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

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
@Steve Angus, have you known such a quantity of snow in a short period since being based in Val D?
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
I have friends flying into chambery early this afternoon to travel to Val D'Isere, can anyone advise what the transfer is looking like at the moment in terms of time/potential weather delays?
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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?
https://www.facebook.com/1130303713650017/videos/2356574754356234/

Looking a bit fresh!!
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@ian66, Wouldn't fancy a crosswind landing today Shocked
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Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
me neither, *almost makes me glad to be in work!
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they're currently still stuck in Manchester, 150 minute delay and counting.....
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
@GeorgeVII, nice video!
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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!
GeorgeVII wrote:
https://www.facebook.com/1130303713650017/videos/2356574754356234/

Looking a bit fresh!!


Sod that!

Everything looks to be shut now. Blowing a hoolie - yet mild and soggy in town. Definitely a day for beer pong.
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HoneyBunny wrote:
GeorgeVII wrote:
https://www.facebook.com/1130303713650017/videos/2356574754356234/

Looking a bit fresh!!


Sod that!

Everything looks to be shut now. Blowing a hoolie - yet mild and soggy in town. Definitely a day for beer pong.


If I was still doing seasons in Tignes it would be a 'laundry day'. Sad
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PeakyB - yes every so often we do get these weather events BUT two separate weeks in short succession like this is rare... the quantity of snow is healthy yes.

ian66 - dont think there should have been any specific delays on the road as such... just heavy rain in the valley etc with winds - the airport end is where the delays would have occurred I should have thought! Either way I am not sure they will have made it in to Chambery at all with these winds and likelihood of being diverted elsewhere will have been high!

GeorgeVII - yes good clip - that is what it was like up there - and it has gotten worse and worse!

So todays update coming up...
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snowHeads are a friendly bunch.


Thanks to Radio Val for that photo but that pretty much sums it up for me today...

WINDY!

So it was a most unexpected start to the day - there had basically been no wind overnight and also not too much in the way of snow - well not much for what we thought there might have been. However (put it down to years of living here, a degree in Geography (physical things like weather) and a general interest in the weather and forecasting it) I just new that things were about to change - oh yes they were soon to do so!

Anyway I suited and booted as you never can tell and off we went... There was going to be quite a lot of PIDA av control work to be done therefore I shifted the start and end time a little to make the most of the skiing time, which also meant that I could drop Olivia off for her lesson. We waited for the bus and saw a slide come down which Olivia thought was pretty cool and we also got to watch the snow clear doing his thing. Anyway the freezing level was pretty high so it was a very wet snow that was falling. Anyway we got to the drop off point for her lesson and she was so excited but the wind was starting to get up (it turns out that within about an hour from zero wind there was already 120+km/h winds atop the Bellevarde being reported in gusts)... anyway I was more concerned about the dampness...

I met the client and I could see that they were doing a test run on the Solaise and Olympique lifts so I had hope!!!! Anyway we initially did a couple of laps on the Rogoney getting things going but the queues were pretty horrendous and the winds were certainly getting up! However Mark was keen to get up the mountain if we could so we bused it down to La Daille and got on the Funival and headed up. Lots of people took one look and turned back around and went down but we went out.... Once you get past the first few hundred metres and the driving wind and hailstones in your face it was not too back... the snow was OK actually! It was really only when we got below the Folie that things were a little easier to continue with the lesson. Percerverence (sp?) was name of the game really. However as we got lower the winds were catching us up and the dampness in the snow was making things physically quite tricky! However by the time we got to the bottom not only were we running out of time but the Funi was now closed. With my weather station and its connectivity to my app on my phone I could see the wind speeds were creeping up and up. So after waiting a rather long for a bus it really was like London buses in that 3 turned up. Anyway we bussed it back into town and I dropped Mark at the l'Etincelle where they had been promised a special meal by the manager to make up for the NYE fiasco they had in there.... its quite nice in there actually:



I then had a quick meeting in town with am instructor app thing that is being launched to allow people to book lessons easier when they are in resort....

