Wayne's Daily Diary Archive

20 June 2007

31 March 2018
Wonderful to have the girls along!

Wow, that was an exceptionally good morning especially when the forecast wasn’t particularly promising and expectations last night weren’t too high, but we awoke to clear blue skies with 10cm’s of fresh snow and everyone was buzzing at the Gourmandine. For me the morning was enhanced considerably when both Katie and Gill joined Millie and I and it’s brilliant now that all the girls are equipped with their own touring gear and Katie is now capable of joining in with the morning groups. Chris, Thomas and I all headed to the Fornet and Thomas and I opened up with the Combe du Signal, which was excellent, followed by the Combe du 3300, the Pays Desert with a ten-minute ‘skin’, and a very good Col Pers to finish. It remained sunny until about 11:15 and then the ‘sea-of-cloud’ rose and became a factor, but fortunately we ended up below it and although the light became flat we could still navigate and ski comfortably. We had a fantastic wildlife show coming out of the gorge with bouquetin and chamois galore and in some interesting places as some of their regular spots look ready to avalanche and they are now in places where you don’t normally see them. Katie loved trying to spot the animals and she and I were the last ones down as she continuously searched the mountainside for more sightings.

We had the pleasure of running into Herve with a client who he was introducing to touring this morning. It’s always nice to see Herve on the mountain and we also saw Pat Z who was enjoying a morning off with Zoe. It’s brilliant to see someone like Pat who has skied for well over 50-years and who has worked like crazy still love it enough to ski on his day off. Bravo Pat!

I’m a little worried about the Hammers game this afternoon with Southampton as it’s the biggest game of the season for both teams. The loser will take a massive step closer to relegation and I skied with Jeremy this morning who is a Southampton supporter and he’s just as worried as I am!

It’s snowing at the moment and tomorrow’s forecast is for overcast skies again but who knows? Fingers crossed for a little light and we should be able to have a great morning. Stay tuned and come on you Hammers!

30 March 2018
Still waiting for spring!
We were teased this morning as at 7 o’clock the skies were clear and I thought we’d have at least the morning with full on sunshine. But by 9 o’clock the Fornet was covered in cloud so he headed up Bellevarde and Chris and I headed directly to the Sachette where we had the best chance of some blue skies. The wind was blowing overnight and a lot of snow is being worked over and being compressed, and along with track damage and no real spring snow options it wasn’t going to be the easiest of mornings, but we managed some very good skiing and kept in the sun for most of the morning, which was a result in itself. It was fun having Millie along again and hopefully I’ll get Katie and Gill out for some off-piste mornings as well.

I skied with Tim and Gill again this afternoon and they are real troopers! They haven’t had much luck weather-wise this trip as every afternoon as been grey and windy with very few options, but they’re having fun anyway. Bravo to you both!

And it was another great night in La Petit Danois with the Guinea Pigs last night and it was great to see so many ‘Alpine’ faces in the crowd. They were terrific again last night and it looks as if April 12th will be their last gig of the season. I’ll miss them! I’ll keep you posted on when Andreas will be playing at the Gourmandine but he’s waiting for some decent weather and who knows how long of wait that will be? Stay tuned!

PS Andreas and Henry were out there again this morning and I think Thomas had the day off.

29 March 2018
Bleary eyed and thankful for the sun!

I had a really tough drive to the airport last night as it was pouring with rain the entire way, one of my wiper-blades was smearing the window making it difficult to see with headlight glaring in my eyes, and then my oil warning light came on and I needed to top up with oil in the dark and with rain beating on my head! Anyway, I made it and it was wonderful to see the girls, and the return journey was slightly easier because there was less traffic and we made it home at 2:40AM. So when I woke up after three hours of sleep to flat-light thoughts of a seriously tough day were dancing about in my head, but as so often these days the sun popped out and we ended up having a fantastic morning. Thankfully it snowed overnight or we would have been in trouble and we did encounter some moments of good ‘skiers’ snow but for the most part the snow this morning was brilliant. Andreas, Thomas and I all started with the Campanules because the Borsat was closed and although the skiing was very good it did have some ‘education’ in it. From there we headed up the Motte, which was totally closed, and had a great run down the Cairn. From there Thomas and I skied the big face of the Grande Balme, which was atmospheric with ‘skiers’ snow while Andreas circled back around to ski the Borsat Nord in great snow. We then headed back up the Motte for a brilliant run on my shoulder before a ten-minute ‘skin’ to some lovely snow in the Borsat West. Meanwhile Chris and Henry ended up at the Fornet and I’m sure they had a good time up there. It’s amazing how a little sunshine gives a guy back his mojo and I think everyone in the resort is ready for some sunny weather and spring snow. Don’t get me wrong, I still want to ski powder but on northern slopes only with the options of spring snow everywhere else.

The girls are out skiing after a late start so I’ll get my writing done and get ready for the Guinea Pigs at La Petit Danois at 5:30. See you there and stay tuned!

28 March 2018
A real 'crowd-pleaser'!

I looked out the window around 7 o’clock and it wasn’t very inspiring but yet again the skies cleared and we took full advantage of the good light, which lasted until around 11:15. The blasting started quite late and there were some delays in the opening of certain lifts so when the Olympique opened at 8:55 I jumped on it to get up and running. We started with a compressed (because there was some violent winds overnight) but very good Fontaine Froide en-route to the Epaule du Charvet, which was a great taster. Reports from the Fornet were that they were taking their time getting things running so we had a fantastic run in the Marmottons, and it was a real ‘crowd-pleaser’ and all today’s photos were taken on the decent. From there we skied a good Super L into the L before heading up to the Fornet just as they were getting the Signal Poma running so we dove into the Grande Vallon followed by the Combe du Signal. By this time the light had become pretty poor and with some tired legs we had a run in the Combe du Geant on the Glacier before skiing piste home. Chris and Henry went over the Col Pers early on and had ‘skiers’ snow towards the bottom, but there was a lot of ‘skiers’ snow about this morning, and Andreas skied off the Signal for most of the morning while Thomas had the day off to ski with his daughter Manon.

