Wayne's Daily Diary Archive

20 June 2007

30 April 2017
What a day, what a weekend!

It was a transition day as powder turns to spring but we managed an excellent morning despite a nasty southerly wind that had a real bite to it. It’s just Chris and I now and we were thinking Little Lavachet, Palafour, Sachette, and Familial but decided to stick around and take advantage of the wonderful spring slopes closer to home. When we started with the Crete du Genepy and the wind was blowing a hoolie straight into our faces I was having second thoughts about whether we’d chosen the right option, but we had a great ski en-route to Mont Roup. Mont Roup hadn’t yet transformed perfectly but it was still great skiing and it was Paul’s first trip out there this season and we had a nice chamois sighting towards the bottom. From there we skied an excellent Danaides-into-the- L, which was great skiing as well as very atmospheric and I think it was Peter’s first trip through there. We then circled back around to ski the Super Arcelle and it was a fantastic finish to Peter and Paul’s season. The boys were meeting Clare, Pascale and Clive for lunch at the Tete du Solaise so I waited for Chris and we had a brilliant finish in the Marmottons-into-the-Marmottes.

Chris had Richard H skiing his first ‘Alpine’ morning of the season along with Milan, who was skiing his first-ever morning with us and what a morning to pick. We had great snow along with some slightly ‘educational’ moments, stunning scenery and really interesting terrain and it was an excellent morning for both first-timers and experienced ‘Alpine’ regulars.

I’m feeling pretty good considering yesterday’s festivities and after doing some packing and cleaning I’ll head off to the gym to stretch before having dinner at Bananas with the Campbell’s and Derek.

Stay tuned for more news tomorrow as Chris and I finish our seasons with grey skies, wind and between 10 and 30cm’s of fresh snow!

PS Those who made a last-minute decision to come out and partake in the festive finish to the season have been rewarded with fantastic skiing and great fun in the bars and terraces. We’ve had three brilliant mornings over the weekend, all of which have been totally different with snow conditions and sectors skied, and well done to you all and hopefully we’ll get more people out for next season’s wind-up weekend!

29 April 2017
What a day!

Wow, what a day that was! Because the photos start with the après-ski I’ll start there. After an excellent morning at the Fornet I was treated to an fanatastic lunch at the Grande Ourse with Derek, Clare, Peter, yesterday’s birthday boy Paul, Pascale and Clive. Thanks to all for a great lunch with brilliant banter, food and of course wine! Derek and Paul thought it would be a good idea to stop by the Coin des Amis for a quick beer and three hours later Peter, Paul and I were still there thoroughly enjoying ourselves with great music and ambience. I deserved a ‘chemical reaction’ but somehow made it home without staggering about or needing help from a lovely 90-year-old woman like did 5-years ago after a session with Blue! Poor Gill i-messaged Derek around 7:30 to make sure I was alright and I’m not sure what she thought was more dangerous, a morning off-piste or an afternoon with the boys? Anyway, I survived both and it was a wonderful afternoon!

As for the skiing Chris and I headed up to the Fornet for the first time in about a month! We had a lovely taster off the Laisinant Express and at that point thought it was all going to be easy, but we then had a very good but slightly tricky run in the Combe du Signal, which I thought Clare skied extremely well. Bravo Clare! From there we headed out into the Pays Desert and immediately realised that there was a heat-crust from the cloud-and-sun combination yesterday afternoon, which could potentially put a damper on the morning but we managed to ‘sniff’ out great snow top-to-bottom and then felt comfortable to head over the Col Pers. The Col Pers was extremely good up top and although the snow warmed-up towards the bottom (after all it was the 29th of April) we made a good escape down my ‘funky’ exit, which Chris calls ‘Wayne’s Trick’ and it was a very good result. Clare and Pascale left to get ready for their session at the Grande Ourse while the boys and I finished with a quick run out on ‘Oh My’. We probably had better snow yesterday but it was so nice to be able to see and not worry about skiing into a hole or dropping off something nasty and it was a terrific morning followed by a fantastic afternoon with great characters! What a pleasure and if I’m a little flowery please excuse me as I’m pissed! Stay tuned for more news tomorrow!

PS Bravo West Ham as we inch towards survival! And good luck to Millie as she’s off on a Duke of Edinburgh award walk and camping trip today.

PPS And thanks to Peter and Clare for a brilliant evening last night in honour of Paul’s 60th!

28 April 2017
Happy Birthday Boys!

We awoke to grey skies and pretty punchy winds and although the light was flat we did have some windows of good visibility and we made the most of them. Chris, Thomas and I were all in action and we started with some nice warm-up turns off the Verte before skiing the Borsat Nord from the top. The snow was a little wind-touched but it was still good skiing and atmospheric as well. We had such a brilliant day on the Motte yesterday that we returned again today but not much was happening as it was blowing a hoolie and the light was pretty flat so we came back down and skied a run in the Combes des Lanches, which was good enough that we all circled back around for another go. We then took the train back up hoping for better vis but the light was pretty poor so Chris and Thomas had a play off the Cairn while I had a go off the Genepy. On the way home a skied my ‘funky’ Familial, which I thought was the best run of the morning so it was a cracking finish to a great morning in tough conditions.

It was both Paul’s and Thomas’ birthdays today and the mood was pretty buoyant in both camps. Lucky Thomas turned 39 while Paul is celebrating his 60th and we stopped at the end of the morning to have a bottle of champagne, which went down a treat! Happy birthday to you both and many happy returns!

Because of the weather I had my wet-weather camera out today so please excuse the water-spots, which makes the odd photo a little blurry. But the good news is the sun will be shining tomorrow and I’ll have my better camera out again. Stay tuned!

