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May Skiing

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Well we had an April skiing thread, and I know people are still out skiing though now it's mainly touring, all though the likes of Riksgransen is open till June.

Yesterday we again awoke to nigh on 10cms in the garden at 1,400 and was distinctly grim with a strong wind and you could not see that far up the mountain.

By around lunchtime there were glimpses of blue sky and in another hour I could no longer sit idly by wondering what I might be missing. OH on the other hand was resolutely steadfast that she would not be joining me as wind was still howling, though had eased.

From where we live it's a 16km drive to the Col du Lautaret and there are various route options from around 2,000m.

I decided not to take Les Chiens as I knew the fresh snow might be too deep and if it became too warm would be too heavy and end up akin to concrete for them.

Conditions were pretty dramatic with low cloud and the occasional glimpse of sunshine as I started off opting for a route I know well, but light was flat at times so knew this would be all about stealth skiing, that is waiting for the break in the cloud so you're skiing back down in good and not flat light.

As I reached the Galibier road I saw three people climbing up behind me and thought I'd wait if on the off-chance it was someone I knew as obviously better to be with others rather than alone especially given the conditions. It was a guide from Briancon and we had a chat and then I carried on as his two "clients" started to faff.



I traversed along the road and thought to myself maybe better to bail and do what descent there was in good light rather than carry on into the ever denser cloud and I was becoming a tad suspicious as to what might be overhead as it had been so windy. So into transition and then descent mode passing the guide again explaining that I was probably going to do another ascent elsewhere.

Descent was not too bad though snow was a little wind affected, but no complaints.


On the way down had a light-bulb moment as I did not have Les Chiens with me I had other options (they are not allowed into the National Park which is on the other side of the road from the Lautaret), so back down and not even taking my boots off (was surprised how easy it was to drive in them) drove up to the Lautaret and my adrenaline kicked in as it was looking so good.

There must have been all of four tracks on the main face and more importantly there was a skinning track to follow as I'd been cutting the track earlier and it's hard work in fresh wind affected snow.

There is something about this area known as Combeynot with it's very grand North facing bowl and couloirs. As it was mid to late afternoon I'd decided I'd just go to the first ridge (right of center of picture) and Frederick who runs the Cafe up there agreed as evidently the day before had been bonkers windy.

And where I'd been previously was still in cloud, here was far sunnier which is often the way, result!



When you're on your own you tend to climb a little faster than when in a group and even though the climb was a tad technical with a fair number of kick turns I did just over 400m in an hour or so. Climbing up taste buds were excited at the powder to be had, though also toned down a little as the snow pack was variable, and whilst there was indeed powder it was not light and fluffy as it was more wind affected. Indeed for the last 200m the skinning track was nigh on covered up by the wind blown snow.



And whilst I was getting into descent mode these guys who had been climbing up behind me at a hell of a pace (I thought at one point they were on snow shoes as they were taking such a steep line) came by and they were on split-boards skinning and I reckon they must have been climbing at nigh on 600m an hour, youngsters!!

My tracks left of center of pic and you can see where the split-boarders carried on climbing up the obvious spine where I'd done my transition on the exposed rock


Not bad for May 1st Cool

https://www.strava.com/activities/966296499


Last edited by Poster: A snowHead on Tue 2-05-17 9:57; edited 1 time in total
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Tremendous
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Best ski day of the season so far: winter conditions on the Hintertux glacier with 30 cm of freshies overnight, blue skies this morning and -12 first thing at 3250m, so light, light powder and pretty quiet too. Doesn't come much better Toofy Grin
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So yesterday was pretty grim in the valley with rain, sleet and snow off and on throughout the day.

Awoke this morning with a light dusting on the trees further up the mountain and viz a tad questionable, however there were the occasional glimpses of sunshine similar to Monday, so back up the Lautaret and this time straight up Vallons de Combeynot where I could make out around six people already climbing up, with one guy having come down and then going back up.

