Wayne's Daily Diary Archive

20 June 2007

31 December 2017
And I thought yesterday was tough!!!

You would never imagine the word ‘stinker’ to be associated with 1 metre of fresh snow and clear blue skies but today was probably the toughest day of the season so far. It wasn’t quite a ‘stinker’ but it was difficult and ‘educational’ snow would be being kind. Hats off to Ollie who skied really well today, and Michael R who also acquitted himself with distinction this morning. (See photos)

It’s the girls last day today and I’m about to head down the mountain to take them to Geneva. It’s been a fantastic holiday and I’m already missing them and they’ll be returning early-February with a friend each, which should be fun.

I am thankful to be driving down today and not yesterday as the road conditions yesterday were absolutely atrocious! Stay tuned for more news tomorrow and don’t ‘make any promises your body can’t keep’ tonight!

PS There was a avalanche death in the Col des Fours yesterday as six Parisians wanted to spend New Year’s in the refuge. They somewhow made it to the refuge in the extremely heavy snow, flat-light and an avalanche risk off the scale but once there four of them decided on a little ‘skin’ for something to do when the avalanche occurred, killing one.

30 December 2017
Blimey, there was too much snow!!!

After waiting for snow for what seems ages we received about 50 to 60 cm’s overnight and it has snowed heavily all day long. I feel sorry for anyone travelling today because the roads must be an absolute nightmare congestion-wise as well as very dangerous!

Solaise opened at 9:50, which was pretty good considering, and Thomas, Chris and I were all up in good time and had a brilliant first run in seriously deep snow. We then went up Bellevarde but the skiing became more and more difficult as it warmed up and the snow became heavier by the minute. After about five runs on Bonnevie’s Drag we cut under Mont Blanc to the Tommeuses piste and skied to the bottom and called it a day. Everyone came through the morning unscathed, which was a result in itself, and everyone had a fun but tough morning.

Clear skies and a colder night are forecast so we should have much lighter snow with good vis tomorrow, although the avalanche risk will remain high.

I’m lucky with tomorrow’s forecast as I’m taking the girls and Ray down to Geneva after skiing and thank goodness they aren’t travelling today! Stay tuned!

PS It was the 14th anniversary of Michael R’s accident today. Well done Michael!

29 December 2017
Some bonus sunshine this morning!!!

I did use the ‘f-word’ this morning but for a totally different reason than anticipated. We were expecting cloudy skies and when I looked out the window to see clear blue skies I was deliriously happy as it was game on to head to Mont Roup and stay warm on another cold day. Chris and I ‘skinned’ to a mini-Crete du Genepy to find some lovely pockets of snow that were protected from the violent winds of yesterday and then on to Mont Roup where we found some great snow as well. When we were waiting in -15C temperatures for the Olympique to open one wouldn’t imagine that we’d be taking off jackets and hats and actually being hot at times! It did start to cloud over towards the end of the morning but we managed pretty good light for the most part. Meanwhile Andreas headed to Tignes for the Chardonnet and Sache, and Thomas and Henry were out there somewhere as well.

It is forecast to snow tonight and tomorrow so cross your fingers on that one as we’ve been promised snow all week and it hasn’t really happened yet. Stay tuned!

PS It started snowing around 3PM and Meteo France is forecasting 1 metre of snow over the next 36-hours! The avalanche risk for tomorrow has already been raised to 4/5 in anticipation.

28 December 2017
Bonne Anniversaire Sylvie !!!

We were expecting 30 to 35 cm’s of snow overnight so we were a little disappointed this morning to wake up to -16C, grey skies, a howling wind and about 5 cm’s of fresh snow. The wind was clocked at 95km/h during the night from the north so there was an accumulation on the lee slopes giving us some great skiing in places. It started out a little scratchy but after a quick warm-up in Les Tufs around 10:45 Chris, Thomas and I all teamed up for an excellent Tour du Charvet onto TJ’s Shoulder, which won the morning. (See photos) We finished off with a good shot off the Super L into the L and everyone went home happy, except Doug who couldn’t get on the first two busses and I’m hoping he at least made it on the third? Meanwhile Andreas headed to Tignes and had some great skiing off the Tichot and Lognan.

Andreas arrived in top form this morning after scoring 4 goals last night and his team scored a late winner with 20 seconds on the clock in front of a sell-out crowd of 500 in La Rosiere! Unfortunately Victor’s game was cancelled but he needed an early night anyway after a hectic Christmas period.

It was so sunny at lunch time that I decided to take Gill out to ski the Tour du Charvet and just as we arrived it clouded over and we were stuck in pretty flat light but we had a good ski anyway, followed by a nice trip down the VIP bubble on Solaise and after a long day out those heated seats were absolutely blissful !

Unfortunately a clear night is forecast with overcast skies in the morning. Makes me feel like using the ‘F’-word! Stay tuned!

PS And a very happy birthday to Sylvie!!!

27 December 2017
Happy Birthday Johnnie Alpine!

Today had ‘stinker’ with a capital ‘S’ written all over it with grey skies and flat-light, no new snow to work with, everything accessible completely tracked-out, and I must admit to feeling like I’d be spending the entire morning on piste working on technique. But like most ‘low-expectation’s’ mornings it turned out much better than expected and I thought it was a cracking good ski considering. We skied a Lower Borsat, followed by the Altiport into the trees in the Little Lavachet, then a ‘sniff’ off the Chaudannes and another Altiport to finish. In fact Harry thought that the Lavachet was better than anything he skied last Christmas, which says that it was pretty good and that the skiing last Christmas sucked! I’m glad you appreciated it Harry!