PS Andreas is away in Italy with his family and today was Thomas’ last day of his season. Bravo to you both a job well done! Meanwhile Chris and I still have a few days to go while Jean Marc and Olivier are off to Greenland for three weeks next week. Good luck boys!

PPS And thank you to my neighbour Pierre for a great evening along with Philip and Martine!

27 April 2017
Back to winter with a bang!

After two days off skis I was totally lost this morning as I needed to return home to get my radio and beeper! Doesn’t take too long does it? Anyway, I met Chris and Suzanne along with their friends Jim, Dave and Ollie and we headed off towards the Grande Motte. After a test off the Verte we had five to ten cm’s of fresh snow on a just-supporting base in the Lower Borsat and it was nice to have a soft feel underfoot again. We met up with Adrian and Carol, who I haven’t seen much of since they moved to Tignes and we all headed upstairs to the Motte. It was Ollie’s first real go off-piste (except in spring snow) and we had two excellent runs off the Rosolin, and Ollie did really well even though he couldn’t see all that well. The cable then opened and we enjoyed a superb run from the top in a good 25 to 30 cm’s of fresh winter powder. Meanwhile Thomas was on the Motte as well and he ran into Jean Marc in the cable-car and it was fantastic skiing without anyone else around. Considering it was a flat-light kind of day the visibility was very good except for the odd patch of fog, but it didn’t really hit Chris and I except when we were on piste, but it did affect JM and Thomas out towards the Leisse.

I spent some time in the shop with Jean Marc tonight and it was great to have a chat with him. He’s been skiing with Les R and will be attending Jamie’s wedding tomorrow. Congratulations Jamie and we wish you a fabulous day!

Jean Ribart’s daughter Cathie has been doing some stunning touring with her ski club and the link is below to see the wonderful photos and the fantastic terrain that her team covered. They had a brilliant week of sunshine but I couldn’t imagine dealing with terrain like that in flat-light! Chapeau Cathie! and here is the link, just click!

Snow is forecast during the night and fingers crossed that we get enough vis to operate tomorrow. Stay tuned!

26 April 2017
Preparing to leave but skiing tomorrow!

I didn’t ski for the second day in a row, which are the only two days that I haven’t skied all season, and after spending a lot of time indoors doing paperwork, cleaning, packing and generally getting ready to go I decided to go for a walk on the Balcon. Radio Kenny promised me a window around mid-day and when it appeared I got myself ready and headed up to the Fornet hoping to see some bouquetin. The window closed pretty quickly and for the most part I walked in a fog, which was very atmospheric but the odd patch of sunshine did appear and I had a lovely walk. (See photos) I didn’t see any bouquetin but they may have been hiding in the fog!

This afternoon I started loading up the car then headed to the gym for a light workout. I’m at 68 visits so far and my goal is for 70 during the season so I just might make it, but that depends on outside influences that may be out of my control!

Thanks to Dave, Jim and Ollie for a great evening last night. It’s very much appreciated and I’m looking forward to Monday night already!

I’m skiing again tomorrow so stay tuned for news and photos!

25 April 2017
Good work Chris and Thomas!

I enjoyed my first complete day off skis this season, although I was tempted to go for a quick, Crete du Genepy and Mont Roup with Louise, but decided I best get started on preparing to leave early next Tuesday morning. Chris skied the Crete and Mont Roup this morning with some Australian friends while Thomas took his team to the Lores, and bravo to you both for a job well done. I missed it all in a funny way but I do need to get myself organised and will be back skiing for the weekend as Derek’s team will be arriving for their annual wind-up weekend!

I had Chris, Suzanne, Al and Louise over for supper last night and we had a fantastic evening. I was pleased and knew that I had the spices somewhat under control when Chris didn’t spoon Suzi Wan into it and we had some great banter and of course tunes!

I ran into old Jacques in the street a couple of days ago and he was pushing this rather sleek sexy black bike along. We stopped for a chat and I couldn’t believe how light his bike was and guessed it must be worth 3 to 5 thousand euros, but Jacques replied, “12,000!” Yikes, you bikers do take it seriously!

We’ve a day or two of snow coming with clear blue skies for Saturday and Sunday so those of you who are coming out should have a fantastic weekend, and it’s not too late for last-minute decisions if you fancy a final ski of the season. (My studio is free if that helps anyone) It’s always fun so come along if you can! Stay tuned for more news tomorrow!

PS I’m having Killerbeez withdrawals. Bummer!

24 April 2017
A lovely ski with John and Margaret!

We had another beautiful day after a good refreeze and I had the pleasure of skiing with John and Margaret on their last day of their season. Louise came along and we skied the Tourne in excellent conditions followed by the Sachette, a funky run off the Aiguille Rouge, and Lou and I skied a funky Familial to finish while John and Margaret downloaded. It was great to get them off-piste again and John said it had been four years since he last skied the Sachette.

Thomas was back in action today with a real band of characters. He had John D, Ian, Joe, Brian, Billy and a couple of others and they’ll have had a fantastic morning as Thomas was heading to where Chris, Louise and I skied yesterday, which was the Crete du Genepy, Mont Roup, Danaides into the L, Super Arcelle and a Marmottons into the Marmottes to finish. (I haven’t spoken to Thomas but I’m pretty sure that is what he skied) Meanwhile Chris and Suzanne left at 6 o’clock this morning to walk up to the Col de la Galise, which is a major production and I haven’t heard a report yet. They are supposed to be coming over for supper tonight so I hope they aren’t too pooped!

The weather is changing tomorrow but with any luck we’ll have a decent morning before a few flakes of snow start to fall. Stay tuned!

