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Savoie inconnu 2018

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
@kenr, are you auditioning for the next Batman movie as The Riddler? wink
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@kenr, I'm not an off piste skier so my recommendations for Les Saisies are limited - but my son is a v good skier and had the best day ever (and he'd spent seasons in Tignes and the 3 Valleys) in Saisies after a big snowfall. The Chamois chair lift is fairly recent - replaced a very steep drag lift of the same name. That day, the whole of that sector was knee deep and unpisted. Half a dozen snowboarders spent all day on that lift, finding fresh lines all day. My son and his cousin were kind of catatonic with pleasure and exhaustion by the end. The difficulty of the very deep snow and the lift kept all the riff-raff at bay, they said. So that sector is worth a look after a fresh fall of snow (pistes Kamikaze, Eterlou, Club, Chamois) though the coming of the chairlift has tamed it down a bit. The sector down from the Chard du Beurre to the bottom of the Covetan lift (previously slow and uncomfortable 2 man chair, now fast 6 man) is interesting. Seen from the lift. The top section looks like a nice bit of off piste but people rapidly get out of their depth. And there is a road to cross...... Otherwise no, there's not much to interest you really in Saisies. The new Saisies Bellasta lift has some interesting "between pistes" terrain and the ridge across to Praz (Jonction Praz") provides various options for going down skiers left into Notre Dame. The Douce bowl often has some interesting looking tracks - on the right as you go up the Douce lift for a recce. But being a piste skier myself I'm not the best guide! But Les S does have the benefit that not being known as a haven for gnarly skiers, the terrain gets tracked out less quickly than many others.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
@pam w, "not an off piste skier" but you've skied La Grave!
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pam w wrote:
I'm not an off piste skier so my recommendations for Les Saisies are limited

Well thanks a real lot, Pam -- that's enough to keep me happily busy for at least a (partial) day until my legs and back run out - (maybe I won't even wait for Sharon to be available to join).
. . . (I'll remember to throw in the phrase "riff raff" into some of my reports).

Ken
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Quote:

"not an off piste skier" but you've skied La Grave!

I peaked too soon, @welshskier wink
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Mother hucker wrote:
Have you took a year out from reality or is that your reality?

Sharon and I both really love skiing in several different modes, and we're both committed to training for skiing when we're not on snow, so we put lots of thought and planning and effort into where and how to do those modes when there is an opportunity for snow.

Used to be we'd try to sample the "best" places for those modes, but with warming (especially in the last five years) we're glad to just find _one_ of our favorite locations having some sort of old-fashioned winter for a few weeks at a time. In our various free available time-windows for most of our ski holidays, Savoie easily competes for "best" in most of our ski modes (though sometimes we'll prefer Utah Wasatch or California southern eastside Sierra) - (It's been a long time since we tried other regions in Europe) - but this year seems like Savoie has been the "only". Over the years we've gotten very well-practiced at arranging "multi-mode" holidays based in Savoie.

We both started skiing as adults (which might account for our passion), first lift-served downhill, but soon we got very interested in the adventure of backcountry ski mountaineering. Succeeding on a variety of backcountry ski tours both single- and multi-day gave us confidence that we could launch our own business (even tho neither of us came from families with any entrepreneurial background). Having our own consulting business made it easier to take ski holidays at the best times of year, because our clients were glad not to have to pay us for a week as long as we took care of them by working hard otherwise.

Since then the technology and business world have changed so those kinds of consulting work have gone away. Now I have more freedom to ski, while Sharon started another business for herself so she has less freedom than me (and less desire, since she enjoys helping her clients even if it doesn't pay anywhere near as much as the old days).

After many years of backcountry and lift-served downhill, Sharon got interested in cross-country skiing, which I had long thought uninteresting + uninteresting. Then I saw the new light plastic equipment, got me intrigues with lightness and speed. Then I learned to Skate on snow, and that changed everything -- because in addition to being rather fun (when combined with sufficient off-snow training) . . . it's also a very complicated fully 3-dimensional motion coordinating many body parts -- so rather challenging to perform efficiently -- but also a great challenge for me to work out the physics of how all those different body parts could contribute to forward propulsive motion. So now I "feel sorry" for backcountry mountaineering skiers who don't know about cross-country Skating (and all my favorite backcountry partners do also skate).

I also had good luck at the start of our skiing to connect with a German physicist back in the early days of the Internet when we were both doing graduate work. Which enabled us to do lots of great ski tours together in various regions of Europe and North America. But he made the "mistake" of telling me that he loved his year of graduate work in Grenoble, which helped tilt me away from the German-speaking Alps. Then I joined the Eagle Ski Club, and one of the advisors to one of their trips was a retired French biochemist (who had discovered a famous drug) living in Savoie. He introduced me to randonnee backcountry touring in Savoie and greatly improved my techniques. Also introduced me to the wonderful ski skating at Savoie Grand Revard.

