Monday, March 26, 2012

Ski Tour from Italy to Switzerland and back again

Charles Sherwood and his daughter Tabatha and I have just finished a wonderful ski tour.
It was Tabatha's 1st ski tour and it had just about everything from really bad snow to light fluffy powder. The one thing it didn't have was bad weather.
We started with a warm up run by skiing the Vallee Blanche , then in the afternoon we drove around to Champoluc [part of the huge Monte Rosa lift system]
The next morning we packed our ski touring kit and headed for our 1st night in the Vigevano Refuge. We spent the day teaching Tabatha how to use the skins and how to deal with awful horrible snow, which wasn't the original plan - but it is what it is.
After a great night in the Vigevano we headed up and climbed Vincent Pyramid 4200 meters. We then had the added bonus of brilliant snow on the descent back to the Mantova Refuge.
The next morning we left the refuge at 6.45am. two and a bit hours later we arrived at the Col de Lys. From there it was 2700meters of wonderful snow down the Grenz glacier all the way into Zermatt.

After a luxurious night in the world famous Riffelalp Hotel we skied down to Furi and picked up the Kliene Matterhorn cable car. From there we skied down the piste back into Italy before peeling off the track and heading down the breathtaking descent down to Champalouc and the car. Click on the tittle to see the whole trip. or paste this link

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Stair way to heavenly skiing

Just spent 4 days with Mark Locke and Ian Hutchinson. It was hot and it just seemed to get hotter, but because the sun stayed out we managed to find some sublime spring snow.
The most notable was on the Glacier du Toule. Every turn was fantastic but timing was critical. It was too hot and therefore dangerous for a second run so we consoled our selves with a very good run down the Italian side of the Valley Blanche.

Yesterday we skied the Berard Valley again find great spring snow.

Today we skied at Les Grands Montets where the weather was indifferent and the light was flat but we still had a run down the Argentiere glacier and a decent lunch at the Chalet Lognon

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

A Day off School and a trip out with Mum & Dad

Sophie was given permission by her teacher to skip school and ski the Vallee Blanche with her Mum & Dad.
Sophie scuttled down the ridge and then zoomed down the main section before being treated to seeing her first mountain rescue as some idiot on his own with no Guide fell in a crevasse at the start of the Requin Ice Fall.
We were back at Montenvers by 12.45am .

Meanwhile over in Alpe d'Huez Florence came first [in her age group] in the French National Ski Championships competeing in the Super Giant Slalom.

And over in Germany on a school exchange the biggest Dangerous Sister, Andrea has taken up 5 meter high board diving and the Luge.

Monday, March 12, 2012

High Winds and French love of Train Strikes

The seemingly endless love of striking has made the logistics of getting back from various ski tours a challenge.

Before this I skied the Valley Blanche a couple of times. Bitter winds made the descent of the ridge testing. Too much so for one particular skier who might possibly go to the top of the league table for the shortest ever attempt to ski the VB. It lasted half a turn before he fell over and dislocated his shoulder. The resucue helicopter had fun and games finding a place to land because of all the skiers and the high wind.
Conditions were much better lower down and we even found some fresh snow.

On Saturday I did the Col Crochue/ Col Berard ski tour with Reuben Berg. At the top of the 1st col it was very windy and the snow was like concrete, yet when we got into the Berard Valley we found the snow had been unaffected by the wind and we got fresh tracks. After a quick beer we moved to the Gare to wait for the train which never came because there was a strike. Good of them to tell us.

On Sunday I headed back on the same tour but this time with Richard Lewis , who had requested that he wanted to go home very tired. Therefore we headed up and over the Breche Berard. A couple hours extra up hill. But it was worth it because we found really good snow for the descent. It was once down that we had the fun and games with the replacement bus for the striking train. The issue was the bus wasn't big enough and a load of people got left behind.

To day I skied at Le Tour with Catherine Lucy-Kate and Helen - mothers who had escaped from their children for a days off piste skiing.