Chris skied with Tim and Gill while I was skiing with some hairy bloke called Sol. I couldn’t believe it when Sol turned out to be a delightful young lady from Argentina who had a great sense of humour and was really good company! We ended up teaming up with Chris out towards the Rosalin but even at that altitude it was tough skiing this afternoon.

I’m getting ready to head down to Lyon to pick up the girls and should be home by around 1:30AM with any luck. Stay tuned and see you at the Danois tomorrow for après-ski with the Guinea Pigs!

PS I’ve had trouble uploading a couple of photos, sorry if they were of you!

27 March 2018
Blimey, what a surprise!

Wow, talk about bonus days! It was looking a little gloomy this morning with only a few centimetres of fresh snow so we weren’t expecting too much, but the skies cleared leaving us in lovely sunshine for most of the morning and the fresh cushion of snow made all the difference. I had my test off the Fontaine Froide and verified that the spring slopes supported and then made my way to the Grande Motte. With the wind from a northerly direction my shoulder accumulated 20 to30cm’s of fresh snow and although a little warm in places we had two excellent runs before skiing a very good Cairn. We came back up and skied off the Genepy before ‘skinning’ for ten-minutes towards the Little Borsat West where we enjoyed some great snow before finishing with a ‘warm’ but good Familial. Meanwhile Andreas was off doing couloirs while Thomas skied the Tour du Balme and Chris and Henry ended up on the Motte but I’m not too sure what they skied first. No one was expecting the type of morning we had and what a fantastic and satisfying surprise!

I had a great afternoon with Tim and Gill and as it started snowing and we couldn’t see much but we played around off the pistes, in the Borsat and off the Genepy and had a fun afternoon. No one could see much but no one was complaining either because we are in desperate need of the fresh canvas. With 20 to 30cm’s forecast this evening we should get just that by morning and hopefully the wind won’t be too much of a negative factor. Fingers crossed!

My girls arrive tomorrow night and I still have a lot to do so I’d better get at it. Stay tuned!

And please have a look at Ghiselle’s marathon link under the photos if you haven’t already done so. Thanks very much to all of you who have contributed!

PS And a happy belated birthday to Henry for yesterday!

26 March 2018
A great morning for all concerned!

After seven days of beautiful sunshine we had grey skies and flat-light and expectations were fairly low, but I thought all the groups had a really good morning. Andreas skied Mickey’s Ears and the Sachette Couloir while Chris, Thomas and Henry all skied the Sachette in fantastic powder on the upper slopes. It was good enough for Chris and I to ‘skin’ up for ten-minutes to get more turns in and we had just enough visibility to ski and navigate comfortably. I gave my boys some technique early on while waiting for lifts to give them some new feelings and something to think about, and then finished the morning with technique as well to tie it all together. All the teams got what they wanted out of a potentially tough morning so bravo boys!

Dan E was at the Gourmandine this morning and he’s here for a month. I’m looking forward to seeing him in the mornings as he’s great fun and I’m going to get him out to the Baraque one of these nights as well as to the Danois for the Guinea Pigs!

I went down to Bourg to get supplies for the girls arriving on Wednesday evening and spent ages unpacking and trying to find somewhere to store it all. Yesterday afternoon I started digging out Gill’s tanning pit on the terrace and needed to take an axe to the ice at the bottom of the snowpack! The snow is frozen solid in places and the snow is still eight to ten feet high!

We should get some snow over the next couple of days although strong winds are also expected. Fingers crossed the wind isn’t as bad as forecast. Stay tuned!

25 March 2018
Another brilliant morning on the Foglietta!

We had such a great day on the Foglietta yesterday and having spotted some perfectly ‘clean’ slopes from below I decided to return to Ste Foy again today. I was travelling light so we could take my car, which makes it so much easier when you don’t need to organise a taxis. Adam (the birthday boy!), Tom, Simmo and I surprisingly had the Foglietta to ourselves and enjoyed a fantastic ski in wonderful snow, and we managed the second little ‘skin’ and made the bus with about ten minutes to spare. I’m very surprised about how much excellent snow is still available down there after a week of wall-to-wall sunshine but I’m not complaining! (See photos) We met a nice chap named Mark on the bus who has a chalet in Ste Foy and hopefully he’ll come up and ski with us one day soon.

Andreas and Thomas were off today and Chris was out with Tim, Gill and Paul working on some technique and I’m not sure what else he did. I wasn’t at the Gourmandine so I’m not too sure what Henry was doing today.

The weather forecast for tomorrow afternoon is for it to be cold and windy with grey skies so Andreas is cancelling his gig at the Gourmandine and will do it later in the week when the weather cheers up.

I must get a move on as the girls arrive Wednesday night and I have a lot of organising to do between now and then, including a trip to Bourg at some stage for supplies. It’s amazing how much organising a guy can have when he’s been living on his own for 6 weeks! Stay tuned!

PS Check out the sleeping dog on the last photo of the boys walking through the village. I didn’t notice it at the time! And Happy Birthday Adam and to Phoebe for yesterday!

24 March 2018
Fantastic quality on the Foglietta!

It has been an absolutely brilliant week of skiing and with the resort tracked out and it being Sandy, Steve and bunny’s last day we decided to head down to Ste Foy for a change of scenery. We figured that it would be fairly tracked out but we had a pleasant surprise in store as we had ‘clean’ snow all the way to the bottom after picking our way around on the first pitch. The snow quality was fantastic and we did the extra little ‘skin’ to access ‘clean’ slopes and it was a pretty stunning outing. Being Saturday it was extremely quiet in Ste Foy, which really added to the ambience. The track out was a little icy and tricky in places and we made the bus by about 5 minutes, which is cutting it fairly fine, especially with Sandy needing to catch a 3:30 bus to Geneva and Chris needing to get back to teach at 2 o’clock! My team stayed for Beers on a sunny terrace before driving home to JJ Cale’s ‘Naturally’!

Andreas was heading to Italy for a family ski this morning but the wind was horrific on the border and it was cloudy in Italy, so they did a u-turn and ended up have a great lunch in Seez. We noticed the clouds but the natural borders kept the clouds at bay and we didn’t feel any wind at all until the bottom where it was blowing quite fiercely, so we were lucky today on that front.