PS What a performance from Big Sam and his Palace team! Four weeks ago they were in real trouble with a run of four tough games in a row against Chelsea, Arsenal, Leicester, and Liverpool and they turned around and picked up 10 out of 12 points against all the odds. Bravo Big Sam, it looks like you’ve done it again!

PPS I’ve been corrected by Chris as he and Suzanne went to the Pointe de la Galise not the Col and it’s 3348 metres. Excusez-moi JC! Bravo to you both for a huge effort!

23 April 2017
That was outrageously good!

The skiing has been so good that I skied today on my first day off of the season! Louise and I met up and when I told Millie I was skiing with only Louise this morning she said, “wow, that’s dedication Dad!”, but I wouldn’t have missed this morning as Lou and I could cover some ground and ski as steep as we wanted. Chris decided to join us and the three of us had an absolutely fabulous morning of stunning quality along with jolly good ambience. We ‘skinned’ to the Crete du Genepy for an excellent ‘bonus’ ski en-route to Mont Roup, which just might have been the finest Mont Roup of the season. From there we skied Lou’s first-ever Danaides into the L and it was outstanding as well as very atmospheric. We then had a coffee and croissant on the Tete du Solaise before skiing the Super Arcelle and Marmottons into the Marmottes to finish. It was a morning that needed to be celebrated so the three of us sat at the Clochetons and enjoyed a couple of cold Panache’s each. I only wish Gill, Millie and Katie could have been there to share it with us (the skiing not the beers!) as well as Suzanne who was having a lesson and assessment with Rupert.

Thomas was back in action today with a private client from Kuwait of all places and I’m not too sure what he skied but I know he finished with the Marmottons/Marmottes.

We’ve another sunny day forecast for tomorrow before some snow arrives so stay tuned for more news tomorrow!

PS And a big thank you to John and Margaret for a lovely evening last night!

PPS I had a lovely good-bye drink with Jim tonight at Le Petit Danois. What a great guy and I look forward to seeing Jim again soon!

22 April 2017
Spring skiing with minimum effort doesn't get much better!

Wow, that was another fantastic morning! We had another solid freeze and with the sun heating things up again the spring slopes turned beautifully and Chris and my teams had a superb morning in Tignes. We skied piste into Tignes to profit from the spring snow and had a great run off the Palafours, followed by a brilliant run on the Tourne, then a lovely Sachette, a sneaky run off the Aiguille Rouge and a funky Familial to finish. In-between we had some excellent piste and I thought it was a brilliant morning.

Last night I had my nephew Wils and his university mates, Jack, Oli, and Bradley over for chilli, wine and tunes and we had a brilliant evening. I subjected them to JJ Cale, Lonnie Donegan with Van-the-man, Chris Barber and Doctor John (the Skiffle Sessions), The Eagles, Willie Nelson, Neil Young and then some serious Led Zepplin to send them out pre-loaded into the night. The boys have had a stunning week including Jack’s birthday and I thoroughly enjoyed their company last night as well as at the Killerbeez!

We’ve a couple more days of good weather before it starts to get tricky but some snow is forecast and fingers crossed it’s enough to get back to the Fornet and some powder skiing. It’s very quiet this week with Thomas on a couple of days of privates while Chris and I are quiet until the weekend, and Andreas is off with his family for a little holiday.

Come on you Hammers and stay tuned!

PS Andreas had a family ski today and Millie has a Surrey Girls golf day tomorrow. Have fun Mils!

21 April 2017
Wow, that was fun!

After a few extremely cold days as far as spring skiing goes the sun had some heat in it again this morning and we had a brilliant morning. Chris and I started with the Crete du Genepy above the little lake, and that was excellent, followed by a wonderful Mont Roup. The plan was to head towards the Arcelle but it look hard and rough so we had a nice run above the L before diving into the L at the bottom. On the way back up the Laisinant I spotted a route down the Danaides into the L, which I haven’t skied in about ten years. I’d forgotten how steep it was up there so we took it cautiously and everyone enjoyed the ambience as much as the skiing. We then went back up for a Super L variation before finishing with a solid piste blast down the L. It was a good mix of skiing for perfect spring snow and skiing hard on the pistes in-between and it was a great finish for those whose season finished today.

Andreas finished off his season up at the Fornet and had lunch at the Edelweiss, which is a nice finishing touch but he’ll be skiing with his family tomorrow as his brother and family are here from Sweden. Well done on another great season Andreas! And to you too Thomas!

I’ve my nephew Wils here tonight for dinner with four of his university friends. They’ve had a fantastic week and I’ll need to watch myself as they’re serious party boys like you are at 19! Wish me luck and stay tuned for another terrific morning of spring skiing news!

PS And a big thank you to Suzanne and Chris for a great evening last night! And it’s very quiet next week and if you’d like to ski Chris and I are here ready, plus my studio is free for any last minute takers!

20 April 2017
Sunny and cold with great wintery snow!

We had some promising snowflakes floating about yesterday afternoon and they turned out to add up to enough to make a difference this morning, and with cold temperatures we all decided to ski high and north when possible and give the spring slopes a chance to properly transform. Chris and I headed to the Motte and had a fantastic morning with a couple of little ‘skins’ thrown in, while Andreas went for a big walk to the Col des Barmes de l’Ours. We all had some lovely winter snow mixed in with some spring snow lower down and it was a pretty cracking good morning.

It was Jean’s last day of his season and it was great to have him along and I hope that over the past couple of days he’s gained some confidence in his knee as he dealt well with everything that came his way. Millie was sorry to have missed him as she loves to ski with Jean. Bravo and have a great summer Jean!

After skiing I sat with Adam and Andreas at the Sun Bar and listened to two girls who are featuring on France’s version of ‘The Voice’. One of the girls has worked for the STVI here for several years and the other girl she met at the auditions for the show and they sang beautifully together with fantastic harmonies. (I’ve posted a couple of photos of them performing.)