As I write at 2PM it’s trying to snow and we are expecting up to35cm’s tonight, which would be fantastic and kick-start the second half of the holiday period. I must say that during the last two weeks the skiing has been excellent and it would be great to receive a fresh canvas for the New Year period. Fingers crossed and stay tuned!

PS Good luck to Thomas who is out there all day!

PPS Millie is out walking five dogs with her friend Charlotte and Katie is going to a magic show followed by dinner at the Roxy Burger Bar with her pal Anna, while Gill and I have drinks with Gill’s friend Gemma and her family, and Andreas and Victor have hockey matches tonight. It’s all happening!

26 December 2017
Snow is on the way!

We needed to be quick this morning as the sun was shining first thing but the forecast was for clouds to move in and the skies to become overcast by mid-day, and that’s pretty much exactly what happened. Some people weren’t at their best today as the festive season has taken its toll but we had a great morning out although we had flat-light for the first time in over a week. Chris and I had a morning in the Sachette with a couple of little ‘skins’, Andreas skied Mickey’s Ears and Thomas was up towards the Fornet.

A huge gypaete flew overhead this morning and it turned out to be three of them, which I haven’t seen before. I’ve seen them in pairs but Chris figured that they must have been a family. I managed a few photos although they are a little ‘soft’.

It’s been a great Christmas with the family and the skiing so far for Gill and the girls has been much better than last year. Up until now the sun has been shining, the pistes have been excellent without too many other skiers about, and Millie has been able to ski in my group four times. We’ve also had a couple of fantastic evenings at home with lovely meals and lots of laughs, and the girls were extremely happy with their presents. Me too as I received much more than expected and a special thanks to Liz and Fred!

Snow is forecast for the next couple of days, which is well-timed because we’re in need of snow now as the resort is tracked-out. Fingers crossed,stay tuned and come on you Hammers!

25 December 2017
What a 'Merry' ski that was!

Merry Christmas to you all and what a ‘Merry’ ski we had today! Katie and Gill joined us for our warm-up down the Mattis before Chris and I headed way out into the Pays Desert with our teams for some lovely snow and peace and quiet. (See photos) Then we ran into Gill and Katie again at the end of the morning and I enjoyed having Katie two metres behind me as we raced down the piste towards our Christmas lunch. Meanwhile Andreas headed up to the Col des Fours with his team and they had a great ski before Andreas, Tansy, Ness and Victor had a Christmas picnic followed by a Christmas family ski. Thomas ‘skinned’ up to ski the north side of Mont Roup where they had excellent snow and I think all the teams enjoyed a great morning out.

Ray came over for dinner last night and we had a brilliant evening with lots of laughs and Ray brought a huge Chevallot tart with whip cream, which we polished off! It was too good to stop and these lovely tarts are never the same the next day! (We also polished off the Guigal 2010 Gigondas!)

Fingers crossed for some sunshine tomorrow morning before some serious snow moves in tomorrow afternoon, all day Wednesday and some light snow on Thursday. This sunshine we’ve been enjoying has been wonderful but we’re now in need of a fresh ‘canvas’ and some more snow to cover up the rocks that are still lurking.

Enjoy the rest of your Christmas and stay tuned for Boxing Day news tomorrow!

24 December 2017
First Lavachet and Sachette of the season!

It sun was out in full force today with 11C forecast at 2000 metres, which is pretty jolly warm for this time of year. The heat will help to stabilise the snow-pack but will put a crust on the sunny exposures making those slopes no-go zones. The extremely warm temperatures will also bring down some of the slabs hanging above the Charvet exit and the lower Sache. It’s a good thing we skied the Crete du Genepy and Mont Roup yesterday when they were still beautiful light powder because after today they won’t be nearly so good. We have one more day of sunshine to go before the snow arrives and with it a fresh ‘canvas’.

Today Chris and I skied the Lower Lavachet and ‘skinned’ out because the turns at the bottom were too good to ignore and then we headed for the first Sachette of the season. Chris did a great job opening it up as no one had been across the couloir all season long and it always adds to the ambience when you know you’re the first in. Well done Chris. Henry was in action today but I have no idea where he skied, JM has returned home for Christmas and Andreas and Thomas had the day off.

I’ve had some trouble uploading the photos but I’m now starting to have some success. Stay tuned and Merry Christmas!

23 December 2017
Welcome back Millie and Shred!!!

It was Millie’s first off-piste morning of the season and I’d saved her a double ‘skin’, which went down a treat. Chris and I both retraced part of what we did yesterday and added another dimension today making for a great morning out. (See photos) It was also ‘Shred’s’ (our secretary Louise’s) first day off-piste and she had a fantastic time and is now back in the saddle! Meanwhile Jean Marc was up at the Fornet ‘skinning’ on his last morning in town, Andreas was in Tignes and Thomas had the morning off. I’m not too sure what Henry is up to these days but he has started skiing.

I had a great piste cruise this afternoon with Gill, Millie, Katie and Ray and it was great fun as the piste quality was top-notch and being Saturday it was empty enough to really let rip! We were going for a powder ski but the Borsat was closed so that was the end of that.

