Saturday, February 04, 2017
The first plan was a good one . It had been tried and tested a few times. It was called a "helicopter skiing safari." We would take off from Finhaut just over the Swiss boarder from Chamonix , fly to the Trient Plateau , ski down to Champex, pick up another flight and fly to [say] the Pigne d"Arolla , ski down into the village of Arolla and spend the night. The next day , after consulting the weather forecast and finding where the best snow was by talking to the helicopter base in Sion, we would fly to another peak and so on and so forth. A great formula, but, the issue was that there was no good snow. It had all been scoured away and making skiing on the glaciers untenable. With the group arriving the next day , the plan was unraveling. I needed another plan and I needed it quickly. I opened my contacts book and started phoning around the alps to see if anyone had any snow. I was lucky , I found snow and in addition managed to rent a dedicated helicopter for our group. Monday 30th January. 6.45am. We left Chamonix in two cars . Four hours later Peter David and I arrived in Piedmont at the village of Pietraporzio where we were greeted by Analdo the Mayor of the Village and the man who can arrange the helicopter permit. [Who was also to be our local guide.] Meanwhile the other cars occupants had not arrived. They had decided not to follow us but instead put blind faith in their cars GPS. The GPS had chosen the most direct route yet it had not figured out that this involved negotiating several alpine passes, the key pass being closed in the winter. They were eventually confronted by a barrier behind which there was a wall of snow. They were forced to backtrack to Turin. At mid day our helicopter turned up piloted by Roberto and landed in the car park at the back of the hotel.