Wayne's Daily Diary Archive

20 June 2007

28 February 2018
An adventurous start to the morning!

It was another cold day with some ‘bonus’ sunshine early on to kick-start the day and we had a pretty adventurous first run. We climbed up to ski the Borsat West and getting up-and-in was more difficult than I’d expected, but it was worth the effort. There was one track left by a pisteur a couple of days and I was surprised that no one had skied it yesterday, but we had a beautifully ‘clean’ slope in front of us with excellent snow. Ann skied extremely well with determination and picked up a much deserved ‘skier-of-the-day’ award, and Chris would have been really proud of you today! And a big thanks to Nick for your help at back! The Borsat West took longer than anticipated so we went in for a hot chocolate before skiing off my shoulder en-route to a nice ‘skin’ on the Little Borsat West where the snow on the meadows was excellent. Chris skied the Pays Desert today and frost-bite his big toe, Thomas was heading to the Fornet to ski the Pays Desert and Lechoir with his Ski Club team, Henry was out there somewhere and Andreas had the day off.

We spotted three Perdrix Blanche this morning walking up the Borsat ridge, exactly where they can often be seen. They looked twice as big as usual as they were all puffed up to protect themselves from the cold. I took five photos with freezing hands and drew four blanks, but did manage one photo where they can be seen at the top edge of the photo. (And l almost drew a blank on that one as well!)

If I’d known a month ago how cold it was going to be for such a prolonged period I’d have bought some electric socks. Apparently they work a treat and are durable and can be washed. It’s supposed to warm-up tomorrow so perhaps the cold weather is behind us but I’m planning on buying a pair next season. It’s been tricky managing my feet, which seem quite sensitive at the moment, when you’re out for four-hour stints, especially if you do something like the Col du Montet, which is north and once you start there is no place to seek shelter. I just spoke to Emily in Jean Sports and they do have a few pairs left for anyone who is suffering.

We are expecting some snow tonight, which will be welcome because the temperatures will rise and we’re in need of a fresh canvas. Stay tuned!

PS Thanks Viv and co for a great evening last night, although I did feel a little rough this morning!

PPS And thanks to Chris for the shot of Baileys in our hot chocolates!

27 February 2018
Rosie's first 'skin'!

Today was one of the coldest days I’ve ever experienced here except for the fact that there was no wind. Had there been a wind blowing today it would have been almost impossible to do anything significant but the ‘Alpine’ team did a great job of keeping everyone warm enough to finish the morning without going in for hot chocolate. (Bravo boys!) Chris, Andreas and I started off with a Crete du Genepy, which is always one of the warmest places to be on a cold day and the snow wasn’t as easy we would have liked, but it was good skiing with beautiful scenery and we stayed warm enough. Chris continued on to Mont Roup while Andreas and I made our way to the Fornet with Andreas skiing the Vallonnet while I went over the Col Pers and through the gorge. I had Wils and Rosie with me today and it was Rosie’s first time in a morning group and her first ‘skin’. Well done Rosie! Meanwhile Thomas is skiing with the Ski Club and since his team don’t have ‘skins’ his options are limited, and I’m not too sure what he skied today. (We spotted some chamois in the bottom of the Charvet and a bouquetin on the way back from the Pont St Charles, which is always a bonus! )

Fred and Liz are still in India on a trip organised by Mary-Ann and I’m looking forward to hearing about it when they return in a few days time. I know they’ve seen a tiger in the wild, which is fantastic because they didn’t see one on their trip last year, and I’m sure they’ve had a stunning time. Liz is a regular reader of the blog so she’ll enjoy the photos of Wils and Rosie tonight!

Another cold day is on the cards for tomorrow but with any luck we’ll see a few flakes of snow tonight followed by a little bit of sunshine poking through in the morning. That’s a ‘best-case’ scenario and the worst case would be cold, flat-light and no new snow! Stay positive and stay tuned!

PS And thanks for your donations for Ghiselle’s London Marathon run for the Brain Tumour Trust Charity!

PPS And well done to everyone who skied this morning and braved the elements! I know we had moments when the hands were a little chilly, but everyone hung in there and no one moaned. (At least not that I could hear!)

PPPS Andreas has an apres-ski gig in La Rosiere tonight with his musical mate Julian. Good luck boys!

26 February 2018
Extremely cold but very enjoyable skiing!

I almost lost my mojo when I looked out the window at 7AM to see grey skies, which would seriously complicate the morning’s proceedings, but by ‘show-time’ the skies had cleared and we were left with clear blue skies everyone’s spirits lifted. It was jolly cold so the Fornet was totally out of the equation and we managed the entire morning without seeking shelter. There was much less new snow than anticipated but the skiing was excellent and my team skied a nice warm-up off the Verte, a lower Borsat Nord and meadows into Tignes, two runs on my shoulder, a Rosolin, a Cairn, a Campanules, and then a piste home as the clouds arrived and the Altiport didn’t look very appetising in flat-light. Thomas was around the Motte as well with his Ski Club group, Andreas skied the Chardonnet before coming back towards the Motte as the Sache was under a sea-of-cloud, and Chris was on piste most of the morning. It was very cold and extra layers and neoprene boot warmers were a must (for me anyway!) but it was a very enjoyable morning on one of the coldest days of the season. (See photos)

If you want to see yourself on the web check the Valdinet Snow Report website. I post an update for them every Monday and Friday and always post between 6 and 12 photos.

