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

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
alansk / endoman / bar shaker - Its what we call 'Crocodile Alley' as instructors for some unknown reason! Its fun - yes... like a mini natural half pipe. Safe - yes in terms of avalanche type things yes... Easy - yea pretty but the last bit down to the Mont Blanc chair often gets bumpy and a little steeper. But apart from that what everyone else talks about above is correct.

compostcorner - hmmm that is a question I've never been asked before... its very much 50:50 but I prefer coming from Fornet to Solaise as the views are better in my opinion and you often have any wind behind you which makes it nicer! Good both ways!
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What are the chances of that

In this 'game' you so often have people in your lessons that are in one of the following industries... medical (doctor / nurse etc), finance (banks, accountant etc) or legal (solicitor) or something similar like insurance brokers or something... however I had 2 people totally unconnected with each other today in very similar jobs morning and afternoon... shipping law!!!! Always a first for these things!

So today it was warmer (due to no clouds and no wind) which made it a lovely day. I must say that the pistes are starting in places to get a little firm under foot and it would be nice to get a little top up (which isnt gonna happen) before half term but I think by the looks of things you'll just have to get further from the centre (Bellevarde area basically) to get the best snow.

I met my am lesson and the 2 girls in their 20's were full of life and pretty neat little skiers... I did a lesson where I touched on 3 strands of skiing, carving, short turns and some moguls and we found all we needed down the Arcelle run and it was in great nick... Some carving down there certainly cleared the cobwebs out! I even managed to make use of the Marmottons piste down there to work on some moguls with them - its not often that I ski down there but I like that piste for some reason - perhaps I just love skiing moguls I dont know!

Lunch was taken in town and even though it was warmer than the last few days I still needed a warm up indoors....

The afternoon was spent with a fellow SH's and despite the sore heads on their sides... we had a wonderful afternoon. I could see that with only a few weeks of experience Ross had some seriously good habits worked into his skiing - there were no glaring errors yet it was simply a case of working the good stuff deeper into his skiing. The second half of the lesson we worked on moguls and it turned out to be a successful session! Well done team!

In local news the local taxi companies (not just in Val but across this area of the French Alps) are forming a group to oppose the increase in what they perceive as competitors which in their eyes are not following the rules. I do not know the ins and outs but I believe it is against some transfer outfits but in particular some eastern European 'illegals'... hmmm I shall be watching that with some interest.

A surprising stat emerged today from the tourist office... that of the number of skier days here this season....

"The cumulative number of skier days since the beginning of the season is down by 7.3%. So far it is 629,839 as of the end of last week."

Im a little surprised by this but the stats dont lie I guess!

Benoit Vidals Atelier d'Edmond up at Fornet keeps its 2 Michelin starts whilst the restaurants at the Barme de L'Ours and the Tsanteleina have 3 rosettes each! - Good work!

Finally local ski racer (also heading to the Olympics to represent France) Clement Noel today won the World Junior Slalom title - onwards and upwards to the Olympics next!

A few photos to finish with and my periscope too.



Which piste is that?


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

TTFN
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Steve Angus wrote:
Which piste is that?

I'd guess Arcelle, with the Manchet chair on the left.
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moosepig wrote:
Steve Angus wrote:
Which piste is that?

I'd guess Arcelle, with the Manchet chair on the left.


Yea of course - gave it away in my text!
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
It's also one of my favourite runs on Solaise when it's in good condition. Sadly when we normally visit in March it's often a ghastly ice rink lower down... of course you don't find that out until you're committed snowHead
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Is the 'skier days' figure down due to having to close the lifts in the recent snowstorms?
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moosepig wrote:
It's also one of my favourite runs on Solaise when it's in good condition. Sadly when we normally visit in March it's often a ghastly ice rink lower down... of course you don't find that out until you're committed snowHead


Made that mistake last year. Forgot you should never do Arcelle before lunch in March!! Icy corduroy all the way down. Gorgeous run when it isn't, I love to ski it non-stop top to bottom.
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After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Great photos @Steve Angus!
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moosepig[b] / [b]HoneyBunny - yea you gotta get your timing right... usually mid morning / late morning is best in the Spring time (April)... earlier in the Spring then lunchtime onwards
Kenzie - good question? Probably yes. Ironically when we have a 'good' snow Winter in the Alps places like Val are often down as there are more options but the opposite is true when the season is a bad one - everyone flocks to where it is likely to be the best - here!
bar shaker - thank you!
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Scratchy

The snow is certainly starting to get more scratchy out there and we really could do with a top up... whilst lots of the pistes are in excellent condition it doesn't take long until you get down to the underlying hard pack piste!!!! With the school holidays on the way I worry that there will be some nasty injuries and collisions so please be careful!

Anyway I fitted in my periscope first thing in the morning:

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

...then it was time to teach...

It was a lovely young couple from the west country.... it must be something in the air this week but they too were a little hungover. Anyway we decided to head towards the Fornet glacier and on the way did some work on the blue runs. As they had not had any lessons before in the 7 weeks or so of skiing there were a few things to tweak but as one of them was a professional gymnast the changes were quick and enthusiasm goes a long way when you are trying to get better! Anyway it turned into a really good morning I thought all in all... and there were smiles all round by the end of the session... more tomorrow folks!

