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The view from............ Val d'Isere and the Espace Killy

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Definitely agree that heading off right (on the piste map) rather than up Paquis is a good idea if you want to avoid crowds. In particular, Henri should be avoided, particularly later in the day when folk are heading back from VdI. I did a week in Tignes last year at Feb half-term, and it got busy and chopped up. Not great for a nervous skier, though your week should at least be quieter.

I can't exactly recall relative steepness of Rhododendron vs other blues (it's not something I notice), but that area does tend to be fairly quiet. I've always put this down to the slowness of the Marais chair to get you back up the mountain...

Another option is to get the (free and frequent) bus to Val Claret, take Fresse chair and potter around in the greens around the Borsat chair. Not an area I know, so no idea on crowdedness, but most people don't go to Tignes for the greens, so suspect it would be ok. Also has the advantage of being high enough to avoid the ice/slush combination. From there you can either ski down to Val Claret via Prariond (as I said, avoid Henri), or simply download in the Toviere bubble to le Lac.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@Steve Angus,
Interestingly Tignes 2100 hotel have been hosting their guests this season on piste. They apparently have a letter authorising it but I do not know who from. Their hosts have no formal qualifications. Double standards!!
The ban, whether one agrees it with it or not, should cover anyone not suitably qualified.
Will be meeting a director of Le Ski in Val in 2 weeks. Will be interested in what he says on the matter. On the Telegraph trip with M Bell. Currently over the ridge in sunny Le Lac.
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stephap wrote:
Hi Steve, been following this thread all season and really enjoyed your updates. Having booked in August I'll finally be arriving in Tignes (Lavachet) this Sunday with my girlfriend. We are both at different levels so are taking morning group lessons with evo2. She is still very nervous after two unsuccessful holidays and only ventured off the nursery slopes once (our last holiday to Norway xmas 2015 there was virtually no snow and only a couple of very busy icy slopes open). Where would you recommend we venture in the afternoons? She is worried about being hit by an out of control person so I would like to stick to the quietest possible slopes. Are the blue slopes in Tignes a better bet than the greens in bellevarde?


Will she have an Espace Killy skipass, or a Tignes skipass?

Potentially quiet pistes in Tignes:- Digues (green), Petit Col, Genepy, Melezes & Myrtilles (all blue).
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I think the Genepy in Tignes (off the Grande Motte) should definitely be avoided.

Because it is marked blue, it is used by people who think they aren't good enough to get down Double M (red). It's a roller coaster piste so is steep and flat, steep and flat etc. Admittedly it is often quite, but with steep gradients and very inexperienced skiers, it is also often carnage. There are also sections where if you don't 'go for it' you will be polling for some distance. This creates a mix of people going for it and people snow ploughing from one side of the piste to the other... sometimes out of control due to the gradient.

I like it but I would advise nervous beginners to avoid it.
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Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
As @bar shaker says I would avoid Genepy, the last schuss when everybody presses on the accelerator to avoid the flat / uphill segment at the start of Prariond can be a bit unnerving for her. The blues around the Brevs sector would have been ideal earlier in the season - they were suffering in the sun even as back as late February though. I would have thought Grattalu would be a good place for her to build her confidence, she can lap the chair a few times. Make sure she stays on the side of the piste as the middle can become a bit intimidating. Also +1 for Grand Pre and the green Genepy in Val (the top of Borsat might scare her off but you should make your way down via the path on the right). Given her low confidence you should really make sure you plan your route and make max use of the gondolas to download.
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@stephap, Another +1 here for the Grand Pre circuit and the green Genepy run from the top of Borsat. Both these runs are gentle slopes and massively wide so the risk of collision is certainly less than it would be on some of the crowded blues.

Your best route to get there given your girlfriend's standard will be to take the bus to Val Claret and go up the Fresse chairlift (make sure you queue in the Fresse bit not the Bollin bit!) then ski down the green (directly ahead of you as you come off the chairlift) to the Borsat chairlift. Up there (be ready to arrive - the top station comes into view suddenly) take the track to bypass the bumpy section. Then keep right and you're on Genepy, which will take you all the way to the Grand Pre chair where you can do circuits.

To get back by skiing you will need to reserve some energy, as there will be conditions that are a bit tricker and it's a long way for a beginner if you ski it all. Carry on past the Grand Pre chair (still a green run) and head up the Fontaine Froide chair, then if you've still got bags of energy you can ski down the green run to the Tommeuses lift - however this bit will be busy and it's quite a long way. Instead, if you're tired, there is a "cheat" you can use which eliminates most of the skiing, although it needs to be done early enough for the lifts to be open... when you come off Fontaine Froide, download in the Funival. At the bottom get the bus to La Daille and get the Daille gondola back up. From there, ski the very short distance to the Tommeuses chairlift, go up and then download in the Toviere gondola. You can get the bus from there to Le Lavachet. Make absolutely sure you get onto the Tommeuses lift before it shuts - it's an expensive taxi from Val to Tignes!

To do this trip you will need full Espace Killy lift passes.

Hope this is useful info and not too detailed snowHead
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@moosepig, +1, great post / advice.
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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!
Thanks for the detailed advice, really helpful. I would have thought Genepy in Tignes would be nice but I see now how it could be problematic. Also the extra 'escape' route down the Funival if things get too much, I wouldn't have thought of that. Hopefully I can report back in a week that she has caught the skiing bug 🤞🤞🤞🤞
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chrisrawles - I know what you mean re turn shape and line taken down the slope.... open arcs as opposed to closed arcs is what you are constantly battling against! Trickier on a board with the blind spot.... tip I give people is 'spot the turn' before you get to your blind side turn so you have a mind map about where you can next make your turn (it helps a little!)

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

stephap - thanks - glad you enjoy the updates. I am sure you will have a wonderful holiday and are excited about it upcoming! It should be a great week.

Anyway your query here strikes accord with me.... I am really passionate about helping people into the sport and staying in the sport.... making the correct decisions and asking for help in a case like this is a great idea and ill gladly offer some advice.