However by the time I came out of that and popped up to the slopes to do a quick periscope EVERYTHING had shut - I think in 12 years here that is only the second time I have seen that happen... however for some reason I lucked out as when I broadcast there was a little break in the weather (well relatively).

https://www.pscp.tv/w/1mnxerzNgmoKX

It was obvious that the reason they finally decided to close the lifts, even the nursery slope lifts, was because trees (I had seen similar skiing down to La Daille earlier) and branches were being blown down:


That is the top of the Village lift you can see!!!!

Anyway I made it home OK and at about the same time I heard the news coming though that wind speeds of well over 200km/h were being reported up high!!!!! The av risk was going through the roof and in fact a huge slide came down across the road up to Fornet - for a while they were worried (sent pisteurs and dogs) that had a car under it - but that was unfounded! Anyway the slide was 100m wide and covered the road under 4m of snow.... the preventative measures for keeping roads open / warning pedestrians not to walk outside the town centre etc etc have been running all day. The road to Tignes is closed from 10pm tonight until 6am tomorrow and the train rouge is only running to and from La Daille. Anyway when they finally did open the road to the Fornet it only allowed one convoy of train rouge buses (and anyone else wanting to drive with the convoy) to and from Fornet at about 6pm this evening. This convoy had pisteurs and police in escort to make sure everyone got both ways safely!


View from the front of the bus this evening as it cut its way through the avalanche debris up to the Fornet!

With the HEAVY winds and snow forecast tonight and into tomorrow I think we really will be looking at a 5/5 black flag day so could have a 100% closure - certainly initially anyway! Even this afternoon it was quite weird to think they were giving lift pass refunds! Tomorrow could be an interesting one!

Needless to say this afternoons lesson had to be cancelled - good old insurance letters to the rescue!

A couple of other things... the resort are saying that this week is showing record attendance for the holiday period in the resort...

The tourist office are also saying that despite the huge numbers of people in town and when the weather was good the other day the waiting time for the new magic carpets (Pim and Pam) atop Solaise to 'get back up' never exceed 4 minutes - I'm not sure that is strictly true but the queues are moving quickly in general there! They are also saying that with the new Datcha lift in place there are generally around about 10000 rides on that lift a day now versus 6500 for a typical day last winter - so that lift is proving useful and effective! However the transcorde up there - looks like they are going to decommission it!

Right i think that is all for now... I sit here listening to the wind (we are on the top floor) whistling and shaking the building... the wind gauge is off the scale and we are in for a rough ride tonight and into tomorrow so lets see what we have to play with tomorrow!

TTFN
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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, by some margin, the best ever forum thread.
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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
@Steve Angus, yes, great thread. Just the conditions to justify reopening the drag lift to the Tunnel, to access those quiet slopes high above La Fornet, when the cable car, gondola and up 'n' over chair are closed. wink
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Mega weather! Stay safe. Really enjoying the updates as we all do every winter!
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Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
200kph is 124mph. I would imagine the snow will have been blown off the ridges and exposed runs. Will be interesting to see what is left up at The fornet glacier when that eventually opens.

Riveting blog steve Shocked
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Thanks @Steve Angus, it's exciting to read your blog - and actually be there to experience it too!

We are one of the many tourists in this week... 10 hour bus journey from Geneva Airport to Tignes last Saturday! On our side of Tignes Val Claret, only the Bollin lift was open and it was such a gusty wind and ice blowing in my face (decided I needed to follow Rule 5 and check out what skiing was like in tough conditions... Shocked)! At times I couldn't feel the ground due to the wind and snow in all directions and wasn't moving forward despite pointing the skis downward on a slope. I couldn't see much in front of me either. The wind certainly hit us pretty much the same as the photo above... Shocked

Here's hoping for a better day tomorrow... snowHead
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Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@aewynia, hope conditions improve for you very soon.