Millie was ill today and missed her golf match, which was a shame as she was really looking forward to it. Hopefully she’ll feel better soon and the girls arrive next Wednesday for 17-days. Yahoo!

We are in need of some snow or heat but some sort of new set of options would be greatly appreciated. Hopefully we’ll get a little snow on Tuesday and Wednesday but we’ll need to use our imaginations in the meantime. Stay tuned!

23 March 2018
Getting trickier but still great skiing!

The air temperature is still unseasonably cold but after five days of sunshine sun-crust is becoming a problem and taking away a lot of options, so finding winter powder is getting a little tougher each day. I decided on a change of scenery today as the Fornet would have been the safest bet and ‘skinned’ to the Crete du Genepy and Mont Roup. On the traverse and first ‘skin’ you can test the various expositions and get a very good idea of what you’ll be dealing with, and all the tests were positive. We needed to stay as north as possible but the Crete du Genepy was excellent with cold snow top-to-bottom, and Mont Roup itself was very good as well with a couple of patches of warm snow but it was all great skiing.

I had two new clients today, Ellie and Steve, who were both very new to this off-piste business at and at first they were all over the place, but by the time we reached the last slope before ‘skinning’ to Mont Roup they were keeping perfect ‘Alpine’ tracks. (See photos) They both made fantastic progress and should be proud of themselves. Bravo to you both!

The rest of the boys took on big walks again to find wonderful snow with Chris and Andreas ‘skinning’ to the Lores while Thomas chose the Col des Barmes de L’Ours. And bravo to everyone involved in those adventures as we’ve done a lot of walking this week and there must be some tired bodies out there!

I enjoyed a brilliant afternoon with Charles and his lovely daughter Cornelia as we introduced her to powder skiing with a trip over the Col Pers. She did really well and Charles is planning on the two of them getting stuck into some morning groups in the future.

The Guineas Pigs were as much fun as ever last night and there was a good ‘Alpine’ showing. And it was great to get Piers out with his pal Bez!

Fingers crossed for another sunny day tomorrow because Chris and I are heading down to Ste Foy but then we really need some snow as our options are very limited. Either that or some extreme heat to transform the spring slopes. Stay tuned!

22 March 2018
Wall-to-wall sunshine!

After what seems like a season of never-ending flat-light we’ve just savoured our fourth day on the trot of clear blue skies. We’ve had unseasonably cold temperatures but the sun is still strong enough to crust up many expositions without having the power to transform the sunny slopes to spring snow. This leaves us with less options than normal at this time of the season but the powder skiing has been exceptional. I took it easy today and skied the Pays Desert out wide with a couple of little ‘skins’ followed by a funky Col Pers/Vallonnet/Grand Torsai route, which worked quite well. Thomas ‘skinned’ up to the Lores and had a great run down while Chris ‘skinned’ up to the Col des Barmes de l’Ours for a wonderful ski down. Great effort boys as both walks are a good two hours or more! Meanwhile, Andreas headed down to Ste Foy and had a great morning on the Foglietta with our extra little ‘skin’ which opens up some lovely terrain.

I’ve my Valdinet post to write before hopefully heading to the gym and then on to the Guinea Pigs at the Danois, followed by dinner with Paul in the YSE Chalet Chardons. It will be a fine end to another great day! Stay tuned as more sun is forecast for tomorrow!

21 March 2018
One of the deepest Sachette's ever!

The last couple of days have been incredibly special and I was wondering how we could possibly even come close to following that kind of quality up, but what a morning. Chris and I started off with a brilliant Borsat from up high and at first glance it looked pretty tracked out but we cut all the across and traversed around the corner to find a perfectly clean patch that I’ve never skied before. (The last photos are in the Borsat) We then took the bus to warm up and skied perhaps the deepest Sachette ever! I don’t know where the snow came from but it was deep and light and incredible easy to ski. After the top section we ‘skinned’ to ski the next steep slope and it was wonderful skiing with great ambience as well. We cut out early as the bottom section was ‘cooked’ and we didn’t want to spoil such outstanding snow with rubbish. Johnnie Alpine’s son Rob broke his pole on top of the Aiguille Percee and needed to ski the entire Sachette with one pole and he did a fantastic job as we skied some pretty steep pitches, bravo Rob! (Mind you, a proper guide would probably have given up a pole but Rob skies better with one pole than I do!) Meanwhile Andreas ‘skinned’ up to the Col du Montet for a brilliant outing with superb snow and great scenery while Thomas had a fantastic morning skiing the Col des Fours.

I had the pleasure of skiing with Cornelia this afternoon and we had a cracking hard ski mixed with technique. She is the daughter of Charles who used to ski with me back in my Top Ski days and I’m looking forward to skiing with Charles again tomorrow morning and Cornelia again on Friday. With three days of sun the pistes are in superb condition and Cornelia and I had a brilliant afternoon.

And it’s time for my weekly ‘Guinea Pig ‘advert! The Pigs are playing at Le Petit Danois starting at 5:30 and I’ll be there early. And if you’re looking for an after-dinner drink with great music try the Baraque.

More sun is forecast for the morning so here we go again, stay tuned!

20 March 2018
That's two wonderful back-to-back days!

Well, that turned out to be another fantastic morning! The sun was out so we were expecting some fun but I did much more than originally planned and ended up ‘skinning’ to the Col Du Montet with Chris and Thomas. I must say a big thank you to Thomas for cutting the track, especially the last bit up to the Col when we needed to ‘boot’ up in some pretty deep snow. I’m a tired boy at the moment (as is Chris) and I’m glad I didn’t need to break trail today. Anyway, the snow back-side over the first Col was excellent and the over the Col du Montet was superb top-to-bottom! I had a new lady named Nenuphar skiing with me today (nothing like taking it easy on them first time out!) and she did absolutely brilliantly, Jean R put in a huge shift and really impressed Thomas with his strength and determination, Paul needed to deal with his first day on new touring boots as well as new skis, and Thomas had a couple of youngsters with him who did incredibly well. And bravo to everyone else as it wasn’t for free today! We didn’t get down until about 1:45 as getting up to the Col wasn’t easy but it was a great day out with fantastic snow, stunning scenery and great ambience.