Tomorrow’s forecast isn’t great as it’s expected to be another 4 degrees colder and we’re expecting cloudy skies as well. Hopefully we’ll have a repeat of today and get enough light to enjoy ourselves. Stay tuned!

25 February 2018
I'll be kind tomorrow Chris!

Blimey, what a morning that was! It was Irish-Chris’ first day of the season and it wasn’t without adventure. It all started off when his lift ticket didn’t work at the Fornet turnstiles. We had a five-minute wait for the main office to sort it out while a cable-car full of people was waiting for us. I must say the lift attendant was incredibly patient and it was very nice of him to wait for us when the cable-car was full of people chomping at the bit! Merci Monsieur! From there we took the Pyramid chair and when we arrived at the summit they opened the Signal Poma and we were first up into a thick fog to open up the Combe du Signal. So Chris’ first turns of the season were in the steep-and-deep in a total ‘white-out’ and he handled it really well. (The lower third had decent vis or I wouldn’t have gone up in the first place) Chris wasn’t too far behind with Doug, Suzanne and Louise and it was nice to have some company! The Col Poma wasn’t ready to open and there was a clearing in the Grand Vallon so we headed up to ski one there but like the-pot-of-gold-at-the-end-of-the-rainbow we arrived and the clear patch had been replaced by fog! We were the first ones in again and worked our way down towards chez-Henry where we knew we’d get some relief from the rocks and the lower third has decent visibility. So far we’d taken on some great itineraries and it was great skiing even without any vis. Next up was another Combe du Signal en-route to the Pissaillas and it was the same story, fog up top and good vis half-way down. We were all looking forward to the Combe du 3300 but the Cascade chair broke down when we were two pylons from the top and we must have been stuck on it for at least 40-minutes. It started to go backwards twice and we were starting to get cold and a little worried by this point because it was becoming a serious situation. At this point we had no idea if we’d be there for another 5 minutes or an hour and the temperature was dropping rapidly. Finally it started up and we went straight in for a hot chocolate and Tilly, Peter, Chris and I then realised how cold we were. We’d lost our skiing mojo’s by this point and headed straight down the piste to finish the morning. Welcome back Chris, I promise to take it easy on you tomorrow!

I’m planning our trip to Canada next summer with Gill and the girls and it’s shaping up to be a memorable experience. So far we’ll be spending time with my dear friend Lisa in Vancouver, (Lisa introduced me to Val d’Isere all those years ago) , then moving on to Whistler to vist an old school friend Tony and his family (Tony spent my first season here with me), then on to Clearwater to visit another old school friend Doug Trotter. Check out this link of his rafting company, and the girls are really looking forward to this. Then we’ll drive to Jasper and work our way down to Lake Louise, Banff and then Canmore to visit my friend Penny, and from there to Calgary to visit my Mum. As you can imagine we are all really getting excited about it!

Wils, Rosie, Viv and Cliff arrive this afternoon so I’m looking forward to that but rumour has it that this week will be the busiest week of the season. What a bummer! And tomorrow is forecast to be -20 to -25C Yikes and stay tuned!

24 February 2018
A solid ski this morning!

It turned out to be a rather funky morning with varied terrain and good hard skiing. We were expecting 15 to 30cm’s of fresh snow this morning but had to settle for about 5cm’s, which doesn’t really change much. The easterly winds were clocked at 120km/h this morning so the wind did transport enough snow to give us a lovely cushion in the gullies and on the lee-side of certain slopes and in places it drifted in to about 20 to 30cm’s. The lack of snow was a let-down but we had much better visibility than expected and it seriously enhanced the morning. Tilly, Peter and I started with the Kern because it was in full sunshine (and the only sunshine in the resort at that moment) and we found some great skiing in protected pockets, then we skied the Fontaine Froide, off the Verte, the Campanules, the Combe des Lanches, the meadows under the Balme, and a Jardin du Borsat Nord to finish. It was a really fun morning and we were all pooped at the end of it.

Thanks you to everyone who has responded to Ghiselle’s Brain Tumour Charity. I’m hoping that the ‘Alpine’ family can help her raise much more than her target. Thanks again and keep those donations rolling in!

Hopefully the forecasted snow will arrive before morning but with high winds today very little was open at the Fornet, and with an easterly wind howling there must be some snow up there somewhere. Stay tuned!

PS Have fun at golf Millie!

23 February 2018
Congratulations Jean!

For the third time this week we profited from better-than-expected visibility, and I for one was very grateful for the light. The light was still pretty flat at times but it could have been so much worse. I headed to the Sachette for the first time in ages via the meadows across the Altiport, which we lovely but we avoided the main slopes as they were tracked-out. I’ve never seen so many tracks in the Sachette before but we managed to find some clean slopes with a couple of little ‘skins’.

Thomas finished up his excellent week with Tasha’s ‘ladies’ team and they’ve had a fantastic time. A couple of the less experienced ladies also had a couple of fantastic mornings ‘skinning’ with Chris and a great time was had by all. I’m sure they’ll be making it an annual event from here on in!

Jean Hooper, who is the Junior Organiser at Millie’s golf club, won the Best Volunteer In English Golf last night at an awards ceremony in London. Jean has been very influential with Millie’s early golfing career as well as so many other children, and it was an entirely deserved award. Bravo Jean and thanks for all your hard work!

It is forecast to snow over the next couple of days so fingers crossed as we are now in need of a fresh canvas. If it stayed sunny there is still some fabulous snow to walk to and these past couple of weeks have been brilliant but some fresh snow over the weekend would be very welcome. Stay tuned!