Another sunny day is forecast for tomorrow with the temperatures starting to rise, which is important to get those hard spring slopes heating up because they have been unseasonably firm!

And thanks to Gill for the heads-up from England about the girls singing at the Sun Bar!

Stay tuned!

19 April 2017
Cold but great skiing!

It was unseasonably cold last night and throughout the day, and although the sun was shining the spring snow didn’t heat up very much. We ended up skiing more northerly slopes in the Lavachet and Sachette, which had a nice texture and grip to them, while avoiding the sunny slopes that were seriously frozen. To give you an idea of the refreeze it was -12C on top of Bellevarde this morning! Anyway, Chris, Andreas and I all had good mornings and I had an adventurous trip out of the Sachette (see photos) to spice things up a little! Jean came along today and it was great to have him back and even though it wasn’t the easiest of morning’s he thoroughly enjoyed himself. Bravo Jean!

Another cold night is forecast and it should be a little warmer tomorrow. I hope so because there is some great spring skiing to be had but we need more heat than we had today!

Andreas and Victor have end-of-season hockey matches tonight so I hope young Victor gets a chance to strut his stuff with his amazing goal celebration. Come on boys!

It was the Killerbeez last session of the season at Le Petit Danois last night and what an evening! The boys played from 5:30 until about 8 o’clock followed by curry for those who wanted to stay and then the band played from 10 until midnight. Thanks to Louise I finally went to see the Killerbeez seven weeks ago and I haven’t missed them play a Tuesday après-ski since. I’ll continue to support them every Tuesday until they stop coming but I’ve a way to go as Tchenko hasn’t missed them in two years! Skiing seven-days-a-week is hard work and just as the season was starting to wear me down a little the band put a spring back in my step and gave me a new energy. After a session I sing to myself for a few days and then start looking forward to the next gig, and taking friends and family to see them is a real pleasure. My nephew Wils came along with his university mates last night and they were dancing up a storm, while Pat and Zoe, and Ricki from Bananas came along as well. It was Penny’s first session as well as David, Mike, Brigitta, Tilly, and Marcela and it’s nice to see so many people coming back every time they’re in town, such as Derek, Adrian, Al, Johnnie Alpine, Adam, Tom, Richard F, Mike, Nick, my French neighbours, Ellie and her family, and Joe to name just a few, as well as great support from the Ski Club members who turn up to watch regularly. And it’s always a pleasure to see Al and all his pals and to watch Jim bop away week after week, and Dick has been seen every week since his first night and may hire the boys to play in the south of France.

Once seen the Killerbeez become a habit. Ben, Paul and Hugo are all brilliant musicians, and great guys who obviously have a passion for their music. They show up week-in-and-week-out and always have smiles on their faces and you can sense how much they enjoy playing not only for the crowd but for each other. I’ve their details and if you’re looking for a band for any sort of party or wedding look no further than the Killerbeez. They are brilliant!

And a big thanks to Hendric and Alice, as well as all the Petit Danois staff for doing a terrific job while putting on such a great show!

Stay tuned!

18 April 2017
Back to winter!

It was much colder today with a strong northerly wind so Chris, Andreas and I decided to stay low in the lee and headed for a double ‘skin’ on the Crete du Genepy and Mont Roup. The morning started brightly but by the time we started taking off our ‘skins’ on the Crete it had clouded over, the wind had picked up and it had even started to snow. From that moment on the light was in-and-out but it was always good enough for easy navigation and comfortable skiing. The Crete and Mont Roup were excellent and Chris and I finished with an adventurous Marmottons into the Marmottes. I thought the new snow would have softened things up a bit more than they did but it was a good experience and an impressive way home. I thought it was a cracking morning in tough conditions and we had a little bit of everything along the way.

I spoke to Millie this morning who couldn’t believe that only yesterday morning she was ‘skinning’ and skiing with me. She wanted me to think of her as she knew I was heading to Mont Roup and that was her first-ever ‘skin’ last season during the February half-term. (I know it was in February because Adam was there as well and he reminded me this morning.) We missed you today Millie! (I miss them all already as we had a stunning 17-days together!)

It’s forecast to be -17C at 3000m’s tonight and -9C in the village so we’re in for an even colder day tomorrow, although we should have clear skies for the morning (which is all I care about!). Thursday and Friday are also forecast to be sunny so we should have some great skiing ahead over the next few days.

Andreas is playing this afternoon at the Coin des Amis although it may depend on the weather, while I’ll be at Le Petit Danois for a 5 o’clock kick-off with the Killerbeez. Stay tuned for more news tomorrow!

PS The weather has cheered up so Andreas’ gig should be on this afternoon, but do dress warmly.

PPS Bummer but Andreas has had to cancel as it’s too cold to play properly!

17 April 2017
Unforecasted wall-to-wall sunshine!

We had a great morning with Andreas and I ‘skinning’ to the Crete du Genepy, followed by a play above the L and then into the L, and a very good Familial with an adventurous exit. Chris went to Tignes while Thomas was up on the Col de la Galise.

I’m off to the airport with the girls and will post today’s photos tonight when I return.

Andreas is playing at the Coin des Amis tomorrow at 5PM and I’ll see him next time around as I’ll be at the Killerbeez at Le Petit Danois at 5:30 with my nephew Wils. I’ve been geeing Wils up about the Beez for ages and he’s really looking forward to it, and it’s their last gig of the season.

Stay tuned!

PS Happy Birthday Richard!

PPS Killerbeez start at 5PM, not 5:30. And the photos are up!