We had a similar week, unforgettable, late Jan 1999.
First day managed a few runs down from Palafour. Next 4 days snowed into Rosset hotel in Le Lac, constant blizzard. Last day a few lower lifts opened. Got to Les Brev, took half a day to get there. Mini avalanche blocked road back to Le Lac, stuck in Les Brev several hours. Got up early next day for coach to airport to a bluebird sky!

Stay safe.
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Road to BSM closed due to mudslide risk
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They have called a 5/5 av risk. Once every few years you see a blag flag day and today is one of those days. Things might get open at lunchtime.

Road closed cause of general slide risk to Bourg and Tignes closed (snow / mud water... Whatever).

Buses only really running between ucpa area and La daille.

40cm snow in town overnight and high winds continue at altitude. Snow / rain to fall all day. Possibly all night too.

More updates to follow
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Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
So 5/5 means NOTHING at all running ski wise
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Just posted on the SCGB Val FB page:

'We have just been to head of the technical dept and roads in la Daille , (friends car got whacked by a snow plough had to sort that)
The big boss there tells us the road out will NOT open until at least Friday afternoon at the earliest , the road needs to be stabilized and they cannot blast without a chopper and they cannot get a chopper out because of the bad viz
This came from the highest authority.'
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@Mike S, Tea Club rumours....

Check Radio Val - roads reopen at 1800.
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After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Sorry, the SCGB Val FB page has just been updated with the same information.
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Frosty the Snowman - thanks
PeakyB - yes perhaps if it werent a death trap in the tunnel - reason they closed it originally anyway!
Penelope - yes and thanks!
Peter S - I meant mph actually but good maths... yes it will be interesting to see what it is like when the dust settles and again thanks
aewynia - Very Happy
Mike S and chocksaway - I can confirm looking from my living room window that the road to BSM is open again yes!

Todays update to follow
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Crazyness

It was one of those days when photos best describe the action as taking photos was about the only action to be had!

So we awoke to another 40cm or so in town and the winds had died off certainly down here in town. The problem was that the prefecture had decided to close the road to Val (and others) so this meant that getting pisteurs and lifties here was going to be a problem!

Anyway it was warn at positive temps virtually from the off which did not bode well!

The road into Tignes was closed too so it was a little chaotic.

In a nutshell and without reliving every single second of the day basically they initially called it a 5/5 black flag morning so effectively the pisteurs and town are mainly working on keeping the town and people IN the town safe rather than the pistes... so there was no wandering out onto the snow front as they were blasting the face (and stuff was coming down it!).... apart from some test runnings of the lifts etc it was never going to look good and with the rain that developed (sort of watery snowy rain stuff all day) the av risk was off the scale.

So finally they made the call about mid morning that they were going to have the resort on lock down all day and still to this moment the road to Fornet is still shut off but they have just reopened the road to bourg in the last hour...


My old neighbour had this view when he opened his front door this am!


Official word of the 5/5 coming through at just after 9am when the first pisteurs were able to make assessments


The road in and out of the resort is closed - they had police and large snow barriers blockading the road all day long


You dont see that 5/5 very often and Henry from HAT got this photo - I got a photo too of the one at the bottom of the Olympique... see the physical and mystical black flag does exist - been YEARS since that has made an appearance...





Ummm skiing on the roads / pavements / pedestrianised areas is both dangerous AND illegal!!!


Even by lunchtime there were dozens of vehicles queuing up to leave Val!


Huge mounds of snow created by the snow clearers to be removed later in the day sit around town - those are my skis standing up - near Dicks Tea Bar!


Grainy photo but a large slide was right down the middle of the Face and there was a slide down into the Santel car park down here in La DAille this morning too...



So anyway things have eased off now and there was a lot of insurance letter writing going on around town today from the lift pass offices and the ski schools.

So back at home for most of the day it was a tv type day... I did take Olivia into town to go to the leisure centre so she could let off some steam in the soft play area which she loved but there are literally RIVERS of water all over town... tomorrow as the weather improves lets hope things will calm down!

Anyway I'm off to the seasonnaires program sign up night in town in a moment so I had better dash. Sorry it was a photo kinda update but the weather has been the only real talking point from today!

