Wayne's Daily Diary Archive

20 June 2007

29 April 2018
A tough morning on the weather front!

I was feeling a bit rough this morning as I was out with Derek, Paul, Erik and JP last night and I’m not used to that pace anymore. I was silly enough to believe that the gins were watered-down! Anyway, with a minimum freeze, clouds and wind, it wasn’t the best day to have a hang-over. For the first time in about ten days we headed to Tignes for a change of scenery and the best chance of what little sunshine was on offer and for a really difficult day we ended up having a pretty good morning. After skiing some rock-hard piste into Tignes I tried skiing the sunny-side of the steep slope we walk up to access the Chardonnet but the freeze and disappeared and we needed to dive into one of the north-facing couloirs to escape. It turned out to be a funky and different ski and we then skied the Sache from the first Col. Chris had skied the Sachette before us so we knew it would support right up to the ‘cut-out’ point, which was a good result. We then skied two different runs in the Campanules before finishing on piste. For a stinker of a day weather-wise Chris, Henry and I all had pretty good mornings.

It’s blowing and drizzling at the moment (2:50PM) so hopefully we’ll have some fresh snow to play with in the morning. There is a chance of between 30 and 50 cm’s on the Pissaillas by Tuesday morning so we could be in for a fantastic finish after a pretty special run of spring skiing. Come on you Hammers, and stay tuned!

PS Good luck to Millie in her golf comp this afternoon!

PPS Thanks for dinner last night boys!

PPS It was Paul’s birthday last night, hence the hangover!

28 April 2018
Another great morning out of nothing!

There was a very minimal freeze last night and we weren’t expecting too much but at the same time were hoping for some cracking good skiing, especially with the sun out first thing. We ended up have a fantastic morning and after giving the Kern a miss went straight to the lower half of the Face du Charvet and even though it was ‘limit’ Chris, Henry and I all skied our teams down without any trouble. From there we headed straight for the Tour du Charvet a good 40 minutes earlier than yesterday and had a great ski knowing the Couloir du Mont Blanc was compacted enough to get us down safely. It was evident at this stage that we needed to head to altitude and Henry had a good call with the sunny slopes down from the Col to the Pays Desert poma. Next up was an excellent trip over the Col Pers where we skied the Vallonnet into the Grand Torsai and it skied beautifully all the way down. Chris and I then headed up for some bonus skiing and skied Chez Henry before traversing around the corner towards Oh My!, which was a wonderful finish to a cracking good morning. Bravo boys for turning a tricky day into a great one!

It was JP from Finland’s last morning with me today and he was an absolute pleasure to have along. I hope you had enough fun to come back next season JP, and stop that ‘changing resorts’ routine!

Andreas texted to say that he and Pietro were down safely from their tour. They had difficult weather and snow conditions but outstanding scenery and routes along with a lovely group of people.

The forecast hasn’t been good but the past two days have been excellent when a week ago they were forecast to be poor so I’m hoping for the best for the next few days. At least a little sunshine is forecast each morning and that would help significantly. Fingers crossed!

27 April 2018
Wowzer! What a morning!

The website that Richard H sent me has a graph on the surface temperature of the snow on Mont Davie at 2800 metres and it’s incredible informative and after five days of using it I’ve developed a trust in it. I knew this morning without touching the snow that we’d have a great chance to ski Val d’Isere ‘classics’ right to the end of the morning, and sure enough I finished at 1:15 with support to the bottom while Henry arrived at 1:45! Thank you Richard! Of course the first test of the snow is crucial but it’s nice to have a starting point before leaving the apartment.

We started off this morning with a great run on the Kern before traversing the piste to continue on down the Clochtons, which was excellent. Next up was a lovely run on the lower half of the Face du Charvet, followed by a belter in the Tour du Charvet and out through the Couloir du Mont Blanc. To allow the Cugnai to soften we stopped at Chez Bridgette for a coffee along with the Zimmer brothers and Yvon, and then hit the Cugnai in perfect conditions. Trusting the freeze we then ‘skinned’ up to the Col de la Madeleine before finishing with a run down the Marmottons into the Marmottes. It was a rather stunning morning and hopefully the weather will hold to the end of the season, because I guy could get used to that type of skiing!

The only downside of the morning was Bunny pulling a calf muscle after a fall caused by not getting her ski on properly. It’s easily done, especially for those of you with pin-bindings so take a moment to make sure you’re secure in your bindings. Fingers crossed that it isn’t too serious and she’ll be able to ski tomorrow. Stay tuned!

26 April 2018
The Col was better than anticipated!

It was a rather feeble freeze last night and after testing the traverse from the Borsat towards the Chalet des Gardes I headed down the meadows and on through the Santons, which was perfect and beat ‘quick-snow’! We then skied the L in fantastic conditions en-route to the Pissaillas but it was evident that the Pays Desert was still bullet-proof so I took a chance and went over the Col Pers ready to deal with whatever we found towards the bottom. The snow supported nicely in the Vallonnet all the way down to the Grand Torsai where the freeze dropped out. The snow is so dense at the moment that we didn’t sink in very far and it skied like warm powder and turned out to be the best skiing of the morning! From there we circled back around to ski the Pays Desert before a short ‘skin’ out and ended up finishing around 1:20, which shows we had a pretty good morning considering last night’s lack of freeze.