16 April 2017
A lovely cushion of winter snow!

It rained in the village yesterday afternoon and snowed a little upstairs so the fresh snow insulated the freeze lower down, meaning it was time to head to the highest part of the resort. After a test off the Verte where we found a nice cushion of fresh winter we headed to the Motte and had some fantastic skiing on a nice smooth base with 5 cm’s of powder snow. It made for a change of scenery and although the spring skiing has been absolutely brilliant it was great to have ‘winter’ snow underfoot again! Chris had some new French clients who’d never ‘skinned’ before and they had a fantastic time, and it was another great result when expectations weren’t the highest!

Thomas is off to the Refuge du Prariond with the Bevan family this afternoon and we wish him luck with the weather tomorrow. Hopefully we’ll get some sunshine to warm up the spring slopes as well as give us some decent visibility.

It’s the girls last day of a fantastic 17-day stint that couldn’t have been better. The weather has been brilliant, they’ve had exceptionally good skiing and we’ve managed a lot of off-piste skiing together, especially Millie who skied with me most mornings, we had some great meals, Gill had a wonderful birthday, they had not one but two sessions with the Killerbeez, Andreas’ gig, swimming, they enjoyed quite a few afternoon walks, and I’m going to miss them after dropping them off tomorrow after skiing but fortunately I’ll have less than two weeks before seeing them again!

Stay tuned for more news and photos tomorrow!

15 April 2017
Low expectations but what a result!

The forecast for today wasn’t very inspiring and we weren’t really expecting much as it was suppose to be overcast with a minimum freeze and I thought our options would be fairly limited, but wow, what a morning! The freeze was really pretty decent and the clouds rolled away quickly so the sun could start to warm up the snow and Thomas and I had great mornings in Tignes. I started with the Alti-port in the Lower Lavachet, then two runs off the Palafour before ‘skinning’ into the Sachette, which held up beautifully all the way to the bottom, and then we finished with a Familial to the first bridge. Considering what we were expecting, especially when looking out the window at 6AM, it was a fantastic result!

Andreas’ brother is here from Sweden and he spent the day with his family while Chris and Henry were off this morning.

The forecast for tomorrow is pretty similar to today’s so fingers crossed for a decent result again tomorrow. And come on you Hammers!

PS Thanks to Penny for a fabulous meal last night!

14 April 2017
Good freeze and wonderful skiing!

After a jolly good freeze last night it was game-on and we had another terrific morning of big spring slopes. It’s amazing how much ground you can cover skiing spring snow and today my team skied the lower half of the Face du Charvet, then we hiked up to ski into the Tour du Charvet, then we played above the L waiting for the big slopes to soften before skiing the Cugnai, Col de la Madeleine and Marmottons into the Marmottes to finish. It was Dom, Rupert, Jason and Stephen’s last day so we skied until 1:30 as the snow was still holding up. Andreas and Henry were in the same area and had brilliant mornings while Thomas had a belter in Tignes skiing the Lavachet, three off the Palafour, the Sache and Familial on the way home with the Parker family.

Jean was skiing with Gill and Katie for most of the morning before the girls joined us for the last three runs. Both of them loved it and what a change from piste skiing as Gill hasn’t had too many off-piste opportunities this winter!

Henry had a family who had never skied off-piste before and they had their 11 and 8 year-old children with them, and when I saw them at the bottom of the Marmottons they were grinning from ear-to-ear. Bravo Henry, you showed them a stunning time!

We had a family walk on the Balcon yesterday afternoon before Millie and I had an hour in the golf simulator at the Centre Aquasportif. The girls are having an absolutely brilliant holiday and hopefully the weather will be kind for their last few days. Fingers crossed and stay tuned!

13 April 2017
A stunning morning in Tignes!

Andreas played a great gig yesterday afternoon at the Gourmandine with his friend Julian, and it was well attended by ‘Alpine’ friends and family, and Francoise and Fab were over the moon with the ambience and draw for the bar. It was Gill’s birthday and we went out to the L’arbre de vie restaurant in the Galerie des Cimes and it was excellent. The food is great and very well priced and everyone was very happy with their meal. Millie had cod, Gill ordered tempura prawns with noodles, Katie had a steak and I had a superb burger with wonderful frites.

As for today’s skiing we had a really good freeze last night that resulted in a superb morning of spring skiing. I headed to Tignes for a change of scenery and skied a nice alti-port/Lavachet into Tignes before skiing three fantastic runs off the Palafours. At this stage Derek said, “best morning of the week”, which is saying a lot because we’ve enjoyed stunning skiing all week! We then ‘skinned’ into the Sachette, which was beautiful top-to-bottom before finishing with a very good Familial. Meanwhile, Chris ‘skinned’ to the Crete du Genepy and then joined the spring tour, Henry was in the neighbourhood, Thomas took the Parker family to the Col de Montet, and Andreas had the day off.

I can tell you two things for free and one is that the traverse out of the Sachette is done, and the bottom of the Familial isn’t the easiest either, but still, both were good fun and character building! Paul managed to fall on top of Millie exiting the Sachette but fortunately both of them were alright, and then Millie fell in the mud coming out of the Familial and arrived home looking like she’d been in a mud-wrestling contest!

We’re off for a family walk on the Balcon and then Millie and I are booked into the golf simulator at 5PM. Stay tuned for more news tomorrow!

12 April 2017
Happy Birthday Gill and go Andreas!

We had a better overnight freeze and profited with another fantastic morning of spring skiing! My team ‘skinned’ 20-minutes to access some fabulous snow on the Crete du Genepy, followed by a Cugnai, Col de la Madeleine, and Marmottons into the Marmottes to finish. The rest of the boys were in the neighbourhood and we all enjoyed a wonderful morning.