22 February 2018
Three generations of Recordon's

It was another day where we were expecting overcast skies but were pleasantly surprised with pretty decent visibility, which allowed us all to do more than originally planned. I had a cracking morning with great snow on both the Crete du Genepy and Mont Roup and the snow quality of late has been absolutely brilliant. Chris and Thomas headed off towards the Sache to ski various options while Andreas skied the Borsat West to start and Mickey’s Ears to finish and I’m not too sure what in between. It was another ‘bonus’ morning, which was gratefully received!

I had a wonderful afternoon skiing with Nigel Recordon’s grandchildren Menno (16), Bruno (14) and Lucas (12). Nigel was my first-ever client in Val d’Isere and we must be going back 35 or 36 years. I’ve skied with Nigel’s children Emma, Claire, Polly, and Ben and now I’ve skied with his grandchildren as well and it was an absolute pleasure as they are a delightful family and long-time lovers of Val d’Isere. Well done boys, you did extremely well this afternoon.

I had another fantastic session at Le Petit Danois with the Guinea Pigs and they were brilliant as usual. Adrian and his wife Kari came along with son Louis and his pal Torran, Tilly and Peter were there, Louise and Al, Jim of course, and it was great to see Tasha and her girlfriends as well. And thanks to Adrian and Kari for a lovely meal at the Lodge afterwards. What a day! Stay tuned to see what tomorrow brings!

21 February 2018
In memory of Giles Green!

We had another fantastic day with cold temperatures and sunny skies, and the snow quality was excellent again today. I had some lovely Vikings along for their first ‘Alpine’ morning, Styner, Simon and Alex, along with Adrian, Craig and Frans, and we headed up to the Col du Montet for some wonderful skiing, views and ambience. The snow was about as good as it’s going to get top-to-bottom and it was a great first trip to the Col for all the boys. Meanwhile Chris and Andreas had ‘new-to-touring’ groups today and Chris skied the Crete du Genepy and Mont Roup while Andreas skied the Crete followed by the Alti-port, and both itineraries we perfect for their levels today. Well done boys! Meanwhile, Thomas was down in Ste Foy and had a brilliant morning skiing the Foglietta with his ladies team.

This is Alpine Experience’s 25th anniversary and one of our founding members, Giles Green died of a brain tumour at the age of 34 on May 28th, 1995. His daughter Ghiselle, who was extremely young at the time is running in the London Marathon to raise money for the Brain Tumour Cancer Charity in memory of her father. In the next day or two we’ll add a link for anyone who would like to donate to this excellent charity. Giles was an incredible character with an extremely adventurous nature and anyone who knew him will never forget him. Good luck with it all Ghiselle!

A cloudy day is forecast for tomorrow but we’ll wait and see as we’ve been pleasantly surprised lately. Stay tuned!

PS I was thinking of not only Millie and Katie is morning while ‘skinning’ to the Col du Montet but of Jean and Penny as well because it was a big effort from everyone involved. Like today, it was a brilliant day out! And I thought of Gill who made it up to the Col in 34 minutes! I forgot to mention that a young German skier was killed on the Grande Motte yesterday. It sounds as if he fell and took a high-speed slide before crashing into something. It’s been a bad week for deaths in the resort!

20 February 2018
What a brilliant morning that turned out to be!

I went to bed last night expecting a cloudy grey morning and was thinking about a hard piste ski combined with the Sache, but the day dawned fairly brightly and by 10 o’clock we were basking in full sunshine. Thomas and I both warmed up with a lovely Jardin du Borsat Nord while waiting to see what the weather was going to do as we were thinking Sache or Motte, and in the end we both decided to head to the Motte. Adrian and Doug had never skied the Borsat West before so we climbed up through the rocks and were rewarded with an absolutely brilliant ski. There were two Mountain Guides behind us who thanked us for our tracks and they were pretty impressed with the boy’s performance. Well done boys! From there we skied my shoulder three times before ‘skinning’ up to the Little Borsat West, which was excellent, and then we finished with a great Alti-port. It was a stunning morning made all the better by unexpected sunshine, which is always a winner! (I think Adrian and Doug will be pleased with their photos today!)

Thomas skied the Tour du Balme with his ladies team while Chris had another good day up at the Fornet. Andreas was off again this morning skiing with his family and I didn’t see Henry at the Gourmandine.

You’ll have noticed a new photo link under Wayne’s Photos but for the moment it isn’t working and the last three days photos can be found on the regular link. Hopefully we’ll get the new link running soon as it will save me some time each afternoon. Stay tuned for more news tomorrow!

19 February 2018
A stunning day after yesterday's tragedy!

The sun was shining this morning and Radio Val announced -14C on Bellevarde but it didn’t seem nearly as cold as last week, mostly because there wasn’t any wind and the sun is climbing a little higher each and every day. Chris and I headed up to the Fornet and my team did a ‘double-skin’ in the Pays Desert where the snow was a little wind compacted but very skiable at the top before getting better and better towards the bottom. From there we went over the Col Pers and had some superb snow skiers-right before ‘skinning’ up to the Grand Torsai. With everyone pouring through the Gorge du Malpasset it makes a nice change to take the traditional Torsai route and we had clean and lovely snow all the way down. (See photos)

Meanwhile Thomas has a ladies team this week and I think he was heading towards the Crete du Genepy and Mont Roup and although I haven’t had a report I’m sure it was brilliant. Andreas had the morning off to ski with his brother and Henry was on a HAT day. I forgot to mention that Jean Marc was here last week and since his children are now grown up and leading their own lives JM is planning on spending more time here next winter. It will be great to have him around more often and it will be days gone by. Pietro also seems to be here more often and it’s always great to have TJ here for his three week stint.