Stay safe and lets hope we get going and skiing tomorrow

TTFN
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@Steve Angus, fascinating update again and surely a contender for the most dramatic since your blog started way back when.
Hope things calm down and you all get to safely enjoy that fresh snow soon.
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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, That first pic reminds of one you posted from your apartment (old apartment?) a few years ago (I tried to find it but lots of the older pics seem to have disappeared). Toofy Grin
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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
ps. Hope everyone stays safe out there.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Steve Angus wrote:



My old neighbour had this view when he opened his front door this am!


oooooooof!! Shocked Shocked

Properly snowed in, amazing.

I'm so addicted to this blog, thanks for the updates Steve. Let's hope the weather improves. I honestly don't think I've ever seen so much snow in Val, or heard of such high winds. I wonder if anything up high got damaged. Shame it's been so mild, but it looks like yet more snow is on the way....
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Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Real life. Far more interesting than fiction. The go-to Snow heads thread. Cool
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I'm addicted to the blog and this thread too. We were in Val d'Isere over Christmas and an early transfer out on 30th meant we missed the worst of the travel problems, but didn't miss that last night of heavy snow, and being a massive a snow fan, I just had to go out and walk around in it:) We had a few days of good skiing before the weather turned, and experienced low vis days, zero vis at one point when we exited the Olympique! We had biting winds - blown to the Creux from the top of the Toviere, but this last week has been almost unbelievable, I have been watching avidly from afar, and find it quite astounding that resorts were in lockdown, and with wind, rain (rain - up so high!) and snow causing all the problems - I really feel for those who booked New Year week, but I guess it will be remembered as something special in its own weird way.
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PeakyB - thanks... "back in the day" springs to mind!

halfhand - yes you're are right ... do you mean this one...

and at the same time I took that one I also took this photo and I am guessing it will be VERY similar there now!!!!


HoneyBunny Great!!!!!! Toofy Grin Toofy Grin Toofy Grin - ill update later on but yes I think there has been some damage!

Peter S - that sounds like a quote you would read when referring to a film - again thanks!

Dubmuffin - yes it is an experience living through it it really is but poor people who were here this week pain in the back bottom!
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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?
Steve Angus wrote:
...poor people who were here this week...


I think that's what's called an oxymoron wink
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Yes, I admit it, I would be gutted to lose that much skiing time especially if it is your one week of the year, quite exceptional circumstances.
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Well that was better

It was warm overnight and it barely got close to freezing so the 'town' was still wet this morning but at least there was no wind and nothing falling from the sky - time to start skiing again!

Got Olivia to the meeting point - she was having an epic 6 hours of ski school today so (looking back now) it was a GREAT day for her and she got her first ski school medal at the end of the day - very proud mum and dad! Bless her, this afternoon they merged a couple of groups together and she ended up holding her own in a group with some MUCH bigger kids - up to the age of 10!!!! Anyway ill not chat about my personal life as it'll bore you!

My clients were a few mins late as the back road had a lorry that was totally stuck and a traffic jam built up so they ended up walking to the meeting point. Anyway after an issue with their lift passes we were off. I knew that it was going to be really limited openings as there was so much clearance to be done. They got the Olympique turning (as far as I am aware pretty much the main option all day was to ski to La Daille only and things like Fontaine Froid / Grand Pre / Borsat etc - non of those opened and neither did the link to Tignes either!) first and everyone shot up that side... 10 mins later and with half the resort now on that side of the hill the Solaise opened and again I new it was going to be limited opening first up. So when 9.30 we got to the top it was ONLY and I mean ONLY the short magic carpet open or ski back to town... I was not ready to take my lady down there just yet so we worked on some really tricky drills on there... half an hour later the Madelaine and long magic carpets opened... you can imagine the queues were rather long and even by mid morning the only other options up there were the Datcha lift... they were never going to open the link to the Fornet side today... more on that later!

So we had a good ski around on an insanely busier Madelaine - I have never seen a lift queue there stretching back to the Ouillette restaurant and the piste itself - to say it was crowded is an understatement!

