It's not over till it's over!

23 April 2012

I was raring to go this morning after my day off yesterday, and with the sun shining everyone was in the mood! It was just Andreas and I working today and we both decided to head towards Tignes for powder with the chance of spring snow if needed. I warmed up off the Mont Blanc, which was excellent and that little test showed there was great powder to be had. From there I cut under the Borsat chair en-route to the middle entrance of the Face Nord but the snow was so good we just skied the steep slopes straight down under the chair before coming around into the lower entrance of the Borsat. All the slopes across the meadows and under the Fresse were nice, which is always a welcome bonus on the way into Val Claret. From there we headed up into the Chardonnet, which was a bit warmer but still good fun, then we skied off the Ancolie to the Aiguille Percee chair, where our morning would take on some extra ambience.

For the first time in months we could traverse across the top towards the Sache/Sachette entrances as there is now enough snow there to cut cover the rocks and grass. We went over the first little Col (before traversing further for the Sachette) and skied down a few metres before getting ready to traverse to the left. I gave everyone instructions about spreading out, where to position ourselves, and about only having one skier on the slope at a time. I skied down and it was wonderful. Kaye came down with a huge grin on her face, followed by Mark and Dave. David was the fifth skier and the slope broke away at his feet on the traverse and he and Stephen watched it go before them. Talk about ambience! No one was in it and the slope has such a good run out zone that the snow dispersed to almost nothing, but it was certainly a wake-up call for the rest of the season. (Two crucially important points were that of a good run-out zone and following proper procedures.) After continuing on in the Sache we finished with a good run off the Rhododendron and a cracking run in the Familial.

So far this season it has been incredibly stable, perhaps the most stable conditions I can ever remember in my 30-years here. You’ve pretty much been able to go anywhere and everywhere (within reason as respect and procedures are always important and not to be taken for granted) and this season’s avalanche risk of 3/5 has been a solid and stable 3/5, and totally different to last winter’s very unstable and delicate 3/5. This year we’ve skied places we wouldn’t have dreamed of skiing last season, not until April when it final solidified after a month of heat and re-freezes. Last week I skied two couloirs in the Sachette and it felt stable, but things have changed now very quickly and this season is far from over, and I don’t mean the Premiership! (Today’s risk had dropped down to 2/5 from yesterday’s 3/5, but rising to 3/5 during the afternoon.)

(I got carried away there.) Meanwhile, Andreas started off the Verte before skiing an excellent Borsat Nord from the top and down into Val Claret. He then bussed to the Sache for a great run over the same little Col. He was on his way back up and heard my report and was noticing some natural activity taking place elsewhere so he changed his plans and skied far-skiers-left in the Campanules before heading down for lunch at the Folie Douce with John D, Asa, and Tansy. PS. They had several bottles of wine and John is having another one of his ‘best days of my life’!

More snow is forecast over the next 24-hours but some full blown sunshine to stabilise the mountain and light the way would be my forecast of choice! Anyway, stay tuned as the season isn’t over yet!

PS The avalanche risk has just been bumped up to 4/5 for tomorrow. Sounds like first tracks on the Solaise piste!

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