Sun is forecast for tomorrow but the big question is the re-freeze. The freeze should be better tonight as the forecast calls for clear skies and I would love to have another day like we had yesterday, which was stunning. Fingers crossed and stay tuned!

PS And good luck to Andreas and Pietro!

25 April 2018
Great snow, variety and ambience!

As Rob Cochran would say, “we were cooking with gas!” this morning. We profited from a much better freeze and thoroughly enjoyed an absolutely brilliant morning of spring skiing with great variation and ambience. Henry and I started out with a lovely run on the lower half of the Face du Charvet, which was positive enough of us to ski the Clochetons from the first chair. I then walked up the Charvet ridge to access the sunny slopes leading down into the Tour du Charvet while Henry cut underneath. Henry was only skiing a couple of runs with Ginny so he went straight down and checked out the Couloir du Mont Blanc for us and with a positive result Thomas and I skied the fabulous slopes above the couloir and then exited through the Mont Blanc. Thanks Henry! From there Thomas and I continued on with a great run in the Cugnai, followed by a short walk to access the Col de la Madaleine, and then the Marmottons/Marmottes to finish off a stunning morning. Wow! Meanwhile Chris and Suzanne went on a family tour to the Col du Montet and had a great outing.

I ran into Pat and Jean Zimmer this morning along with Jean’s son Charles and had to take a photo of the three of them. I mentioned yesterday being a little tricky and Jean had exactly the same experience. He had an early test that was totally negative and didn’t ‘feel’ positive enough about the conditions to be too adventurous and ended up playing conservatively like we did. You always wonder while you’re playing cautious if you’re overdoing it but after speaking to several people who found ‘quick-snow’ yesterday because they were either too low or a little late made me feel that we actually did pretty well yesterday Jean!

I’m skiing with a new Finnish client named JP and he showed up with skis that are 110m’s underfoot and well above his head along with a massive helmet with a face and jaw protector. I took one look at him and wondered what I had on my hands. When he asked if I had any instructions for him I just said, “Behave!” Anyway, he’s a great guy, skis under control, is very pleasant company, and best of all is extremely appreciative. On the first morning he said, “I like this spring skiing. I like the engineering of it. I like the angles and the degrees, the changes of altitude and the timing, I like all the factors that go into getting it just right.” And today he called the search for perfect spring, “Intelligent skiing”. You can see why I’ve taken a liking to JP!

We may not get such a good freeze tonight but we’ll deal with that in the morning because I’ll keep buzzing about today for a little longer. Stay tuned!

And thanks for your help with my on-line declaration today Suzanne!

PS It was Jean’s last day of his season, as well as Thomas who has his 40th birthday weekend coming up with friends and family. It was a pleasure skiing with you Jean and Happy Birthday for Saturday Thomas. I hope my last day will be as good as yours!

24 April 2018
A weaker freeze than expected!

After a totally stunning day yesterday I thought the overnight freeze was better than it was and was expecting more today. We started off with a tester on the Kern, which was negative as it was already soft and absolutely at the limit. That negative test put seeds of doubt in my mind about how low we could ski today and a few other tests made me play conservatively. I’ve been on fire lately making some tough and at times delicate decisions about where to ski and being spot-on for the most part but I didn’t ‘feel’ it today and ended up leaving the bottom third of the mountain alone for fear of finding ‘quick-snow’. After the Kern I decided against the Tour du Charvet or the Chalet des Gardes and skied the meadows from the Borsat towards the Grand Pres and then some excellent piste and down the Santons. Next up was a cracking run down the L before hiking up above the Col Poma to ski the steep slopes back down toward the Cascade and that was great skiing but nearing the limit as well. We then skied one on the Pays Desert, which has been good all week but it hadn’t softened at all and I was surprised at how firm it was. That told me that the Vallonnet would be hard as well but maybe still breaking through at the bottom so we skied some great piste back down and finished the morning with two very good runs way out in the Grand Vallon where we had lovely spring snow without needing to ski too low altitude-wise. I might have missed a trick (which I take personally!)not skiing lower down the mountain but the thought of breaking through in the bottom of the Charvet or over the Col wasn’t something I wanted to deal with and I’m hoping for a better freeze again tonight. Stay tuned!

23 April 2018
Weak freeze but a magnificent ski!

Well that turned out to be a high-quality morning with variation and ambience! After the weakest freeze of the week I wasn’t too sure what we’d be able to get away with but once on the snow our options opened up and we were treated to a fantastic ski. Henry and I started with a very good Kern as a tester and then I skied the meadows from the Borsat to the Grand Pres en-route to the Couloir du Mont Blanc while Henry headed to the Chalet des Gardes. The big slopes above the couloir were magnificent but we needed to side-slip the couloir. I’ve been eye-balling it for days and decided today was the day as I only had JP and Jean. Jean was extremely pleased we’d skied it as I’d given him the option of the Gardes or Mont Blanc and he decided we could deal with the couloir. Bravo Jean! We had a superb wildlife show in the Charvet as we spotted two Perdrix followed by a family of chamois. Being the first to pass by that way today we were able to get up close and personal and it all added to an already wonderful ambience as the steep slopes were ‘clean’ and ripened to perfection. Meanwhile Chris had headed straight for Mont Roup and they had a great ski as well before we all met up on the Glacier. The Pays Desert was excellent and had softened to perfection on all exposures so we knew going over the Col was an option and we all finished with a brilliant run down the Vallonnet before exiting towards the Torsai. (See photos)

Thomas had another successful two-night-three-day tour and Andreas is getting ready to head out on a tour in Italy with Pietro. Well done Thomas and good luck to Andreas and Pietro and fingers crossed for some decent weather and cold nights!