It’s 1-1 at half-time and a Hammers win today would be a serious step in the right direction as we’ve been on a great run and need to keep it going. Newcastle are also desperate so it should be a tough second half! Come on you Hammers!

More sun is forecast for the next two days before snow moves in on Boxing Day. Stay tuned!

22 December 2017
My first time with boarders!

It was forecast for high thin cloud today but for the most part we had more sunshine than expected, and that always goes down well. Chris, Thomas and I headed out for a lovely ‘skin’ and managed great snow combined with very good light and since I’m in ‘code-mode’ I won’t be going into details but the photos will probably give it away! Andreas was skiing with Ian today while Jean Marc went for a ‘skin’ Tignes-way.

It was the Cook family’s last day today and we had an absolutely brilliant week! They are a pleasure to ski with and I look forward to seeing them again soon.

For the first time in my life I hung out with boarders this afternoon as Millie, Katie and I met up with the Sutherland’s and our golf coach James, who is a boarder. We somehow managed to lose Paul and his wife Liz on the first run, sorry guys, but picked up James’ boarding friend Steve, and I was really impressed by the speed these boarder-boys go! Steve has been coaching James this week and he’s made huge progress and I must say I was very surprised at how good James was as he’s new to the sport. It was really good fun and bravo boys!

Unfortunately Gill has been ill and missed today but hopefully she’ll be back skiing and socialising tomorrow. Fingers crossed and stay tuned!

21 December 2017
A little weary but another great day!

I picked the girls and Ray up in Geneva last night and we didn’t get home until 3AM but I felt pretty good this morning and Chris and I headed up to the Pays Desert for a ‘triple-skin’. The snow up top looked a little tricky as it had been touched by the wind but it skied much better than anticipated and the teams did a great job leaving perfect tracks. (See photos) The snow kept improving the lower we skied and it turned out to be a lovely outing with excellent skiing and fantastic scenery. Thomas was at the Fornet as well with his initiation group and they had a great morning as well.

Meanwhile JM went for a ‘skin’ with Martin and Andreas headed to Tignes and I’m going into ‘code-mode’ as the easily accessible slopes have been trashed and we won’t be getting a new canvas for a little while, but all the boys are enjoying brilliant skiing at the moment.

I had a quick ski with the girls this afternoon on piste before Gill, Rosie and I headed off for a few powder turns and Rosie did really well. I’m really looking forward to getting Rosie off-piste in some morning groups the next time she comes to visit in February.

I’ve a lot on at the moment and so I’ll sign-off but stay tuned for more news tomorrow!

PS I’m having trouble with some of the photos tonight.

20 December 2017
Picking up the girls tonight!!!

There were two factors that changed my plans today (and everyone else made adjustments as well) and the first was Meteo France bumping up the avalanche risk to 4/5, and the second was high north-easterly winds at altitude. The avalanche risk was a pain because no one felt it was a 4/5 day but if you were ever to have an accident on a day with a 4 rating you’d be in serious, serious trouble and an unnecessary 4 rating takes the wind out of your sails. So we all took it easier than we might have done and moving on to ‘Plan C’ turned out to be a fantastic ski around the Motte. After some great snow off the Verte we skied under the Borsat chair en-route to the Lower Borsat and the meadows into Tignes, then a Genepy with a 20-minute ‘skin’ to the Little Borsat West, then a Lower Cairn before finishing with an outstanding Altiport. We did a lot of skiing today and the snow quality was absolutely top notch! Chris and Thomas were in the neighbourhood while Andreas headed up into the wind at the Fornet and was rewarded with some great skiing in the Combe du 3300, the Pays Desert and a trip over the Col. He had some people from Chamonix who’d never seen the Col Pers before so a trip to the Fornet was a must. Jean Marc went for a little ‘skin’ and I won’t say where as I’m planning on skiing there in the next day or two and as times start to become more difficult we’re getting close to ‘code-mode’!

I’m picking up the girls at 10:30 tonight so I’m in for another long day but it’s going to be wonderful to have them here and they are so excited with the amount of snow we have. This time last year our terrace didn’t have any snow at all and this Christmas it looks like a Winter Wonderland!

Stay tuned for more news tomorrow!

19 December 2017
What a long day that was!!!

Sorry for the late update but I’ve had a bit of a hectic day! The sun was out this morning and we savoured another brilliant day of powder skiing with a great mix of slopes. We warmed-up with the Tour du Charvet towards TJ’s Shoulder, followed by a good piste bash en-route to the Fornet where we skied an excellent Combe du 3300 before ‘skinning’ out, followed by our first Col Pers of the season. Jean Marc was the first in early this morning and I arrived at the Col at about 12:15 and there were still only about ten tracks over the Col. I knew I was a little late but after some fantastic skiing down to the Grand Torsai it was very rocky down below and we needed to pick our way down very carefully and it turned into a pretty good adventure as I didn’t arrive home until 2:40. That put me in a rush to get down to Borg and do a huge Christmas shop and get back in time to meet the Sutherland’s, James, Wils, Rosie, Jamie and Rob, and other regular’s for the Guinea Pigs at Le Petit Danois. Then I had a quick burger with Adam before unloading the car and putting away all the groceries. It’s now 10PM and I’m just doing the blog and photos.