Andreas had an initiation group today and he had a brilliant morning in the Pays Desert and over the Col Pers, which was perfect for his team. And Andreas is playing with Julian at the Gourmandine on Monday the 26th for après ski!

I’m a little weary to think about tomorrow and I’m still savouring today but sun is forecast again for the morning. Stay tuned!

PS I’m having trouble uploading some of the photos so if you’re not featured try again later!

19 March 2018
A 'maximum-turn' extravaganza!

Wow! That had to be one of the biggest ‘maximum-turn’ sessions that I can remember in a very long time. The day started off overcast and a little gloomy but with a promise of clearer skies at altitude and by the end of the morning the visibility was pretty good everywhere. With some more fresh snow overnight the extravaganza started straight out of the Olympique with some lovely warm-up turns to the Borsat. I then circled in high for an excellent Borsat Nord and meadows into Tignes, then 6 brilliant rotations on my shoulder with sunshine and great snow, and no one else around! Thomas arrived for a couple of rotations before we skied a cracking Cairn, followed by two very good runs in the Campanules and a Funky Familial to finish. I’m still buzzing as it was a wonderful morning. (see photos)

Chris, Andreas and Thomas all started with the Borsat Nord before heading to the Chardonnet, which was ‘sensational’, before Andreas and Thomas circled back up to the Motte while Chris skied the big face of the Balme. It was huge smiles all around and as good of ‘bonus’ morning as you’ll ever get.

It is late March and you can feel the power of the sun anytime it pops out, and the immediate impact is that the snow will start to crust up and take away options. Usually we have the option of some spring snow to mix in with our powder but so far we haven’t had enough consecutive sunny days to get even close to the snow transforming. We’ll need to stay north tomorrow and after a lot of ‘track-damage’ today a little walking might be necessary. That is if we can see! Stay tuned!

PS And thank you all for your generous contributions towards Ghiselle’s Marathon run!

18 March 2018
Great visibility equals brilliant skiing!

The Meteo France Avalanche’s weather forecast is usually pretty good and this morning it was spot on and we had the predicted visibility that made all the difference. We had a ‘maximum-turn’ morning with just a ten-minute ‘skin’ thrown in and the snow quality was excellent. I warmed-up off the Laisinant before skiing the Grand Vallon, Combe du Signal onto the shoulder, the Pays Desert (with ‘skin’) and the Col Pers to finish a terrific morning. Chris, Andreas and Thomas were all up at the Fornet skiing much the same itineraries and we all had a fantastic time.

I had Katie along today for her first-ever ‘Alpine’ morning and it was great to have her along. She speaks excellent French, which pleased Jean, is a cracking good skier, and appreciates the beauty of team tracks. Well done Katie, you can ski with us anytime!

Chris reported an accident around the Laisinant at the end of the morning and it didn’t look good with pisteurs, gendarmes, and a helicopter. Chris thinks someone was killed and that it was probably a piste accident of some sort, which normally means a collision, and collisions are a totally avoidable accident!

Thanks to Derek and Mario for turning me onto gin and tonic’s at the Baraque last night. I didn’t realise how many different gins there are along with various tonics, and last night we had Italian gin, not too sure about the type of tonic, with slices of grapefruit. Bloody hell they were good! The boys had to leave for supper but I ended up staying for another 45-minutes nursing my drink and listening to the most excellent band. They are playing again tonight if you fancy some brilliant music in a very civilized bar.

It snowed overnight in the UK again and Millie had her Surrey Girl’s Golf day cancelled, which is a real bummer because she really looks forward to them. The girls arrive on March 28th for 17-days and I can hardly wait. Fingers crossed that we get some sunshine in April. Stay tuned!

17 March 2018
Another day of limited options!

After a brief reprieve yesterday it was back into the flat-light again this morning. At least it was Saturday, which makes any piste skiing much more enjoyable, and there was a few centimetres of fresh snow to spruce things up a little. Chris, Thomas and I all headed towards the Motte where we had some good skiing en-route to an excellent Rosalin before ‘skinning’ out. Chris and I tried my shoulder in a white-out but missed it by about ten metres and ended up in the gully skiers-right. Instead of lovely soft snow where the slope turns away from the sun we ended up on sun-crust and it wasn’t the result we were looking for. Louise said that we “skied Wayne’s Elbow instead of Wayne’s Shoulder” and it just goes to show how easily you can go wrong in a fog! And it just shows I don’t know my elbow from my shoulder, ha ha Lou! Meanwhile Henry went up to the Pissaillas Glacier with his initiation group while Andreas had the day off.

Thomas had a client ski into a hole this morning, which was a frightening experience for all concerned. I had a client do exactly the same thing last week when Craig stopped below me and the outcome could have been a lot worse. Remember to never pass the guide or stop below them, especially in flat-light when we often see something at the last possible moment and throw on the brakes just before piling into or off of something.

I ran into our great off-piste guiding friend Herve from the ESF on the bus this morning and he didn’t know I’ve been doing my blog all these years. He said he’d have a look tonight, so here’s a mention Herve! Herve is out there seven-days-a-week just like we are and it’s always a pleasure to see him on the mountain. He’s a fantastic guide and a great guy!

It’s a big rugby day so I’d better get going if I want to see any of it. Stay tuned for more news tomorrow and I only posted four photos today!

PS Ghiselle is back in training for the London Marathon April 22nd. Please keep those donations coming in and thank you very much to all of you who have contributed.

16 March 2018
It cleared up halfway through the morning!

We were anticipating blue skies this morning but we started off in flat-light and had to deal with some difficult visibility at times up to around 10:30 before the cloud cover started to break up. I skied the Combe du Signal twice with poor vis, then had an excellent run out wide in the Pays Desert where Matt and Milly used ‘skins’ for the first time, and the skies cleared just as we were ready to ski the big slopes back down to the poma, then we finished with a great run over the Col Pers in the sunshine. Chris was in the neighbourhood and Andreas skied the Combe du Signal before going over the Col to ‘skin’ to the Glacier Pers and had the sun come out just in time while Thomas skied the Pays Desert, Col Pers and Vallonnet. Henry was up on the Pissaillas as well and all the teams had a great morning and were thankful for the skies clearing so that we could finish the morning in sunshine.