The weather looks set to turn so we might be in for a couple of difficult days but a few flakes of snow to tidy up the tracks would be welcome, although we don’t want any prolonged period of flat-light and warm overnight temperatures.

I’d like to thank all of you who contributed so generously towards Ghiselle’s London Marathon charity run. She raised £5,274 and all your contributions played a huge part in that total. Ghiselle and her family were touched by the number of ‘Alpine’ clients, both old and new who paid their respects to the memory of Giles, and Giles would have been extremely proud of both Ghiselle and her sister Isadora.

Stay tuned!

22 April 2018
Well done Ghiselle!

Bravo Ghiselle! She finished the London Marathon in 3:30:25 and raised £5,254! Ghiselle will be disappointed about not setting a personal best but it was a very hot day and she ran brilliantly and should be extremely proud of herself! Makes our excellent morning seem a little unimportant but we skied the Kern, Tour du Charvet, L, Pays Desert and a Chez Henry and-around-the-corner to finish.

I’m hoping for a point against the Gunners but they’ll be tough today with the festive mood surrounding Wenger’s great career and retirement. It’s going to be a difficult one.

Today really belongs to Ghiselle and her family and the memory of Giles. Stay tuned!

PS And good luck to Millie in her inter-clubs golf competition this afternoon!

21 April 2018
Better freeze, more options!

We had a slightly better freeze last night and after another day/night of the melt/freeze cycle the transformation was deeper and we had more options start to open up. My team skied the Kern, Chalet des Gardes, the L, bits-and-pieces off the Combe du Signal, the Pays Desert, and a variation of Oh My! to finish. Chris skied the Crete du Genepy before catching us up on the Glacier at the end of the morning while Thomas went off on another tour and Andreas had the day off.

I had the pleasure of skiing with Neil, who is a long-time friend of Henry’s and he loved being back in Val d’Isere after a long absence. Mike and Ritchie played with Karen last night at the Salon des Fous and they were fantastic, and afterwards I met John, Margaret, Richard and Clive in the Baraque for a couple of gin and tonics. It was John and Margaret’s last night so it was wonderful to see them before they go.

More sun is on the way tomorrow and we should have another terrific morning of skiing. Stay tuned!

Go Ghiselle! All the best tomorrow and we’ll all be thinking of you and your Dad. It starts at 10 UK time.

20 April 2018
Another very warm day!

Margins were slim again today as we had another light freeze and a very warm day. Chris and I started off with the upper half of the Kern and although the skiing was excellent we were just on time. I then skied a brilliant run off the Chalet des Gardes (while Chris ‘skinned’ to the Crete du Genepy) and then because the sunny-side of the mountain and lower altitudes had lost the freeze we headed for altitude and had two good runs off the Pays Desert.

Thomas returned from a three-day-two-night tour and is leaving again tomorrow to do the same tour with another team. He’ll ski some different itineraries because with the light freeze at night he’ll need to ski different routes to stay safe. Bravo Thomas and I’m looking forward to catching up at the Gourmandine in the morning.

Andreas and Ian had a fright the other day when this child who was filtered onto the lift with them passed out cold and they couldn’t wake him up. At one stage they thought the poor little person was dead and they phoned the rescue services from the lift. Eventually the child woke up as if nothing had happened and both Andreas and Ian were extremely relieved!

Another light freeze followed by a sunny day is forecast so stay tuned!

PS And thanks Paul for a great night out with the team at the Chardons last night!

PPS Only two more days to donate to the Brain Tumour Fund as Ghiselle will run the London Marathon for the Charity and in memory of her father Giles Green, who was a founding member of Alpine Experience 25-years ago. Giles died of a brain tumour in 1995 when Ghiselle was two-years-old and her sister Isadora wasn’t yet born.

19 April 2018
Smaller margins to play with today!

It was a trickier day with tougher decisions after a lighter freeze and the temperature rising much quicker than the past two days. We moved everything along by between 30 to 40 minutes and were still just in time. After a couple of days in the Val d’Isere circuit it was time for a change of scenery and after a quick one in the Clochetons we headed to Tignes and skied the Sachette to the bottom, followed by Toothy Rock and a Familial to finish. We pulled out of the Tourne as it was too late and we finished a bit early today as we’d done all we could. It was a cracking morning but we need a seriously good freeze tonight to disperse the heat of the day so fingers crossed.

The ‘classic’ spring tour has now been done to death (part of the reason for going to Tignes today)and it’s a shame that people keep skiing various slopes too late and keep leaving deep ruts, holes, snow balls, and basically a very uneven surface in their wake for the next day. But, it’s like banging your head against the wall so I’ll stop now!