Andreas headed to Tignes and had a great morning, Thomas was around Bellevarde and the Charvet with his initiation team, Chris and JM where at the Fornet and Henry was back in action as well today.

I must say that the Guinea Pigs were brilliant tonight! I’ve adapted to it being acoustic and they played with incredible energy, passion and they are ‘tight’ together and read each other’s next move with perfect timing. Paul has a fantastic ‘rock’ voice and Hugo is a great drummer and fun to watch. Anyway, a big thumbs up for the Pigs!!!

I’d better get ready for bed as I’ve a long day tomorrow and pick the girls up in Geneva around 9:50, so it will be a late one. Stay tuned!

18 December 2017
Trickier but still good skiing!

After yesterday’s superb powder extravaganza today was always going to be more difficult as no new snow fell overnight to cover the tracks and it started snowing around 8AM so we had pretty flat-light all morning. With that said all the boys did a good job finding some great skiing while keeping it safe.

Unfortunately Chris jarred his knee a little at the end of the morning so hopefully he’ll be okay and ready to go in the morning.

It’s clearing up this afternoon which is a bit of a bummer because a lot will get tracked and the afternoon skiers will get the best of it today before the sun comes out in the morning. I’m keeping it short as I’ve a lot to do but stay tuned for more news tomorrow!

17 December 2017
Wow, that was outstanding!

Pietro has headed back to Italy, Jean Marc was having a much deserved day off, Andreas and Thomas were doing time with the races, Henry is still not in action, and that left just Chris and I this morning, and boy, what a morning it was! The light was much better than forecast and with a little fresh snow overnight we warmed-up with a cracking run down the Fontaine Froide before opening up a stunning Tour du Charvet to TJ’s Shoulder. It was wonderful to be there without a track on the mountain and the snow quality doesn’t get any better. Next up was a fantastic run down the Marmottons but on the ride back up the Manchet Express it was evident that it was becoming busy so we had a run on the top of the Marmottes before skiing the Solaise piste and heading back to finish the morning with another brilliant Tour du Charvet. (See photos) Friday was a great day but today has to be my favourite of the new season so far!

I skied with Jack (who has been Millie’s Junior Mixed golf partner) and his younger brother Jamie for an initiation to off-piste while Chris had James and Lawrence who were new off-piste skiers as well, so we teamed up together and took them all for a Tour du Charvet, which is a good as ‘initiation’ as you’ll get!

John E has just arrived and had a great day with Jean R and RichardH, and Chrissy has been here for a few days as well and she’s skiing really nicely from what I’ve seen so far.

Hammerland is a much happier place at the moment after our much improved form and hopefully we can keep it going against Newcastle next week. Stay tuned!

16 December 2017
Flat-light but very good sking!!!

Only 2 or 3cm’s of snow fell overnight and with the resort being hit hard track-wise yesterday with the good visibility today was always going to be potentially a trickier day, especially with the overcast skies and flat-light. Chris was back in action after a couple of days off and he and I warmed-up in some fantastic snow off the Marmottons express, where we had some pretty good vis as well. We were thinking of heading to Tignes but at the last minute did a U-turn and had some great skiing off the Epaule du Charvet followed by a brilliant run in the Arcelle with just enough vis through the gloom to not noodle ourselves! We then finished off with a good run off the top of the Super L, and it was a great morning back for Dave Stockill who hasn’t skied with us for a few years now. Pietro and Thomas are finishing their last day with the Ski Club today while JM is still entertaining his touring group.

I had the pleasure of my nephew Wils along today and he’s become a cracking good off-piste skier. His sister Rosie and dad Rob arrive later this afternoon, and Millie and my golf coach James arrives as well, along with our Club Captain Paul and his family. With the girls arriving on Wednesday it’s all happening at the moment.

Stay tuned and come on you Hammers!

PS Blimey, the cricket is depressing!

15 December 2017
A proper 'maximim-turn' morning!!!!!

Yesterday we skied and a howling wind with flat-light and the snow was compressed for the most part with a bit of a ‘bite’ to it, but today was a totally different story! The wind died down and it must have snowed at least 30cm’s overnight and today was a full blown ‘maximum-turn’ morning of extremely high quality. My team skied La Daille top-to-bottom in beautiful deep snow to get started, then two Fontaine Froide’s, two Bonnevie’s drags, under the Mont Blanc, two Triffolets to the bottom, the Epaule du Charvet, and then the L to finish. All the boys were in the neighbourhood and had stunning skiing with Andreas getting on the Face du Bellevarde just as it opened and Jean Marc giving us the ‘heads-up’ on the fabulous Epaule du Charvet. (Unfortunately my photos are a little ‘soft’ today but you’ll get the idea!) And I forgot to mention that the sun came out and we enjoyed some excellent visibility for the most part, which allowed us to really rock an’ roll.

More snow is forecast for tomorrow and we’ll wait and see. Stay tuned!

PS Thomas did a snow pit for his Ski Club clients and found 60cm’s of gobelets on the upper slopes where the rain didn’t reach. The rain stabilised around 2300 metres and below but not above, which is why the avlanche risk remains 4/5!