At lunchtime I had it with Clare, Ben and Olivia at Crazy Barmes in town - it is actually pretty good value in there - a panini for something like €6 or something!

The afternoon I met a mother and 2 grown up children for their first ever ski experience bar a couple of hours at Hemel and we worked on the magic carpets up Solaise again and we were lucky as the clouds parted and the sun came out - yay! It was a good afternoon and they progressed loads - well done!

As mentioned above I attended Olivia medal ceremony after skiing and then got back and I am really looking forward to getting into bed tonight - I am shattered!

My periscope from today:

https://www.pscp.tv/w/1ynJOopOvDXJR

The av risk was 4 today and tomorrow it might go down as this wet snow solidifies nicely overnight as the temps will probably drop right off tonight with the clear skies. However we are looking at some serious weather coming in next week again!


OOOOOOWWWWWW

In local news the resort is trying to get back on its feet again but the amount of avalanches that have come down is staggering - the Santons / Clochetons areas look like a war zone and 'worst' of all was a huge slide that came down from the top of Solaise / down the Danaides wall and into the Piste L / Laisenant Express lift area... this will take a few days to sort out and see if any damage has been done!


About 100 trees were demolished in this slide they reckon!


Olivie (in the pink color) gets her first ski school award


So much snow the Pim Pam magic carpets are very dark when you are inside them at the moment!


Yay the sun came out to play this afternoon!


The pisteurs take down the black flag and replace it with...


the black and yellow (in this case 4/5) avalanche flag!


All calm on the western front.


Finally for today I thought I would share some photos that the Val pisteurs posted from today... some incredible shots here:


There she goes - the gasex's triggered a huge slide down the guts of 'sunny' bowl towards the Col poma lift and the Fornet gondola pylons are visible in the foreground!


There the hand charge goes and...


Poof off it goes - this is the ridge line near the Pyramids lift at the Fornet!


This is an alternative view / angle of the slide that has come down onto Piste L




When the pisteurs do their work they have a team putting the charge with the fuse then at least one (in this case 2) observers noting the reaction (if any) and logging it... so in this case this photo is taken right under where the Valon gondola at Fornet leaves the lift station near the Signal restaurant and they are trying to protect the top of the Mangard piste.


Before sunrise the team made their way to their spots in Fornet ready for clearance work - after blasting the 'clean up' will start and by tomorrow they should be able to get much of the Fornet open!

TTFN!
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@Steve Angus, WOW! Amazing pics. Hope you and guests get a decent day or two before next snow dump arrives. At least the wind speed is dropping.

Congrats to Olivia, first award of many. Pencil 2034 Winter Olympics in calendar.

As always, stay safe snowHead
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@Steve Angus, Yep that was the one Toofy Grin
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After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Ah the Sun - how I have missed you

It was not cold overnight but we had a light freeze which continues to help the snow pack and the pistes!

The sun was shining and with it being the end of the school hols is was quieter on the slopes. I met my morning lesson and it was time to work on some technique on red runs... I found some tricky drills that would also challenge on some easier slopes to intersperse it up! However we spent most of the time on the Fontaine Froid and the snow was LOVELY on there although got a little bumpy later on.

The amount of snow in that sector is staggering and the slides that have come down have amongst other things damaged some of the snow making machines down there.... and there was evidence that slides had come right down and across the piste. It was also interesting to note that people were ducking ropes left right and centre in that area in order to ski the Epaule as well as Santons (?!?!!?!?!?!) and the Face - nutters / idiots!


Looking down from the Fontaine Froid lift you get an idea of how deep the hole is they are having to dig to get to the snow cannons that are rather buried down there... some of the cannons have been totally ripped apart up there though!


Taken from virtually the bottom of the Fontaine Froid lift and you can see how av debris has come right down to the flat area at the bottom almost!