The Guinea Pigs were terrific again last night and Corrine came along, as did the Farrer family and friends, Chrissy, Paul G, Johnnie Alpine, Al and Louise, Jim A, and my great pal Biggy and his lovely daughter Maya. It was several people’s first time to the ‘Pigs’ and it’s was great to watch people who don’t dance either dancing or trying their best not to! Even Biggy was dangerously close to dancing and thanks Biggy for a lovely meal in the Grande Ourse afterwards. What a way to finish the day! My boarder client Nick, who is a great guy, was there with his pals as well and they had a brilliant time.

I’m very sorry to have lost Dean this morning somewhere between leaving the Gourmandine and getting on the bus and arriving at the Fornet. Dean is a fantastic guy and was really looking forward to the morning and I can’t believe I lost him before we even got started. Sorry Dean!

I went down to Bourg this afternoon for the first time in a month and the contrast between our white winter wonderland and the spring-like feel down below was quite amazing. Spring is just around the corner up here ad well and I’d love to have some sunshine in April as it’s been a tough winter visibility-wise. Grey ski and snow is forecast for the next four or five days so it’s back into the flat-light again tomorrow. Stay tuned!

15 March 2018
What a contrast!

It was a tough morning as the light was flat, the wind was howling, and you couldn’t have much more of a contrast to the stunning day we all enjoyed yesterday. But, with that said we did have some moments as the Little Lavachet was pretty jolly good with just enough ‘education’ in it to demand some application, and the big slopes in the Sache were good skiing as well. By this time we were getting reports about the Fornet sector being closed due to wind and we realised that we were in a good spot and had had as good a morning as possible. Chris, Andreas, Thomas and I were all skiing together today and it was the type of morning where it was nice to have some company.

I’ve paperwork to catch up on before dropping my skis into Didier to have them sorted as they came out of the factory in poor condition and need some work, then a quick trip to the gym before my weekly session with the Guinea Pigs at La Petit Danois. Maybe see you there!

Stay tuned and better weather is forecast for tomorrow.

PS I’ve only posted two photos today!

14 March 2018
'Day-after's' don't get any better!

What a marvellous day! The sun was shining all day long and after 7 days-in-a-row in Tignes we headed up to the Fornet for a change of scenery and had a fantastic morning. The Fornet was hit pretty hard yesterday but we still had ‘clean’ lines everywhere we skied and it was a ‘maximum-turn’ session of extremely high quality ‘left-overs’. My team skied a Combe du Signal, followed by a Grand Vallon, then another Combe du Signal on the shoulder, then we headed upstairs for a Combe du 3300 before heading over the Col Pers where we ‘skinned’ up to make the most of a virgin Grand Torsai. The snow quality was excellent everywhere and it was nice to have Jean along who met up with us by chance at the cable-car. Andreas was with me for the first few runs before heading off over the Col and then towards Bellevarde in search of a couloir while Chris started up on the Pissaillas and spent his morning there before skiing the Col Pers. Thomas started in Tignes and skied his way to the Fornet before skiing his clients back to Tignes in the afternoon, and Henry was up at the Fornet as well. It was smiles all around this morning as great snow and beautiful sunshine is hard to beat, especially after all the flat-light we’ve been skiing in lately! (And bravo boys for some great skiing in tough conditions this week!)

I had a brilliant afternoon with Adrian, Fergus and Nick up at the Fornet. It was Adrian’s 40th birthday present and with the horrible visibility and lack of options yesterday we moved it to today and the boys had a great time. We warmed-up off the Laisinant before skiing the Combe du Signal en-route to the Col Pers and out through the gorge, where we spotted a couple of chamois and bouquetin. Nick was the first-ever boarder I’ve taken off-piste and I’ve been much nicer to boarders since skiing with James, who is Millie and my golf coach. Millie and I had an afternoon with James and his boarding pal at Christmas and I was really impressed with how fast they went and how much fun they were having. Anyway, James has paved the way for Nick this afternoon and we all had a great time, but the poor boys had a rendezvous at the Folie Douce afterwards to finish themselves off!

I’m looking forward to a steak dinner followed by Barcelona v Chelsea tonight at Johnnie ‘Alpine’s’. John feeds a group of blokes on a regular basis and supplies the football games as well and your hospitality is very much appreciated by all of us who show up at every opportunity!

Tomorrow’s forecast isn’t great but I’ll savour today and worry about tomorrow at the Gourmandine. Stay tuned!

PS Don’t forget the Guinea Pigs tomorrow night at the Danois!

13 March 2018
Another cracking good morning in Tignes!

It’s a quick one tonight as I’m pressed for time.

We had some unexpected sun filtering through to kick-start the day and with another cushion of fresh snow we had a fantastic morning. Andreas and Thomas had a Couloir morning and with fresh snow and no tracks they had a great time. Thomas had a couple of boarders who needed to be ‘gravity-fed’ and that’s exactly what Thomas gave them! Meanwhile Chris and I had a lovely warm-up before skiing the Campanules, Chardonnet, Tourne, Sache and a Funky Familial to finish. (See photos)

I was supposed to have an initiation off-piste session this afternoon for Adrian’s 40th birthday but I arrived on the summit of Bellevarde to a ‘white-out’, the wind was blowing, and anything in close had been tracked this morning during the bright period, so I put it off until tomorrow when we are expecting bright blue skies and I can take Adrian and his pal Fergus over the Col. That seems like a more interesting birthday present than what was on offer this afternoon!

Stay tuned for more news tomorrow!

12 March 2018
Good call Andreas!

After three extremely tough days in a row we weren’t really expecting too much of a change this morning but after a ‘test’ off the Verte we knew that the snow quality was significantly better and we were in for a good morning. What we didn’t realise was how good the steep slopes were and Andreas decided to try the Borsat Nord from the top so the rest of us kept him company and the skiing was excellent and totally opened our possibilities. From there Chris and I skied Andreas’ Garden with him, which was excellent, while Thomas went up to the Motte and had four fantastic rotations on Wayne’s Shoulder. Andreas then circled back to the Motte to join Thomas while Chris and I had a very good and atmospheric run on the big face of the Balme, and the sun popped out momentarily just when we needed it! After some meadows below the Cairn we finished with a good Familial and it was a cracking morning and the contrast to the past few days was remarkable.