14 December 2017
A decent result on a tough day!

After two days of sunshine and fantastic powder snow it was back to flat-light and high winds this morning, and because of the violent wind a very limited opening. There were gusts of 110km/h on Solaise at 5:30am and the wind was a major factor today but thankfully the air temperature wasn’t too cold and the wind was bearable. With all that said I thought we did a pretty good job making the most out of a pretty tricky day and the troops went home happy! (see photos)

We might get some sunshine tomorrow which would help enormously because a lot of yesterday’s perfect powder and been worked over by the wind and is rather ‘educational’ in places but it would be much easier to ski positively with good visibility. Fingers crossed on that one.

Katie has been having a fantastic time at her gymnastics club and has been making some serious progress. She’s linking up back-flicks and lay-outs and I miss watching her on Tuesday nights. Bravo Katie and see you soon!

I added to my update yesterday about my ‘bionic’ team of skiers. As it turns out I short-changed Irish John because besides having two McMinn hips he also has an artificial knee. That’s some serious hardware!

I went to see Paul and Hugo from the Killerbeez who are now playing under the name of The Guinea Pigs, and I must say that they really miss Ben and the electric sound they had together. They’ve gone acoustic and because they don’t have a van Hugo has a tiny little drum kit and he can’t spread his wings and play with the same width ferocity as before. Paul played a lot of chords and didn’t do very much finger picking which he is brilliant at, and they played pretty much all new music that I haven’t heard them play before. I think they’ll need to play more of their old classic crowd-pleaser’s to engage the crowd but hopefully they will in the future as Tuesday night was a bit of an experiment in front of regular listeners. With all that said they were still brilliant as they are very talented boys and you can see the joy of playing together on their faces. I’ll still go every week and I’m sure they’ll get their acoustic act together and polished before too long.

Thanks to Johnnie Alpine for another stunning curry last night followed by West Ham hanging on by their fingertips for a very valuable point against a very frustrated Arsenal side!

Besides Gill and the girls coming next Wednesday, I have my niece and nephew Rosie and Wils coming with their dad Rob, Millie and my golf coach James coming, and Paul (our Club Captain) and his lovely family coming as well so I’m in for lots of company in the next couple of weeks.

13 December 2017
Team 'Bionic' !!!

Another cold night helped to further dry out the snow and with some sunshine we all headed up to the Fornet for a change of scenery. I’ve skied every day so far this season and it was only my third trip to the Pissaillas so far, and that’s saying something as we usually live up there at this time of year, but the last snowfall has turned a rock-infested-ski-at-your-own-risk sector back into a powder paradise! Chris, Andreas, Jean Marc, Thomas, Pietro and I all enjoyed a stunning morning and because we did some short ‘skins’ we all had our peace and quiet. (See photos)

It was Johnnie Alpine’s son Rob’s birthday today and Rob just showed up hoping for a place and gave himself a very happy birthday! Cheers Rob and enjoy the rest of the day!

My girls arrive next Wednesday so I’ve some preparations looming (but of course I don’t want to peak too early) and my nephew Wils is coming to stay tomorrow night. I’ve a lot to do so I’ll stop now but I must say I’m looking forward to West Ham v Arsenal at John’s tonight. Come on you Hammers!

More snow is expected tonight and hopefully the wind won’t become the main factor!

PS I forgot to mention my bionic team today. We had Irish John with two McMinn hips, Jim with a new hip this summer, Barry with a new knee this summer, me still going strong on my McMinn hip, and Michael R who is full of metal! What a team!

12 December 2017
See you at Le Petit Danois!

After a transition-type of day yesterday where the off-piste was really difficult and not worth risking ones knees over the conditions today were drastically better and for the most part quite stunning. The temperature dropped overnight which helped to dry out the snow and with another 15cm’s of fresh snow overnight we had some fantastic skiing. The avalanche risk is still 4/5 so it was a question of finding great skiing without tackling anything steep enough to slide and all the boys had a wonderful morning without taking any chances. (See photos)

I had the pleasure of a couple of new skiers today as Johnnie Alpine recruited Irish John and Barry L. Barry’s son Giles works with TDC and has been here for many years and it was great to have you both along!

There was a little slide yesterday where a guide was buried for 6-minutes but fortunately he had given his group a search-and-rescue session in the morning and they were able to find him and dig him out in time. It was a reminder to the rest of us that it is unstable and to be satisfied with what’s on offer and to keep ‘searching for the low hanging fruit!’

Jean Ribart stopped by the Gourmandine this morning to say hello and he was off with Richard H to start his season. It was great to see you Jean and I look forward to skiing with you later in the season.

Paul and Hugo from the Killerbeez are playing at Le Petit Danois today at 5 o’clock so I’m really looking forward to that. It’s late notice so I’m trying to rally the troups and if you’re in town I hope to see you there! Stay tuned!

PS My girls arrive one week tomorrow. Yahoo!!!

11 December 2017
One metre and counting!

It continued to snow all day yesterday and bravo to JM and Chris who were both out there until 4:30! Chris ended up staying at my place last night because they closed the road to the Laisinant and he was worried about missing work today, but they did manage to reopen the road this morning for cars and buses only. There were gusts of southerly winds last night up to 110km/h and it warmed up significantly in the village with drizzle to about 2300 metres. Although it didn’t do much for today’s skiing the warmth and rain will have done wonders for stabilising the snowpack, and it’s exactly what we needed.