Firstly what do you mean by 'unsuccessful' holidays? What do you / she understand by the 'nursery slopes'.... do you mean a raft of green pistes there or simply the very first slope she was learning on on the first day or whatever? Not trying to suggest anything but often people use phrases like that and it doesnt mean much unless qualified.

It is VERY important to remember that the 'fear' affects people in different ways... I talked about this in my periscope broadcast a little today - more on that later when I post.... so fear of being hit is a common one and managing the environment as best as possible will help settle nerves.

It is important to remember (and this is often not fully understand) that run colourings are subjective.... yes the run gradings (if you want to call it that) in Val / Tignes is perhaps perceived as tougher than other resorts but the grading of a run is purely done on the steepest part of a run - all other factors such as how narrow (as well as a multitude of other factors) it is are not (generally / officially) taken into account. So sometimes (like in this case) local knowledge can really help and finding quiet slopes sounds like a sensible plan for her. But in general take run colours in Val / Tignes with a pinch of salt a lot of the time.

As Mark1863 says (some GREAT advice there) it will be busy next week. I agree the nursery slopes by the paquis lift will be the best place to start. Avoid Palafour in general. Again the run from the top of Chaudannes down to the Aiguille Rouge lift is relatively quiet yes BUT compared to what she might have experienced elsewhere it is not that flat! Yes download where necessary e.g. Toviere lift and stay high! Again the area around the Grand Pre is less busy and in itself a WONDERFUL RUN AND HIGHLY RECOMMENDED but crucially getting there e.g. down creux and edelweiss from top of the Toviere mountain means you have to go on busy runs etc! So getting there is a bit of a nightmare.

Something people forget is how tiring it is for nervous beginners (I HATE THAT phrase but saying 'lesser experienced nervous' sounds a little pompous!) so dont be too adventurous how far you go.

As moosepig says 'is your girlfriend comfortable with the steepness of a blue' - your response suggests that she wont - snowploughing down a blue run - which she will be is knackering if nothing else!

DEFINATELY DEFINATELY DEFINATELY DEFINATELY DEFINATELY make sure on that very first day she asks her instructor for advice about where to go... he / she will know what she can / cant do / is capable of!

The 'area around the Aiguille Percee and Grand Huit lifts'... they are OK but not that quiet for the most part. I think your idea of gentle persuasion to get her to have another go is noble... but yea being in snowplough will be tiring and make it difficult to cope with steeper and bumpier but experiencing the beauty of the mountains is a great goal.

So what do I suggest? - apart from getting advice from the instructor etc would be to try the rosset lift after the nursery slopes of the lavachet poma (near paquis as mentioned before).... get mileage and confidence on that lift / run until turns are tighter and more controlled and effectively overdo her time on those runs so she is mentally ready for a bigger challenge rather than just being ready for the next step.... the next step would be a ski from the top of the chaudannes lift to Aiguille Rouge lift then from there take the short (its fine - honestly) bit of the red (that 100 yards could have lots of fast skiers whizzing by I warn you!) from the top of that lift back towards to the top of the chaudannes lift (its about 100 yards) before taking the rhododenron again but peeling off down the petit col and little by little back towards Lavachet (it will be busy as you get close to the lavachet again though). That little lap could take a while!

Hope that helps - GOOD LUCK!
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Sorry just seen all the replies on this page too so will continue posting after reading the above!
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mad for chelsea - yes good shout "Another option is to get the (free and frequent) bus to Val Claret, take Fresse chair and potter around in the greens around the Borsat chair." from the top of the Fresse chair there is a green lop (NOT THE IMMEDIATE BIT UNDER THE CHAIR) that comes back down although when it gets squeezed at the bottom it does get a bit busier.

Mark 1863 - hmmmmmmmm that IS interesting.... perhaps double standards - would love to know what that letter is all about! IF someone is a 'club' you can get around the rules that way but it must be non profit making in any way... you have to accompany people to / from their place of residence i.e. a school group / club, for example from Paris could be guided around the resort. Yes the ban is carpet for getting out people without qualifications yes!

kenzie and bar shaker - some wonderful advice there. As franga and [/b]moospig[/b] highlight the Val Genepy is good (take the PATH from the top of the Borsat lift on the far side!) but again as I said earlier getting there and back will take a lot of effort so if she is super fit and feeling good after her lesson it might work OK but getting there and back will be a mission especially when getting back from there will require some busy slopes to navigate.... the best green in that area as well as Grand Pre is the Borsat green run - that is a great run and not very busy at all!

moosepig +1 for the comment "Your best route to get there given your girlfriend's standard will be to take the bus to Val Claret and go up the Fresse chairlift (make sure you queue in the Fresse bit not the Bollin bit!) then ski down the green (directly ahead of you as you come off the chairlift) to the Borsat chairlift. Up there (be ready to arrive - the top station comes into view suddenly) take the track to bypass the bumpy section. Then keep right and you're on Genepy"

"To get back by skiing you will need to reserve some energy, as there will be conditions that are a bit tricker and it's a long way for a beginner if you ski it all. Carry on past the Grand Pre chair (still a green run) and head up the Fontaine Froide chair, then if you've still got bags of energy you can ski down the green run to the Tommeuses lift - however this bit will be busy and it's quite a long way. Instead, if you're tired, there is a "cheat" you can use which eliminates most of the skiing, although it needs to be done early enough for the lifts to be open... when you come off Fontaine Froide, download in the Funival. At the bottom get the bus to La Daille and get the Daille gondola back up. From there, ski the very short distance to the Tommeuses chairlift, go up and then download in the Toviere gondola. You can get the bus from there to Le Lavachet. Make absolutely sure you get onto the Tommeuses lift before it shuts - it's an expensive taxi from Val to Tignes! "

Yes that is a good cheap but a REAL faff. I WOULD STRONGLY RECOMMEND NOT SKIING THE top section from the top of the Fontaine Froid in the afternoon next week and down the Verte piste all the way to the Tommeuses lift... it will NOT be a nice end to your foray out into the Grand Pre area.... the cheat is perfect but a faff!
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Winter again

After all that typing it will now be a shorter update this evening as my fingers are tired!