At lunchtime I was getting a little warmth back into my feet back in the office - it is still a little chilly out there!

The afternoon was spent with my seasonnaires once again and we worked all afternoon on moguls... there were a funny few falls but I was impressed with the application the girls made and the boys toned down their 'muscle' approach to blast and recover style of skiing. Some good fun and great learning was made I think! Oh and thanks for the flap jacks Fran!!!!!

After skiing it was a busy schedule as I had to go to Killy Sport to try and get Bruno there to try and return my Snowpulse canister for a refill - alas he wasnt there at the time - darn it!

Then I had a couple of phone calls I needed to make before finally heading to see Doc Al... need to get a medical for something done! Phew... and just when I thought it was over I had to do the filming for our weekly TDC Snow Report video.... so it was nearly 6.30 before I got in....

Kids ready for bed, dinner and you guessed it I'm here once again!

The only other thing to report is that the traffic forecast for this weekend is out - a record number for the weekend as a whole is forecast.... 38000 vehicles on Saturday (ouch if you are on the road!) and 20000 on Sunday... it will be mighty busy out there.... leave real early to get up the hill or very late and you should miss the worst of it.



TTFN
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@Steve Angus, those vehicle numbers are insane! What area does that cover? There's no way 38000 vehicles are arriving in Val in a day, surely...
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
@moosepig I think that will be the numbers heading up the Tarentaise valley?
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@Steve Angus, Nice to see you the other day. Thanks for all your regular updates, much appreciated!!
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You know it makes sense.
moosepig / nemesys - yes that is coming up the valley from Albertville so all the resort including Val / Tignes / the Three Valleys, La Rosier etc etc etc.... gosh if it was just Val we would have a VERY big problem!

jonkgray78 - indeed - hope the course has gone well! Thanks and good luck!
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@Steve Angus, Thanks, I managed to pass, so thats good Smile
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That was nice!

Ill start today with some lovely photos of my afternoon off piste with my seasonniares - particularly the lovely time we had doing the Col Perl - simply wonderful conditions down there...




The not very 'impassable' Gorge du Malpasset at the end!

So this morning was very similar to yesterday in terms of whether - chilly but sunny! We headed up the Bellevarde side of things to continue where we were yesterday morning... lateral separation and then onto introducing pole plants... however to an extent we were working on regaining some confidence the wife lost yesterday afternoon after tackling a couple of descents that were probably a little too much for her!

It was a pleasant morning!

I took lunch at Chevallot bakery then met the girls for their last seasonnaires session of the season... it was time for an adventure of an afternoon... a little bit of technique on the way to a descent of the Grand Vallon.. it is mainly chalky and pleasant down there with some small bumps forming! The girls loved it but we had the Col Pers on the horizon for the next route.

So we headed up towards the Val glacier and when we got off the chair everyone under the sun seemed to be heading towards the Col... So the various routes / boot packs / traverse lines in were all packed with people heading that way... I was a little anxious that it was going to be a wait to actually get in but we found a line in pretty quickly and we were off. Apart from a number of groups with various other ski schools in there... some very large groups with only some people with off piste kit!!!!!.... we had the place to ourselves!

So we headed far right and found some nice clean lines of old wintery snow... and even the nice chalk snow was in perfect condition! The gorge was very full and getting back to Fornet a delight - it was really nice trip and there were lots of smiles all over their faces!

I had a drink with some colleagues after skiing and then headed home as Clares mum (the super baby sitter) arrived earlier in the afternoon. So catching up with her and now a nice meal before we start the half term madness tomorrow. I start the week of all day bookings with the half term regulars tomorrow first thing.... I feel I must be getting old as 'little' Charlie is now going to be taller than me (after 12 years of skiing and teaching him he is now 17 and as well as coming with his family has brought his girlfriend!!!!).

In other news a reminder of the huge numbers of cars on the road tomorrow - all plenty of time to get up the hill!

... and finally the initial investigation of British man who has been arrested this week in town... turns out he is a wanted drug dealer from the UK. He has been spending his time between dealing and skiing... he had €18000 on him. He had a lot more than just pot in his flat too... cocaine etc. He is in for a nasty prison sentence probably if not deported back to the UK?!?!?!

TTFN

P.S. My periscope from today: https://www.pscp.tv/w/1lPJqnrknDlxb
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jonkgray78 - Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy
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@bar shaker, @endoman, @Steve Angus, thanks for the info on "Crocodile Alley", will give it a go! I wonder if there are any other little "fun features" that are not on the piste map? (already know about Vallee Perdu Smile )
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Lock him up in the Bastille! We don't want him back...............
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Maersk - ?
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Nice to see you all back

It was rather nice to have lie in this morning (well by the standard you set yourself when you have young kids)... it was gone 0730 when we were woken - yay!!!!

With Clare and her mum looking after the kids for the day it was a lovely start to the half term holidays... I popped over the road to get some pastries and then shortly after I was up to meet my 'usuals' for half term... I can't believe I have been teaching this same family for over 10 years now... how I have seen the kids grow up etc.