PS More on yesterday’s tragic accident. A 44-year-old father and his 11-year-old daughter were killed in an avalanche while skiing the ‘closed’ Combe du Geant piste on the Pissaillas Glacier. The piste wasn’t groomed and they were skiing chopped-up powder. The mother was with them and apparently it was her idea to ski the slope in question. When the slope released high above them the father skied towards his daughter and wrapped his arms around her to protect her as best he could and they were buried together while the mother was able to ski away from the avalanche. He was wearing a beeper but it was turned off and although the rescue service and volunteers arrived within minutes it took 40-minutes to locate and dig them out. They needed to do a probe search and had three or four avalanche rescue dogs as well. It must one of the sadist and most wasteful loss of life imaginable and today the piste was groomed and open and it was business as usual as if nothing had happened.

PPS I’ve posted a photo of the avalanche that Chris took yesterday on the Valdinet Snow Report website.

18 February 2018
What a horribly sad accident!

We had an absolutely stunning morning but the day was marred by a tragic avalanche on the Pissaillas Glacier during the afternoon. A father and his 11-year-old daughter were killed while skiing the Combe du Geant piste, which was closed at the time. I think of all the places I’ve taken Millie and Katie and these unfortunate people were killed on the piste in a sector that is pretty gentle for the most part. ‘Closed’ or not it’s a terrible tragedy and sad beyond belief.

As for our skiing today Chris and I headed up to the Fornet and we had a ‘maximum-turn’ type of morning of extremely high quality. We had a run in the meadows under the Vallon bubbles while waiting for the Signal Poma to open, then one on the steep sunny-side of the Lower Combe du Signal en-route to the Pissaillas. (We couldn’t wait forever for the poma to open) We then skied one in the Combe du 3300, an exceptional run in the Pays Desert and through the rocks, then a brilliant run over the Col Pers and through the gorge, and then Frans, Criag and I picked up Jean R for a variation of Oh My! Boy, what a morning!

I then had a lovely afternoon with Fay Finlay and her boyfriend Greg and when a helicopter landed on Bellevarde and two pisteurs with a dog jumped out I had a bad feeling that something might have happened. Chris then radioed to say there had been an accident with two people killed. That put a stop to Chris’ afternoon as he was on his way to the Col Pers with an off-piste session but they closed the Cascade chair during the search and rescue mission.

Frans took a photo yesterday of me from above after I’d skied off the cornice. Where I’m standing is where I landed and came out of my skies and I’d already climbed up two vertical metres to reach my skis when Frans took the photo. I’m such an idiot and so lucky to not have done some serious damage to myself.

A sunny day is forecast for tomorrow and we might just need to walk a little to find ‘clean’ snow. Fortunately a little should do the trick. Stay tuned!

PS Sports Report- I am so pleased that Roger Federer has made it back to number one in the world. Five years ago he had 17 Grand Slams and everyone thought he should retire gracefully before he embarrassed himself. Fourteen months ago he still had 17 Slams and was ranked 17th in the world and people still thought he should retire. But 14-months later he’s won his 20th Grand Slam and has become the oldest man to ever to be ranked number One. What a class act and a total gentleman! And Andreas was on fire last night as he scored 3 goals with 4 assists as his team won 13-10 in Albertville. And Andreas says he’s honoured to be mentioned in the same paragraph as Roger!

17 February 2018
It was a long way down!

We had another warm flat-light day with in-and-out fog. When we were out of the fog the flat-light was bearable, but when in the fog it was extremely white and not very comfortable for skiing or navigating. Andreas, Thomas and I all headed towards the Motte and had great snow off the Verte and the Lower Borsat and the piste skiing in between was fantastic. Thomas and I had an excellent ski off the Motte followed by a 20-minutes ‘skin’ and we all played around off the Genepy and Cairn where the snow quality today was brilliant. On the last run off the morning I managed to ski off a 3 to 4 metre cornice and was lucky to not noodle myself and Thomas had a little incident as well. I took a photo looking back up at the boys and I’d already climbed back up a couple of metres to my skis to give you an idea. It would have looked more impressive with my skis and poles between myself and the boys above but I was a little shaken up and not really thinking about photo opportunities!

It snowed pretty hard at times during the morning and we should be in for a good ski tomorrow as a little sunshine has been promised by Meteo France. Fingers crossed and stay tuned!

16 February 2018
Much better light today!

It snowed again overnight and we had another flat-light day to deal with, although the visibility today was miles better than yesterday’s ‘pea-souper’! With extremely warm temperatures over the past 48-hours it was necessary to go as high as possible to find ski-able snow, and that meant either the Pissaillas or Grande Motte, and the entire Alpine team headed up to the Fornet. I thought the skiing was pretty jolly good today and we all made the best of the conditions and took advantage of the odd patch of light.

I had another great afternoon with Dave, Tilly and Emilia up on the Pissaillas and this afternoon the light was much better than this morning and I must say it was massacred with tracks everywhere. It will need to snow on top of the tracks or have enough vis to go further afield tomorrow, but anything in close isn’t a option tomorrow. Fingers crossed for snow or vis, but I’d be happy to be able to see where I’m going! Stay tuned!