We woke to some fresh snow which had only just started falling. It had been raining initially but by action time the rain was HUGE snowflakes. I did think I was going to get very damp over the course of the day but it didnt turn out that way!

I met my team on time and we headed up the Bellevarde. The queuing to get up the Bellevarde was crazy busy - I think it seems to be busier this week than half term week was this year - it is crazy! Anyway we battled through it all and the snow (and little wind thankfully) and again like yesterday avoided most of the queues - hot choc break was taken at the Toviere again and I bumped into an old instructing friend of mine whom I have not seen for so long... Eddy runs the dry ski slope at Aldershot. It was nice to see him fit and well and happy!

There were moments when it looked like the sun was going to break through but then as soon as that was about to happen the snowflakes got thicker and harder once again!

The afternoon was a tale of two halves. I was with the young chap I have skied with the last few afternoons but he had to finish early for a couple of reasons (planned in advance) so I then took his dad for the remainder of the afternoon. I ended up doing something that I have NEVER done in a lesson (apart from when I was training would be instructors a few years back) I skied the Arcelle (nothing strange in that) whilst doing javelin turns WITH ski boots 100% unfastened.... now that is good for both ankle flex and balance!

Anyway just as the weather moved in really quickly yesterday afternoon it cleared very quickly this afternoon too.... leaving an incredible evening and sunset!

Finally for today I have managed to get some more info re the PGHM rescue on the mountain the other day that I caught whilst doing my periscope but had no more details off. Anyway it looks like the person actually ended up getting injured in pisteurs couloir that needed the rescuing.... so I have some photos.


Nice up there today


The Val pisteurs with the PGHM work together to get this person off the hill!



https://www.pscp.tv/SteveAngusSnow/1vAxRgwvYBZKl?autoplay&t=3

TTFN
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What are javelin turns Steve?

Great pictures above, it looked like a very challenging rescue, and that couloir looks seriously steep. Respect to the medical team and their considerable skills. You can see what appears to be blood on the snow, so I hope the chap was OK. That's not the kind of terrain I will ever (be able to) ski, that's for sure!

Also, whereabouts is Pisteurs Couloir? I didn't realise it was visible from a lift..
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You know it makes sense.
HoneyBunny wrote:
What are javelin turns Steve?

Great pictures above, it looked like a very challenging rescue, and that couloir looks seriously steep. Respect to the medical team and their considerable skills. You can see what appears to be blood on the snow, so I hope the chap was OK. That's not the kind of terrain I will ever (be able to) ski, that's for sure!

Also, whereabouts is Pisteurs Couloir? I didn't realise it was visible from a lift..


"Javelin turns" - lift your inside ski so you are standing on your outside ski... turn that ski underneath you keeping the hips and upper body still so in effect by the end of the turn you have the uphill ski (which is the one lifted off the ground) crossed over in the air above the other ski (a little bit like scissors!)

Pisteurs Couloir.... OK stand at the loading area for the Fontaine Froid chairlift looking up the lift... now turn through 180 degress and look upwards - the line down through the snow from the top of the Charvet you can see is pisteurs.... the lift you can see in the pic above is the Grand Pre (and the top of the Borsat in the distance too!)
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@HoneyBunny: http://www.haute-tarentaise.net/t1312-couloir-des-pisteurs
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@Steve Angus,

Thanks for all this Steve. Advice from you and all the others here has helped give me a much clearer view of the options we could take.

Here's the background of our previous holidays:

Our first winter holiday together was booked for Tignes xmas 2013, we were going to learn to snowboard as beginners. I booked us a lesson in xscape a few weeks before we left and broke my wrist after 30 mins so holiday cancelled. Haven't tried boarding again...

Our second holiday together to Soldeu xmas 2014 my gf was having bad knee problems and arrived on crutches. Didn't want to cancel again. She struggled to make any progress due to pain and restricted movement.

Our third holiday xmas 2015 to Trysil, Norway, there was only 1.5 blue, 1 red, 1 black and green kids/beginners area (few hundred metres served by drag lift) open due to lack of snow. We only managed about 2 hours each day as was so boring, very busy, and also icy due to rain. She tried the blue run once in her lesson and the instructor did not take them back it was so bad.

Last summer we had a very successful holiday in Tignes staying at melezes in Boisses and I managed to convince her to come back for skiing, she said yes because she knows how much I love it. I really would love this year to go well. I learned as an adult too so understand the fear and tiredness although she doesn't have the passion for the sport that I've had my whole life. I'm hoping everything comes together this time.
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stephap - thanks for clarifying all that - with the info you have I am sure the week will go well! Post here if not and I am sure we will (SH's) help.
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Back to Spring

We woke to lovely sunshine once again and the weather of yesterday was behind us.

I dropped off Olivia at creche this morning and then headed to the meeting point. My team were very early so it was nice to have chats with the parents. Anyway we did finally get going (a couple of the kids from the other family were rather late) and joined the queues to head up the Olympique.

So it great on the pistes all morning and I repeated a similar pattern of runs that I have done a couple of times this week already. The only real difference this morning (apart from the weather) was that the slopes were busier (the sunshine effect) AND the kids were rather fatigued so there were a couple of moments and tears and silly falls but hey ho thats the way it goes. We had a very successful morning all round and made it to Tignes and back! It was a nice morning.

The afternoon I was on to a new booking with someone I have never skied with before. VERY regular TDC clients and kids that ski with TDC a lot it was a fun afternoon. 2 kids aged 8 and 6 but with about 30 weeks ski experience in Val beneath their feet it was a fun afternoon. I wanted to make the most of better snow higher up therefore we headed for the Val glacier and a really good balanced afternoon between working on technique and having some fun e.g. jumps. Kids learn in different ways from adults and their attitude to learning is also different. Amongst other things you have to let kids have fun and being creative with drills and exercises whereby the kids think what you are doing with them is cool makes them want to learn. Also understanding the mechanics of skiing inside out allows seemingly fun and freestyle (for example) orientated exercises actually make them much better..... a classic example is 360 degree spins (on the snow)... in order to do that you pretty much have to be able to turn parallel and flatten the ski from one edge to another (so improves ski edge awareness and the ability to use)... so actually spinning right around in a circle on the snow massively help parallel turning.