Blimey, we came incredibly close to have Simon and Jean seriously taken out on the seriously steep and icy Paquis piste into Tignes le Lac this morning. This 20-year-old went flying past us on the trail, fell and slid all the way down to the start of the big wall to the bottom. He then stood up and the next thing I knew he’d fallen again and went all the way to the bottom at a rate of knots. I thought to myself, “nice to have that jerk out of the way” and continued down the wall and the next thing I knew his Dad was sliding as well and just missed Jean before sliding over the tips of Simon’s ski, which knocked Simon over and he too was now sliding, and the Dad continued on all the way to the bottom at huge speed. Fortunately Simon stopped himself before he ended up going the distance as well. I used some terrible language on the Dad and all he could do is shrug his shoulders and say, “the mountain is here for all of us”! What a prick as almost killed Simon and pushed the right button to really wind me up!

And it was a really nice birthday celebration at Dick’s for Dick last night. It was great to see so many faces and I even managed to escape in one piece! And thanks to John and Margaret for dinner the other night. Don’t forget Friday night Margaret! Stay tuned!

PS And please keep those donations rolling in!

PPS Mike and Ritchie are playing on the terrace of the Salon de Fous tomorrow afternoon. It’s forecast to be sunny and the boys always put on a fantastic show. See you there!

18 April 2018
Happy Birthday Boys!

After a clear night with a decent freeze it was ‘game-on’ again today for some wonderful spring skiing. It was forecast to warm up quicker today than yesterday so went weren’t sure how long we’d have but we skied right until 1 o’clock without any difficulties, although we did have some moments of fragility. We started off with variations of yesterday because it was so good (still in code-mode) and it was equally as good today, but the Manchet-side of the spring tour wasn’t as ‘clean’ today although it was still great skiing. After another ‘strategic’ but shorter coffee-break we skied the Cugnai, Col de la Madeleine and the top section of the Marmottes before cutting back to the piste to finish. Chris, Andreas, Thomas (who left on a three-day tour), Henry, Jerome and Dan-the-Man were all in action today and thoroughly enjoyed themselves with these brilliant spring conditions.

I’d like to wish Dick a big happy 70th birthday today and Dick’s 93-year-old mother has come out from England to help him celebrate. Dick is a local legend and a great guy and almost everyone has a story to two about Dick. And it’s also Simon’s 49th birthday today and we wish Simon all the best. Simon is skiing with me this week and he’s been a pleasure to have on the team. Don’t let John lead you astray tonight Simon!

Another sunny day is forecast again for tomorrow with even warmer temperatures. The avalanche risk today was 3 climbing to 4 and tomorrow will be much the same. It will be a question of in-and-out quickly and then perhaps heading somewhere not quite as steep as what we’ve been skiing. We’ll know more in the morning. Stay tuned!

And go Ghiselle! Ghiselle isn’t just going to plod along for five hours and be happy to just finish the marathon, she’s going to try to beat her personal best of 3-hours-and-28-minutes!

17 April 2018
Clean, clean, clean!

That had to be one of the ‘cleanest’ mornings of spring snow that I can remember for quite some time. I was debating about what to ski this morning and wasn’t sure until the summit of the Olympique when as Dan E would say, “smelt the snow”! Andreas and I hung out together and had an outrageously good ski, and I’m going into ‘code-mode’ for the first three runs of the morning as they were ‘clean’ and no one else was about, and I’m sure we’ll be retracing our steps tomorrow because it really doesn’t get any better! We then stopped for a ’strategic’ coffee on Brigitte’s terrace to wait for the Cungai to soften to perfection followed by the Col de la Madeleine and a Marmottons/Marmottes to finish. Thomas and Chris ‘skinned’ together before Thomas joined Andreas and I for the final half of the ‘classic’ spring tour and Chris went for a ‘sniff’ at the Fornet.

The funny looking photo is of Thomas’ team practicing kick-turns as they’ll need them over the next few days when they go off on a tour.

What a point for the Hammers last night. They will have been disappointed to not have picked up all three points after having three goals disallowed but when you’re losing 1-0 after 89 minutes a point seems like a victory, and what a blow for Stoke!

I’m off for my massage shortly at the Mark Warner Hotel. Thanks Bunny! And thanks to Tilly and Peter for a great evening last night. Stay tuned for more news tomorrow!

PS And please keep those donations rolling in for Ghiselle’s Marathon next weekend!

PPS And it’s great to have Jerome working with us this week. He is a lovely guy and always a pleasure to have on the team.

16 April 2018
Just about spring!

The sun was shining this morning and that made everyone feel better even though it was warm with a minimal overnight re-freeze. Our options were limited but all the boys had a fantastic morning skiing ‘clean’ spring snow that gave us just enough support. There was some nice skiing off the Verte to test the snow and then Chris led the way on the big slopes of the Tourne, the Sachette, Toothy Rock and the Familial to finish. We stopped a little early but the freeze had disappeared and there really wasn’t anything else to do except go up the Funival to ski the piste so we all took an early lunch satisfied with our morning.

I took my Blizzard’s out today and they are magnificent on the firm piste and spring snow and I really enjoyed them. They do bite back a little when the snow is soft and a little tricky and I piled in twice within 20 metres at the end of the morning. First time I crossed my tips and about ten seconds later I was thrown to the ground while napping on the job. I had snow plugged in my ears and stuffed between my eyeballs and the lenses of my sunglasses and I wasn’t particularly happy about it, but it was operational and not mechanical! No harm done however and we should have more options tomorrow as it heats up this afternoon followed hopefully by a decent freeze tonight. Fingers crossed!