A few years later after several skiing holidays in Savoie, I had the good luck to connect thru the Web with an expat English ski mountaineer living in northern Isere (close enough so we could do tours in Savoie as well as Isere). In many ways he (with the zeal of an outsider) knew the French backcountry and lift-served skiing environment better than the French biochemist. Among several other key improvements in my skiiing lifestyle, he impressed on me the benefit of exploring mid-size stations for powder days.

so . . .
Sometimes Sharon and I are here in Savoie and sometimes not, and sometimes only me because Sharon likes more time with her business and non-skiing friends. Sometimes we're skiing backcountry, sometimes cross-country, sometimes lift-served downhill - (and sometimes on smooth-paved roads skiing on little wheels, pushing on poles with special tips for road-skiing -- Savoie is rather good for that too).

As warming progresses it's becoming sort of a "mission" to keep finding where and how to make skiing fun for more days and weeks (and stay motivated for training). Helps to have the fliexibility to switch modes -- get ideas for new places to try -- new better equipment -- perhaps new ways to "cheat" to get more fun with less labor (and sometimes insufficient training) - like discovering mechanical-lift-assistance for nordic cross-country skiing at Les Saisies.

Look forward to more ideas and encouragement in the ever-changing modern-skiing "mission".

Ken
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Just out of curiosity what nationality are you ?
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Much of the year I live near New York. And I was born in USA, so I think that makes me American.
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You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
Bessans worked out great for cross-country ski de fond today. Visibility not much as expected (with snow still falling while I skied). Solid non-mushy base due to decent refreeze there at higher elevation. Like 10 cm of fresh snow on top of whatever they had groomed the evening before -- which with my 9h start was still cold enough to be fun skating -- with some "first tracks". Later got slower with warming (and a period of sunshine).

Skiing the connection to Bonneval-sur-Arc village turned out to be rather good, more scenic than I expected (close beside the Arc river). It's named "Sallanches-fauvettes" and basically follows the summer GR5 trail. Groomed for skating and classic striding (and walking). It connects to the Bessans cross-country ski piste network near some picnic tables the base of the Rocher du Chateau cliff (GPS lat long approx N45.34706 E7.02738) -- which can be reached from the Bessans main Carreley cross-country center by following the pistes of the "Rocher du Chateau" loop (which is nice in itself, and the giant rock with picnic tables underneath makes a memorable destination).

It reaches the ancient village of Bonneval near (N45.3705 E7.0431), and with the fresh snow today it worked for me to keep skiing on the narrow village lane thru stone houses to reach a wider plowed route at (N45.3720 E7.0480), where I turned around.

Of course most people ski (or hike) in the downhill direction starting from Bonneval (possible shuttle bus, might require advance arrangement), but I was not the only one who skated uphill NE from Bessans, and then the ancient village becomes a "rewarding" destination, instead of just something to get through to reach the start of the downhill ski tour.

Doing it downhill going SW alongside the Arc river is a good concept, and the piste network of Bessans continues that concept with the "Arc" piste (and several times I have shuttled Sharon so she could ski that as a one-way downhill tour). Seems like it would be great to do both the Bonneval "Sallanches-fauvettes" and the "Arc" piste in a single one-way tour. Problem is that the upper and lower sections do not connect very well by the obvious pistes. Finding better connection is a future enhancement to be explored.

along the way . . .
* started with the "Barmettes" loop -- one of the most hilly trails at Bessans, and it's scenic and some interest with curves + ups + downs (but not as interesting as the hilly trails at Les Saisies).

* used the "Foret" loop first section to go to the village of La Goulaz. Includes a long steep uphill, followed by a downhill -- hard labor challenge, but not so interesting.

* La Goulaz village has nice stone houses, so I like to ski around it. But oddly the normal ski pistes do not offer that, instead pass to the North. So I first tried an ungroomed unplowed forest road to go there, but that was difficult skating. Then found it was easier to continue just a bit farther NE on the ski piste, and turn R onto (unmarked) walker's piste, and skate SE on that to make a loop around the village of La Goulaz. For classic striding, could look for the "Belle piste de Sebastien", which gets groomed narrow for setting Classic tracks only.

* village of Le Villaron (NW up from obvious parking) looks like it would be interesting to visit, but didn't work well for skiing there, so I gave up.

Bessans may not have detailed trail designs as interesting or mountain views as dramatic as Les Saisies, but as a space for fun gentle skiing in open fields with intimate smaller scenes and destinations (and the Arc River), Sharon and I will keep going back there for cross-country skiing.

Ken


Last edited by You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net. on Thu 5-04-18 20:49; edited 2 times in total
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Ski the Net with snowHeads
Seems like I didn't miss much today for downhill powder, judging by snow reports this evening.

Instead hopefully tonight will be the big snowfall event. So I'll guess I'll have to force myself to ski it without sunshine.