I was on my way to Bourg for a big shop but the left-rear wheel on my car was making some noises so I turned around and will drop it off at the garage when it opens after lunch. The wheel was probably making those noises on the way back from the airport but I had Led Zeppelin cranked up so load I couldn’t hear it. Fingers crossed that it isn’t a serious and expensive problem.

Millie had a brilliant time at her golf match yesterday and she was very pleased with herself for playing four-under her handicap and single-handedly holding the Men off until they finally lost on the 17th hole. (Her partner had a non-productive day!) With the winter conditions the Men were teeing off at pretty much the same spot as the Ladies so she wasn’t getting any advantage as the Men’s course was significantly shorter while the Ladies remained the same. Bravo Mils! After all the rain the sun popped out and Katie managed 45-minutes on her trampoline, which made her day. And I’d like to say hello to Josh who has become a regular reader of the blog since his trip here in February and to Millie’s friend Connie as well.

I’d better think about taking my car in to the garage, what a bummer! Stay tuned as the snow is falling and we should be in for a fantastic day tomorrow!

11 March 2018
Slim pickings but a good morning!

After a stunning day on Thursday we’ve had three of the toughest consecutive days that I can remember in years. Friday was deep but skiable in places but Saturday and Sunday have given us very few options and with extremely poor visibility, meaning no visibility, it hasn’t been easy! Chris and I headed up to the Motte where we hooked up with Thomas where we had a couple of nice runs on the piste before a little excursion with a ‘skin’ out, while Andreas tried his luck at the Fornet, but I’ve had no news.

I ran into Matt and Ellie’s daughter Jesse the other day and it was the first time I’ve seen her all season. She is having a fantastic time and is working in the Arctic Cafe if you want to drop in and say hello. Millie is playing in a golf match this afternoon, the Juniors v the Men so good luck to her and Katie is waiting for the rain to stop so she get start using her trampoline again!

It is forecast to snow between 15 and 30cm’s at altitude before tomorrow so fingers crossed and we could be back in business. Stay tuned!

10 March 2018
What a dire end to the day!

It was another tricky day but at least everyone was prepared for it this morning. After a test off the Verte and Borsat it was evident that we needed to get as high as possible so Chris, Andreas and I all headed to the Motte via some excellent piste. The pistes on the Grande Motte were fantastic and we tried a run down towards the Liesse from the summit and although the snow was of good quality the tracks from yesterday chucked us about a little bit and the skiing wasn’t very comfortable. We then had an excellent ski on the other side before ‘skinning’ back out and we returned home via the pistes.

I had the pleasure of skiing with Biggy and his lovely daughter Maya this afternoon and we had a great time and were lucky enough to enjoy some moments in the sun, and what a difference that made! I took my Blizzard’s out for a spin this afternoon and had a great time on them. My Vertex are wonderful in soft snow but I’ve been struggling on piste with them when the snow is a little grabby, and I must get Jean Sports to sort them out for me because they’ve never been quite right.

Thanks to Chris and Suzanne for a fantastic evening last night with Bridgette, Ghiselle, Isadora, and Paul G. It’s been great to see the girls and spend some time with them and Giles would have been extremely proud of how is girls have grown up and the young ladies that they’ve become. I look forward to seeing you again soon and good luck with the Marathon Ghiselle!

I’ve just ruined my day by checking the West Ham score and it looks as if we’ll be playing in the Championship next season. Mind you, it’s what we deserve and seems to be about our level!

Stay tuned for more news tomorrow and it looks as if we’re in for a tough day! Woe is me!

9 March 2018
Talk about contrasts!

I don’t really know where to start? After yesterday’s seriously wonderful conditions we were all expecting some great skiing again today, and everyone had a plan to get to the ‘clean’ snow that was spared in yesterday’s frenzy. But, what we didn’t expect was the temperature rise and all that fabulous snow becoming wet and heavy, and that was the good snow! In places it was un-skiably heavy and at the Fornet there was a nasty rain or perhaps heat crust that refroze and was to be avoided. In the end Chris and I did rather well as we skied the meadows across the Altiport to the Little Lavachet, which was warm but enjoyable skiing, and the Lavachet itself was warm but very skiable as well. It was ‘skiers’ snow but we had skiers so it wasn’t a problem and I really enjoyed it. It was good enough to ski to the bottom and ‘skin’ out so at this stage we didn’t realise what lie ahead. The top slopes in the Sachette were also heavy but good skiing but we then cut out early as it was evident that we were finished off-piste and needed the safety of the pistes to avoid damaging someone’s knee. At this stage I was telling myself that perhaps we should have gone to the Motte but reports from the Motte indicated that the light was very flat and the snow upstairs was heavy as well, so that made me feel better about our choices. Andreas headed to the Fornet to ski the Col du Montet (which I also almost did) and he needed to turn around because of a rain/heat crust and he reported that the entire Fornet sector was ‘wishbone’ snow and he saw quite a few guides turning around and aborting itineraries. Thomas ‘skinned’ to the Col des Fours and had heavy but skiable snow all the way to the refuge before it turned into ‘porridge’ so he had a decent morning under the conditions.

We were all expecting sunshine this morning but the day started off overcast and grey, but Radio Val had promised it would clear up around 11AM and we’d be skiing in sunshine. Without this carrot Andreas wouldn’t have bothered thinking about the Col du Montet and Thomas was counting on some sunshine for the Col des Fours, but we were all left in flat-light when we needed the vis on the big slopes. We have been lucky all week however with unexpected light and even sunshine when it wasn’t forecast so we can hardly complain, but it was a jolly difficult day when expectations were fairly high.

I’ve no idea what to expect tomorrow but a freeze and some snow would help. Stay tuned!