Sports Report- Millie had a great time at her Surrey Girls Golf Programme yesterday, my friend Tom’s son Scott is a rookie playing for the Philadelphia Phillies and he’s having a brilliant start to his Major League career and the Hammers could pretty much guarantee survival with a victory tonight. Come on boys!

The London Marathon is next weekend and time is running out to sponsor Ghiselle. Thank you to everyone who has contributed and for those who haven’t there is still time to give to this most worthwhile charity.

Stay tuned for more news tomorrow!

15 April 2018
Still waiting for spring!

After another afternoon of heat yesterday the powder options continue to dwindle so Chris and I decided to try some spring slopes for a change of scenery, and we were the only ones on the mountain. We started with the Crete du Genepy with stunning light and a wonderful sky and needed to play with exposures to get supporting snow, and the spring slopes were totally ‘clean’ without a mark on the mountain. There was a minimal freeze last night but because we didn’t have any direct sunlight we decided we had time to ski Mont Roup as well, and like the Crete it was totally unmarked. Unfortunately the cloud cover thickened just enough to flatten the light so we needed to ski cautiously instead of having a real go at it, which was unfortunate because the snow was excellent. Getting out at the bottom was interesting due to the avalanche debris but it wasn’t too bad at all. I ended up doing a half-hour of technique to finish and thought it was a pretty good morning. (See photos)

Thomas had a day off as did Andreas who went off to practice for his tour at the end of the month. Tomorrow doesn’t look like the easiest of days but we’ll do our best to make the best of it. Stay tuned!

PS The girls arrived back in the UK without any problems and it was a pretty easy drive last night. Millie is off at a Surrey Girls Golf day while Katie is off to play with a friend, and Gill gets to go shopping!

14 April 2018
The girls last day!

After yesterday’s superb extravaganza today was never going to be as easy but we had a jolly good day. There was a very light re-freeze last night and the temperatures are rising so the powder of the past few days is warming up rapidly and we still don’t really have any spring snow options to speak of. After a positive test for winter snow off the Verte Chris and I headed up to the Motte for a Rosalin and meadows, followed by my shoulder, which was warm but worked nicely, en-route to a short ‘skin’ up to the Little Borsat West. We then skied as north as possible in the Campanules before having a nice piste-blast to finish. I thought it was a cracking morning with a good variation of snow types and it was a great last day for the girls who leave this afternoon. Meanwhile Thomas went up to the Fornet and skied the Lechoir a couple of times and reported good skiing but very warm snow up there as well.

I had the pleasure of presenting Inga with her medal for 33 years of fidelity to Val d’Isere last night at the Taverne d’ Alsace. ( I’d forgotten my glasses and needed to concentrate to not stab her with the pin!) Several others were awarded medals as well such as Geoff, Richard C, and Peter W but the big presentation of the night was to Jutta for 50 years of regular skiing in Val d’Isere! It was a lovely evening with several speeches and lots of familiar faces. If you’ve skied for 30 years or more and would like a medal just ask and we can sign your papers. So far I’ve done Paul G, Derek and now Inga and the village puts on a really nice award ceremony. (In fact it may start at 20 years?)

I’m just about to leave to take the girls to the airport. It’s a little sad but they’ve had a brilliant time and Katie is very pleased with herself! Stay tuned!

13 April 2018
Blooming marvelous!

Wow, what an absolutely fabulous day that was! As Rupert in Andreas’ group simply said, “Epic”! We were all planning on a trip to the Fornet for a change of scenery but so much snow has fallen up there during the past 36-hours and the word was this morning that there would be huge delays in getting the sector open (in fact the entire Val d’Isere lift system except for the Olympique was inexcusably slow today) so we all headed back to Tignes. The snow straight out of the Olympique was a lovely taster and with the Borsat slow to open we had a great run in the Campanules, followed by a cracking run in the Chardonnet, a brilliant run in the Sachette Couloir, another good run in the Campanules and an Altiport to finish off a stunning morning. All the boys were in the neighbourhood and having a brilliant time and it was wonderful to have my girls along again this morning. Both the girls are doing really well and loving the ambience of our off-piste domain.

There was an avalanche today up at the Fornet in the Vallonnet and it was pretty worrying for a time as several helicopters were flying back-and-forth. Last I heard no one was injured so fingers crossed on that one!

Tomorrow is the girls last day, which is a bummer but they’ve had an absolutely fantastic time even though the weather hasn’t been the best. I’ll have had Gill, Millie and Katie skiing together with me for 7-mornings and Katie is loving it. It’s been wonderful for Gill to be able to ski off-piste again as she’s been piste skiing with Katie for the past several seasons (while Millie has taken her place)and since we’re now restricted to school holidays the pistes have been terribly busy, bumpy, icy, and generally not very stimulating. It’s a pleasure for me to have them along and take them to such stunning places and then look back up at perfect ‘Alpine’ tracks that the girls have been part of. Bravo girls!

A little sun is forecast for the girls last morning and then I’m off tomorrow night to Geneva. Stay tuned!

PS And thank you all again for your generous donations for the Brain Tumour Trust and the memory of Giles Green. Go Ghiselle, your dad would be incredibly proud of you!