PS I’m missing my girls already!

15 February 2018
Flat-light, wet and heavy but bloody good!

We were expecting a dusting of fresh snow this morning, maybe 5cm’s at the most and I had envisioned skiing the Little Lavachet and Sachette, but once we touched the snow it was evident that we had a useful cushion of fresh snow to work with. Plan A was immediately scrapped and it quickly became a ‘low hanging fruit’ morning and we skied the Familial, Fontaine Froide, Epaule du Charvet, under the Mont Blanc and that sort of thing. It was a total white-out and if you weren’t in the trees or near a ligt or some piste markers you couldn’t see anything at all and venturing too far off-piste would have been a nightmare as far as navigating went.

I’ve just returned from dropping the girls and their pals off in Lyon after a brilliant week and I’m missing them already! They aren’t back until March 28th, which is a long way off but at least they’ll be coming for 17-days next time!

We might see some sun tomorrow, which would be useful as it was very wet today, even around 2600metres or so and with a refreeze it might be an interesting morning, and some vis would help enormously. You never know for sure before you touch the snow but fingers crossed and stay tuned!

PS I thought today’s skiing was fantastic even though we couldn’t see and the snow was heavy towards the end of the morning. The snow was consistent and skied quite easily and everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves.

PPS Derek and his pals say hello from Canada where they are having outstanding conditions and a wonderful time. Rock on Derek!

14 February 2018
Blimey, I enjoyed that!

Well, what a stunning day that was! I had four runs off Wayne’s Shoulder, which was at its best and the deepest snow I’ve skied for at least a month. (See photos) Thomas was up around the Motte as well while Andreas ‘skinned’ to Terre Rouge for a fantastic outing and I’m leaving Chris in ‘code-mode’.

This afternoon I had a wonderful trip over the Col Pers with Dave and his daughters Tilly and Emilia. We are normally there in the morning and it made a lovely change to see it in the late-afternoon sun. It was stunning and my team had a brilliant time.

It’s the girls last full day as I’m taking them to the airport tomorrow afternoon. What a bummer! But, it has been a fantastic holiday, their friends have had a brilliant time, and my day taking Millie and Katie to the Col du Montet along with Gill, Jean R, Penny and J-Love will remain in my memory bank for a very long time.

The weather looks pretty rough for the next few days so we should see some snow and we’ll wait and see what tomorrow brings. Stay tuned!

13 February 2018
Sunny but cold!

Radio Val announced -21C this morning on the top of Bellevarde at 7AM so needless to say it was a little chilly and a day for staying in the sun! All the boys did just that and everyone managed the morning in great snow and interesting places and those of us who ‘skinned’ even ended up shedding a layer or two. It warmed up significantly by the end of the morning but the air temperature remained cold in the shade.

A big plaque popped out of the Marmottons/Marmottes last night in the middle of the night when it was -20C so we’ll need to be careful around the ‘stretch’ marks that can seen all over the mountain. Once it starts to warm up again some of those ‘hanging’ plaques are just waiting to go.

Another sunny day is forecast for tomorrow so we’ll enjoy that before the clouds roll back in on Thursday. Stay tuned!

12 February 2018
That was much better than expected!

It was Gill’s turn to ski with me today as Millie and Katie had a date with Russell, who skis with them at least one day every holiday. They are a scary threesome and they had a fantastic morning up at the Fornet. Thanks Russell!

It was jolly cold again today with a nasty northerly wind blowing and part of the job this morning was to stay as warm as possible. About 10 to 15 centimetres of snow fell overnight and the day started off fairly overcast but at least we had a cushion of new snow to work with. Chris and I were heading to Tignes for a change of scenery but once we felt the wind and the snow we realised that certain exposures had a lot more snow than anticipated we immediately doubled back into the lee and had a wonderful morning with great snow, ambience and only chamois for company. (See photos) I’m back to ‘code-mode’ as this little top-up of snow is all we’re going to get and it was good enough this morning for two runs before returning in the afternoon with Dave and his daughters Tilly and Emilia. Meanwhile Andreas and Thomas were up at the Fornet skiing some Fornet ‘classic’s’ (that’s all you get on that one as well) and everyone had a fantastic morning.

I saw Thomas at the end of the afternoon at the top of the Marmottes as we were both looking for a ‘last-minute-trick’ to finish off the afternoon and we found a few bonus turns before cutting back to the piste..

The girls are out ice-skating and trying to milk their last few days to the last drop and their friends Josh and Jas are having a brilliant time!

It’s forecast to be bitterly cold tomorrow but at least the sun should be shining. Dress up warm and stay tuned!

11 February 2018
Milking it to the last drop!

It was overcast today with a few flakes floating about but we did manage an excellent ski with great snow and pretty decent visibility. I had Paul W along today with his daughter Alexandra who is new to off-piste and ‘skinning’ and his son Nicholas who has skied with Alpine before as well as having spent Christmas with his dad at CMH, and Alexandra did really well for her first go. Bravo Alex! Millie and Penny were along and Penny has been a real trooper this week as we’ve ‘skinned’ everyday and she’s really done the business. Besides lovely snow we had the mountain to ourselves, which considering how busy it is this week was a real bonus, and we had a few good wildlife sightings as well.

Millie and Katie are off at the pool with Josh and Jas and it’s been a brilliant holiday for everyone concerned. We’ve had some great meals and some after-dinner fun each night, they’ve been to the Guinea Pigs, Josh and I watched the rugby last night, and they’re loving the skiing!

