Monday, January 31, 2011

Italy is the place for Snow at present

It is quite incredible we have day after day of blue skis [- perfect if you want to be in Chamonix and not ski ]

Yet take a trip through the Mt Blanc tunnel and you find its been snowing all day and the conditions are fantastic in La Thuile. I went to Italy with John Cackett and his son Finn and it was brilliant.

Boultons incredible organisational skills

Chris Boulton has been organising the last weekend january skiing trips for largely the same group of pals for well over 10 years. How he does it is beyond me. Normally I get involved for two days. My job is to take them off piste skiing somewhere different. Normally we add a bit of skiing touring in too.
On the Friday we headed through the Mt Blanc tunnel and skied off piste from the Courmayeur lift system on some very reasonable snow.
On Saturday we went to Le Tour and were greeted by the miserable sight of seeing a category 1 avalanche risk posted. Something I have never seen in 25 years. A "1" risk means there is no risk and therefore no new snow.
Despite this we trekked over the back using our ski touring skis and found some excellent light untracked snow through the trees.
In the afternoon we skied down the gulley from the col de Balme down to Trient village where we picked up the shuttle bus back to Vallorcine.
The descent down the gully was crap but still better than skiing round doing laps on the piste.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

This is why we do this

John Norris sent me this photo this evening with the tittle "The hut of dreams" John and I had stayed in this hut the Bouqutins above Arolla some years ago.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Col des Otanes

Cold and misty this morning but as the day progressed it cleared a litlle. Tom & Mia and I headed up to Le Tour and climbed on skins up to the Col Des Otanes. We then skied down to the village of Trient [in quite acceptable snow] where we picked up the shuttle bus to take us back to Vallorcine.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Mt Blanc Tunnel has its use

Not everybody thinks the MT Blanc tunnel is a good idea. Especially when it comes to trucks passing through at 6000 / day. Yet it does allow you to pass from a world of very poor snow conditions to a world of really good snow conditions in about half an hour.
This is what I did on Saturday and then on Sunday and again yesterday. I went through to ski with Charlie Henry and Peter.
We started at Courmayeur skiing from the top of the resort down into the Val Veny. There was lots of snow but it had been blown too much by the wind, still it is exhilarating terrain and the backdrop of Mt Blanc can't be beaten.

On Sunday we choose a simple ski tour above La Thuile the Punta Croce 2478m The ascent was stunning and would have been perfect apart from the fact that 40 members of the Turin Alpine Club decided to join us.
We managed to lose them on the summit their leader thought it best to take his group back down the south faceing avalanche prone route by which they ascended. We choose the cold snow of the north face where we found the elusive deep untracked snow through the trees.

On Monday I was a little apprehensive that we wouldn't find skiing of the same quality straight from the lift system - but we did at La Thuile where we had some very good tree skiing

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Powder Stash

Despite it not having snowed since the 15th December there are still some fields of powder snow to be found. This was a good day to start the new year.