So anyway it was a good afternoon.

I had a nice chat with the father afterwards as he was a former Easyjet pilot and now trains people to fly (has his own business training aspiring pilots).... this is something that is close to my heart as my father was a BA Captain for many years and involved in training aspiring pilots back in the day.

Anyway tomorrow things change a little as the first (of 16) members of Clares extended family all arrive in town and for tomorrow night a couple of them are staying with us (just for one night before going into their flexible catering Mountain Rooms chalet).... so tomorrow night and for the next week things could be a little haphazard on the reporting front.... bear with me.

Not much else to report today so ill sign off for now.





And finally my periscope from today:

https://www.pscp.tv/SteveAngusSnow/1MYxNLnzoBNGw?autoplay&t=6

TTFN
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Steve Angus wrote:

"Javelin turns" - lift your inside ski so you are standing on your outside ski... turn that ski underneath you keeping the hips and upper body still so in effect by the end of the turn you have the uphill ski (which is the one lifted off the ground) crossed over in the air above the other ski (a little bit like scissors!)

Pisteurs Couloir.... OK stand at the loading area for the Fontaine Froid chairlift looking up the lift... now turn through 180 degress and look upwards - the line down through the snow from the top of the Charvet you can see is pisteurs.... the lift you can see in the pic above is the Grand Pre (and the top of the Borsat in the distance too!)


Thanks Steve - oh OK I've done those turns before. It didn't end well Laughing

Ahhh thanks for clarifying, it looks VERY scary - the entrance looked quite rocky. I will look for it next time I'm there Skullie

kpw wrote:
@HoneyBunny: http://www.haute-tarentaise.net/t1312-couloir-des-pisteurs


Thank you - great pics. I wish I was that good!!
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Sunny

I'm gonna be real quick this evening as Clares family have arrived and they have been travelling all day and (like me) ready for bed so i'll sum the day up.

It was pretty much a repeat of yesterday in terms of weather but warmer.

I was on the same booking as yesterday and we decided to head to the Fornet as the snow was going to better up there after a limited freeze / no freeze lower down overnight. Also it was a change of scenery that we were all after - 3 days Bellevarde and Tignes side!

So it was a nice morning although we were a little late back into town which meant that lunch was a little rushed!

I did my broadcast atop the Bellevarde:

https://www.pscp.tv/SteveAngusSnow/1YpKkdZYgRXGj?autoplay&t=1

The afternoon I was back with the same 2 kids as yesterday afternoon and we had a fun afternoon although they were so keen to finish with the Face I agreed (partly to teach them the lesson that I knew it was not going to be nice and really getting the bus and walking back to their hotel would have been better). Anyway they were determined to ski it so it was an interesting experience all round - LOTS of bumps and slush to say the least.

Anyway after skiing and after collecting Olivia we headed to the Fall Line for a ski school drink altogether and we were able to sit outside... Olivia loved playing with a random rugby ball and playing on her balance bike and it was a nice hour in the sun.

So in the last hour the family have arrived and we have demolished a lasagne and now its time for bed. One more day with kids on the slopes tomorrow and then Sunday will be a day off..... ill also miss the arrival of the masses of the rest of the family tomorrow until the evening but it could be another late posting tomorrow - we shall see!

Anyway not really much else to report. So I shall sign off for the day after a couple of photos.




TTFN
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Quiet slopes and sunny weather

It started early this morning as Olivia woke everyone in the household up as she fell out of bed about 5am and was screaming the place down until was settled.

The day really started nice and gently as I was the only person that had to be up and out for lessons... Clare was heading over to Tignes by car to have a ski with a friend of hers from way back (along with Olivia) and the family members that stayed last night were off out for a ski in due course.

So it was the last day for me with the my kids (both am and pm) and I always try and make it a fun last day with the kids requesting some of the things we have done / could do. So we ended up sliding over to Tignes, via the park, fun run, crocodile alley and all sorts... hot choc break was taken at the Planks Cafe in Tignes (I took the opportunity to buy both Clare and Olivia birthday presents whilst I was there too and lucky I had my rucksack with me!). So it was a jolly nice morning and I look forward to seeing the kids at Hemel over the Summer a couple of times and also next Winter.

I treated myself to lunch at the Sun Bar (a solid burger as always in there) and then I got a text from the parent of my afternoon lesson asking for a changed location meet point of the Signal... of course he knew that I would be late by the time I got there from the town centre. Anyway one of the problems in changing meeting place and having alternate end places for lessons is that your lesson plans / routes etc are very much tied. They asked if I could drop the kids back to La Daille at the end of the lesson. So 2.5 hours (as that was all we had time for) to ski solid red run sort of level little'ish kids between those two locations AND fitting in a virtually obligatory hot choc stop too is NOT an easy task. Fitting in tasks on the best available snow (too slushy or whatever and its not possible) and allowing time for their little legs to rest.... it was a tough order and your hands are pretty tied!

Anyway we made it in the end but it was a tiring afternoon of the kids!

After skiing it was all systems go for a couple of hours... getting bits and pieces up to the apartment that the family were taking in the centre of town for the week and then meeting them off their transfer bus and helping them settle in. It was all a VERY energetic day for Olivia and I think everyone was knackered by the time we left too as they had had a tiring day too!

And that pretty much brings you up to speed with what is happening. One interesting thing which puzzled me a little was that when we went through the Val jump about mid morning the PGHM chopper was on scene and working with someone who must have been badly injured just next to the piste. The reason this is puzzling is that the PGHM normally ONLY come to the scene when it is a technical resuce (see photos above) or is something serious off piste OR there is a death involved so I am not sure what was happening here. When it is 'just' a bad injury it is normally the SAMU ambulance chopper (red and white) that comes in and when a run of the mill injury on or off piste that is for example an unstable break or something then it is often the black and yellow SAF chopper.... so who knows what happened!