As for today’s skiing I didn’t even attempt one turn off-piste and that must be a first! Michael is here for 6 weeks and certainly didn’t want to noodle himself on day two, and Dave is a survivor who values his knees so we spent the morning working on technique. Meanwhile Chris and Jean Marc have groups for the entire day, while Thomas and Pietro are on all-day with the ski club. Good luck to you all!

Water is dripping off the roofs in town today but it is forecast to cool back down to -6C tonight with up to another 50cm’s of snow. The skiing should be much better tomorrow and with any luck we’ll get some decent visibility, but with an avalanche risk of 4/5 we’ll be taking it easy and as Henry would say, “be looking for low hanging fruit!” Stay tuned!

PS The piste service did a pretty good job this morning and had the place running by 9:45, although it was a very limited opening.

PPS Apparently Tignes was pretty much shut down all day long. Chris seems to think it might be because of the avalanche problems they had last year when the Balme dropped onto the piste and perhaps they’re being extra cautious? Who knows but we were lucky to have some much to chose from today, even with a limited opening. Go Val!

10 December 2017
Serious snow has finally arrived!

Red Ray’s forecast is starting to look pretty accurate as it has it started snowing early this morning and it has dumped all-morning long, and 40 to 60 cm’s are expected during the day! With any luck we’ll see up to a metre today and tomorrow. So far this season the only danger we’ve had off-piste has been the rocks lurking under the surface but now we are about to enter our first serious period of high avalanche risk. Besides the heavy snowfall 80 to 110 km/h of gusting winds are predicted so we’ll have a huge amount of transported snow to go along with the snow falling out of the sky, and all of it landing on an unstable base.

It was Michael R’s first morning today and Michael lasted until about 10:30 when he sensibly called it a morning after some great skiing, and Dave and I only lasted one more run and Dave called it around 11:30, which was fine by me as the pistes were starting to get bumpy and quite horrible and with white-out conditions I wasn’t going to venture too far off-piste.

I’ve a football extravaganza today at Johnnie Alpine’s this afternoon with Big Sam v Jurgen at 3:15, followed by Man U v Man City, and all topped off with a steak dinner. Thanks in advance John!

Who knows if we’ll be able to ski tomorrow as this is looking like an extremely important snowfall and if the wind does get up there will be some serious work to be done on the part of the piste service tomorrow morning. Fingers crossed and stay tuned!

PS Needless to say I’ve been relishing the Hammers win yesterday!

9 December 2017
Blimey, that was chilly!!!

It certainly wasn’t a day for the faint-hearted as it was -19C on the summit of Bellevarde and blowing a gale! Any exposed skin was instantly frostbitten and somehow Catherine, Dave, Johnnie Alpine and I managed a cracking good morning and skied until 12:35! We wouldn’t have bet on lasting that long after the first five minutes! Anyway, we skied some piste, had some lovely runs in the trees at the bottom of La Daille, a couple of good goes on Bonnevie’s Drag and we finished with the first Lower Familial of the season. Bravo team for a great effort!

Chris is out there somewhere skiing with Trevor Newland’s team and we haven’t seen Trevor in years. (Blimey, tough first day back!) Pietro’s ski suit and boots were in the hallway when I returned for lunch so I’m not too sure how long he and Fiona lasted this morning but it was a chilly one to say the least this morning.

Red Ray emailed yesterday to report that 160cm’s of snow was on the way but two days into this promised dump and not that much has fallen, and the main factor so far has been high winds and for the most part flat-light. Fingers crossed that the snow does arrive or it won’t be that merry of Christmas!

Stay tuned and come on you Hammers!

PS West Ham 1 Chelsea 0 Can you believe it !!!!!!!

PPS Gill and the girls are in London visiting Michelle and Cassius, have fun everyone!

8 December 2017
Bloody wind!!!

Ten to fifteen centimetres fell overnight and Dave and I profited with a fantastic run down La Daille to the Funival with a perfectly smooth base and 15 cm’s of cold light snow on top. We were the only skiers and I mentioned to Dave that we could go home now because the morning wasn’t going to get any better! We managed to find clean snow on our second run but then it was totally done and we needed to search around a little bit more. Chris joined us and we cut a track to Bonnevie’s Drag from Tommeuses (see photos) but after a couple of runs Monsieur Bonnevie showed up with his rat-track so that was the end of that! We played off the Verte a little then headed down and skied the avalanche path to the bus stop to finish and it was a pretty good morning in tough conditions.

I haven’t mentioned the wind yet but it was blowing a gale on the summit of Bellevarde. Fortunately the air temperature wasn’t too cold or it would have been bitter, but it was really difficult for children and beginners as you couldn’t see while being bombarded with snow/ice pellets. It’s a shame for JM and Thomas’ touring groups as it was their last day today and with wind and flat-light it won’t have been the easiest, but they’ll go away happy as they’ve had a great week. Bravo boys!

You might not recognise us this season as our new uniforms have arrived and we’re looking a little more colourful to say the least. I’m very pleased with it all as the ‘black- trousers- look’ was starting to get a little dull.

Fingers crossed that this wind dies down and we get a significant snowfall because last night’s snow hasn’t really changed anything off-piste. Stay tuned!

PS And thanks to Dave Carr for a great meal last night!

