Monday, February 18, 2019

A week skiing in Gressoney. You need to hike to find the best turns.

My friend James Thacker along with his wife Alison  run the Off Piste Performance company.  The issue for them was that Alison was about to have a baby.  James asked me if I could take over from him and ski with his  group in Gressoney which is part of the fabulous Monte Rosa ski area in the Aosta valley.
Kenny Grant was the other Mountain Guide working on the course.  We stayed at the Gletcher hotel at the head of the valley in Staffel. This proved to be a great base, it was run by the delightful Francesca.

The brutal truth was that we did not have the best snow conditions because it had not snowed anywhere as much as it had in the northern alps and especially Chamonix.  In addition there had been very strong winds particularly in the Champoleuc valley.   The good snow was hard to find but we were able to do this because everyone was equipped with touring bindings fitted to off -piste skis.

This allowed us to do a mixture of some good tours and we found our selves in some great places .

Plus some memorable descents all which would have been impossible without the flexibility of touring equipment.
Skiing down the col de Zube towards Gressoney.

Saturday, February 02, 2019

If conditions can get better than this then I have not seen it.

I spent two days helping Ski Weekend run one of their big events for Polar Capital.  It coincided with a day of significant snow fall where we skied in the trees at Les Houches , followed by an unforecast blue bird day at Le Tour.

Frankly I was a bit sceptical about what the skiing would be like even though the weather was beautiful.  There had been a lot of snow and a lot of wind and the avalanche forecast was posted at 4 out of 5.  Yet when we arrived I was astonished how light and fluffy the snow was.  It was possible to ski fantastic safe terrain making fresh tracks all day.  By the end of the day I concluded that, in 30 years of skiing at Le Tour I had never had better skiing there. Just goes to show the very best conditions turn up when you least suspect them .