Not sure where to try -- seems like check weather again when wake up. Maybe south will have better visibility sooner in the day?
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 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
Tomorrow Wednesday seems to be offering a great combination of fresh snow and sunshine.
Also substantial avalanche danger on many kinds of slopes. If only we could get a few days of sunshine and stabilize the snowpack I'd love to get out for a backcountry tour, but in the meantime I'm going to focus on places with more controlled and known avalanche situations.

So I'm thinking of trying some mid-size station in SE Savoie, with lift-assistance. Hope that one of them did not open its top lift yesterday, or they did but not much got skied - (or a non-steep tour with uphill near the lifts or station).

Ken

P.S. Today the strategy of driving way south (to one of the Isere stations) did work for delivering some visibility (though not actual sunshine, at least in the morning). Also found somewhere down south a sector of 30-40-degree shots with 30-50 cm of untracked snow -- which everybody watching from the lifts seemed to think was OK to leave for me to repeat and repeat. With some variability in the deep snow, and no lift lines, my legs and back were plenty sore + tired not long after Noon - (? maybe the sun came out after that, and likely other skiers did more work tracking out that sector ?). I felt I needed to save my muscles for another day, so got back to the station base by riding the chairlift down.
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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.
Rather good day of skiing ungroomed on a variety of steepness and aspects and terrain styles. Got lucky to choose a favorable ski station in southeast Savoie for today, so kept finding more untracked lines to ski. Ran out of strength after 3.5 hours. Still walking very slowly whenever I need to move from one sitting spot to another.

Snow pack filling in so much now that I was finding new lines I'd never skied before (because the rocks were covered). Might be years until I get to ski them again.

I'm coming to think that one reason I keep finding so many untracked lines is that so few people are interested in the style I enjoy. I guess my skiing style has become "old school" -- I like to make link lots of tight turns on a narrow line. While more people nowadays (learning from the snowboarders), want to ski fast very wide arcs (or straight-line-down), so they want wide open slopes -- while I find it interesting to thread my way thru obstacles, and skiing narrow (over my own previous track) conserves more untracked snow for other skiers/snowboarders. Of course making lots of tight turns in soft snow makes me tired faster. Seems worth it.

Ken
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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
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
Tomorrow Saturday thinking of going for ungroomed snow out in southeast Savoie -- hoping there will be significant "leftovers" at some family-oriented station out away from the valley population centers, lines that did not get tracked today. With not much competition because tomorrow is Change day.

If might want to meet out that way, by all means get in touch.

Visibility is my main factor -- current forecast looking like cloudy or light snow in the morning out in that region. If a re-check in the morning makes it look worse than that, maybe I'll just do cross country ski de fond at (wonderful) Savoie Grand Revard near Chambery. Or bring my cross-country skis along with me just in case it turns bad in SE Savoie after I get out there.

Ken

P.S. Today skied lots of untracked 30-40 cm fresh snow -- but that was Isere.

P.S. Yesterday Thursday did some nice uphill skiing on pistes at Champagny-en-Vanoise. But that's part of a mega-complex, so not "inconnu". I was afraid if I didn't get some practice hiking up with climbing skins on my skis, I'd lose my training for backcountry touring (for which _someday_ we might get some good weather + avalanche snow conditions). Started early before the lifts opened and finished ahead of the rain.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
La Norma
. . . GPS latitude longitude approx (N45.2024 E6.6984).
. . . about 2 km E from Modane city / transportation center.
Easy to drive to via A43 motorway or Tunnel de Frejus.

My first time skiing there. I found lots of off-piste terrain -- more tracked from sunny yesterday than I expected -- but easy to hit fun-to-ski stuff partially tracked.

Visibility did not work out so well - (otherwise I might have ventured out away enough to find some untracked). Not snowing very hard. Rather the problem was that the forecast of "cloudy" meant _foggy_ -- especially higher up where I would have wanted to try for deeper and lighter snow.

Then as the day progressed the falling snow got warmer and gloppier, so I got wet. And my legs with less endurance from so much off-piste skiing in the sunshine yesterday. So I quit sooner than would have guessed. On my list of Savoie places to go back to.

Driving out earlier and returning later than Change day traffic worked fine.

Ken
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Tomorrow Monday looking like powder day, with some sunshine. My downhill-turning muscles are going to be thrashed soon.

Beaufortain north I'm thinking. Three ski stations with off-piste to choose from. Will this be my day to try Les Saisies?

Be glad to meet for snacking or skiing around there.

Ken
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
ken Its been really interesting reading your reports
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Thanks for the encouragement.

Hope some interesting reports for today -- since I will really visit a Savoie non-mega-complex station.
Looks like some morning sunshine.
Will there really be 20 cm of fresh?
Last night's "bulletin neige" said that 18 cm fell during Saturday (and early eve?) yesterday, but now this morning the report for Saturday same station says 0 cm (but with a positive amount predicted for Monday?)

Different locations on the Meteo France website give contradictory estimates.

And if there is a good amount of new snow, which lifts will open?