I rarely get ill but seem to have caught the worst cold I’ve had in about 20-years. I’ve done everything my grandma would tell me and doing my best to get rid of it because ‘skinning’ and colds don’t mix!

Hopefully we’ll get a fresh canvas of some sort by morning as I rate the off-piste possibilities at between 3 and 5%. Thankfully within that small percentage we’ve had some stunning skiing and bravo to all the boys! Stay tuned!

PS What a great win for the Hammers yesterday!

10 February 2018
A memorable first 'skin' for Katie!

It was a special day today as it was Katie’s first ‘skin’ and her first full morning in my group along with her sister and Mum. The plan was to do something simple like a Pays Desert out wide and ‘skin’ back up but conditions were exactly right to do something a bit more adventurous and after asking Jean and Penny if they were up for it we decided on the Col du Montet. We also had along a lovely young lady named J-love (nickname) who was absolutely delightful and what a first ‘Alpine’ morning it was for her! I’d like to say a huge bravo to Penny and Jean because it wasn’t a freebie today as all our turns were earned, and to Katie for a great performance both ski-wise and with the walking! The snow was absolutely brilliant top-to-bottom on both sides and what a memorable first ‘skin’ Katie! (See photos)

Meanwhile Andreas was finishing up a fantastic week with James and Richard and they’ve had a great combination of touring and couloirs, and Thomas was skiing with a member of the French bumps team today who’ll have kept Thomas on his toes! Henry was out there as well and Chris enjoyed a well-earned day off.

Millie and Katie’s friends Josh and Jas are having a fantastic time and thoroughly enjoying our wonderful environment and all that goes with it. It’s fun to watch people who’ve never been here before experiencing the mountains and all this snow for the first time. And they’ve been the most lovely and helpful house-guests as well!

Andreas played a couple of songs with Mike and Ritchie last night and I thought he was excellent. He’s been practising hard over the past couple of years and has made noticeable progress. Bravo Andreas and I look forward to your next appearance!

We are expecting some snow over the next couple of days, which is good news as the resort is completely tracked out. We’ll miss the visibility but I’ll be able to come out of ‘code-mode’! Stay tuned and come on you Hammers!

PS And happy holidays to Fred and Liz who are off to India today!

9 February 2018
Well done Josh and Jas!

It was another cold but sunny day and all the boys spread out around the mountain and we all had another extremely good day, especially as it’s getting pretty tough out there. Bravo boys!

Millie came along in my group this morning and she absolutely loves the ‘skinning’, the powder snow and the ambience of being in the mountains without a load of other people. I took Katie out this afternoon to try her new off-piste gear and we skied a nice Jardin du Borsat Nord before heading home through the Piste Perdue! (See photos) Also well done to Mike Cran’s daughter Sarah who has made huge progress this week, both ski-wise as well as her ‘skinning’!

The girls’ friends Josh and Jas had a great day and are doing really well. Gill and Millie skied with them this afternoon and they skied all the way to the bottom of La Daille on just their second day! Bravo you two!

I’d like to wish Liz a big Happy Birthday and she and Fred a fantastic trip to India. They had so much fun last year with a trip organised through Mary-Anne that they’ve decided to go back for more. Everyone at our house is seriously jealous!

We had a great session with the Guinea Pigs at Le Petit Danois last night and it’s nice to see Gill have a little boogie, and don’t forget Andreas is playing tonight with Mike and Ritchie around 6 at the Pub Moris. See you there and stay tuned for more news tomorrow!

8 February 2018
Adults in the Piste Perdue!!!

I picked the girls up in Lyon last night and arrived home around 1:15AM and must admit to stifling the odd yawn on chairlifts today! The sun was shining again and what a perfect first day for the girls and their friends Josh and Jas!

After several days in a row in the same sector Chris and I decided on a change of scenery, for better or worse, and we had a pretty good day up on the Motte, although the snow wasn’t a patch on what we’ve been skiing lately. Steve and Chris’ group told me that the Piste Perdue was in great nick and really easy so we finished off our morning crawling around on our bellies like little kids. Bravo Inga and Penny especially! It was really good fun but a little trickier than I had imagined.

Pietro is in town working with the Ski Club and I saw him up on the Motte, while Andreas, Thomas and Henry were all out walking and found some excellent snow. It certainly isn’t good everywhere, in fact it’s hardly good anywhere, but there is some fantastic snow about and that’s why I’m in ‘code-mode’. Well done yesterday Simon with your Where’s Wayne guesses!

My new G-3 touring bindings seem to stick after a ‘skin’, almost like they are frozen and they sometimes need some serious force to turn them back into ski mode. Today I made the mistake of taking my gloves off while trying to turn them back into position, and I was grunting and swearing away when they finally released and I punctured a nice hole in my hand. Chris taped me up with his trusty first-aid kit but when I arrived home it started bleeding again while taking off my boots. I ended up with a couple of stitches but fortunately didn’t damage any tendons. I took my skis up to Didier and it’s important to not hold down the safety brakes like with the Dynafit bindings, and he showed me a trick about using a little kick with your boot. The morale of the story is don’t take your gloves off and if your bindings are really stuck, a gentle kick works quite nicely! Thanks Didier!

It’s the Guinea Pigs tonight at Le Petit Danois and don’t forget Andreas is playing with Mike and Ritchie at the Pub Moris Friday night around 6:15! Stay tuned!

