It snowed ten centimetres overnight

30 December 2007

It snowed ten centimetres overnight and we awoke to grey skies with light snow still falling. Ten cm’s isn’t much but what a difference it made! Lee slopes as well as gullies collected more and we could ski places we’ve avoided over the past two weeks. It was a great morning of skiing and we profited from unexpectedly good light during the morning. We may see a few more centimetres before it clears up, which would help to cushion the base underneath.

Sports and Radio Will Report.

Poor derby were narrowly beaten again as they’ve played pretty well over the past few games with nothing to show for it. Rafa is skating on thin ice after Liverpool was held 0-0 against City, and joins Big Sam in big names in trouble. In American Football, New England finished the season undefeated with a 16-0 record, after sneaking by the NY Giant 38-35. (That’s a hell of a game for those of you who don’t know, and the first undefeated season since Miami went 14-0 back in the 70’s) Radio Will reports Gloucester going 5 points clear in the Rugby Premiership after beating local rivals Bristol. Will has had a great time ranching in Texas and is heading to New Mexico for a few days of tele-marking, or drinking if they don’t rent tele’s. He’ll probably manage both!

Here in Olivier’s own words is a diary of his early-season touring week based in Val’dIsere.

Touring week from 17th to 22nd of December.

Before Christmas holidays, I was doing day tours with a small group of 4
people: John and Robert Fraser, Marianne Debrie and Jay Marrus.
Target was to tour around space killy and further down the valley.

17th-18th of December

After a first gentle day where we were doing regular off piste, we went to
Terres Rouges, above sache valley. This itinerary is various and spectacular
because changing of scenery several times. It’s also a long run of 1300
meters vertical drop, ending in Brévières village. We found good powder on
the way down, despite the strong wind which has blown these last days.

19th of December

Today it was suppose to be less cold but it wasn¹t the case!! Chilly wind
all day long, but sunny with deep blue sky… I decided to climb high to
Sana peak (3404m). Starting with space Killy¹s lifts, we skinned up 3 hours
and a half before to reach this peak. The last pitch in the cold wind, with
the tiredness was a bit difficult but we got it!
No time for picnic at the top, we went straight down, playing with the
ground to find some nice fall lines of powder or soft wind packed snow.

20th of December

Weather was still sunny but milder. The skinning to Foglietta ridge (Ste
Foy) has been very pleasant. Entrance on the north face was easy but snow
was damaged by the wind in the big face. Then I managed to follow an
itinerary, skiing all ridges and faces facing east wind, where the snow
(“soufflé doux”) was nice to ski. Lower in the valley, the path in the
forest was funny to ski down. Crusing through the villages (Le Crot, La
Masure…) is always nice and after a beer at hotel Le Monal (Ste Foy) We
drove back in our lovely chalet in Le Franchet.

21th of December

Today we started skinning from our chalet! we skinned up above in direction
of lakes and then turning south to reach Dôme du Picheru this peak has a
narrow ridge and again, east wind was very cold at the top… On our way, we
approach very close an Isard, a lamerguy. All this aera is very wild and the
lights on the rocky needles was gorges. On the way done, I decided to ski
each time I could on south slopes, which weren¹t touch by the wind. And with the cold temperature, we found very good snow to ski, “gobelets” most of the time.
In the lowest part we had nice but delicate skiing, skiing in between of the
cliffs above Le Franchet village… Fantastic ambiance! and good turns to
chalet’s door.

22th of December

Weather was suppose to change today and I tried to move in another place! We drove to Montchavin, took all the lifts to the top of Bellecôte (La Plagne),
and starting a short but steep walking! Target was to ski glacier of Bellecôte called Cul du Nant. Always the same idea; skiing south facing. The short walk to get the ridge is steep, with one climb step! On the other side
it’s not better! steep again on 50 meters. Everybody is impressed but do
well and safe! special mention for Robert Fraser who started touring this
week and did really well… Keep going like that Robert!
The way done is not all the time good about the snow, but we found some nice pitches “souffle doux”. Last part was tricky but all the itinerary is worth
it, and the arrival in Champagny is always nice.

Special mention for the accomodation: Chalet colinn
This is the second time we organize a tour starting from this lovely chalet.
And it will be not the last one!
This is a gorgous base for us to do daytours in the aera and we recommend
this accomodation to anybody who like to stay right in mountains. You have
all the comfort of a hotel, with the service of chambres d’hôtes, surrounded
by mountains like in a hut!
We will propose every winter two weeks starting from this chalet: one in
December, and another one in January.

See you soon
Olivier

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