Anyway my main concern right now is arrive at Parking and ticket caisse before the enormous slow queue for Sunday morning when all the new arrivals try to understand the "correct" / best / acceptable(?) multi-day ski-pass deals for each member of the family.

Ken
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
kenr wrote:


So far, you are sharing nothing...

...How many ski tours or ski GPS tracks have you (or those "quite a lot of Snowheads") shared with the community?


How is this for starters?:
http://www.skitour.fr/sommets/elevator-shaft,5653.html
http://www.skitour.fr/sommets/better-than-polar-star,5434.html
http://www.skitour.fr/sommets/trident-couloirs,5659.html
http://www.skitour.fr/sommets/usain-bolt-couloir,5655.html
http://www.skitour.fr/sommets/the-red-towers,5656.html
http://www.skitour.fr/sommets/square-tower-left-hand,5657.html
http://www.skitour.fr/sommets/the-ramp,5658.html
http://www.skitour.fr/sommets/red-walls-couloir,5654.html

I could also trawl through some of my contributions here...
http://www.snowheads.co.uk/ski-forum/viewtopic.php?p=1579463&highlight=devoluy
http://www.snowheads.co.uk/ski-forum/viewtopic.php?p=1532582&highlight=mont+video
... shall I go on?
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Great work.
One of those tours is actually in Savoie . . .
http://www.snowheads.co.uk/ski-forum/viewtopic.php?p=1532582
Great photos of skiing the great Dent Parrachee peak.
. . . (and fits the "inconnu" theme).


Last edited by You need to Login to know who's really who. on Mon 19-03-18 7:37; edited 2 times in total
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Hauteluce today in the north Beaufortain mountains delivered on the snow, but not the sunshine.
. . . GPS lat long of Belleville parking approx (N45.7726 E6.6403)
. . . . (This is the "Hauteluce" entry that connects with Les Contamines over Col du Joly,
. . . . . not the one that connects with Les Saisies).

Despite what the snow reports before (or after) the fact might say, there were lots of slopes with 20 cm of fresh snow, perhaps 30 cm on some slopes (higher or on the Hauteluce / W side). I judged that Les Saisies had not gotten quite enough snow, so chose this station nearby. Glad I did, because even here I was hitting the underlying hard layer about half the time.

They did open the high chairlift to Aiguille Croche (my first time), but I decided one run in the fog up there was enough.
Some fun turns on the Contamines (east) side, and tried one new off-piste route, but then lower fog made me decide to get back to the Hauteluce (west) side -- which had fluffier snow with little "bottoming" (tho less steep). Getting back there later in the day enabled me to get "educated" other skiers' tracks about the entrance to another off-piste route (which I had seen the lower section of last month).

Another Savoie place to go back to (with terrain good for Sharon also).

Ken
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You'll need to Register first of course.
Tomorrow at last perhaps a backcountry tour? . If
it looks like decent chance of sunshine when I wake up
. . . (otherwise looks like good re-freeze for cross country ski de fond at La Feclaz).

Thinking maybe go to Pralognan-la-Vanoise (and getting a little mechanical assistance to start my tour at higher altitude). With the avalanche forecast I'd like to try Southerly slopes, but with recent temps + sky I doubt there's going to be corn-snow transformation at lower altitudes. So instead hope I can get high enough to avoid crust. And Pralognan is popular enough so I can expect that somebody else got out there today and made an uptrack for me to use.
. . . (another idea might be around Mt Brequin with S + E slopes with higher altitude assisted by the Orelle / Plan Bouchet lift).

Open to other ideas for backcountry skiing, or meeting to snack/chat around that area afterward.

Ken
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
kenr wrote:

One of those tours is actually in Savoie . . .


OK I'll bite...

F*ck me you're hard to please aren't you?
You asked the question:
Quote:
How many ski tours... ...have you shared with the community
and I have given you a very small sample of the many routes and reports i have shared over the years within various online communities.
As to them being outside the Savoie to be honest a trip report from Baffin Island is about as much use as saying 'the snow was good in a random ski resort somewhere in the SE Savoie'.
Hence in answer to your earlier point:
kenr wrote:

Good, sounds like you're the sort of person who I'm hoping can get some use from my reports.

no, I can't really, because it makes a huge difference whether you are North or South of the river arc, north or south facing, right on the border spine or just off it, near one of the big cols (Cenis, galibier etc) or sheltered from the big cols etc etc etc, so as per my post on page 1 don't bitch about people not contributing if you are not going to provide at least moderate specifics to location because without this the information is almost useless.
There is an existing Maurienne valley snow reports thread which might be the best place to add USEFUL information...

And on that, I am now out of here!
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
offpisteskiing wrote:

There is an existing Maurienne valley snow reports thread

Good point.
Yes there is a thread for the Maurienne . . .
http://snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewtopic.php?t=135038
Seems like at the time I started this current thread, that thread was not on the first page of Snow Reports threads, and seems like I didn't look hard enough on the older pages to find it.
Now that I know about it, I see that its most recent post is a rather nice specific report with great photos about Val Cenis.
Which looks like another place I'll want to try exploring.

