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

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
moseyp - ! absolutely fine!
bar shaker - certainly is
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Thanks @Steve Angus
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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?
Well that was good

It was chilly this morning and will be for another couple of days. With blue skies and the 20cm of snow from yesterday that was always going to have been largely untouched it was going to be a special day.

Olivia was on top form this morning which meant for a very pleasant start to the day!

Anyway Damien turned up on his own... a friend in the group was injured and needed some help getting to the doctors (it turned out that he had a punctured lung!) and we were off... in search of moguls!

So lots and lots of laps of Tommeuse followed and we some great improvements were made but most importantly I think he simply was more confident in knowing what to do... bravo!

I took lunch at the Gourmandine and caught up with a friend before getting the off piste gear and heading off for some fun in the snow... after a few warm ups off the side of the Verte it was show time... we found some AMAZINGLY deep and light pow in a secret spot on the Jardins de Borsat then we jumped over the back to a Tour du Charvet and boy it was in awesome condition.... PLENTY of pow turns to be had.

We finished off with a cheeky trip down Prime S... well skied out but in wonderful condition non the less.

I had a few jobs to do at our other apartment and then home for kids bath time. Clare is out this evening with some friends (CONGRATULATIONS TO HANNAH B who finished her ISTD BASI 4 TODAY) and I'm having a lazy evening... boy I'm shattered and looking forward to bed!

Some photos and my periscope to finish today.

TTFN


Damien looking happy


Making fresh tracks with my seasonnaires this afternoon


An example of safe skiing... my colleague Kieran firstly puts his students in a safe place before sending them down one at a time and then they collect where he is standing... another safe(r) stopping point.

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

P.S. Last full day off tomorrow for a VERY long time - yay!
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Hi Steve! I am the one with the punctured lung, now recovering in Bourg hospital. Also, as a frequent Val skier since 1983, a regular fan of your blog, which brings to life for me the passing seasons here. Please keep up the good work!
Damien is full of praise for his lessons with you, which did him a lot of good.
Best wishes to you and yours.
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Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Peterkct - firstly thanks for getting in touch and glad you enjoy the postings.... so sorry to hear about the lung - hope you can get home soon. Glad Damien enjoyed the lessons - he really improved a lot - goes to show when people apply themselves big changes can be made!

A day off

Yes folks my feet are happy - they spent the day out of boots!!!!

I spent the morning (after we ALL had a lie in) with Ben as Clare took Olivia for a ski and it was a relaxed morning at that at home.

We had a nice family lunch and then this afternoon and this evening the main event for me was a trip down the mountain to do a huge Super U shop -enough to see us through the Feb HT madness. By the time the car is collected from our underground parking, driven down and reversed and then put all the food away it is a multi hour boring job but it is done for a few more weeks now - yay!

Ill use Radio Val's awesome photo today and there is also my link to my periscope:



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

The only other piece of local news is that it is COLD still - really cold - -17 plus a lack of sun atop the mountain and light breeze means it feels way colder than that! Wrap up warm as it is likely to stay cold for a few more days yet - however I am puzzled as to how it will feel that cold when we have the mini retour coming up from the south on Monday - hmmm we shall see!

The lifts have moved into middle season opening hours now mean that they are open longer which is a good AND the regional councils have been meeting and one of the big things on their agenda is to encourage tour operators up and down the valley to consider the option of moving transfer days to a Sunday as opposed to a Saturday to try and ease the pressure on (amongst other things) the roads.... hmmm we shall see whether that happens or not!

Back to work tomorrow morning....

TTFN
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@Steve Angus, good luck with the half term lunacy snowHead Is it just the UK holiday that goes bonkers or do the French school holdays have a big effect too?
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@Steve Angus, gorgeous photo, looks like a chocolate box.

Mark Warner already do Sunday transfers and have done for years. I hope all the other tour operators don't follow because Saturdays on the slopes are so lovely and quiet!
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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!
@HoneyBunny - agree with your sentiments. Saturdays are the best! YSE have also done Sunday transfers for as long as I can remember - it is one of their selling points. Interestingly, I just had an e-mail from Alpine Action (who go to various other resorts but not EK) asking my opinion on Sunday transfers so it would seem to be a consideration by multiple operators. It will totally defeat the object if they all change!
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I would have thought the availability of planes to charter as well as the capacity of the likes of Grenoble and Chambery would limit the number of TO's that can switch?
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I don't imagine they are trying to get all tour operators to switch, just trying to get some to switch so the traffic is spread across the days more evenly. This helps nearly everyone:
- Sundays will be quieter on the slopes, good for people who stay Sat - Sat
- More people will stay Sun - Sun and get their quiet day on Saturday
- Coach operators can make better use of their vehicles. Instead of needing two coaches on Saturday, they can make two journeys with the same coach, one on Saturday and one on Sunday.
- Similarly for airports, easier to spread the traffic, although it means the airlines need to do at least two flights per weekend (many routes already are, so not really an issue)

