Monday, January 21, 2013

Conditions just got better and better as the week progressed

The snow of the previous week set up Russ Bragg and I well. Nevertheless the weather in Chamonix was grey and miserable for our 1st day. We decided therefore to head through the MT Blanc tunnel to Courmayeur , where there was blue sky and importantly it was 10 degrees colder and the snow was feather like . The skiing was the best I have ever known in Courmayeur plus there was know and no one about.
On Tuesday again the weather in Chamonix wasn't great so we decided to head through the tunnel once again- this time with the intention of skiing in La Thuile. Yet when when we appeared from the tunnel the weather wasn't great - but it was snowing! We had a remarkable days skiing in what was virtually our own private ski resort.
It continued to snow over night and it got colder and importantly it snowed with no wind.
Wednesday morning was one of those once in a blue moon days. The ingredients were perfect. 20 cm of fresh cold snow fell with no wind. There was hardly anyone about and so we headed for La Flegere. It was Russ best days skiing ever.[So far I suggested}
On Thursday the weather looked good again so we headed back up to La Flegere with the intention of making the traverese to La Col des Montets. However the honeymoon was over the wind had picked up and had destroyed the powder and also created a significant avalanche risk. We contented ours selves finding what untracked snow we could find close to the pistes. It did not matter because we were so tired from feasting ourseleves on the previous three days snow.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Bone hard snow transformed over night by 50cm of fresh

We have had a lot of good weather recently. Issue with this is that good weather doesn't produce snow and as time progressed it was necessary to go further and further away to find some un touched snow.

Last weekend I was joined by James Vernon and his two 11 year old sons William and Thomas primarily for some off piste training. We had a day at Le Tour and the next day my first visit to the top of Les Grands Montets so that we could ski down the Argentiere glacier. This was good but I was shocked to see how much the glacier has reseeded in the last year.

On Monday Mark Locke was back out for 5 days. We had a huge variety of skiing,and one trip we were joined by Walter the Bernese Mountain Dog when we went ski touring.
Just as it looked like we were not going to find any more un skied snow we received a big dump of 50 cm of cold fresh snow. We had no hesitation but to head straight to Combloux /Giettaz for some stunning tree skiing.

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Early season descent of the Vallee Blanche

We were told by our friends Jeff and Faerthen that the conditions in the Vallee Blanche were exceptional. I saw this as an oppurtunity to ski with my daughters Sophie and Andrea. [Florence has her foot in plaster]

So on the last day of the year and the first time ever I have skied the Vallee Blanche so early in the season the 3 of us , accompanied by Jeff and Faerthen headed off.

The big issue is the Arete on the Aiguille du Midi because it had not yet been equiped and therefore it is essential that everyone has crampons. Unfortuanetly there were several cramponless idiots who got them selves stuck and created a bad traffic jam. Sophie was not impressed and sugggested that we climb around them on the north face [Sophie is 7 years old] This is what we did. Still it took an hour of stress to get down the ridge.

Once we were down and had our skis on it all seemed worth it, because the snow and the tranquility were as good as I have ever known it.

In addition we were able to ski all the way to Chamonix

Last skiing of 2012

Never have we had so much good skiing at this time of year. Just after Christmas Stephan Yeates , his nephew Chris and Steven Trantrum joined me for two days. We went to Courmayeur [my 10th trip through the tunnel this season]We had indifferent weather but at least it was colder than Chamonix and the quality of the snow was good.

On our second day we went to Le Tour where after a start in zero visibility the weather cleared up and we had some excellent skiing of the back of Les Jeurs and finished with a stunning descent of La Vormaine gulley.