12 April 2018
Happy Birthday Gill and Oscar!

We’ve had an absolutely brilliant day for Gill’s birthday! I had Gill, Millie and Katie along with Derek and his son Gregor and we had a stunning morning in the sunshine along with some jolly good snow. We had two lovely warm-up runs off the Verte followed by the Borsat Nord form the top, the Chardonnet, the Sache and the Familial to finish. (See photos) Chris and Andreas ere both in the neighbourhood and we all had a brilliant morning in soft powder and sunshinewhile avoiding the ind and cloud at the Fornet.

I skied with Liz from Los Angeles this afternoon while Chris skied with Jane Seaford and Paul followed by a fabulous last gig of the season by the Guinea Pigs. Blimely I’m going to miss them! We then had a suerb birthday meal at La Grande Ourse where we met Eugine and Anthony who we having a wind-up meal themselves after a brilliant week.

It was snowing ridiculously hard on the way home and I can’t believe how winter just keeps on coming! The wind seemed to have calmed down and with any luck we could have a brilliant dsy tomorrow as some decent vis is forecast. Stay tuned!

11 April 2018
24 Million!

I was expecting better today as yesterday’s snowfall was very promising and had everyone excited about today. The problem was the sun coming out yesterday afternoon, which was a great delight to anyone skiing at the time, but at this time of year any afternoon sun does more damage than good and a lot of what was excellent snow was unfortunately ruined. (Extremely strong overnight wind didn’t help much either.) It all started off positively with some lovely snow off the Laisinant and from there we then headed up into the Grand Vallon. The wind was blowing but the top half of the Grand Vallon was jolly good skiing but it started to turn towards the flats and we cut out back to the chairlift. I tried the Combe du Signal next and traversed through crust expecting it to turn back to powder on the northern-side but it didn’t and for the first time ever I did a u-turn and traversed straight back out without even attempting a turn. We then headed up to the Glacier, which was closed so Chris, Andreas and I all skied piste to the bottom and jumped on a bus to change sector, while Thomas and Henry waited it out at the Fornet for the Cascade to open. After taking the Olympique Chris and I skied a good run in spring snow on the Super Santons followed by the Borsat Nord from the top in winter snow with some sunshine and a Funky Familial to finish while Andreas skied the Borsat, Campanules and Familial. Meanwhile the Cascade eventually opened and I’m not too sure how Thomas and Henry got on. I’m sure they had some good snow but it will have depended on wind and visibility.

It depends on what forecast you look at and they vary from 20cm’s tonight with even stronger winds and a chance of sunshine tomorrow to snow for the next few days. Take your pick but we’ll just deal with whatever comes our way in the morning.

And my sports world was in great shape this morning as Liverpool won last night, Barcelona were knocked out by Roma, the Hammers are in a better place, and my baseball friend from Calgary Tom Kingery’s son Scott hit a grand-slam home run last night for the Philadelphia Phillies. Scott is a rookie who’s just broken into the big leagues and signed a 24 million-dollar-contract about two weeks ago. Blimey!

10 April 2018
Difficult again but getting better!

We had a better freeze last night but it was still grey and windy with limited options but once again everyone had a pretty good morning. I thought Mont Roup would be a good idea today because it would have been smooth and supporting with a nice layer of fresh snow on top but except the Borsat took ages to get going and then we heard a rumour of the Epaule du Charvet piste avalanching, bumps and all, so we decided that sector could wait for another day. Instead we skied some nice piste en-route to the Sachette for the fourth-day-in-a-row. It’s been a great help during this difficult period as it’s out of the wind, has the best light in the resort and the snow has been jolly good, especially today where we had winter snow in the couloir and the pitch below and then lovely spring snow all the to the bottom. Thomas and Chris were along while Andreas had an initiation to off-piste with Marchella and Henry had a great time up at the Fornet skiing fresh snow on the piste for the most part. It did come in mid-morning and was snowing pretty hard and by the time we finished in the Funky Familial you could rate it as ‘powder’ skiing and it was a fantastic finish to the morning.

It was Tina’s first morning off-piste today and she did really well skiing with Derek, Gregor, Alex, and Gill. Unfortunately Trevor hit a snow ball left behind by a piste-basher and he had to leave after the first run. Fingers crossed it isn’t too serious and after a day of rest tomorrow that he will be back in action.

We seem to be swamped with Liverpool fans at the moment. There’s Gregor, Alex, Trevor, Natalie and her entire family, and to be honest just about every neutral in the world. It should be a fantastic match tonight!

I spent an hour with Millie at the golf simulator at the Sports Centre and she out hit me with every club. My club speed was higher but so was my launch angle so her ball carried further almost every shot. I’m really looking forward to our summer of golf and watching her improve and we’ll play in about 7 to 10 competitions together. I’d better get my act together so she doesn’t need to carry me!

Unfortunately I forgot my camera again this morning and I missed some brilliant photo ops. I washed my grubby ski suit yesterday so I guess I should feel lucky about getting my ski pass back into its pocket!

It cleared up this afternoon, which is a bummer because some good snow in close will be tracked this afternoon and with the sunshine some slopes will take on a crust. Still, we’ll have some options tomorrow!

And good luck with your hockey tonight Andreas!