The only people who it doesn't help are locals who know about the peak traffic and use it to their advantage - ski on Saturday and head down to town on other days.
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moosepig - the French holidays in their own right are bonkers too... if they overlap with the UK holidays then it is doubly crazy! In reality we usually have 3 weeks in a row when it is crazy busy yes! The Parisian weeks are crazy!

HoneyBunny, Vasta, Sailskibum and thelem - all good observations and points. Essentially they are not wanting all tour ops to change... they just want more equal numbers between the Saturdays and Sundays that is all. I dont think it would mean the slopes are particularly quiet / busy on Saturday / Sunday but the whole weekend would be mellow compared to Monday - Friday! There would be many very good knock on's with the transfer buses and airports too. Here in Val there are proportionally large numbers of tour ops that do Sundays e.g. YSE etc... however in many other resorts the Sunday option is not established yet. Another issue is that hotels and self catering apartments that are 'French' outfits for the most part follow the French norm of Saturday to Saturday holidays - this is the way across France whether Winter Sport holidays or not! So the industry is shaped into thinking Saturday is the way to go... but there is no real reason for keeping it that way especially amongst British clientele... Historically ski schools etc all used to start on a Sunday hence the need to get out to resort on a Saturday to start on the Sunday but that need is disappearing more and more... so why not try and replicated across the valley and make so many advantages!
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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.
A fun morning

It was a casual start to the day as Olivia had a lie in and Clare / Ben too... but it was a chilly start when I got out there.... it was to be another day of nothing really weather wise... one moment it wants to cloud over and the next the sun wants to come out whilst all the time remaining cold - very cold!

I met my client, a cheerful lady from the home counties. She claimed she was nervous and with only a couple of weeks behind her I was surprised when she said she was game to take on blues and reds... I was more surprised when she really meant it and was rather natural. It was a case of 'I say it and she simply did it'.... it was a very easy 'transaction' of a morning. One of the great things about people that have the attitude and aptitude and athletism with not too much experience is that they can be shaped very quickly. It was a great morning and I'm looking forward to more on Tuesday!

Lunch was back home and then a very lazy afternoon followed... including a family movie and watching the rugby. We finished the day off with a family meal and then getting the tired kids into beds!

Not too much else to report really from today!



A CATEX station above the OK / Orange piste.

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

TTFN
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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
Hey @Steve Angus, do you know why Grand Motte was closed today? Here until Friday and would like to get up as haven’t before. Thanks
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
.... it has been closed for a while - damage from the storms we had and still plenty of deneigning to be done... has been closed for ages. Unless anyone else has any other info on it. Not sure when they will finally get it open again?!?!?!
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
@Steve Angus, oh that’s a shame. Thanks
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@moseyp, The winds on 16th Jan exceeded 250km/h (as high as the anenometer can record) so we are probably lucky that anything remains on the mountain. The cable car has been shut since then.
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A few people from the chalet we were in last week spent a while skiing from the lifts by the grand motte. Apparently the cars were able to cross on Friday whereas the first try they didn't... Was moving very slowly!
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
All the British TOs used to do Sat-Sat weeks, but some decided to change to Sun-Sun as they were able to get cheaper flights & transfers (and hence increase their profits). The advantage for their punters (as used by the TOs to 'sell' the change) was avoiding the Saturday chaos at Geneva airport and quicker transfers between airport and the resorts. If more and more holidays become Sun-Sun I'm guessing these advantages for both TOs and punters will disappear.
Strangely enough the TOs took a few years to pick up on the advantage of 'quiet slopes Saturday' as a further selling point.
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A little insight to the ice on Grand motte. https://www.facebook.com/TignesUK/videos/563671827298614/
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bar shaker - yea too right... Randomsabreur - not quite sure what you mean sorry? Rob_Quads - great video - thanks for posting... just goes to show people how much goes on behind the scenes!

Kenzie - think they just would like to even it out between Saturday and Sunday thats all but good points there.
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That was rather interesting

It was a strange day... it is not often that you dont get the morning booked but with an afternoon booking it was a strange morning. Packing Olivia off to school and then catching up on some admin and then as Clare and Ben went out I managed to watch some of the ski racing that I had recorded over the week - go Lyndsey Vonn!!!!

