made that most them en-route to our destination. We did two little ‘skins’ of about 15-minutes and were rewarded with some great strips of beautiful soft snow as well as some wonderful ambience. (See photos at the bottom of the file)

Chris had a 13-year-old Greek boy and his father this morning and they absolutely loved it. They enjoyed the ‘skinning’, which is important, and a nice combination of gentle pockets of creamy snow as well as some impressive steep slopes. It was a much better than a ‘change-of-scenery’ morning and all who were present thoroughly enjoyed themselves.

It was a bad night for my sports teams as the Hammers were hammered 5-0 and the Calgary Flames lost 4-1, but all will be forgiven if the Steelers beat the Dolphins tomorrow night. I’m watching the game with Michael on his computer as he has NFL Game Pass and it will be the first time I’ve seen an American football game live in about twenty years! Being a massive Steeler fan I’m really looking forward to it!

A few clouds are floating about this afternoon and we are expecting some snow off-and-on next week. Fingers crossed and stay tuned!

PS There was a fatal accident yesterday under the Borsat chair when a skier fell trying to retrieve his pole that he’d dropped from the chair. The slope at the top of the lift is very steep and extremely polished and the poor man slid into the rocks. There is a serious ‘whipper’ factor at the moment with all the wind-blown soufflé snow that we’ve been skiing, and some of it is on some pretty steep terrain where choosing a line without obstacles below is extremely important. If you find yourself above something nasty on a steep and firm slope don’t even try to turn and just side-slip instead. (This applies on piste as well!)

PPS Katie is off to the theater in London with her Nana and Millie has done her first Duke of Edinburgh Award walks.

6 January 2017
Still in 'code-mode' !!!

Hallelujah! The sun returned in full force this morning and we had a surprisingly good ski. The one-to-two centimetres that fell yesterday accumulated to 10 to 15cm’s in places and it made for a brilliant change in conditions, both visually and the feel underfoot. Andreas had a good ‘sniff’ in Tignes and was extremely pleased with his outing, while Chris and I stayed in the sun and did a short walk to stay warm and had some lovely strips of snow in the gullies and in the lee. Meanwhile Thomas went up to the Fornet looking for adventure and I think that Henry may have gone as well? Anyway, the little snow that we did receive wasn’t life-changing but it has made a difference and we may see a couple of more small snowfalls over the next few days. Fingers crossed as it all adds up!

I had a lovely time last night with Rosie’s boyfriend Jamie’s family in the Baraque, which is my favourite bar in town. Jamie was there with his Mum and Dad (Rhona and Gavin) and brother Andrew and it was really nice to meet them and they’re great characters. I was surprised to learn that Rhona reads my blog so I warmed to her immediately!

Apparently there are a couple of foxes making nuisances of themselves late at night around the village. It turns out that they follow people carrying fast-food in hope of a hand-out and last night a fox bit a young lady on the ankle when she wouldn’t hand over her burger! Fortunately the teeth didn’t penetrate the leather of her boots and she was not harmed.

Stay tuned for more news, weather, sports and photos again tomorrow!

PS TJ arrives on Saturday!

5 January 2017
That was chilly !!!!

To say it wasn’t the easiest morning of the season would be an understatement as we awoke to -17C at altitude, grey skies meaning flat-light, only 1cm maximum of fresh snow, and a strong wind to make it feel even colder! Still, everyone showed up and we ended up having a pretty decent morning starting off towards the Fornet and we had one run in the Grand Vallon before sheltering in the Signal for hot chocolate. After that we headed back towards Solaise and Bellevarde, which turned out to be even colder, but my team finished at 1:05, which is saying something on a tough day!

I’m off to the gym for the first time in a couple of weeks and I figure the gym will be a good place to spend some time this afternoon as it’s jolly cold out there. Chris is skiing with a lovely Greek family in the afternoons and I wish him luck today, but Chris is a real pro and he’ll be out there with a smile on his face and will make the most of it. Bravo JC!

Snowflakes have been blowing about all day long and hopefully there will be some sort of accumulation somewhere before the sun comes back out tomorrow. At the moment there is only 1 cm if that of fresh snow on my terrace. Stay tuned!

4 January 2017
Saved by the sun!!!!

The forecast was for cloudy skies today and at 6AM it was clear towards the Fornet, by 7AM a few clouds were appearing and by ‘show-time’ it looked as if we were in for a miserable day. Miraculously and against Radio Val’s weather report the skies cleared and we had really good light and visibility all-day long. I was incredibly pleased with this turn in fortune as I wasn’t looking forward to a flat-light day without snow and we ended up with another good morning. We were all heading up to the Fornet to go over the Col and through the gorge but the Glacier was closed due to violent wind so we skied the Vallonnet instead before finishing off the morning around the Arcelle/Cugnai.