9 April 2018
Another difficult day but enjoyable!

It was grey and windy today and the avalanche risk was bumped up to 4/5 below 2200 metres but even though the re-freeze was minimal there was a solid freeze above 2300/2400 metres. Our options were pretty limited again today and Chris and I skied off the Verte before heading up to the Motte to try the Rosalin. In the back of my mind I thought the snow on the Rosalin had ‘turned’ but being optimistic we went up for a look and sure enough it wasn’t easy so we cut out, skied piste and then took the bus en-route to the Sachette. I’ve now skied the Sachette three days in a row, with different skiers fortunately, but it’s been a great safety valve and has given us a nice off-piste outing and great scenery when there really hasn’t been much else to ski. And hats off to the attitude of all our clients who know the situation and are getting on with making the best of what’s on offer. It makes our jobs so much easier when people are enjoying themselves on difficult days and not moaning and groaning in the background. Thank you all!

Meanwhile Andreas headed up to the Fornet to check out the conditions and had a run in the Pays Desert with a ‘skin’ but things aren’t any easier up there. We’re all hoping for a little snow tonight to clean up the tracks and give us a soft cushion to play with tomorrow, but unfortunately it isn’t forecast to start snowing lightly until around 7AM, which doesn’t really help too much for tomorrow, but may make Wednesday a lot easier. Fingers crossed for some help of some sort!

And what a point for the Hammers yesterday, and just when you think Joe Hart is passed it! Blimey!

ps I’m starting to feel more positive about tomorrow as an easterly wind is blowing, it’s spitting in town and it looks as if something is falling out of the cloud t the Fornet!

8 April 2018
Tough conditions but fun anyway!

The re-freeze last night after a hot day yesterday was pretty much non-existent, and with strong foehn winds blowing at the Fornet we didn’t have a lot of options. It was without a doubt one of the tougher mornings of the season but I think everyone had a really good time as Andreas, Henry and I made the most of what was on offer. (See photos) I had Liz and Tony from Los Angeles visiting Val d’Isere for the first time and they really enjoyed our trip through the Sachette where we had some powder up top followed by fragile spring snow before cutting out early to avoid ‘quick-snow’ further down. The Sachette offers stunning scenery and with the fragile conditions it was a ‘travelling safely in the mountains’ experience with some good skiing as well. Once back to the pistes the piste skiing was excellent as it was pretty quiet and the slopes were nice and smooth with a lovely ‘spring-like’ texture.

If it doesn’t freeze tonight tomorrow won’t be much easier so fingers crossed for a clear cold night and a little sun in the morning. And a point or three for the Hammers this afternoon! Stay tuned!

7 April 2018
A 'Chinese-Combo'!

We had another sunny day with a light overnight freeze and this morning Chris and I enjoyed a Chinese-combo of spring snow and winter powder. (I hope that’s not too politically incorrect!) We had some great spring snow off the Tourne, in the lower Sache and some superb spring down Toothy Rock with wonderful ambience before skiing the Campanules and a warm Familial. The top of the Sachette gave us some lovely winter powder and it was great to have Gill, Millie and Katie along with Jeremy, Fay, Jerry and Jean. Unfortunately I left my camera behind so I missed some great photo opportunities but it did save me an hour’s work this afternoon! Meanwhile Thomas took the Parker family down to Bonneval for a brilliant outing while Andreas and Henry were off this morning.

The spring snow hasn’t set-up very deep in places yet another hot day will only help to transform the snow, as east isn’t even close to being ‘proper’ spring snow yet. Even though the sun is out the air temperature is still pretty cool for this time of year and the transformation is still pretty minimal on many slopes.

Richard Finlay is in the hospital after being taken out on the piste yesterday. He’s broken five ribs and is going to be sore for a while. Get well soon Richard and fingers crossed it won’t mess up your golf!

I’m having a relaxing afternoon on the terrace with the girls, especially since the Hammers don’t play until tomorrow and I don’t need to worry about their game today. Stay tuned!

PS I forgot to thank Richard and Sylvie for a fantastic evening at their place last Wednesday night. It was great fun and lovely food and one of the best desserts I’ve had all season!

PPS Jerry sent me a few photos from this morning and they’ve just been uploaded. Thanks Jerry!

6 April 2018
A fun morning on the Tour du Balme!

It was one of those mornings when the mountain is in transition and where I wasn’t sure until the moment I touched the snow whether it was a powder morning or a spring snow morning, but as soon as my tips entered the snow off the Verte it was game-on for a powder morning. Andreas had I had some nice winter snow in the Lower Borsat and an excellent 70-turn pitch before ‘skinning’ up to the Tour du Balme, which is high and north and something we don’t ski very often. The skiing was very good indeed with lovely ambience and afterwards we finished with a run as far north as possible in the Campanules and a warm but fun Familial. It was a great morning and nice to see some different terrain and scenery. Meanwhile Chris headed Sachette way for a winter/spring combo, Thomas went for winter snow towards the Glacier Pers/Gros Cavelle, and Henry started with some spring snow around the Santons and Charvet but I’m not too sure where he ended up. One thing for sure is that we’ll have some great spring options tomorrow!

The girls are on the terrace in t-shirts and shorts for the first time all season. Usually we go for walks along the Balcon in shorts and tank-tops plastered in sun-cream while admiring the flowers but walking in these parts is still a long way off. Andreas did spot a marmot this morning in the Familial so spring isn’t too far off. Stay tuned!