7 February 2018
Back to 'code-mode'!

The forecast was for an overcast day so it’s needless to say how delighted we were to wake up to clear blue skies! The vicious wind that has been blowing for the past three days or so died down, so it was game on for another cracking good day. With all the wind we’ve had and very little snow there isn’t that much top quality skiing at the moment but today was exceptionally good and I’m going into ‘code-mode’ so Simon can play ‘Where’s Wayne’. Penny said it was the best day of her season so far and Stocky in Chris’ group seemed rather pleased with himself so it was a jolly good result this morning. Thomas and Henry were in the same sector as Chris and I while Andreas had a small team and was skiing couloirs. He said that the couloirs are starting to firm up and have become ‘no-fall’ zones so he’ll be waiting for some more snow to soften things up little before going back.

I’m off to get the girls tonight and won’t be back until about 1:30AM so I’m pleased sunny skies are forecast for tomorrow! Stay tuned and see you at the Danois tomorrow evening!

PS The announcement for Head Prefect came out today and Millie told Gill she didn’t get anything so Gill and I have been feeling sorry for her all afternoon while we’ve both been doing housework. Then Millie arrives home after school with a new tie and badges and it turns out she go it after all. Dirty trick Mils but well done!

PPS Matt, I left you a message on yesterday’s update in case you missed it?

6 February 2018
Thanks for the Super Bowl Piers!

Today was so much easier than expected because the visibility was extremely good considering a flat-light-overcast day was forecast. After finding fresh snow at the Fornet yesterday I returned again this morning and after seeing some nice strips of snow blown in skied the Combe du 3300, which was good enough to warrant a go in the Pays Desert before heading over the Col Pers and exiting via the Grand Torsai. (See photos) Meanwhile Chris, Andreas and Thomas all went over the Col first thing and the circled back around to ski the Vallonnet or Grand Vallon. (I’m not sure what Henry was up to today)

I’d like to thank Piers and Clare for a great early-evening last night watching the entire Super Bowl highlights without huddles or commercials. It was an absolutely brilliant match and must have been extremely tense to watch live, especially for those like Michael who had a vested interest in it. The Eagles took some serious gambles that all paid off, and they needed to because the Pats do not go quietly. What a game! And thanks to Russell P for the pizzas! It was also nice to see Piers’ boys Torran, who I haven’t seen in years, and Cai who was just a baby when Joe Carter jerked a two-strike pitch into left-field bleachers to give the Blue Jays their second World Series win in a row. Piers was changing Cia’s nappy at the historic moment and I’ll never forget it! It was also great to see Russell P who I haven’t seen in ages and to meet Torran’s girlfriend Rita. Thanks again Piers!

I’m keeping it short today as I need to drive down to Bourg and do a big shop for the girls’ visit! Stay tuned!

PS I received your message Matt but can’t text on my French phone. Haven’t seen Jesse all season and was wondering what she’s up too
? I’ll stop by to say hello and hopefully catch Lara and Ellie at Le Petit Danois for the Guinea Pigs, and have fun in Korea and see you in the spring.

PPS Andreas is playing a couple of songs with the excellent Mike and Ritchie Friday night around 6:15 at the Pub Moris. Come along and support Andreas and have a beer or three! See you there!

5 February 2018
It was almost lonely today!

It was looking like a potentially tricky day with flat-light, and -10c made to feel a lot worse because of a strong foehn wind. I decided to brave the teeth of the wind and went to the Fornet to head over the Col Pers, where we would be protected and fortunately all our necessary lifts were running and we managed to get over the Col. We then ‘skinned’ up the Glacier Pers and were rewarded with fantastic snow and absolutely no one else in sight all morning long. On the way out through the gorge we had three chamois just above us and a little further down a couple of bouquetin, and a wildlife sighting is always a nice bonus. (See photos) Henry came up to the Fornet as well but his team didn’t have skins so he skied the Lechoir before exiting through the gorge. Meanwhile Andreas and Chris headed towards Tignes to ski the Sachette and probably the Lavachet en-route, or perhaps Andreas skied the Chardonnet first? I haven’t heard from the boys so I’m not 100% sure what they skied but they’ll have had a great ski as well.

Michael Rosen (and Henry) will be totally bummed by the Eagles winning the Super Bowl last night but I must say that most neutrals will be absolutely delighted. My friend Tom back in Calgary will be happy as he’s a big ‘anyone-but-the-Pats’ fan! Hope you enjoyed the game Tom!

I must decide in the next five minutes if I’m going to Bourg to shop for the girls’ holiday or put it off until tomorrow? Decisions, decisions? Stay tuned for more news tomorrow!

4 February 2018
Still great skiing in the Sachette!

It was another cold morning but it was a few degrees warmer than yesterday, which seemed to take off the bone-chilling ‘edge’ and everyone was more comfortable today. We started off with slightly better light than yesterday and we took advantage of it early on but as the morning wore on the light became flatter and the skiing became a little tougher. I almost went to the Crete du Genepy but decided to do variations of yesterday instead because there was still some great snow waiting so Chris and I skied the meadows to the Little Lavachet then down through the trees before ‘skinning’ out. Another cold night improved the snow even further and the Lavachet was even easier skiing today. From there we ‘skinned’ into the Sachette for some wonderful snow then ‘skinned’ again for a few minutes to access a steep pitch of virgin snow. Unfortunately the surface sloughed as I was skiing and it didn’t leave much snow for Jean, Mike and Penny. Sorry about that but it was fun!