Ken
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You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
backcountry SW Vanoise ...
At last today I got out for a ski tour, which delivered ... fresh snow, avalanche avoidance, adventure, and workout -- but not sunshine.

I skied up and down the unnamed combe / side-valley which faces generally SE and goes up to Col de Chateau Bourreau (N45.2460 E6.5323) . (elev ~ 2925m), which is on the S shoulder of the twin peaks of Mt Brequin (3130m). The bottom of my up and down was a sharp curve of the service road at (N45.2356 E6.5528) . (elev ~ 2070m). This valley is about 3 km SW from from the Cime de Caron peak with famous telepherique from Val Thorens station. And about 1 km SW from an off-piste route well-known to L3V skiers in a different unnamed valley (which gives the name to that route, "Combe Sans Nom").

The unnamed valley and Col Chateau Bourreau are highly visible looking up left while riding up the Orelle to Plan Bouchet main gondola / telecabine lift - (except not today). There's a chapel in the main valley on a hill near the bottom of the side valley. The start of my uphill was about 1.5 km SW down from the gondola top station (but there are other ways to reach this valley).

So for years it's been on my To Do list. Now I've done it, but I assumed my success would be accompanied by seeing my tracks afterward riding the lift down. Maybe someone who skis from Orelle soon can photograph it for me.

The fresh snow was usually "heavy" rather than fluffy, and not deep enough to keep my from often hitting the underlying hard layer, but never crust or hardpack. A bit sticky up high where the sun had hit, but pretty nice where it was sheltered by clouds/fog (the benefit of flat light). Not always really well-bonded to the underlying hard layer, but that was no problem: little chunks of it would slip a bit, but not go anywhere.

Avalanche? The Meteo France report from the afternoon before put SouthEast at the heart of the less-dangerous slope aspects, and that came true for me. There was one shallow surface sluff triggered nearby -- I guess when sun briefly hit some dark rocks above -- say 30 meters and ran 80 meters down the slope, but so very shallow it likely could not even have knocked me down, let along buried me. The good news was that it did not trigger anything deeper.

Bad visibility was more than just lack of sunshine. I pretty much did the entire uphill skinning by GPS. The need to check the GPS frequently provided a welcome rest from the labor of trail-breaking. Fortunately going down I could see my uphill tracks and follow those instead of needing to interrupt to check GPS, and occasionally some glimpses of sunshine to allow me freedom to ski a more fun line. Satisfying to get back down out in the face of the visibility challenge. (No way I would have continued first going upward without my GPS).

This valley tour has uphill about +850 vertical meters over about 2 km horizontal distance. The upper section has over +300 vertical meters with steepness sustained around 30 degrees.

Next time I'll do the approach and/or descent differently, but nice to do the tour in its "pure form" once (I guess).

Ken
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
cross-country skiing this morning at Savoie Grand Revard near Chambery
. . . skating hard + fun
. . . short session because had an appointment 11:30
. . . fog dense + cold (fortunately not windy) -- yet another low-vis day.
I chose sector Forêt entry by La Feclaz village, so mostly I had trees alongside the well-groomed pistes, which gave me good enough visibility.

Finished in less than an hour, but such interesting pistes (with bursts of intense effort on short steep uphills) left me well-tired and satisfied.

SGR in addition to interesting fun trail designs and some nice mountain views, also has 4 different food/snack spots by the trails, so can ski from one to another. Also some interesting ungroomed off-piste cross-country skiing.

Sharon and I love it, and one reason we choose to base near Chambery is to be in close driving range of the La Feclaz entry.

Ken
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 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
Tomorrow Wednesday thinking I'll get out for a backcountry tour (with actual sunshine?). Meteo France Savoie avalanche forecast is favoring SW aspect, which tilts me toward Pralognan-la-Vanoise.

Thursday I'll be out with Sharon, maybe some mellower off-piste slopes or routes suitable for her, perhaps at some station far from the population centers where might still be some less-tracked slopes.

. . . indoor climbing afterward late afternoon / evening by Chambery (tho other days open to Grenoble gyms).

Friday if sunshine holds, maybe a tour with some uphill skinning with Sharon, not more than +600 vertical meters, not more than 30-degree sustained steepness.

If might want to join, or meet for a drink afterward, send a message to my Snowheads account.

Ken
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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.
how long you over in yurp for ken? you considered skiing Austria or Italy?
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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
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
I come and go.
Sharon comes and goes ... with shorter visits than me. I build my visit periods around hers.
Been doing it for lots of years.

Other regions in the Alps?
Which are you suggesting?

I've done lift-served downhill skiing (with much off-piste) at most of the larger more famous places in Switzerland, western Austria, Dolomites.