Note that hardly anyone notices the chopper sitting there (and it wasnt just coincidence either). I noticed and continue to notice that so many people are totally oblivious to what is happening around them on the mountains.... e.g. setting off without even looking up the mountain to see what is coming etc.... entering pistes without looking sideways.... big groups of people ALL set off at the same time blindly following the person who makes the first move.

https://www.pscp.tv/SteveAngusSnow/1mrxmekLXDwxy?autoplay&t=2

So I have a day off the slopes tomorrow and my last day out of ski boots until I finish teaching for the Summer - yippee.

TTFN
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Chaotic



After a tiring day yesterday Olivia allowed us a lie in this morning until 8am... yay... It was a leisurely get up and family scrambled eggs and for the first hour or so it was a nice and pleasant Sunday morning.

However the plan was to meet up with all the other members of Clare family who were raring to go on their first day. It was a strange one as Clare and I were only really going along to be part of the gang and be sociable but we knew that being the locals and instructors that sooner or later we would be dragged in to helping (in the most formal informal way possible). We both opted to be out of uniform and since we were not being paid and we wanted the various cousins etc to have time with parents etc it was always going to be touch balance between getting too drawn in and being accused of not helping enough. Olivia was of course with us. So anyway after much faffing (and the various things collected from lift passes to ski hire etc) and the various 'groups' of family members sorting themselves and their offspring out it was finally time to try and get to the same place at the same time. Most of the kids are quite young (circa 4-Cool and most have never skied / done 1 single lesson at Hemel before... thats all so the mountains and skiing are totally new to them!

Anyway cutting a long story short Clare and I (predicatably) were involved much more than planned. It IS tough as an instructor to stand back and see family members making school boy errors with their kids etc but you dont want to get too involved when you havent been asked. Anyway the morning seemed to whiz by before everyone got suckered into a fairly expensive meal at the Tete du Solaise.

Anyway the sun was shining and it was a glorious day.

After lunch Clare and I retreated back down the mountain with an exhausted Olivia who was trying her skiing today without an edgy wedgy and did pretty well (when Clare and I could spend enough time working with her on the short magic carpet up top).

After a cup of tea and call back to my mum in the UK we headed back up to the Mountain Rooms apartment they are all staying in to have some kids tea etc and have a drink out of ski gear. Again it was rather hectic but we got there.

And that pretty much brings you all up to date. Nothing too much else happening.

Back on the day job tomorrow with the first of 13 (I think it is) days back to back teaching and the first day with a couple of kids whom I have I think on 12 of those days... yikes!

So I am going to settle down and watch the end of the Masters on tv now... I JUST LOVE watching that on TV as it is like watching a dream on tv (the beautiful fairways etc - magic) and also it signals the start (properly) of the end of the season and the arrival of the warm sunny days (again on the horizon). However another couple of weeks left teaching until that really comes to the forefront

https://www.pscp.tv/SteveAngusSnow/1mnGeVRlbDaJX?autoplay&t=5

TTFN
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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!
And a quick mention and congratulations, if I may, to Sofia Landgren for her success in the French Version of the Voice last night. Sofia works for STVI and sings around the bars and hotels of Val, popping next door every Thursday, to entertain Les Tignards in La Queue de Cochon. For the blind vote she chose 'Forever Young' a particular favourite of mine. Hopefully she will go far under the mentorship of Mika. Go Sofia!
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You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
@Steve Angus, great to hear they're upgrading the Datcha lift one the summer. Presume it'll be a fast 6 or 8'er. Do you know if it will be the same start and finishing points?
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
Not quite what I was expecting

What a nights golf last night eh folks! Super stuff. I must admit to staying awake (just about) until the 18 holes were over but when it went to a play off I threw the towel in but then spent the next hour lying in bed wondering who was going to win - doh!

Anyway I was a struggle to get out of bed this morning but the sun was shining once again so I cant complain too much. That is one of the things I love about this time of the year so much - the clear blue skis (generally) and the sun coming into the sitting room nice and early and still being there late into the evening - perfect!

chocksaway - yes you are totally correct re Sofia Landgren and her singing success - I was totally meaning to mention that - so yes thank you and good luck to her as she goes forward!

Dr John - yes it is being replaced. My understanding is it will be the same get on and get off place for the lift and they are planning on using the old Solaise Express so it will be a 4 seater chairlift that goes in there.... I could be wrong though!



So yes I started the first of 13 odd days of teaching with a couple of kids / teens (well that was what I thought it was going to be anyway) but it turned out that the mum and dad were coming along too. This in itself should not be a problem but of course in reality the personnel dynamics vary massively and how you actually go about running a lesson has to change so much that it becomes tricky!

Anyway we got some technique balanced with some fun stuff for the kids and I thought it worked out OK. The parents are not planning on coming along to all the sessions and then there is chat about some other friends and again some other family friends coming and going over the next couple of weeks so I might have 'others' from time to time too!

At lunchtime it was up the mountain to meet up with the 'family' and find out how the kids got on in their various lessons and we had a large family picnic up the Solaise in the end.

The afternoon was spent teaching Clares step-sister and her teenage daughter and we worked our way through some technique and again balanced it up with some fun stuff too as per their instructions and I think everyone enjoyed enjoyed themselves.

We headed back to the chalet for afternoon tea, cake and mainly for the kids (including Olivia) to have some fun altogether as well as the adults to catch up with each other a little too! After a couple hours it was home time and Olivia was SOOOOOO tired that she ended up falling asleep on the sofa here within a couple of minutes of getting home and was definately over tired.