As I was climbing up a couple of guys came down and caught them on video in good light. Then more cloud rolled in and light was so flat at times difficult to see the skinning track. I told myself that after I'd done 600m then if light was looking good take the descent rather than climb further. So at around 2,720 decided that there'd be a clear spell from the looks of things and quickly went into descent mode.

Snow was so much better than Monday as was not wind affected, and was really good winter powder.

On the way down bumped into someone I knew so we skied down together.


http://youtube.com/v/NrhvRSoCx5I

And as weird postscript on the way down had a text from my OH which was a bit strange as I thought she'd lost one of our dogs when she'd been out running, in fact she'd found a dog!

Once back home I rang the number on the collar and went straight to answerphone, it was only when I looked at my phone that the number was Mathieu Maynadier's, a guide a few SnowHeads have skied with.

We actually bought our apartment from Mathieu's parents, so I rang his father up and a couple of hours later dog and Mathieu were reunited.

He'd lost the dog at 11:00 yesterday up in the summer village of Frejus where his parents have a house after he'd been touring and that was where my OH ran to this morning and Roxy latched on to OH and Les Chiens and came back with them!
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Oh yes please. That looks magic.
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Another 20 cm fresh in Stubai this morning Smile .
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Val Thorens still looking good - http://www.valthorens.com/fr/live/livecams--webcams/livecam-station.550.html
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After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
@geoffers, are you based out there or just visiting?
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@Bennyboy1, Just visiting : we've bagged late April/early May trips to the Austrian glaciers the past few years with great success.

Glaciers at Stubai; Pitztal ;Kaunertal; Hintertux; Sölden give plenty of variety on and off piste with good opportunity for day tours from the lifts
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We are in Zillertal at the end of May so hope to be able to get the family up to Hintertux for a couple of days (or mornings depending on conditions). Just hope this recent snow stays around to allow decent km up there.
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Heading back to the UK tomorrow for a couple of weeks and looking at the forecast more precipitation for next week - though FL's are considerably high than of late in the mid to high 2,000's.

What is amazing are the levels of precipitation these past couple of weeks and next, rather than the right weather conditions for Spring Snow (sunny/warm during the day & overnight freeze).

I might still be able to get some Spring touring in on my return, especially if they open the Galibier road up mid May, though today I think I'll be packing away the gear as have to focus on the bike now, but no complaints after yesterday Cool
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
@Bennyboy1, looks like the late winter conditions should continue for several days, so late May in Hintertux should be great
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So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
More snow overnight, with clouds clearing by 10ish giving another perfect bluebird day with 10-15 cm of new snow for our last day at Stubai.

Should be some great spring snow conditions tomorrow as it's clear now and will freeze overnight
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
When are the Austrian glaciers open until and how much is "open"
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Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Stubai open to mid June; Hintertux claims to be open all year; currently whole of ski area in both is open: more like late March than May!
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Folks, it's summer now. Get your bikes and walking shoes out and enjoy the mountains. Put your skis away.
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emwmarine wrote:
Folks, it's summer now. Get your bikes and walking shoes out and enjoy the mountains. Put your skis away.


Heaven is when you can enjoy both Smile
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Snow was really good at Stubai today. Not 'good for May,' or even for spring, but genuinely good for any time of year. Another top up tomorrow...

No need to get the bike out unless you're in some low French resort that's already closed NehNeh Though admittedly I was hoping to get the kayak out and go for a surf yesterday, but river levels are still too low.
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@emwmarine,
Quote:

Put your skis away.

Shocked Shocked Shocked Shocked NEVER SURRENDER!

I aim to tour this Wednesday morning and MTB in the afternoon, its not over yet my friend


Madeye-Smiley
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And here's me thinking it was another political thread...


Looking like good stuff: here in the UK it's bikes, bikes, bikes.
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The last 2 days (of the season after today) have been great in Tignes:
- It has snowed lightly virtually nonstop since we arrived on Sat afternoon.
- Fog/poor visibility yesterday interspersed with sunny spells and fresh tracks - even back to resort level (on soft snow).
- Better visibility this afternoon - fantastic winter snow (-3C) and sunny skiing above the clouds on the glacier this afternoon.
- Forecast excellent tomorrow - shame the lifts are closed - so planning on skinning up towards the glacier.