5 April 2018
A brilliant morning at the Fornet!

It’s late so it’s a short one today.

We had a good snowfall last night and profited from some fantastic skiing at the Fornet. My team skied a warm-up under the Vallon bubbles, then two wonderful runs in the Combe di Signal before heading up to the Glacier where we skied one under the Cascade chair followed by three or four in the Combe du 3300. All the boys were in the neighbourhood and thanks to Thomas and Adam for taking Gill, Katie and Jean along with them. (see photos)

I had a great afternoon with Rory, Ed and Madeline followed by another fantastic session with the Guinea Pigs, where Fay, Jeremy and Zak had a non-stop bop and Gill, Millie Katie, Paul, Jim, Louise, Al, Ellie and the rest of the regulars came along as well.

Stay tune for a proper update tomorrow!

4 April 2018
What a cracking good morning!

After a tough day yesterday we weren’t really expecting too much of an improvement this morning but you never know until you ‘touch’ the snow, and from the moment I tested the snow off the Verte we knew it was game on and that we had some options besides returning to altitude at the Grande Motte. After skiing supporting snow off the Verte we cut into the Borsat from under the chair and had some pretty good soft snow on the steeper section before skiing supporting snow lower down. Chris and I took the bus to the Palafour en-route to the Sachette while Andreas skied the Lower Chardonnet that allowed him to test the snow on the Lower Tourne, which was positive so we skied the Tourne from the top, which was excellent spring snow that added a lovely ‘extra’ to the morning. The Sachette wasn’t as supporting as we’d hoped but it still skied well and everyone had a much better morning than anticipated at the Gourmandine, and we managed to stay in the sun all morning long! Bravo boys for a cracking morning!

Hopefully we’ll get some snow tonight followed by some sunshine in the morning and we should have a pretty good morning, and the spring snow is happening and we should have some good spring options over the weekend. Fingers crossed and stay tuned!

3 April 2018
Tough morning but good fun!

It had to be one of the toughest mornings of the season with next to zero options, but I must say I had a really good time. The weather was nowhere near as bad as forecast, which helped when we were expected pouring rain and strong winds, and the light was pretty good for most of the morning. It was calm enough on top for the Grande Motte cable-car to be running, which was a pleasant surprise as the Motte pistes were in great shape. We skied excellent pistes all morning as anything off the piste at lower altitudes than the Grande Motte was ‘wishbone’ snow, but Chris and I did a couple of off-piste sorties off the Motte with ten-minute ‘skins’ at the end.

Gill came along this morning as Millie and Katie had their first non-supervised ski together and they had a brilliant time being responsible for themselves and choosing where to ski. They have actually skied on their own before a few years ago when they played hooky from ski school and went off with their pals Maya and Anna!

I mentioned to Andy today about last season when he was here and we skied the Combe du Signal in knee-deep powder, and it turns out that he used one of the photos I took of him that day on his ‘dating’ site and got a hit with it! I was pleased to hear that one of my photos was put to good use!

Must run, stay tuned for an easier day tomorrow!

PS I’ve just spent an hour hot-waxing the all of our skis out on the terrace, five pairs in total. It’s that time of year where waxing because even more important although Chris waxes his skis almost daily all season long. Besides stopping your skis from drying out and becoming slow it makes them much easier to turn as well. (I don’t scrape them as that makes too much of a mess!) Jean Sports has everything you need to wax your own skis and if you can’t I’d suggest taking your skis in for a hot-wax every few days.

PPS And thank you to everyone from ‘Alpine’ who has donated so generously to Ghiselle’s London Marathon run in memory of her Dad Giles and to support the Brain Tumour Cancer fund.

2 April 2018
A day of transition!

It was a transition day today as we await the spring slopes to transform and what was beautiful light powder yesterday was much denser this morning and in some places the wind had worked the snow into a compacted state. With that said it was still a pretty good morning of skiing and all the teams headed up to the Fornet. My team skied a Vallonnet into the Grand Torsai, the shoulder off the Combe du Signal, then the top pitch of the Col Pers before ‘skinning’ to the Lechoir. All the boys skied variations off the glacier as we didn’t have too much choice today but it was a good result for all concerned.

The forecast isn’t great for tomorrow, in fact it’s a little depressing but I’m not going to even think about it until I look out my window tomorrow morning around 7 o’clock. Fingers crossed and hope for the best!

Thanks to Penny for a fantastic meal last night.

1 April 2018
Katie's first Chardonnet and Sachette!

And yet again we profited from just enough light to have a real go again this morning but the 20cm’s of fresh snow to go with it was a brilliant bonus. Everything we skied was excellent this morning starting off the Verte, then the Borsat, Chardonnet, little Tourne, Sachette and Familial to finish. All the boys were in and around the same areas and a great morning was enjoyed by all.

Gill is loving it now that Katie can join in the morning groups and she’s had some lovely mornings off-piste instead of skiing bumpy, icy pistes while trying to avoid people. She’s getting her skiing ‘mojo’ back and will be able to really look forward to ski trips again after spending most of the last few seasons on piste.

And the Hammers made my day yesterday with a fantastic performance and even better result. It was good enough for Hammer fans everywhere to start believing again. What a relief but there’s still a long way to go.

I’ve my Valdinet blog due tomorrow morning and I haven’t started yet so I better get at it. Stay tuned!

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