7 December 2017
Snow is on the way!

It was Dave H’s first day of the season and probably our last sunny day for a while and Derek, Dave Chris, Doug and I headed for Tignes. We skied some lovely piste to warm-up then headed up the Motte for the views and a ski while waiting for the sun to hit the Borsat West. After skiing some ‘leftovers’ off the Genepy we ‘skinned’ up for 20-minutes and skied some excellent snow in the meadows of the Little Borsat West. Next up was a trip into the Campanules, which was pretty good and we finished off our morning with some bits and bobs and a piste cruise.

Pietro is skiing with Fiona M for the next few days and JM and Thomas have today and tomorrow left with the touring group. They were heading towards the Col de la Madeleine this morning and I’m sure they found some good snow in that sector.

I’d like to thank Derek for a great dinner last night and we had fun listening to Derek’s new music set-up while drinking some lovely white wine. Thanks Derek, and I thought Amy McDonald was fantastic!

With any luck we’ll see between 10 and 20cm’s of snow tonight and it is forecast to snow all day tomorrow and off-and-on for the next week to nine days. Blimey, that sounds too good to be true! Fingers crossed and it’s time to put the goggles back in the backpack! Stay tuned.

6 December 2017
A funky change of scenery!

It was Derek’s 9th day today and so far he’s spent his entire time around Bellevarde and in Tignes, so we decided on a ‘funky’ change of scenery today. Chris came along as well and we warmed-up with a piste cruise down La Daille before jumping on a bus and heading up to the Laisinant Express en-route to the Pissaillas. The landscape on the glacier is quite remarkable at the moment and I wanted Derek and Chris to see it before it starts to snow, and we dove into the 3300 and picked our way down through the rocky patches and were rewarded with some pretty good skiing. We then took the up-and-over to try the top of the Arcelle thinking we’d ski the top third before ‘skinning’ out but we ended up skiing the Marmottons right to the bottom! (See photos) I was surprised that we could ski to the valley floor with such a thin base and we miraculously didn’t touch any rocks as that sector is mostly grass!

I’d like to thank Tilly and Catherine for a superb evening last night as they were entertaining their merry band of touring friends. There was Jean Marc, Roy and Marilyn, Tom and Sue, Jo and David, Johnnie Alpine, Mike and Laura, Chris E, Richard Finlay, and of course Tilly and Catherine. (I hope I haven’t forgotten anyone) The girls cooked pork trislussik pipkin (don’t ask me but it was spicy and delicious!) and a brilliant monkfish Thai curry. It was a fantastic evening with wonderful food, great banter and cracking good company. Thanks very much ladies!

Tomorrow is supposed to be our last sunny day before snow moves in tomorrow night and Friday. It has been forecast to snow all next week, but Meteo France are unfortunately now backing off on the ‘all next week’ bit, so fingers crossed that we get enough snow to get the off-piste up and running properly. Stay tuned!

5 December 2017
Limited but great skiing!

We are in a desperate need of snow, which is forecast to arrive on Friday and continue through next week, but in the meantime I’m enjoying the stunning sunshine and the optimal visibility that goes with it. The skiing has been limited but we’ve manage really good skiing every morning and for the conditions and what’s available I’d go as far to say that the skiing has been excellent. JM and Thomas were touring over the Col du Palet, I’m not too sure what Pietro skied, and Chris and I had a great mix of piste cruising with some jolly good skiing in the Chardonnet and the lower Tourne off the Grand Huit, then a scratchy run off the Chaudannes, which was ski-able but my worst turns of the season, then a good run in the Campanules and a Familial to finish. (See photos) It was another great morning and we’ve two more sunny days to go before the snow should arrive. Fingers crossed!

We’d like to wish Tansy a big happy birthday and a belated happy birthday to Suzanne for yesterday. Have a great time girls and enjoy being fussed over!

I had my skis tuned again at Jean Sport last night and I must say that the new Wintersteiger is fantastic. It’s my second service of the season so far and both of them have been absolutely perfect, and I haven’t even touched the tips and tails. Brilliant and thanks to the boys in the shop!

If you want to watch some American Football highlights check out the Steelers v Bengals on nfl.com. They have a huge rivalry with no love lost and it’s an extremely hard hitting game. Warning: It’s not for the faint hearted!

Stay tuned for more news tomorrow!

4 December 2017
A good adventure at the Fornet!

I decided that after ten days of skiing it was time to go to the Fornet and test the waters, for better or for worse. It wasn’t looking all that promising as I’ve never seen so little snow on the Pissaillas Glacier at this time of year ever! (Check photos, it looks like the moon!) Anyway, I like a challenge and we managed to ‘sniff’ out some very good strips of snow and the team of Jerry, Penny and Richard did the business as we needed to stay light and controlled because the snow-pack is extremely thin. After a couple of runs towards the Combe du Geant Jerry needed to head down to catch a flight and the rest of us decided to have a go in the Combe du 3300 and ‘skin’ out. The snow was excellent but again extreme caution was needed in choosing our line and the actual skiing itself and well done to everyone involved this morning. Pietro is skiing with Maeve and Adrian and he had a go at the Fornet as well and I’m not too sure what JM and Thomas did with their touring groups.

All neutral Premiership football fans were cheering for the Hammers yesterday as everyone but City fans are hoping someone can slow City down. That’s three games in a row that they’ve scored a late winner and instead of 3 points during those games they managed 9 and it’s almost over. Well done West Ham, it was a positive performance under the circumstances!

Stay tuned for another sunny day tomorrow!