Backcountry ski mountaineering I've done a fair amount in SW + SE Switzerland, a little in western Austria / SE Germany, very little in Dolomites. Somewhere on the web I could find my photos of many of the tours.
. . . (I still own + still purchase ski guidebooks for all of those regions, just in case).

Cross-country skiing I've done lots outside of France, most of the better-known places across Switzerland, W Austria / SE Germany, and NE Italy not limited to Dolomites.
. . . (I've posted reports somewhere on the web for almost every XC trail network I've visited).

. . . (I've also ridden my road-bike over all the major Alps mountain passes for two distinct continuous routes between Nice + Lake Geneva + Martigny + St Moritz + Cortina d'Ampezzo).
. . . (I've also climbed a large percentage of the non-easy Via Ferrata routes across NW+NCentral+NE Italy + Dolomites and western Austria + SE Germany) . (but not many in Switzerland).
______________________________
my current strategy:
I gladly make a visit to NE Italy and W Austria for _climbing_ at least once a year. Also hops across the frontier to enjoy the great climbing in NE Italy (Aosta + W Piemonte + NW Ligure) adjoining France.

Skiing I see little point in going outside the French Alps. There's a handful of ski mountaineering tours in SW Switz and NE Italy I wish I could do (but there's so many in France I have not yet done, or want to repeat).

Surely if some other region had snow and France did not, then I'd drive there.

The advantages of France for my three kinds of skiing over the other regions seem clearcut. Add to that the wonderful valley road-cycling in Savoie, the easy-driving access from Savoie south to the Sea when Alps weather turns sustained bad . . .
Sharon and I are glad to spend lots of days based in Savoie.

Ken
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
backcountry tour north Vanoise today Wednesday -- nice untracked 20-40 cm in sunshine w dramatic mountains.

Started by taking two lifts up from Pralognan la Vanoise station (GPS lat long approx N45.3807 E6.7224) to reach Barmettes (N45.3901 E6.7525) . (elev ~ 2000m. Next skinned up the usual way (using track set by several other ski + snowshoe parties) past the N side of the Aiguille de la Vanoise, past the Lac des Vaches (N45.3979 E6.7766) and up to the Lac Long (N45.3970 E6.7909) . (elev ~ 2470m). Then turned off roughly East up the SW face of the Grande Casse, luckily found an old track by a party of two from yesterday or day before. But still substantial labor trail-breaking thru fresh snow and wind-blown that had much filled in that track. And those two must have descended in bad vis, since they closely followed their uptrack (which messed it up for me). And they choose a route I do not favor which had a steep technical section which was strenuous for me in the deep soft snow. Still I was glad to have any help getting thru 40cm of soft fluffy stuff.

Made it up to elevation 3100m (N45.4013 E6.8098) where I decided I had enough good skiing below me to end my labor - (so I did not go to the summit of the Grande Casse (N45.4051 E6.8275), or even up the famous 40+ degree headwall, this time). Skiing back down to Lac Long was great, since (unlike those two) I did have nice sunshine, so I could ski fun direct lines, including one 40 degree shot lower down. Upper snow did have a slight "zipper crust" on its top surface -- still very skiable, just took a little more strength and care.

Next put skins on again and went up to the Refuge Felix Faure (Col de la Vanoise) hut (N45.3919 E6.7910) . (elev ~ 2515m), which had a guardian, who made me an apricot crepe to refuel from my uphill labor (or some excuse for a nice snack break).

Some gentle up+down skinning to reach the top (N45.3857 E6.7803) of the easier-to-follow-good-skiing route down the Cirque d'Arcelin (past the S side of the Aiguille de la Vanoise). At first nice powder even at 15h afternoon, but lower down especially below 2000m, got tricky crusty (likely would have been better earlier in the day). Reached the piste around 1750m (N45.3815 E6.7467), then took a wrong turn onto a piste which did not go back to the lift I started from (did not occur to me to check my planned GPS track), so I finished with walking carrying my skis an extra 500 meters distance.

Great day for me, about 1350 vertical meters of soft-snow downhill. Really glad I'd trained to be able to handle the uphill trail-breaking, and the leg+back strengh for recovery moves on trickier downhill turns.
Not sure what I can find for tomorrow's sunshine which will be roughly as good.

Ken

P.S. I carefully edited some nice photos, but I don't get how to upload then to Snowheads.com.
I've done this with lots of other forums, but can't figure it out for here.
So I put them with the report on another website:
http://www.backcountrytalk.earnyourturns.com/vb/showthread.php?3389-ski-France-2018&p=50032#post50032


Last edited by You know it makes sense. on Thu 22-03-18 7:18; edited 8 times in total
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Mellow skiing with Sharon has been postponed until Friday, because her flight into GVA was changed.

So need to make my own plans for tomorrow Thursday. This evening's Meteo France avalanche forecast for Savoie (also much of Isere) is favoring NE aspect, which I'm glad for since it should offer better snow than the SE + SW aspects I skied recently - (enjoyably then, but I fear not after a full day of strong sun).