Oh well she is asleep now so hopefully she will be ready for another fun packed day again tomorrow!

https://www.pscp.tv/SteveAngusSnow/1mrGmeyVEkqGy?autoplay&t=13

So the weather remains lovely and sunny and warm and I think it will continue that way for the next few days at least. However there was a very strange incident this afternoon as the weather moved in over the course of about 2 hours and suddenly around 4pm it was snowing up at the col and raining in town and it was rather windy and nasty but it moved on and back to sun by dinner time again - strange!

In other news the resort remains very busy and there are lift queues still all over the place but this really is the last busy week and then it drops off next week. The ESF as an example have drafted in 25 extra instructors for this week from other resorts!

I think that is about all for now....

TTFN
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 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
P.S. I forgot to put this photo up that I took.... so this is a photo of a photo of the instructors Oxygene had working for them back in the 2006/07 season (my first teaching in Val)... dont I look young (and a couple of my current colleagues are also in that photo too.... ha ha!

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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.
@Steve Angus, makes sense to recycle. Anything will be better than the marmot powered current Datcha.
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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
Hmmm all my Christmases have come at once!

Firstly after riding it perhaps a 100 times this season I finally got on the VIP cabin of the Solaise gondola today.... I still have not been on cabins 89 or 90 though yet a while which have see through floors but ill take this one for now!


I look a bot of a plonker but I was happy!

The second piece of amazing news is that my periscope broadcast today has been featured on the home page of the app which means for the first time in 2 years of broadcasting it is getting SERIOUS numbers of viewings..... Currently 16000 viewings in the last few hours and rising!

https://www.pscp.tv/SteveAngusSnow/1vAxRgvVvraKl?autoplay&t=15

However I did find out some bad news today.... and that is that Gaston the lovely dog belonging to Antoine of Le Cave had to be put down the other day. Gaston was just a pup when I first arrived in Val all those years ago and he was the coolest dog in town.... a real 'street' dog always trotting merrily around town and was very socialable.... if he was a person who would be a VERY well known and cool guy around town that everyone new and liked - that sort. Anyway I was saddened to hear he was no more. RIP!

So back to the important part - the skiing!

We woke up to another lovely morning of blue skies and temperatures that were just below zero... I dropped Olivia off and then (just about squeezed on it) got on the bus and met my am clients (the same clients all this week and next in the mornings). Anyway we headed the Solaise direction and worked on some carving. We maxed out a couple of laps on the Glacier Express before heading over the top towards the Fornet and made the most of the lovely snow as it softened up and even found a couple of Spring slopes. A quick drink stop at the Signal and then we headed up the Pyramide chair. I took the girls up the poma to the top and we skied the red run down.... how it is a red I do not know as that must be STEEPER than the Face I reckon at the top!


Sometimes people think the cat tracks (like on the side of the Face steep section or near the top of the Genepy piste) like you can see zig zagging up on the lookers right of the this photo behind the girl are there as an 'escape' route for skiers and as an alternate way down a slope.... well they could be used for that assuming they are not roped off for avalanche danger but in actual fact they are there to allow the piste bashers to get UP the mountain to then attach themselves to the winch point at the top to then piste the actual slope itself!



I took lunch at Chevallot in town which was lovely as usual and then headed out for a one off private with a really sweet lady. She is someone senior in a youth charity in London and it was really nice meeting someone like that doing so much for charity. We had a really successful ski around and mainly working on a couple of technical elements of her skiing that needed addressing and even took her down her first red run up on the Val glacier.... the Moraine was a in excellent shape it really was. So we had a lovely afternoon!

I had a few errands to run around town after skiing and picked up a roasted chicken for dinner and then came home to give Olivia a bath... and that pretty much brings you all up to date.

Another jam packed day tomorrow including a meal out at Sur La Montagne for ALL the extended family including kids so that should be fun!

Ill finish off with this amazing photo taken today of the old bridge to Tignes becoming visible as the dam water level drops at the Lac du Chevril... I know from experience that the water level is still a good 100 metres below this bridge so there is still a lot of what down there!


Great pic!

TTFN
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
great picture. Would love to dive there, bit beyond my abilities to go to 100M though, but I know many who can.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Yes, great pic. EDF drained the dam a couple of years ago (I think it was around this time of year / it's done every 10Y for maintenance reasons) - we stopped to take some pics on our way up to Le Lac as the old village of Tignes had resurfaced and was clearly visible.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Hot, hot, hot

On paper it was a scorcio of a day today but there was a breeze and the odd cloud about that meant it felt cooler than it was. But it was certainly another lovely day!

franga and endoman - yea would be cool to go down there and YES they do empty the lake every 10 years or so; in order for structural checks to take place on the dam wall. They last did it in the early Summer of 2014! In fact I took a walk all the way down to the old village of Tignes when they did and if you look back on this blog to late April 2014 you will see the photos.... you can actually go inside some of the old buildings and things like old cattle water baths are still to be seen along with the old church spire (collapsed).

Anyway back to today. It was a bit of a struggle to get out of bed this morning... another 10 days or so and then I have to do my tax return and then finally it will be some down time!

The sun was once again shining strongly and it was going to be a lovely day but there had been a pretty decent freeze overnight. With only the Dad and younger daughter in tow today (the mother was having a day off skis and the older daughter had a sore eye) we went for a long 'tour' around towards Tignes and did the 'round the world' loop that includes the Grand Huit and down to Les Boisses. As usual the west facing slopes were pretty firm but by the time we got over to Tignes the slopes were softening up really nicely. We went for maximum mileage working on some more carving and generally it was a fun morning.

I took lunch under the Sun Bar away from the heat of the sun and then met my afternoon lesson... a nice couple from London... he had never had a lesson in his life and all things considering for a selt taught person was pretty descent. The wife was pretty solid but needed a few things tweaked. It was a pleasant afternoon and as always in the afternoons at the moment the best place to head to was up the Val glacier! The snow is much better up there and we got some lovely turns in.