8 March 2018
That was a 'perfect' day!

That was about as ‘perfect’ a day as it’s possible to have. The skiing this morning was absolutely exceptional as Team ‘Alpine’ headed towards the deeper snow in Tignes and with fresh snow and clear blue skies it was a ‘maximum-turn’ session of the highest calibre! Thomas and I warmed up with a fantastic Kern followed by the Borsat while Chris and Andreas started with the Borsat and headed to the Chardonnet. We also had a great skiing off the Motte, a wonderful run on the big face of the Balme and a brilliant funky Familial near the hole. The photos tell it all and I’ll them do the talking as it’s getting late now.

This afternoon I had a brilliant time skiing with Ghiselle and Isadora as I introduced the girls to off-piste skiing with three runs in the Grand Vallon. It was wonderful to be out there on our own and the girls really enjoyed it.

Then to top off a wonderful day the Guinea Pigs were on fire and were absolutely brilliant. It was Penny, Frans, Bridgette, Ghiselle, Isadora, Paul G, and Craig and family’s first time to see the ‘Pigs’ and Paul and Hugo didn’t disappoint. The place was rocking and it was great to see so many people enjoying themselves. I was pretty wound up afterwards so I took myself for a quick burger at the Roxy Burger Bar before coming home to do the blog and write my Valdinet piece for tomorrow morning as well. Today could not have been better unless Gill, Millie and Katie were here to share it. It won’t be long now girls! Stay tuned!

8 March 2018
Late Update!

Update and photos tonight after the Guinea Pigs!

7 March 2018
Our luck held out again!

After two consecutive days in Tignes I felt it was time for a change of scenery and headed up o the Fornet with Chris and Thomas. For the first half hour it seemed like perhaps we’d gone the wrong direction but the skies started to clear and with the added visibility we ended up have a brilliant morning on the Pissaillas Glacier. We started with a Lower Combe du Signal before hiking up from the Col Poma to access the nice slopes back down toward the little pond, and the snow quality was excellent. At this stage the light was very flat and I almost skied off a cornice but saw it in time and stopped and Craig made the mistake of skiing below me and came about 10 cm’s from skiing off the edge. There’s a good lesson to be learned there but all’s well that ends well! We then skied the Combe du 3300 before the sun came out for two fantastic runs in the Pays Desert. Thomas finished off over the Col while Andreas and Henry skied in Tignes. Henry skied around my shoulder while Andreas skied the Borsat, Chardonnet and I’m not too sure what else.

I had the pleasure of skiing with Giles’ daughters Ghiselle and Isadora today and I’m skiing with them again tomorrow before bringing them to the Danois for the Guinea Pigs. Hope to see you there! And hopefully we’ll get some visibility because there is some great skiing to be had but today was another much appreciated ‘bonus’ day as enough light filtered through, and just when we needed it most! We’ve been jolly lucky this week and long may it last. Stay tuned!

PS And a big Happy Birthday to Jean Ribart! You were sensational last Sunday Jean and I look forward to many more skis with you in the future!

6 March 2018
The 'bonus' days just keep coming!

We seem to have had quite a few days during the past couple of weeks where the visibility has been much better than forecast, which makes our lives guiding so much easier, and today we were lucky enough again to have enough light to navigate and make the most of the skiing. It was the third day after the last sunny day and with the resort tracked out we revisited some of yesterday’s itineraries with some variations thrown in, and I thought it was a fantastic morning under the circumstances. It was another ‘Alpine’ team ski although we didn’t see too much of each other and we skied the Lower Lavachet, which was excellent, the Sachette and various Sachette couloirs, which were very good indeed, and a Familial with great snow to finish. It was another ‘bonus’ day and considering how tracked out the resort is along with the overcast skies it was a brilliant morning out! Bravo boys!

It’s great to have the Wing Commander Ian Noble back after a year out, along with Stephen C, Craig, Frans, Adrian and Al, and I must say I’ve quite a team this week. They can all ski, the banter is top notch, and no one is spared a ribbing if any faffing takes place. And we do seem to have some faffing so it’s a good laugh!

Very little snow was forecast but it seems to have snowed quite nicely during the day and I think we should be in for a really good day tomorrow, especially if we get lucky with the visibility. Fingers crossed and stay tuned!

PS I ran into Simon and his friends in the Familial today. Simon is fantastic when I go into ‘code-mode’ and play Where’s Wayne. His hit rate is incredible!

PPS And thanks to Johnnie Alpine for a fabulous dinner last night followed by a stunning football match. Brilliant!

5 March 2018
What a morning of 'left-overs'!!!

After track damage from yesterday’s powder extravaganza along with wind damage and a forecasted grey day, today turned out to be another fantastic result and miles better than anticipated. We had an ‘Alpine’ team ski this morning as Chris, Andreas, Thomas and I all headed the same way and skied variations in the same sectors. After a nice little tester and warm-up off the Verte we skied the Lower Borsat and meadows into Tignes, and then a team trip through Andreas’ Garden. Although the Chardonnet had been skied there were enough ‘clean’ lines to give everyone excellent shots in great snow and a fantastic top-to-bottom run, but about a half-hour after we passed through Andreas’ Garden was absolutely trashed! From there we enjoyed some superb ‘bonus’ turns off the Tourne en-route to the Sache/Sachette. My team skied the Sachette Couloir, while Chris and Thomas continued on to the Sachette while Andreas had skied the Sache from the first Col. It was good right to the bottom and Thomas decided to keep skiing and headed for a Cocaine Nord while I finished with a Funky Familial near the ‘hole’, Chris finished with the Altiport and Andreas finished Little Spatule way. Boy, for a morning of ‘left-overs’ it was absolutely superb, and fun to have the team in the same neighbourhood! (See photos)

Light snow and grey skies are forecast for the next few days, but today was supposed to be rubbish as well, so stay positive and stay tuned!

PS Ghiselle is in town at the moment with her sister Isadora and her Mum and they are very touched by the support from the Alpine Experience family who have rallied around. Please keep those donations rolling in for such a great cause, and a great family!