Thomas was out there as well this morning and he was heading towards the Motte to ski off the Balme and Andreas was off this morning but is skiing with the family this afternoon.

And thanks to Simmo and Janet for a great evening last night!

I’m about to head off the gym before getting stuck into my chores. Stay tuned and it looks as if we’ll have a cloudy day to deal with tomorrow!

PS Poor Jean wasn’t happy with the French defeat to the Irish yesterday. He’s convinced that the French deserved to win!

3 February 2018
It's jolly cold out there!

After being cold yesterday I put on some more layers, dug out my boot-warmers, put on a proper hat and headed to the sun. The sun didn’t last very long mind you as clouds rolled in pretty quickly, which kept it cold but at least we had really good visibility all morning long. I was going to ‘skin’ to Mont Roup with Chris but Penny arrived really late last night and a couple weren’t feeling up for too much walking so we changed plans and headed to Tignes. It probably worked out for the best as we had some great skiing in the meadows leading to the Little Lavachet and pretty good snow in the Lavachet itself, which was a huge bonus because it was dreadful last week! We then ‘skinned’ into the Sachette and had some wonderful skiing right to the bottom and then finished off our morning with the Altiport in the Familial. Meanwhile Chris skied the Crete du Genepy and Mont Roup and both Thomas and Henry were heading off towards the Grande Motte and the last I heard from Henry he was about to ski the ‘Wall’.

It was -17c on the summit of Bellevarde this morning and the cold has certainly dried out the snow and the quality this morning was much improved. The forecast calls for another week of cold weather so don’t get ambushed like I did yesterday and dress up warm because is extremely cold in the shade and in the wind.

Thanks to Sue and Dave for a lovely evening last night. John’s YSE Chalet meals are always excellent and last night was no exception!

I’m starting my ‘clean-up’ campaign as the girls arrive next Wednesday night with their pals Josh and Jas. A huge shop in Bourg is also on the cards so I’ve a bit to do to get everything ready at just the right time!

It’s a big day in the Premiership and the Hammers have a dreaded 6-pointer with Brighton this afternoon. Come on boys, make my day!

Andreas, Tansy, Ness and Victor are down in Albertville watching the Davis Cup tennis, which sounds like a brilliant family day out to me. Have fun!

PS I’ve just dug out The Rolling Stones ‘Hot Rocks’, boy that takes me back!

2 February 2018
Ambushed by the cold!

After a nice little top-up of snow yesterday the sun was out again today, but boy did I get ambushed! We headed up to the Fornet and it was much colder than expected and for the second day in a row I must confess to stopping for a hot chocolate and warm-up. Thanks Bunny for a lovely foot massage/rub to get the circulation going again, I was the envy of many in the restaurant! Anyway, we skied a Lower Combe du Signal, a Combe du 3300, followed by a welcome hot chocolate stop, then some great bonus turns en-route to the Col Pers. Once over the Col we started towards the Lechoir but came across a pitch that was too good to miss so we skied it and changed our plans. Everyone was heading into the gorge so we ‘skinned’ up to the Grand Torsai and had it totally to ourselves and clean top-to-bottom, and it was a great change as we’ve been through the gorge many, many times already this season. Chris and Thomas were in the neighbourhood while Andreas finished off his week with Gunnar and Tom by breaking trail up to the Col des Fours where they were rewarded with some great skiing and wonderful ambience.

We had a brilliant evening at Le Petit Danois last night as the Guinea Pigs were fantastic. Unfortunately towards the end of the gig some drunks took over our space in front of the stage and started spilling beer on Hugo’s drums and themselves, which was a real shame because they spoiled what was to that point a wonderful evening. They are playing again tonight so Sue, Dave, Nikki, Adam, Mark, Daphne, Bunny, Stephen, John, Natalie and a few others are returning for more! It’s also Mike and Ritchie’s evening in the Moris Pub so there is no shortage of live music.

It’s forecast to be cold again tomorrow so I might go somewhere a little warmer, after all I can’t expect Bunny to rub my feet again! Stay tuned!

PS I’ll be adding the layer I discarded earlier in the week! And Jean R joined us for our trip over the Col and it was great to have him along!

1 February 2018
Well, that was a pleasant surprise!

That turned out to be a cracking good morning and totally different to what I’d planned or anticipated. About 10 cm’s of snow fell overnight so Chris and I were heading up to the Pissaillas to go over the Col and ‘skin’ to the Glaciers Pers, which would have been excellent, but when the Signal Poma was running we totally changed our minds. We ended up skiing a run in the Grand Vallon followed by a run in the Combe du Signal before heading up to the Glacier for a run down the Combe du Geant. It was -10c with high humidity and a bit of a breeze so we all went in for a hot chocolate and warm-up before heading over the Col Pers and out through the gorge. By this time another 5 cm’s had fallen and the snow back-side was great top-to-bottom, although we couldn’t see too much. (See photos) Unfortunately my camera battery died so I missed the ambience shots in the gorge along with the chamois and bouquetin. (It’s amazing how quiet the gorge is when it’s snowing!)

Andreas is still skiing with Gunnar and Tom and they skied the Borsat Nord followed by an excellent run in Andreas’ Garden before circling back around to the Fornet. I’m not sure where Henry ended up we he was skiing around Bellevarde first thing.

It’s Thursday and I’m off to Le Petit Danois later to see the Guinea Pigs. Hopefully they’ll be able to get up the mountain as it’s one of the highlights of the week. See you there and stay tuned as the sun should be back out tomorrow!

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