After skiing I fitted in my periscope.... talking of which I ended up having nearly 26000 viewings yesterday - incredible!

https://www.pscp.tv/SteveAngusSnow/1BRKjEPgjXdxw?autoplay&t=4

I got home and after an hour or so we all headed into town for a meal at the same time as the kids were eating at Sur La Montagne. It was a really lovely meal and I had an amazing Cote du Boeuf with my (step) brother in law. On the way home we all picked up an ice cream before we got home and got a VERY tired Olivia into bed!


In Val the meeting area / snow front snow line is retreating day by day but we should have plenty of snow to see us through another few weeks until the season ends!


However down in Les Boisses / Tignes 1800 its not quite a rosy although there is enough snow to get you to the gondola and up again and skiing down to Brevieries is still possible!


When the pisteurs are doing their last sweep of the runs at the end of the day each day they carry (at this time of the year with the snow melting) a bin bag - it is incredible how much rubbish is left on the mountain each day!!!! Awful!

Even though the melt freeze cycles are well established for the sake of Spring skiing now the lack of freeze at lower altitudes is causing some concern and the rapid temperature rising daily means the resorts are still doing some blasting of the slopes... in the following case they blasted the Lavachet wall this morning with some interesting results!

https://www.facebook.com/sean.manley.18/videos/10154130636486618/

And that pretty much brings you all up to date.... until tomorrow.

TTFN
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Steve Angus wrote:
An alternative day

We all had a lovely evening last night at Victors. Such good value for money in there. I had a burger and about half a bottle of red and including the tip it was only €25 a head..... the food was jolly good too! Everyones food looked lovely actually!

This morning was an early start as I had to be up at the chalet nice and early to see the departing guests off. It was a lovely and sunny morning so I am sure their drive (with their 6 year old will not have been too bad). Then the cleaner arrived in perfect time so I was able to head back to bed for a couple of hours as indeed I was not teaching.... in fact I had the whole day off in the end!

I had a Sky+ catch up session and then made a nice lunch. I even impressed myself with my cooking skills as I found a recipe to make creamy leeks as the leeks in the fridge were looking very sorry for themselves and I wanted to cook them before they went right off...... so they are now ready to be re-heated for dinner now with another slice of the yummy lasagne I made last week!

In the afternoon a few clouds had started to roll in but nothing too serious! Our new guests arrived in good time (two self driving guests one week after the other - luxury as it meant I did not have to do any sort of a transfer) and I showed them in and helped orientate them and explain how things worked e.g. where the rental shop is etc. They have NEVER been to the mountains before so both mother and daughter (and their lovely little dog) settled in nicely and are all excited for tomorrow as I have a lesson with them tomorrow (and Monday) morning. They did the sensible thing and had a series of lessons at Hemel before coming out here so are ready to make the most of their first ski holiday!

I decided (based on the positive experience and stories I heard from yesterday) to take a walk down to the old Tignes Village myself. The clouds were thickening so I wrapped up well just in case.

WOW it is not only a long way down there and the whole 'bowl' is massive (I have been down in the area once before but not quite all the way down to where the old village is) but the old Tignes is rather spooky. Here are a selection of photos to share with you all (I took loads so these are the best few).:


The 'gorge' that leads up towards La Daille.... normally totally under the water so this gorge doesn't really look much from above!

Long way up to the road (into Val) from down here.

There was a surprisingly large number of people down there 'visiting' / paying homage or whatever they were thinking!

Old Tignes and new Tignes! I reckoned that this (on the left) was a the collapsed church spire)

Rather silted up ehh!!!

The old bridge into Tignes (or more precisely out of Tignes that would eventually - if you followed the road for long enough, take you into Val!)

Amazing what still stands under that weight of water!

Still in situ trough for the cows!

Great view of the heli ski route we do.... from Mickeys Ears (top right) to the furthermost left and lower section of the photo where the heli picks you up - about 800m vertical

The wall really does stand proud here - almost in defiance against the dam!

Inside one of the many houses you can peer inside.... still not dried out enough to walk inside otherwise you would get well and truly bogged down!

The front door is still in place - incredible!

To put it into some sort of scale - you can just see (right hand end of the dam as you look) a coach just venturing onto the road to cross over towards the Tignes side!

The bridge you can sometimes see in a 'normal' year when the reservoir water level is naturally lowered... From the Val direction you have to walk across this bridge... which is the old road into / out of Val from long before when the dam was built. Again looks quite small from the road above but if you look closely at this picture you an just about see a couple of people walking across it - i reckon it had a span of at least 50 yards!

Look carefully right in the middle of the picture and you will see the remains of a car that came off the road (a LONG way up) and now resides in that new abode! Not sure 'which' crash this was as there have been a few over the years and I had run out of energy to walk closer to it.

The spooky inside of a house - almost looks like there are still shelf struts on the wall doesn't it!

HoneyBunny - enough pics for your liking?

Anyway all in all driving from Val to the carpark near the 'Lady of the Lake' and walking down, taking photos and back out again and back to town was a jolly good way to spend 3 hours or so although I am quite knackered now.

Finally on the subject of the dam I found out last night from a friend that apparently when they were considering building the dam they considered building it across the current gorge that you go through just before you enter La Daille. That would have meant that Val and not Tignes would have been under the water...... wow!

Anyway FA Cup then some golf viewing is the agenda this evening washed down with some beers before back to the grindstone tomorrow morning - can't believe it will be the last week of teaching for this season..... and only 5 weeks until the due date now!


Found the post you referenced, but sadly all the pissies seem to be dead links.
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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?
A day of mixed fortune

Well it was a morning just like the last few and the sun was shining and the weather was set.



My family were a few minutes late but we got going OK. The plan had initially been to go to Tignes but the firm morning snow (and the slopes to Tignes would be very firm after a hard freeze overnight and the fact that they face west so would not soften up for a while) meant that instead we did a couple on Grand Pre whilst we waited for things to soften up. However there was a stiff wind blowing which put the stoppers on that plan as a couple of the team were chilly in the wind. Instead we stayed Val side and ended up doing a run to La Daille amongst other places. It was a pretty pleasant morning all in all although the two girls (who love musical theatre) sung at the top of their voices (good voices) as many songs as they could remember the words for going up Mont Blanc on more than one occasion... a little embarassing but hey they were happy!