PS It will take a load of snow to get the T-Bar running up at the Fornet. The dips on the T-Bar line are so pronounced that the cable is so high that the cord with the t-bar will never reach the ground. There are also rocks showing on the exposed humps and without a significant snowfall the t-bar will remained closed for the foreseeable future. And it was lovely to have Pat Woo over for dinner last night with Chris and Pietro. We look forward to seeing you again soon Pat!

PPS And a very happy birthday to Suzanne!

3 December 2017
Finally some sunshine!

The sun was out in full force today and what a wonderful change from the flat-light we’ve experienced over the past few days. We had an Alpine reunion at the Gourmandine this morning as Jean Marc arrived along with Pietro, Chris, Andreas, Thomas and I and it was great to see all the boys together. The only ones missing were TJ and Olivier but it’s rare that we have so many of us in the resort together at the same time. (Olivier couldn’t make it so Thomas is helping out JM with their touring week.)

It was cold again this morning and as much as we’d like to check out the Fornet we all decided to head towards Tignes to ski in the sun while knowing we had some options. It was Doug’s first morning so after a piste cruise to Tommeuses to warm up we dove into the Campanules, along with Andreas and Chris. It was a little ‘scratchy here-and-there but for the most part was pretty jolly good and a proper off-piste start to the morning. Andreas and Chris continued on to the Chardonnet where the couloir was nicely filled in with good powder below while I skied the Lognan with my team. From there I met up with Jean Marc and Thomas and we skied the Genepy off the Motte, which I thought was excellent. It’s like the moon up there and the terrain is almost unrecognisable as it has been changing drastically from year to year so it took some ‘sniffing’ about to arrive at the slopes that we wanted.You certainly wouldn’t want to venture out there in flat-light as there are terrain traps everywhere. Andreas and Chris came down as well and by the time we arrived at the bottom it was pretty much time to head for home via the piste to finish off a cracking good morning. (See photos)

Thanks to Johnnie Alpine for a stunning curry last night, and what a football match between Arsenal and Man U. I’m not too sure how United won but what a game. Thanks John!

Good luck to Millie on her golf today and have fun at your Christmas party, and get well soon Katie.

The sun is forecast to shine for the next few days so the only snow that we will see is that of the man-made variety. The piste skiing is improving daily as the snow cannons are working constantly. Stay tune for more news tomorrow! (I’m not even going to mention the Hammers!)

PS Andreas is having a lovely family ski with Tansy, Ness and Victor, and it was great to see Frans back this morning after missing last season through injury and surgery. Also welcome back to Jerry, Craig, Penny and Richard who started their off-piste seasons today.

2 December 2017
You've got to love this place!

Radio Val painted a pretty bleak picture this morning with grey skies, flat-light, winds gusting to 70km/h and no new snow to speak of. Expectations were low this morning at the Gourmandine but with Maeve and Adrian back to ski with Pietro, and Tilly arriving for her first morning, we all headed out to make the best of it. As is often the case on ‘low-expectation’ mornings it was much better than any of us had imagined as the wind was much calmer than expected and wasn’t really a factor, the sky was much brighter than anticipated giving us some off-piste options, and the snow both on and off-piste was excellent. We skied some perfectly groomed pistes and I must say the texture today was remarkably better than yesterday, and we had some nice skiing in the Familial, several runs off the Fontaine Froide and a little play off the Grand Pres. Pickings are slim but we made the most of it today and Tilly kept our spirits up as she seemed to laugh most of the morning!

It was socked-in all day up at the Fornet so with any luck we’ll be getting some snow up there and it would be nice to head up that way tomorrow if the visibility allows. It’s incredibly rare to have skied 8-days at this time of year and not made a trip to the Fornet. Normally we’d be up there every day and it just shows how great of resort we have because there is always an option, and every sector plays its part at some time during the season. All you Val d’Isere apartment owners have every reason to feel smug! Stay tuned for more news tomorrow!

1 December 2017
Welcome back boys!

Peter C and Paul W kicked off their season’s today, and Derek and I also had the pleasure of Pietro’s company this morning. It was forecast for grey skies and flat-light with light snow but we had some excellent visibility early on and managed to get off-piste for a Familial followed by the Upper Banane into the Fontaine Froide. The skies then darkened considerably so we had a couple of piste blasts down the Piste H before finishing with some soft snow on Bonnevie’s Drag and under the Folie Douce. (I’m wondering if the only other tracks on Bonnevie’s were Johnnie Alpine’s or Richard F’s?)

It was -18C on the summit of Tommeuses this morning but fortunately there wasn’t any wind to speak so it wasn’t too bad, although we were a little chilly after our piste blasts where one creates their own wind-chill factor. I must say that the snow cannons are starting to make a real difference and the quality of the pistes today were significantly better than yesterday, and great pistes help enormously when the off-piste isn’t as much of an option as we’d like.

Depending on what forecast you look at we’ve snow on the way for tomorrow, although Meteo France calls for partly sunny skies. Considering it is suppose to be snowing right now I’m not too sure how optimistic I can get, and I am usually pretty optimistic by nature. Fingers crossed for some snow and stay tuned!

PS On a really positive note there are rumours in town this evening of a retour de l’est brewing, and if it happens we could see 60cm’s of snow up at the Fornet in the next 36-hour,s and that would seriously change our landscape and kick-start our season!

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