Currently thinking of something Haute Maurienne, or perhaps E side of Belledonne.

Ken
snow report     
 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
backcountry Haute Maurienne today ... downhill turns in 40 cm untracked snow for 1400 vertical meters (no hitting underlying hard layer), north-tending slope aspect (no southerly today). Big views to all the peaks around the southern Alpes du Nord and Ecrins.

Tho I was on (Meteo France forecast) avalanche risk level 3 aspect (along with several local French parties), we all kept the steepness not much more than 30 degrees, saw no sign of avalanche activity.

Price was a single-ride lift ticket and +700 vertical meters of uphill skinning, today on a very nicely set track, thanks to those French parties. Also below elevation 2100 meters the snow was often crusty (but that was only the lowest 150m of descent vertical), and a long exit on an gentle ungroomed forest road.

Ken
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Tomorrow Friday ... Sharon wants to ski some untracked soft friendly snow -- not easy to find any more without also including some unfriendly stuff in the tour. But it's still out there, and she's willing to do some uphill skinning labor to get it (after some mechanical lift assistance to get high enough to avoid the getting-difficult stuff low on descent or exit).
So that's what we'll go for tomorrow - (likely also Saturday).

She's not going to sustain a climbing rate of more +250 vertical meters per hour, and I doubt she'll want to do more than +600 meters total. And we'll choose a non-committing tour, so when she's had enough she can just stop, take her skins off, and ski back down.

If that sounds like something might like to join, send a message to my Snowheads account.

Ken
snow report     
 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Fluffy deep snow yesterday still to be found -- also delightful "untracked" by serious uphill skinning labor.

Sharon has not yet figured out how to do kick-turns with her new heavier fatter soft-tip AT skis, so she found some of the zig-zags pretty strenuous (even took off her skis and turned them around by hand for one especially tricky switchback). Then going down those skis made her look like deep powder was easy (and she reported, Rather fun). But then she didn't want to hike up with that strenuousness for a second run -- so it was less than a great "day" of powder skiing.
Tho it was preceded by three fun pretty runs (lift-assisted) on gentle untracked non-deep snow.
. . . (Not bad for her just getting off the airplane at GVA that morning).

Today Saturday she wants to work different muscles, so we're going for cross-country ski de fond at Savoie Grand Revard above Chambery + Aix-les-Bains. Park at Revard / Crolles entry so Sharon can do the wonderful pretty Grand Teppe loop (perhaps with a side-trip for a snack at Refuge de la Plate. While I might try the (all or partly ungroomed) adventure out-and-back to Refuge Lachat.
After first Sharon wants to work on improving her kick-turn technique on those AT skis.

. . . (Then afternoon go for indoor climbing Chambery).

. . . (Sunday we might get out for a ski mountaineering tour . . . temps staying cold today, so might still be some soft snow on N slopes at higher elevation, tho rather unlikely anything we reach will still be "untracked" by then).

Ken
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cross-country at Savoie Grand Revard worked great yesterday. Indeed started at Revard-Crolles entry parking, and Sharon much enjoyed doing classic striding of the wonderful Grand Teppe loop with its fields and woods and cowherd buildings and little hills and distant mountain views. I much enjoyed skating it -- after trying the start of the ungroomed route out to Refuge Lachat and deciding it ought to be saved for a day with better refreeze and transformation of snow.

kick-turn practice Sharon indeed tried first on a tiny slope by the parking lot (with her heavy Alpine Touring skis and boots). And we discovered why the great majority of backcountry randonnee skiers never learn efficient quick kick-turn conversion technique: It's rather difficult. Has more then one difficult step. She worked hard, focusing on a couple of those steps. Looks like future do not need snow in order to practice: just a small grassy slope (perhaps not even put climbing skins on?). I'm wondering how much learrning/practice could be done even indoors?

Afterward indoor climbing at Vertilac gym by Chambery was very uncrowded (because warm enough so all the serious climbers went outdoors) and very fun for me working on leading overhanging route -- but Sharon did less since she still had many muscles sore from uphill skiing the day before.

Ken
snow report     
 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
backcountry ski Vanoise - Les Trois Vallees today worked great for me -- still some powder snow and sunshine, in a remote pretty setting.

Sharon decided her uphill muscles were still sore, so she skied on-piste at Val Thorens, had lots of fun skiing nice packed powder - (tho hoped-for mushy corn snow on south-facing pistes did not happen).

I did the classic (lift-assisted) traverse from Val Thorens across Col de Gebroulaz and Col du Borgne to Meribel-Mottaret.
See my (over-detailed?) English-language description with GPS track on c2c:
https://www.camptocamp.org/routes/882123/en/col-de-gebroulaz-gebroulaz-greater-borgne

About +600 vertical meters of uphill along the way (in two separate ascent segments) ... yielding about 1400 vertical meters of ungroomed downhill (in two segments) -- say about half of that was untracked or little-tracked powder, a quarter was wind-eroded, and the rest was well-tracked (but soft).