I took Gill for a ‘birthday-ski’ this afternoon along with Millie and Katie and we had a great run in the Marmottons before heading up to the Fornet to have a look. There are too many powder tracks up there but we did have a nice run where we entered the Vallonnet before coming back around past Oh My! onto the spring slopes.

It was another brilliant night at Le Petit Danois last night as the Killerbeez did their thing and it was great fun. I find they just keep getting better and better and after my sixth time they are still playing songs I haven’t heard them play before. Jerry’s wife Sue was there along with Lianne, Olivia, and George and they were bopping and rocking with style and huge smiles on their faces. Well done girls!

I’m in a bit of a hurry as we’re all going to watch Andreas’ gig at the Gourmandine, which starts about 4:15. He’s really good and if you haven’t seen him perform you are in for a treat. Tansy, Ness and Victor will be there and do come along and support Andreas as well as the Gourmandine! See you there! Stay tuned!

PS We won the birthday cake from Chevallot on Radio Val yesterday and it’s absolutely wonderful. Yummm!

11 April 2017
Very fragile but a decent result!

We had cloud cover during the night and with it a little dusting of snow which insulated the surface and prevented a decent re-freeze, resulting in a tougher day on the mountain with fewer options. Andreas and I started with a quick Kern to test the waters then I followed Chris across the Alti-port, which was excellent, and then down the Little Lavachet, which just worked to the bottom. Then we had a team ski in the Sachette knowing we could escape back to the piste if necessary and we had to cut out early as the freeze disappeared very quickly. With the minimum freeze we were on the edge of ‘quick-snow’ for most of the morning and after the Sachette I thought I was finished for the morning, but after a little test decided to finish the morning with the Alti-port. We came in low to avoid anything steep and had a nice run across the meadows before cutting out at the first bridge. It was a pretty good morning in tough conditions and all the teams enjoyed a change of scenery as we’ve skied the ‘classic’s’ in Val d’Isere the past few days.

Hopefully we’ll get a better freeze tonight and it should be easier again in the morning.

Don’t forget the Killerbeez tonight, 5:30 start at Le Petit Danois. See you there! And Andreas will be playing tomorrow après-ski at the Gourmandine so do come along and bring some friends! Stay tuned!

10 April 2017
A much lighter freeze but great skiing!

It clouded over late yesterday afternoon and during the early part of the night and the result was a light freeze that went off very quickly this morning. The bottom of the Charvet was excellent, as was the Kern, but we were just in time for the Tour du Charvet, which was about 45-minutes ahead of yesterday’s melt. We then went direct to the Cugnai/Col de la Madeleine and it was pretty good considering how early we were, then my team skied a Marmottons and Marmottons into the Marmottes to finish. Andreas was back in action with Ian and they skied similar runs to us as did Chris . Thomas and Henry had a little ‘skin’ towards the Crete du Genepy before joining us for the Manchet-side of the spring tour.

I met Tim at 12:50 and we went straight up for a run in the Marmottons and we just made it. We skied there until 3:30 a few days back without any trouble and to give you an idea of the difference today it was fragile by 1:20! We then skied a half-run before cutting back to the piste and then the top third before calling it an afternoon. Meanwhile Andreas finished his day up on the Pisaillas.

What a final round of the Masters last night. I haven’t seen a stroke but was hoping for both Garcia and Rose before the start and I’m very pleased with the result. Sergio can now breathe a huge sigh of relief and die a happy man after so many near-misses!

I went for a walk yesterday afternoon with Millie on the Balcon and the people in front of us turned out to be Roddie and Sarah Finlay who showed us the photo of an enormous bouguetin that was about 30 metres from the track. Millie and I walked right passed it as we were looking higher up the mountain thinking no bouguetin in its right mind would be so low and so close to town, and we both take pride in our ‘spotting’ capabilities, but we certainly missed that one!

It’s clouded over again this afternoon and we may have another light freeze with partly cloudy skies in the morning. Bummer because this spring skiing lark has been a lot of fun and the sunshine hasn’t been too hard to take, but we’ll make the most of it tomorrow. Stay tuned!

PS And don’t forget the Killerbeez tomorrow evening at 5:30 at Le Petit Danois, followed by Andreas at the Gourmandine at 4PM on Wednesday!

9 April 2017
A massive amount of skiing and great snow!

We had a slightly lighter freeze overnight but still managed a fabulous morning of spring skiing, and it was quantity with quality! It’s amazing how much terrain you can cover on spring snow and today we skied the bottom-half of the Face du Charvet, the Kern, the Tour du Charvet, the Cugnai, two in the Marmottons, and a Marmottons into the Marmottes to finish! Paul had his son Nicholas skiing with us and Jean was along for the Face and the Tour, while Gill and Katie managed the Face, Tour, and Cugnai before they had to peel out for a picnic date. It was the first time Katie has been along in a morning group and she loved it! It was great to have Stephen Shute along again and Josh had his first-ever ski with ‘Alpine’ this morning. Thomas, Chris and Henry were all in the same area and Andreas is back tomorrow.

Geoff unfortunately needed to leave after one run due to boot problems while I had boot problems of my own. The pin popped out of the back of my boots leaving them in walk-mode, and if you know my boots walk-mode is seriously floppy and unskiable. I dug out my duck tape and wrapped it around about five times and sure enough it did the trick and I managed to finish the morning and felt the flex was pretty good for spring snow! I’ll take them up to Didier and see if he can fix them for the morning, fingers crossed!

I’m off to do the Balcon with Millie while Gill and Katie are out with friends. Stay tuned!

PS I’d love to see Justin Rose or Sergio win the Masters, come on boys!

PPS Millie is loving having a slot in her Dad’s group and I must say it’s fantastic to have her along!

PPPS Andreas has an après-ski gig at the Gourmandine this Wednesday afternoon so come along for a great afternoon of après-ski!