After lunch I started my day on snow with my periscope:

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

... and then met my clients for the lesson... a couple from London - both different levels but in all respect the wife with a little tweaking more than made up the ground so by the end of the lesson they were both skiing at about the same level / speed as each other.... good work Sun!

Straight after skiing and collecting Olivia off the school bus a couple of SH's whom I teach a fair bit popped up for a cuppa and some cake and Olivia and Ben duly entertained them...

I have just been up to our other apartment to see in our new tenants for the week and after dinner here I am once again!

Weather wise it was chilly today and that was mainly due to the lack of sun and a stiff breeze blowing. The air temp is still quite low but not unseasonably. However with the other factors it was jolly chilly out there.

The wind is coming from the south and east so it is a mini retour we are getting and that is bringing some snow at altitude along the Italian border! It will be interesting to see how much actually arrives!



I think we will have a few more days of this strange and unsettled weather to come!

In other news the plans and details for the new Solaise Hotel at the top of the Solaise where the old cable car station was were released today!

So they are talking about 10 hotel rooms and 6 (large) apartment available for renting... however interestingly they are going to be build some sort of a 'dormitory' with 14 beds in it to so that it is a little more affordable for the average person... the definition of average is their definition I hasten to add! So prices in the dorm will be from €100 a night and the suites from €800 or so a night!!!! There will also be a 20m swimming pool. However the good news is that it will be open in both Summer and Winter.... IGNORING the incorrect mountain scenery in the background this is what it is due to look like!!!!



TTFN
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It turned into quite a nice day after about midday, but not a day to be on the Val glacier - we were heading that way but abandoned that plan - Cascades lift has been mighty cold on a sunny day in March and today it was far from that at 11.30ish, a few (probably more than a few) below zero and very windy, so back to Solaise for us via the up and over. The sun came out and mostly stayed out all afternoon, albeit with some milky cloud cover, so we had an excellent time on Arcelle, Marmottons and a couple of trips back down to Laisinant and a late trip down Plan M which was as mad as ever in the afternoon. A much better day than the forecast. The snow is lovely in the cold weather, grippy, generally quite fast but with very few icy patches so far. Hoping for a similar day in Les Arcs tomorrow and really hoping to be back in the Tarentaise in March!
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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!
Loganberry - good little report there - thanks for sharing.

Also folks I forgot to post this weeks TDC Weather / Snow report earlier:

https://www.facebook.com/tdcski/videos/10156067895938607/
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Quote:

prices in the dorm will be from €100 a night


Wow! Will people really pay that to listen to 13 other people snoring?!?
Think we'll stick to our lovely €250 for the week studio over in Le Lac for our annual mid April trip to the Espace Killy!
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And a huge thank you Steve Angus for all your excellent and very informative posts during the season. I’ve been following your updates and some Periscopes when I have had time for the last couple of years and of course more keenly as our trips approach - we’ve squeezed in a bonus 3 days this month to celebrate Mrs L’s Big birthday and it’s been great to have your local knowledge in advance. Keep up the good work Very Happy
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@Steve Angus, looking forward to seeing you on Wednesday afternoon with my wife

Thanks for all the great updates!
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
@Loganberry, rather than ski the carnage that is the lower slopes of Plan M in the afternoons, we take the black Rhöne Alpes and then turn left after the narrower section. This brings you out to the top of the BMW slalom courses and a short trip down here has you re joining the outflow from Plan M. The black is the easiest in EK and a dubious black rating at best. Some reds are at least as steep (eg the top of Orange).

You can often be the only ones on Rhöne Alpes and it is a much more pleasant way to finish a day on Solaise than the crowded mogul field as you pass under the gondolas.
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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
@bar shaker, don't tell everyone! wink snowHead
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You know it makes sense.
@bar shaker, The only time I ever ski that horrible bit on Plan M is to cut off onto the path to the Clochetons. Now that's closed I doubt I'll ever ski it again!
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HoneyBunny wrote:
@bar shaker, The only time I ever ski that horrible bit on Plan M is to cut off onto the path to the Clochetons. Now that's closed I doubt I'll ever ski it again!