A special thing about this traverse for me is that at the start and finish there are all these modern installations and buildings and crowds of skiers, but out there between the two Cols no sign of that. To my surprise, despite the stable sunshine all day, I was indeed alone the whole time between the two Cols. There were about ten other skiers who got started hiking up from above the top of the lifts (N45.2694 E6.6177) about the same time as me, but I reached the (first) Col de Gebroulaz (N45.2762 E6.6286) way ahead of them. Later approaching the (second) Col du Borgne (N45.3092 E6.6134), I saw two skiers ahead of me who were just about up to the top. Then when I reached the top of the Col du Borgne, I saw a party of five just starting their ascent. I guess the others I saw starting out gave up and turned back early - (It was rather windy on the first half of first uphill, and wind-eroded snow on first part of first downhill, got better only if persevered past those).

Hope I get some time to edit and post some of the photos.

Ken

P.S. Tomorrow Monday looks like Sharon and I are going to Les Saisies for cross-country skiing. Sharon's first time to try using the uphill assistance of the Gentianes drag-lift, so I'll see if I can follow Pam's advice and find the Nordic skiers low exit.
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You'll need to Register first of course.
@kenr, so lots of glacier* travel just on your own rolling eyes


*ok I don't know how safe it is up there, but........................
ski holidays     
 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
@Weathercam, I know at least one IFMGA mountain guide who has been down a hole there, and a couple of friends who have had very close calls...
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Yes I was skiing on a glacier alone.
. . . (There was a lengthy discussion thread in the last couple of months about this on UKClimbing forum).
I do it sometimes in what I assess to be favorable conditions. I chose what I've heard is the safest route on the Glacier de Gebroulaz.

That same day 5 or 10 people there were on those glaciers for multiple hours, as far as I could see _unroped_ the entire time. One person did not even have skis on their feet to spread their weight over a larger surface area, just booting up.

I do not recommend this solo approach for other people. So someone after reading my report who liked the sound of that tour might choose to do that same route, but rather with two or three experienced partners (including a certified professional mountain guide?), and could chose to rope up for skinning up, and might choose to rope up also for skiing down. So they could benefit from my report without copying my style or strategy.

conditions:
* this season has approximately record deep snowpack at that altitude.
* little new snow in recent days that have might have formed weak shallow covering over crevasses.
* good overnight refreeze.
* other ski tracks on my route from previous days (and two ahead of me that same day).
I thought those were favorable signs.

Life is full of choices.

Ken


Last edited by After all it is free Go on u know u want to! on Mon 26-03-18 21:21; edited 2 times in total
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 You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
cross-country skiing at Les Saisies today, we had a rather fun time -- me skating and Sharon classic striding. She did get to try the new "cheating" strategies of gaining vertical by riding up the Gentianes draglift, and by finishing (lower) at entry Lachat after starting at entry Col des Saisies.

My off-piste exploration was suitably punished by four crashes in breakable crust . . . after I released from riding up the draglift before reaching its top -- a strategy plainly warned against by a sign at the base of the lift.

My reason for trying that was because on my previous day cross-country skiing at Les Saisies, I did ride the Gentianes lift all the way to the top, and found that the cross-country ski piste down from there was rather steep and likely fairly scary for Sharon (perhaps even dangerous?). On that day I saw two parties on skinny cross-country skis release from riding up the lift long before the top, but I did not notice where that point was (or if they both chose the same point). So my guess today on what place to try was wrong, and I struggled with my skinny skating skis breaking thru the crust surface and taking me down -- until I at last reached a groomed piste.

I skied on this until I reached the hairpin turn by the table d'orientation -- and just then saw someone on skinny skis release from the draglift near there, just before lift tower 8. He next stepped North across the alpine downhill piste (or perhaps two pistes, since it forks there) to reach the nordic piste (on the Raphael Poiree / Mont Blanc / Panoramique loops) at its hairpin turn.

So later Sharon did the same thing, and that worked for her. Then she skied on the nordic pistes (generally) down to entry Col des Saisies, and from there skied to entry Lachat. Discovered that Lachat entry has no indoor place to wait for me -- but fortunately it was a sunny calm day and she had in her backpack some extra clothing a book to read, until I arrived a few minutes later (after driving the car to Lachat parking and doing an interesting strenuous loop from there).

So now we have lots more options for how to ski the wonderfully designed cross-country trail netwok at Les Saisies.

Ken
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
Got out yesterday afternoon to sample some more of the off-piste at station La Norma. Found some untracked and some little-tracked -- but mostly not deep enough or fluffy enough snow to be really fun. Maybe it was better the day it fell, but now it had been blown around by the wind.

Maybe today later try for some mushy south-facing corn snow.

Some hope in the 10-day weather models that "l'hiver interminable" may finally give way to sustained stable dry-ness. So then we can worry about it hot temperatures.

Ken
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