8 April 2017
A stunning morning followed by a stunning afternoon!

Wow, what another brilliant day of superb spring skiing with absolutely stunning weather! I had a father-son theme today with Adrian and his son Robbie along with Al and his son Rory. Both lads are 14-years-old and it was their first time off-piste, and what an initiation! We skied the bottom-half of the Face du Charvet in beautiful condition, followed by a very good Kern, then an excellent Tour du Charvet (avoided the hike today!), then a play above the L into the L, then the Cugnai, and a piste blast to finish. It was a fantastic start for the boy’s off-piste careers and the Dad’s were pretty proud of their performance. We also had Gill, Millie, Katie and Cassius follow us on the Charvet and they all loved it, then again on the Tour du Charvet with Jean R. Chris just finished two great weeks with Tejina and Claire and the ladies thoroughly enjoyed themselves. Henry has been skiing with martin M’s family and they’ve had a brilliant week and both Andreas and Thomas were off today.

This afternoon with had a quick picnic then Gill, Millie, Katie, Cassius, and I skied three rotations in superb snow in the Marmottons. Katie and Cassius stayed out and skied the ESF Slalom stade about ten times as it was like prefect spring snow and they were having a wonderful time.

Thanks to Geoff and Inga for a fabulous meal with wonderful wines and Gill and I and the girls really enjoyed ourselves. Thanks again!

More sun is on the way and I’m thoroughly enjoying the skiing and having the girls here to share it. Stay tuned!

And a huge sigh of relief in Hammerland!

7 April 2017
An exceptionally good morning of pristine 'spring'!

After being patient yesterday we were rewarded with absolutely stunning spring snow today. My team skied the bottom half of the Face du Charvet in pristine conditions, followed by the Kern, a wonderfully ‘clean’ Tour du Charvet where we ran out of now at the bottom and needed to hike up for ten-minutes but we’ll file that away for tomorrow, and a perfect Cugnai. Blimey it was good! Andreas and Henry were in the neighbourhood thoroughly enjoying themselves while Thomas had an initiation to touring and he ‘skinned’ towards the Gros Caval and had some excellent powder up high. Chris was on-piste today and made his way to the Sachette for lunch and back.

I had a great afternoon with Tim and we started at 1 o’clock to take advantage of the spring snow so I had a sandwich on the Solaise lift and we headed straight back to the Cugnai followed by three runs in the Marmottons, on a section that we used to call Hort’s Shoulder. We skied a huge amount pretty quickly and ended up ‘downloading’ to save our tired legs! Great effort Tim!

The girls are having a fantastic time and this weather certainly isn’t too hard to take. More sun is forecast for the next few days so we’ll continue to look for spring snow and we might even need to walk soon as people don’t seem to get ‘snow management’! Stay tuned!

6 April 2017
A patient day waiting for perfect spring snow!

After yesterday’s flat-flight and fog it was wonderful to be back in the sunshine again and all the boys looked for winter snow while giving the spring slope another day to properly transform. Thomas, Henry and I all headed up to the Pisaillas Glacier after a lovely positive ‘test’ of the Laisinant Express. We skied a really pleasant Pays Desert with a little ‘skin’ to access the last slopes and bravo to my team for some stunning tracks! Liz is very new to off-piste skiing as is Louise and they both did extremely well today and are making great progress. Well done girls! We then found some ‘bonus’ powder turns en-route to the Col Pers and once over the Col skied some great snow before ‘skinning’ up to the Lechoir. The first few pitches were still good winter snow and then we needed to play carefully with exposures on the flats to find support before the bottom slopes which were holding nicely. It was nice to go through the gorge again and Thomas and I both had people who had never been through today, which always makes it special. Meanwhile Chris and Andreas ‘skinned’ up to the Col des Fours and had a mix of winter snow and then supporting snow with a nice cushion on top. I’d say top marks all round and none of us damaged any potential ‘spring snow’ as we wait for tomorrow.

Tim and I ‘skinned’ out into the Pays Desert this afternoon and had a great ski while Katie was out with Cassius skiing with Al from Mountain Masters, and Gill and Millie went for a walk along the Balcon.

More sun is forecast and we should be back to spring snow tomorrow. Stay tuned!

5 April 2017
What a great team effort!

It was a tough morning today for various reasons. We had difficult weather to deal with today with flat-light and periodic fog patches and Andreas, Thomas, Henry and I all headed for the Sachette, which was definitely the right place to be. The snow was excellent top-to-bottom and although the light was extremely flat we did have vision with the rocks and couloirs and even when it was foggy we could just see enough to navigate without too much stress. My team were first in and unfortunately Jean Marc fell on about his third turn and tore his cruciate ligaments. We were in a bit of trouble as it was too foggy for a helicopter and there was no way the pisteurs could come and help so we were pretty much on our own to get on and deal with it. Fortunately Thomas and Andreas were behind us and they both did a great job helping us out. Thomas took my team and skied them down while Al volunteered to help me ski Jean Marc out. It was his left knee, which was better than it being the right because we did a huge tour of the Sachette on his right leg side-slipping and traversing on the ‘clean’ spring snow on the sunny-side. It was all pretty easy going considering the flat-light and Jean Marc’s condition but we made it back to the piste without incident. Andreas went on ahead and was going to phone the pisteurs to meet us but luckily ran into a pisteur on the piste, which saved a lot of time. Thanks Andreas! The pisteurs took over and took great care of Jean Marc while Al and I skied down and got up with Thomas and my group coming out of the traverse back to Les Boisses. Jean Marc is a lovely man and a real gentleman and I’m so sorry for him. Thankfully his injury took place in great snow, which makes it easier for me to deal with. (We always feel badly when someone gets injured but I’d feel a lot worse if I’d taken him into rubbish snow and he injured himself.) We all wish Jean Marc a full and speedy recovery.