4 March 2018
That was seriously good!

Wow, what a stunning morning of ‘maximum-turn’ skiing that was! After two days of snow and very flat-light light the sun was out and we really let rip. My team opened up with a two-stop run under the Pyramid and Vallon lifts while waiting for the Signal to open, and we knew then that we were on for a big one! Then they opened the Signal right in front of us and we were the first into the Grand Vallon for another two-stopper. Then we came back up and skied the Grand Vallon again and Penny counted a 77-turn pitch. From there we traversed into the Combe du Signal to get a ‘clean’ line and skied it top-to-bottom without stopping. After 110-turns Jean skied up and wasn’t even out of breath, bravo Jean! All of this took place by 10:30 and I can’t ever remember a better hour-and-a-half’s skiing. From there we headed up to the Glacier and although the snow wasn’t nearly so good upstairs, it was plenty good enough and we skied the Combe du 3300, the Combe du Geant from the T-Bar, and then the Col Pers to finish. Blimey, it was good!

Meanwhile Chris was at the Fornet as well having a wonderful time, as was Thomas who was skiing with Muriel and a cousin, and Andreas started with the Tour du Charvet before heading up to join us at the Fornet, and everyone had one of those special mornings that will take some beating!

Thanks to Wilkie, Simon and Tony who stopped to help Thomas find his ski in the Vallonnet. Nice to see there is such a thing as friends on a powder day! Mind you, it was at the end of the morning and everyone was cooked!

We should see a little more snow tonight but unfortunately the next few days are forecast to be overcast. Fingers crossed for enough vis to enjoy ourselves. Stay tuned!

3 March 2018
Talk about 'white' !!!

For the second day in a row we had tough navigational conditions, meaning it was seriously ‘white’! Enough snow fell during yesterday’s flurry to make a huge difference today, and it snowed fairly hard all morning today, which bodes well for tomorrow. We had a lovely cushion of ten to fifteen centimetres but in the lee there was more like 30 to 40 cm’s and the snow quality today was fantastic. Chris and I skied off the Verte to test the waters, followed by the Borsat, one on my shoulder where I had my compass out, then a long run from the top of the Grande Motte cable-car where Penny counted 126-turns on one pitch, then a great run off the Genepy and a ‘classic’ Familial to finish. Meanwhile Andreas skied the Borsat, an excellent Chardonnet, the Combe des Lanches and off the Spatule to finish. It was tough going out there today but everyone did extremely well and the skiing was very good indeed!

I skied with Ian today for the first time since my Top Ski days, and that’s going back a long way. He had his sons Charlie and Nicholas along and the boys did very well, especially since they were on piste skis! Bravo boys!

We should have a brilliant day tomorrow as the sun is forecast to shine and after two days of stumbling around in the dark the boys and I are really looking forward to some visibility. Stay tuned and come on you Hammers!

PS And thanks again to all of you who have donated so generously to support Ghiselle and her family. It’s pretty emotional to say the least!

PPS What a dismal performance by the Hammers. They stank so badly that I took off my Hammers shirt and put it in the wash! We need a fresh start!

2 March 2018
Happy Birthday Mom!

It was going to be a difficult morning as we didn’t have too many options and a change of wind direction and snow were forecast for later in the morning. Chris, Andreas and I headed up to the Fornet to ski the Glacier Pers because we knew the snow would be excellent and if the weather came in we could ‘feel’ our way home. The light was very good for most of the morning and we enjoyed some lovely snow on the Glacier Pers itself, but the weather did come in with strong winds and snow making the visibility extremely poor and we really did need to ‘feel’ our way down in the end. It was a fantastic morning out with great snow, wonderful ambience and a ‘travelling safely in the mountains’ experience to finish it off. Meanwhile, Thomas was out there somewhere with his Ski Club group on their last day.

I thought the Guinea Pigs were brilliant last night and Chris’ who’s skied with me all week and played drums in a punk band in his university days was extremely impressed with the boys and he loved the way Hugo plays. It was fun having Viv, Wils, Rosie, Cliff and Sam along as well and we then had a great meal at the Cornice afterwards. I felt a little rough this morning, which doesn’t mix with flat-light very well, but the Irish Coffees were my idea. What an idiot!

I’d like to wish Louise a belated happy birthday for yesterday and it also marked the 18th year of going out with Al. It was nice to see them both bopping to the ‘Pigs’ last night. And I’d like to wish my Mom a very happy birthday as well. I better phone her as she doesn’t do computers! Stay tuned!

PS And thank you to everyone who has donated to Ghiselle’s Brain Tumour Trust run. It’s nice to see such a list of ‘Alpine’ clients, both old and new contributing!

PPS And thanks for dinner last night Cliff!

1 March 2018
Where did that come from!

Wow, what an unexpectedly good morning that was! I was expecting a good morning in flat-light ‘skinning’ to the Glacier Pers, where the snow is ‘clean’ and it would have been great skiing, but we were gifted a ‘maximum-turn’ type session with jolly good visibility. It only snowed about one centimetre in town so the Fornet sector had the best chance of any new snow so Thomas, Chris, Henry and I all headed up that way and when we tested the snow in the Lower Combe du Signal it was evident that more snow than expected had blown in. We ended up skiing the Combe du 3300 three times before going over the Col Pers and out through the gorge, and we had several wildlife sightings as well. So instead of spending half the morning walking we ended up doing a lot of skiing and everyone loves a ‘low-expectation’ morning that turns out really well.

To top off a great day I’ll be going to Le Petit Danois with Wils, Rosie, Viv, Cliff, Sam and several clients. Chris used to play drums in a punk band back in the day so I’m looking forward to see what he thinks of my man Hugo. Come along, it’s going to be fun!

PS It was 20 degrees warmer today! Instead of being in a deep-freeze and worrying about your feet it was uncomfortably hot at times. Spring isn’t too far away! Stay tuned!

PPS The only other guided groups we saw this morning was Herve from the ESF skiing with his 8-year-old daughter. Bravo Herve!

PPPS It was great having Matt along this morning. Matt has stayed at Chez-Ray a couple of times over the years and has been working his way through the BASI system. Well skied Matt! And I hope that the weather in the UK doesn’t stop our clients’ coming-and-going over the next couple of days. Fingers crossed!

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