|Catching it right. On the way down to Le Plan|
|Some days were better than others...|
Yet there were many days when the powder skiing was as good as it gets .
|Bill Wendin hits the sweet spot in the Youla Couloirs Courmayeur.|
|Brian Hunt's photo of me skiing down to Giettaz.|
Then it changed in ways it had never changed before. Frankly I did not see it coming . There were accounts of Coronvirus out breaks in Pietmont Italy. I had a group booked to go ski touring in Gressoney which we cancelled , not for fear of becoming ill , but incase the Mt Blanc tunnel shut and we got stuck in Italy. Yet we still had a few day trips through to Courmayeur and everything seemed fine.
Then events started to change - Italy went into total lock down, including all mountain based activities. But life in France kept on as normal, the snow continued to fall, the skiing was good and everything was seemingly just fine, or so I thought ...
|Thought it was a storm clearing but it was a storm brewing|
Then suddenly the lifts in Chamonix closed with no forewarning . Then, we Guides were told we would not be insured which is another way of saying you aren't allowed to work. Then President Macron announced the total lock down.
It became obligatory to down load and print off a
"ATTESTATION DE DEPLACEMENT DEROGATOIRE"
A form you had to fill in to leave the house. To start with this meant you could still go cross-country skiing or biking or running, but no rock climbing or mountaineering. But the next day the cross-country skiing closed and then the regulations tightened and an up dated form had to be filled in , this time stating you could not venture more than a kilometer from your house for a maximum of one hour and no cycling. The reason being that falling off your bike could stress the hospitals unnecessarily.
So there you have it. Never in the history of skiing or mountaineering has the season stopped so abruptly and so that seems to be the situation today in the Chamonix Valley. Mind you events are moving so quickly anything could happen.