The main downer of the morning was getting on the Marmottes lift so I could get back to town and prepare for my afternoon session. I was just about to go through the turnstyle and had been queing patiently when (in a rush) a certain instructor from a certain ski school (no names) skipped through the queue as quickly as possibly... I was half way through my turn to go through the barrier when this happened.... to be honest I was not really focusing on what was going on but all I knew was that the young racer kids this woman was with were suddenly shoulder barging me out the way... since I was ahead of them in the queue and already half way through the turnstyle I just held my ground. This INFURIATED said instructor and the next 2 mins or so was a mix of a hit (from her) with a ski pole, screaming her head off at me, trying to grab by unzipping first, my ski pass from my pocket and demanding to ski my carte pro qualification documentation and finally yanking my hood on my jacket and virtually ripping it off. It was a sudden onslaught and I was bewildered and only 'escaped' when I saw a gap open up on the next chair and jumped on it.... I reckon a minute longer and this rage she was in would have escalated and I reckon she would have had a swing at me. I did tell her it was not for her to demand to see my pass and qualifications etc but I was rather bewildered as I said by it all. So that was a truly unsettling thing.... only the third occasion in 11 years here where I have had an incident with said ski school - and they wonder why they get a bad reputation (although there are some very good instructors in their ranks it must be said and some of them are trying very hard to change the image of the school!). Anyway there you go.

I only had about 15 mins down the hill to compose myself before meeting for my afternoon lesson. A friendly couple from Reading. They knew the off piste in Tignes well but wanted a session to explore what Val had to offer. Taking an afternoon off piste lesson ESPECIALLY at this time of the year that keeps it safe as the mountain falls down around you in the heat is not that easy and again ESPECIALLY since it has been a while since the last snowfall! Anyway a few little tricks and some lovely Spring snow in Sunny Bowl and we had a fantastic time. By about 2pm it was getting seriously warm so we had little option other than to go upstairs to the Val glacier and the Pays Desert in particular! I have to say I was rather satisfied with what I found!


Beautiful Spring clean snow ready to be skied in Sunny Bowl

As soon as skiing was over I rushed back into town as had to get some jobs done which lasted a couple of hours and in the rush I totally forgot to do my periscope today - woops!

We popped around to Clares mums chalet for kids play time and dinner and then got Olivia home before she fell asleep - it has been a jolly tiring week for her. Clare ended up having to take Olivia to the doctors this afternoon too as a rash on her chest has gotten worse and worse in the last couple of days - turns out it is just bad eczema in this case!

I got Olivia into bed and had dinner ourselves and suddenly it is this time of the day again - im tired so am off to bed in a moment!

endoman.... especially for you a few photos from back in 2014 of the old village of Tignes that is normally submerged under the dam waters; as the link doesnt work as you say anymore:



Old road bridge to Tignes as shown (from other side but with water where I am standing now) a couple of days a go!




This is the gorge under the bridge (above) that is normally totally submerged

Looking the other way from the bridge towards the dam!


TTFN



pics of tignes
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@Steve Angus, she sounds like a lunatic and should be reported imho.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Hi Steve, thanks for a great afternoon today! You found some great snow despite the summer temps! We really enjoyed it. Will be back for more next season. Nick and Lisa.
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You'll need to Register first of course.
V interesting piccies of old Tignes, thanks.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
@Steve Angus, was that violent instructor from the Ecole de Savage Femmes? You did well not to retaliate. Reporting it would probably be a waste of time and met with a shrug rolling eyes
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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!
Cool pics! thanks for sharing. Shame about the loony ski instructor.
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You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
Must be quick

Im going to be real quick tonight as have been out for a meal and it has been a long day and im shattered (again).



So this morning I had a family friend of the family I am teaching this week and next. Despite being incredibly nervous and dismissive of what she would be able to do she did pretty well for lesson 1. By hook or by crook we got there and she ended up being able to do a run on the short magic carpet up top before we ran out of time.

A brief family lunch at the Ouillette with the extended family and then Clare, Olivia and I did a run on the long magic carpet. She is doing so very well... turning by herself and all sorts down there.... blooming brilliant!

I came home and changed before running a few errands in town etc and a couple of phone calls.

Then it was down to La Daille and a good client of TDC had invited all the team down for a beer and some nibbles and in the sun it was so nice. For an hour we all enjoyed a beer or two and it was lovely and social. I got more details of the new lift and groundworks they are going to be doing down there. So for a starter the new gondola which is essentially going to replace the La Daille gondola and chairlift is going to start pretty much where the current chair is but finish on the Tommeuse side of the Folie Douce (I thought it was going to finish where the chair currently finishes but alas not).... that is a 2018 Summer project! They are also planning on redoing the lands around the base of the building and around the Tufs restaurant to make it more snow sure through the use of the new snow cannons but they are also looking at the option of trying to develop the area of land on the La Daille side of the garage down there coming down towards the Rosie Blanche.... they want to be put some shops and apartments in there apparently.... who knows when / if this will happen but sounds exciting if it does!

However before long it was time to get back on the bus and back into town and Olivia was around at her cousins apartment having a bath before we put her down for a sleep for a few hours whilst all the adults headed to Le Lodge for a really nice meal out. It was really yummy meal!

I picked Olivia up and put her in her push chair (she woke up briefly) to get her home and that brings you all up to date... now I really must get to bed after sharing todays periscope with you.

https://www.pscp.tv/SteveAngusSnow/1vAxRgOqdONKl?autoplay&t=2

TTFN
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
My bedroom balcony faces down towards Lac Chevril. If driving into Val, just before you get to the LD roundabout, an enormous rock has come to a halt half way down the scree on the left hand side. It's around 10m3 (over 20t) and level with my balcony, so about 30m above the road.

It wasn't there two weeks ago and I can't imagine it will be there for long. It looks very precarious.

When passing under it in the car, cross your fingers!! Shocked Shocked
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