I didn’t get many photos today as I was occupied but there are a few including one of JM and Al as we made our escape.

It cleared up just in time for our afternoons as Andreas, Chris and I were all out working. I had another great session with Helen and Steve who are determined to get off-piste next season.

We’ve five days of sunshine forecast so we’ll perhaps have a powder day tomorrow followed by some brilliant spring skiing. Hopefully people will leave the spring slopes alone tomorrow and ski north, unless of course they’ve already set-up properly but I think they need another day. Stay tuned!

PS And thanks to Al who gave up his skiing this morning to help Jean Marc. You’re a class act Al!

PPS Matt, Ellie and their girls are in town and it was great to see them at the Killerbeez last night!

4 April 2017
A last -second change of plan!

Photos are up, great day with Millie along, gone to the Killerbeez and report will follow!

Well, what a day that turned out to be! I made a last-second decision while en-route to Tommeuses and went up the Borsat and followed Thomas to Tignes. After a good test for powder off the Mont Blanc piste we had a funky run in the Borsat coming in half-way and playing with exposures, then a run on Wayne’s Shoulder, followed by an excellent run out in the Rosolin where we met up with Thomas and Denis before ‘skinning’ out and skiing the meadows down towards the ‘Wall’, followed by bits and pieces on the way home. I had Millie along today and it was fantastic to have her in the group again and she had a fantastic morning and seems to thoroughly enjoy the ‘skinning’. Meanwhile Chris skied the Little Lavachet en-route to the Sachette and Andreas skied the Sachette as well.

We had another brilliant evening in Le Petit Danois with the Killerbeez, who seem to get better every time I see them. They played a superb Ed Sheeran song for Millie and finished with ‘Johnny Be Good’ for me and the place was rocking! Katie loved the Ed Sheeeran tune as well as Johnny Cash’s Ring Of Fire and she did pretty well for her first live gig! There was a huge ‘Alpine’ turn-out so I can’t even start to list the participants but a special mention goes to Mike who danced the night away representing the older crowd, and to Cassius who didn’t stop in the under-ten category! Well done to you both, you were fun to watch!

I’m not too sure about the weather for tomorrow but we’ll make the best of it. Stay tuned!

3 April 2017
The Combe doesn't get much better!

Wow, what a day that was! We had the usual faff waiting for things to open at the Fornet but did mange 4 lower Combe du Signal’s, followed by one run on the Glacier down the 3300, and then we finished off with three Stunning runs in the Combe du Signal from the top. Those three runs were of the highest quality and my team will be pleased with their photos! All the boys were in the neighbourhood and even though we had to endure a little frustration trying to work out when certain lifts would open, the depth and quality of snow made up for it ten-fold!

Gill, Millie and Jean laid some great tracks around the Borsat this morning, nice guiding Jean, while Katie skied with Debs and her girls, and I had a great afternoon working on technique with Steve and Helen. I’m done as I’m running late and we’re meeting friends for drinks at the Baraque.

Stay tuned as the sun is forecast to shine and don’t forget the Killerbeez tomorrow evening, kicking off at 5:30 at Le Petit Danois!

2 April 2017
Who says it doesn't snow anymore?

It dumped down last night and throughout the day, especially up at the Fornet with the retour de l’est, and for that reason we headed to Tignes. With falling snow the light was pretty flat today with the odd patch of dreaded fog, but we also had moments of pretty good visibility and I took advantage of one and skied the Borsat Nord from the top. Thomas and I had great skiing around the Motte together while Andreas was on-piste today with a private booking. Chris started with us then went up to the Fornet and they opened the Signal Poma late in the morning and he was the second group up behind Herve. It’s very rare for the Signal to open in these conditions but Chris had a great run in the Combe du Signal then left as he didn’t like the behaviour of some skiers in the steep and deep!

I had an excellent afternoon with Tim who comes out every year about this time. We headed to the Motte and back and both decided to download at the end of the afternoon. It’s my 3rd of 11 out-of-12 afternoons so I’ll be a tired boy at the end of this stretch but Millie and my golf memberships will be taken care of!

It was Russell’s last night last night and we had a lovely evening with him. Have a great summer Russell and see you next December!

We’ve some sunshine forecast for the morning so stay tuned as we try to find a quiet corner of the resort somewhere!

1 April 2017
A long but good day!

I had a late night last night picking up the girls and with Chris skiing on-piste today with Tejina and Claire and with the rest of the boys off it was a little lonely out there this morning! It was +5C in the village this morning and considering the light freeze the snow held up pretty well today and with gray skies and a punchy wind blowing I didn’t have too many options and headed back to the Sachette. We ended up skiing about 4 powder pitches, which was a bit of a surprise before turning to the sunny-side for the bottom part of the mountain. Kirsty picked up a ‘skier of the day’ award making some really good progress and dealing with whatever came her way. Well done Kirsty, you’ve been brilliant this week!

This afternoon I was out with Tim and his wife Gill for the first of about 10 afternoons in a row. We had decent light up on the Motte and skied some nice winter snow and the afternoon, like the morning, was better than expected.

I passed by Le Petit Danois yesterday afternoon and can confirm that the Killerbeez will be playing again this Tuesday at 5:30! They have quickly become my favourite two-hours of the week and I really look forward to it, and it will be fun to have Gill, Millie and Katie along for the girl’s first taste of live music! Do come along as they are brilliant and Tchenko and I promised to rally the troops as last week was suppose to be their last gig. And if you want to see Dick you won’t find him at the Savoyarde, he’ll be at the Danois!

We should have some snow to play with tomorrow so stay tuned!

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