Plan M is an amazing piste early in the day but late in the afternoon is rarely that enjoyable. If I've had a good day, I'm happy to download from Solaise in the gondolas.
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@bar shaker, that’s a great tip and we will try that out next time. We have ski-ed Plan M earlier in the day and I agree that it’s a great run when it’s not too busy (much like Santons of course, which can be a very enjoyable piste or littered with bodies, depending on when you venture down it Toofy Grin) Actually there was a blood wagon recovery in progress as we came down Plan M yesterday...
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Quote:

we take the black Rhöne Alpes


Yes indeed! M, Rhone-Alpes & Combe Martin is a classic descent down the nose of Solaise. You pop out of the trees onto the bunny slope for a quick snowplough back to the lift to repeat the dose Smile
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
swiftoid - HA HA - nice!
Loganberry - Very Happy Very Happy
rossyl - great all locked and loaded and ready for tomorrow - cool!
bar shaker / moosepig / HoneyBunny / Loganberry / red 27 - yea all sensible... can get a little interesting at the end of the Rhone Alpes though as it gets very narrow and winds its way through the trees and onto Combe Martin etc - usually very slippy but in many ways nicer than the Plan M descent to the bottom for sure!
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Chilly

We'll today was the last day for a long time that I was not working a full day - I expect the last couple of slots at the end of next week (weekend) to get booked up which will mean that I am fully booked from the 7th Feb until the 20th non stop (think it is)... so anyway I tried to make the most of it.

It was another chilly morning and overcast skies... in fact whilst I remember I have an omission to make - I forgot to take a photo of the day therefore I will have to use Radio Val's pic - pretty much sums things up nicely though.



So with overcast skies and stiff breeze blowing once again it was a chilly day. I met Natalie again and we headed up Solaise for a change. As she has not had a HUGE amount of experience she had worked hard on some of the things we had worked on a couple of days ago but invariably she had picked up a few errors that we had to iron out and iron out we did. I threw in a descent down the Arcelle which she loved and then at the end down the Plan M and apart from 1 fall it was a perfect descent.... both those Rreds are a great achievement for someone with only 3 weeks or so of experience! Well done and see you next time.

I popped to Chevallot for some lunch and then headed home and Clare popped out skiing for a couple of hours. I managed to get a few jobs done and make a few calls.

Apart from that not to much else to report from today...

It was obviously a bad memory day as I also only managed to remember to do my periscope at the last minute...

[url]https://www.pscp.tv/w/1yoKMkRyoXDJQ[/b]

Radio Val published some interesting stats reflecting on the incredible weather we had in January 2018 - a month that will long go down in history as quite unique...

* Highest windspeed recorded on the 17th January up the Fornet glacier of 270km/h
* 14 days of PIDA clearance work out of 22 days!
* They have already used 600kg extra of explosives this season than last!
* Over 3000 hours of overtime were recorded by the road clearers alone in January 2018!
* Nearly 11000 hours of work to remove all the snow required around the resort alone!
* 50 snowgun poles were ripped off around the resort and some have still not been found!
* Some 16 days of the season has been lost for some mountain restaurants that could not open!
* The ESF estimated they lost out on some 100,000 euros worth of bookings

Crazy stuff!

TTFN
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@Steve Angus, hiya Steve/anyone - I have a question - I seem to remember there is a little "gully" to the skiers-left of Verte piste, between Marmottes and Mont Blanc chairs? I remember seeing quite a few people down there... is it a thing? Does it have a name? Is it fun? Safe? Easy? Thanks!
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done it many times. Good fun. Starts high up. Look for entry from borsat lift. Continues after snow park to tommeuses.
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alansk wrote:
@Steve Angus, hiya Steve/anyone - I have a question - I seem to remember there is a little "gully" to the skiers-left of Verte piste, between Marmottes and Mont Blanc chairs? I remember seeing quite a few people down there... is it a thing? Does it have a name? Is it fun? Safe? Easy? Thanks!


It starts under the Borsat Express (they were joking when they named this lift!) and can be accessed from Borsat or Genepi pistes. You pop up at Eidelweiss and Creux as it is filled in for these pistes to cross it. It continues after Thomuesses to join the lower part of the Vallée Perdu where the sides get steeper and it narrows.

The upper parts (above Thomuesses) are very safe but gets tracked out quite quickly. Think of Santons... without the trains of ski school kids snowHead
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After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
looking at the piste map, which is the best way to do the up and over lift for dramatic effect, left to right or right to left.
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compostcorner wrote:
looking at the piste map, which is the best way to do the up and over lift for dramatic effect, left to right or right to left.


Right to left imv. They both give you the curlies though.
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I agree with @Thesixquidman, although there isn't much in it. My memory is the drop off is a bit steeper heading toward Le Fornet than towards Solaise.
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