The wind (reasonably light initially but got up a little - certainly at altitude) has swapped around so is now coming from the North - this is a Foehn / Lombard wind (warm) and comes up the from the med... However this also brings what we call a 'retour d'est' and the fact that you can see clouds building along the Italian border area (see photo above) is often a sign that here in Val we can have very heavy localised snowfall!

The damage to the Laisenant Express lift is minimal - thank goodness and with some tree surgeons and diggers they should be able to clear the route to reopen Piste L soon and hopefully by later in the week the lift should be back up and running! The pisteurs have also be up at the fornet and looking at the damage up there... nothing too extreme but a large slide made it all the way down to the loading area for the Cascade Chairlift so that coupled with the amount of snow that has fallen means it will take some time to get the lift out!

After my morning lesson I did my periscope:

https://www.pscp.tv/w/1YqJDLEkWELJV

.... and whilst I am talking about videos here the latest TDC Ski School weekly snow report is now out...

https://www.facebook.com/tdcski/videos/10155985939533607/

This afternoon was lovely and relaxed as I booked some time off so as a family we had a very chilled afternoon. Late afternoon I took a trip down the valley - partly to collect my father in law and his friend off the train and partly so I could collect a large food shop... Super U click and collect is pretty handy! So that pretty much took up about 4 hours doing all that and after dinner here I am.

Tomorrow the weather should deteriorate once again and we are expecting quite a lot of snow to come in and over into Monday - arghhh!

So that pretty much sums the day up. Not as exciting as yesterdays update but hey ho!

TTFN

PeakyB - ha ha will pencil it in indeed!
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@Steve Angus and @PeakyB, my group and I have safely arrived back home in the UK.

Saturday morning looked to be a lovely day and I was feeling a bit sad to leave on such a beautiful day... Our transfer picked us up 2 hours early (expecting horrendous traffic) but traffic was actually okay and some of the snowy bits in the valley had disappeared - nothing like our transfer journey up a week ago... we observed the rivers looked quite full and near the riverbanks.

However, Geneva Airport was a nightmare. They opened up a separate queue for security checks as the usual queue was getting ridiculous and there was like over an hour wait. The queue went on round and round (the security tapes) right up to the food court, so we were ushered downstairs to a separate side room next to terminal 1 (possibly connected on first floor). My friend nearly missed her BA flight due to queues... and EasyJet lost our ski luggage! This was yesterday evening...

Still waiting for boots and skis, hoping they’ll turn up on one of the Geneva-Manchester flights SOON... Confused

Friday was a good last day of skiing after an initial slow start to the day...so it was a good end to a VERY memorable ski holiday! Cool snowHead

Overall it was a challenging week but I believe the challenging conditions have helped me to improve... as a fairly new-ish skier (3rd year this season), it was my first experience of such snowstorms, as I have been used to skiing nice sunny days most of the time... hasn’t deterred my love of skiing - even with the up to 150km/hour winds and hailstones in my face! But could only do that for about 10 lift runs on the Bollin and then we decided to go in as it was getting a bit much... they soon closed the lift entirely after we went in so it wasn’t just me! Shocked

Keep safe everyone and looking forward to skiing E’space Killy once again in more favourable conditions! Keep up the fab blog @Steve Angus. Congratulations and looking forward to hearing more wonderful news about Olivia and your family! snowHead
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
@aewynia, that's a brilliant positive post and will certainly be welcomed by those heading up to EK today. Glad you enjoyed overall what us old timers refer to as a character-building week.
I agree that tough conditions help improve technique and, once the clouds go, you feel as if you're gliding effortlessly. Well almost anyway, in my delusional head, at least.

GVA eh rolling eyes . So much for the legendary efficiency of Switzerland on winter weekends there. A simple case of inadequate capacity...but they still keep selling all those landing slots.

You did well circling around the Bollin in 150km/h winds and hailstones. At the PSB, yours truly skied hard all over EK, including available black runs, without mishap. On the last day, in front of about 20 Oxbridge students in the queue, I fell off when trying to catch the Bollin chair and lay like a dying fly in the pit below Embarassed Laughing

The EK still best and better luck with weather next time!
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