Chris was off-piste again this afternoon while I skied the Vallonnet again with Dave. It was Dave’s first time out there and he was suitably impressed with the terrain, the snow quality and the fact that we were the only two people out there!

There is a little snow forecast for tonight so fingers crossed as were are in desperate need now. The skiing has been great but enough-is-enough and a fresh canvas and an entire resort’s worth of options would be blissful! The wind is expected to blow but anything falling out of the sky would be welcome. Stay tuned!

3 January 2017
I'm missing my girls!!!

I was feeling a little ‘blue’ this morning as I was missing the girls but once on the snow I rallied and had another pretty good morning! Chris, Andreas and I all ‘skinned’ in various sectors and I’m not too sure what Henry skied, but the sun is still shining and everyone seems to be really enjoying themselves. There is a little chance of some snow in the next day or two and some talk about snow next week, but we’ll just wait and see. What we don’t want to deal with are a couple of days of flat-light without any snow to show for it because that would be a serious test for one’s mojo!

I had a great technique session with Dave and Jim this afternoon and conditions were perfect. The sun was out, the pistes were in fantastic condition and there really weren’t too many people in the way. Meanwhile Chris was up at the Fornet doing an intro to off-piste session complete with a short ‘skin’.

Thanks to Geoff and Inga for a fabulous lunch yesterday afternoon followed by the West Ham v Man U match. The Hammers suffered from some shocking refereeing but played extremely well with ten-men and looked like a team again, and with a little luck may have picked up a point, but it wasn’t to be.

On Sunday night when the girls went back to England with Ray they ended up renting a car instead of taking a taxi and were given a Fiat 500. It had all the mode-coms and with all the buttons no one could figure out how to adjust the seat, so poor Ray had to drive with his head pressed up against the roof. It must have been a fairly comical sight but at least they arrived home in one piece!

Hopefully we’ll have some sunshine in the morning before the forecasted clouds show up. Wish us luck and stay tuned!

2 January 2017
The girls made it and poor Jackson!

Fortunately the girls made it home last night after a long afternoon/evening in the car and lounging around the airport. Katie reports that after hanging about for four hours they missed their boarding call and almost missed their plane! Late is better than the alternative so although they are tired today it all worked out in the end.

The forecast was for cloud cover today but fortunately that didn’t happen and we enjoyed another cold but sunny day. Chris and I were up at the Fornet skiing the Pays Desert, Vallonnet, and Oh My, while Andreas headed to Tignes for a ‘skin’ and Thomas walked as well this morning.

I feel badly because I was joking on yesterday’s blog about Henry needing a day off after skiing with his children yesterday as his son Jackson broke his leg and Henry was up all night as the poor little sausage was in pain. Fortunately it’s not a bad break but it is painful and Jackson’s season is over before it even gets started. Courage and good luck Jackson!

The photos are up and for the moment today’s are the bottom five, starting with the bread from Chevallot that I had for breakfast and thank goodness I had some bacon and eggs to go with it! (The first group are from yesterday)

I’ve some organising next door to do before heading to Geoff and Inga’s for a late lunch followed by West Ham v Man U. Come on boys!

1 January 2017
Great morning, nightmare journey!

We had another really good ski out of nothing today and I really enjoyed it, so hopefully everyone else did as well. I know Millie certainly had a good time and she’s sad to have to say goodbye until mid-February as she is seriously hooked on being off-piste and especially likes the ‘skinning’! Today we skied a mix of lovely grippy soufflé and some strips of frisset while skiing some impressive big slopes. Unfortunately Picasa seems to have packed up altogether now that it is 2017 so I don’t know what I’m going to do with the photos. Hopefully Chris can help me sort something out sooner than later. It’s a shame as I took some good photos today and they are important for the non-believers who think the skiing sucks and there is nothing to do!

Chris, Andreas and Thomas had good mornings as well and bravo to everyone for making the best of the situation! I saw that Henry was out with his entire family for a ski and he’ll need a day off after that! I remember Millie falling asleep while skiing and me carrying her home along with both of our full sets of equipment. Blimey Henry!

I had a nightmare journey to Lyon with the girls and Ray as the traffic was extremely heavy and areas of dense fog didn’t help either. It was much easier coming home except for the fog and I worried about the girl’s flight all the way home. With all the trouble in the UK and the fog in Lyon there is definitely trouble brewing on the travel-front. I’ve received an email from Gill saying their flight has been delayed by four hours and that’s unfortunately one step away from a dreaded cancellation. Fingers crossed
that they get back to England tonight after a brilliant holiday! Stay tuned
for travel and skiing news but unfortunately the photos may be on hold!

PS I finally have yesterday’s photos up! On Photos of the Day click left-hand arrow and they should come up. I’ll have Chris try to sort it out later. And I think the girls arrived back in England last night!

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