Summer?!...Golf clubs?! This is some of the best snow we've skied all winter! You can't beat a cheeky powder day in May wink
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mountainaddict,

Funny you should say that. Our best powder day (in 70 days there this season) in Val Thorens was on 26th April!

We had unlimited powder turns from 9am 'til 1pm (when the fog rolled up the valley to curtail our off piste activity). Very Happy Very Happy
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Quote:
Funny you should say that. Our best powder day (in 70 days there this season) in Val Thorens was on 26th April!
 Simply re-post under 'April Skiing' then... Laughing
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@mountainaddict, looks amazing! Great pics.
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Gämsbock ^^^^ is referring to my pics posted on the Tignes/Espace Killy snow reports thread Very Happy
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After a morning on the road bike I headed up to Obertauern for a ski tour, plus 22 degrees but the snow was surprisingly ok, not a single soul up there, bliss! Sat on a rock to have my lunch and thereby learnt the true meaning of disappointment when I knocked my beer over trying to grab my sandwich rolling eyes Moral of the story, always pack a spare beer wink
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.

Was able to ski right down to the base station, ok, nothing too amazing but still nice to be able to ski on May17th, probably head out again next week although I think there will be a few ski on/ski off moments by then!
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So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
Top marks Kooky Very Happy
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You know it makes sense.
@mountainaddict, I was indeed... wonder how I managed that!
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We were up on the Hintertux yesterday (29th May) with the kids. It was 30 degrees in the valley, 10 degrees at the top and around 18 degrees at Tuxer Fernerhaus.

Good snow cover all the way down to Tuxer Fernerhaus, was great until around lunch time when the last 100m became very heavy. But at the top it was lovely all day.

Quite a bit still open even though the ski racing teams used a fair bit of the top section. Almost no punters on the slopes so we had the rest to ourselves Smile

We found best conditions all day around the Kaserer side where we literally saw no one.

First time up there this late in the season so first time I had seen the glacier protection in action. The tech team were laying out the reglective carpet over large sections including the main piste down to Tuxer Ferenerhaus and also a few smaller sections near the bottom of posts 8 and 8a. They were rolling out the carpet in huge sheets. Sad to see but glad they are taking action.

Couldn't see any crevasses but we stayed in piste all day (all the ski routes from the top closed anyway).

If I can work out how to post photos from snowMedia using my iPhone to here...I will post some pics.
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Good photos.
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Thanks for posting Bennyboy1 - glad you enjoyed it.

Over the past 10 years we've had pretty decent glacier skiing in early to late July in Tignes - the snow stays in good nick there as the glacier is closed from early May until the end of June.

Early last September we skied at Hintertux after a walking holiday. Although we went up purely for the novelty and weren't expecting much, conditions exceeded our expectations and we had a great time. The glacier was pretty bare off the pistes but they'd done a marvellous job with the pistes, with skiing back to Tuxer Ferner - albeit very narrow at the bottom and skiing past the protective plastic sheeting covering the snow/ice.

So late May could actually be quite early for your final ski of the season wink
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@mountainaddict, we are here in August again so if there is a cold spell I may give it a go.

Was v.expensive for the day pass for a family of 4 though.
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Stubai's open 'til June 18th, and I've had 'powder' days up there in June before. Probably should make an effort to get up, but frankly it's ~28°C down here in the valley and the kayaking's too good to get the skis back out again!
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Haven't ruled out a few June ski days ourselves - which (depending on easyjet prices & ski destination) will involve at least a 120 mile each way trip to Manchester at best or 220 miles each way to Luton or Stansted....Sure it would be worth it though! wink

You know it makes sense clarky999 - you being so close by! Laughing
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Try mammoth mountain in USA if you are feeling really adventurous. They have so much snow they aim to be fully operational into august!!!
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