Anyway we met at their hotel and there were some tired eyes around... cutting a long story short they had been severely delayed last night after their plane got a technical problem which meant they ended up having to charter another plane to come down and pick them up... they ended up arriving into Bron airport in Lyon with only 3 minutes before the airspace closed and anyway made it up and into bed VERY late.

However as the keenest of keen youngsters (not so anymore) they were raring to go... so off we went. My colleague Ben had the girlfriend of the 17 year old and I took the two brothers and we had a blast around in the morning before meeting up for lunch at the Tete du Solaise and then in the afternoon we were on the Bellevarde side of things - never too far away from where Ben was teaching the novice level girlfriend who made great strides - well done Sam! We worked on some carving all day and some awesome changes were seen... nice one boys!

I fitted in my periscope at the ice rink after skiing before coming home to watch the rugby (great game) and then got the kids into bed and then a yummy dinner. Bed time soon!!!!!

The chaos really kicks in tomorrow. Officially there are 11000 visitors that have rolled into town today - hmmmm busy slopes coming up. Weatherwise in some ways it would be really nice to get some decent snow this week but the weather forecast really is all over the place as to whether it will amount to anything... I am still in two minds which way it is going to go as some models show that the fronts will fissile out and lead to nothing other than clouds and some wind!!!!




You'll have to have a keen eye to spot Mount Blanc just sticking out in the distance in this photo but it is (just about) there!


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

TTFN
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Drug dealer
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Maersk wrote:
Drug dealer


Toofy Grin Toofy Grin Toofy Grin Toofy Grin

I understand now!!!
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@Steve Angus,
Can we tap into your knowledge please ?

Had a great afternoon skiing around Solaise/Fornet but hit a minor problem on the Pim Pam magic carpet. We kept slipping back very slightly!

It was cold and since I service all our skis I’m thinking that it was too cold for the universal wax that I generally use. I could have used other wax if I know the conditions.

Lots of others had a much worse problem and the carpet had to be stopped many times as a bit of a domino effect took place at times.

Never had this before even in colder temperatures.
Is it a fault with the carpet ?
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@muppet, I have the same problem all the time on this carpet. It’s not your wax.
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@bar shaker, me too. I hate it
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
This happened to me one time, but only one time, in January (over the course of three weeks). On the day it happened the carpet was really busy with lots of us getting on one after the other. Could that, somehow, make a difference?
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muppet / bar shaker / holidayloverxx / Vasta - basically its the really cold temps that means that the hygroscopic (moisture) nuclei stick to whatever it can find and that includes the bottom of the skis as well as the surface of the carpet... look for the 'blackest' areas of the carpet to stand on and move your feet to the blacker bits as the snow falls off your skis onto the carpet.... sometimes in the morning one side of the carpet will be a tinge of white to it and that is hoar frost on it and the other side (underneath when the carpet stops overnight) is black... if you get a chance before getting on the carpet rub your feet vigourously back and forth on the fake matting to get rid of any snow that is sticking to the bottom of the skis - could be a tiny film that is hard to see. The other thing is that as you go up the carpet everyone leans forward - stand up tall in the middle of the skis and that will spread the 'friction' along the whole length of the skis. Failing that then do what everyone else does and put the poles behind you and push down into the matting!!! So I guess in a way it is linked to the wax people are using yes - using wax repells the moisture which makes the skis slidier! It is annoying yes! When lots of people are also on the carpet they drop bits of snow onto to it as well so the whole carper becomes slicker! I often take me skis off on the carpet which stops any sliding too!
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Not as bad as I thought it was going to be

There were some clouds floating around this morning and it was to prove a frustrating day with the weather... one minute you thought the sun was going to take hold and the next moment the snow was trying to come down.... anyway one thing is for sure with the less than ideal weather and lots of people having Sunday as a transfer day it was very much quieter than I expected it to be... anyway we met the team at the hotel after I did my periscope:

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

We headed off and took the Bellevarde Express then headed across to the Loyes.... on the way over I saw one of the many Danish students that are in town (later in the the day ALL 1200 of them seemed to be at the Folie for a private party) with a couple of friends... anyway they headed over to the chair and the girl was being taught the very basics by her friends - basically a death wedge... leaning back etc... I was MORE than gobsmacked when I looked over my shoulder as we got on the Loyes and I saw her friends starting to take her down the Joseray red run that is realistically as hard as a black.... oh my lordy I am sure that ended up in more than tears.... when we got to the top another incident happened - another Danish student totally unable even to attempt a snow plough fly off down the fall line from the top of the Olympic towards the Verte... it was only by shear FLUKE that no one happened to be in her path as she came flying down the slope.... there were lots of kids and loads of others that could have been hit - thank goodness that didnt turn out as bad as it could have - it was only the upside of the Verte piste at the top that slowed her down!!!

Anyway with C and A we went for a trip over to Tignes and a good slide around the place... it was a fun blast of a morning.

At lunchtime we all met up and Sam was flying with Clare (this is one of the very few days of the season that Clare is teaching and today was one of them - thanks to her mum being here to look after Ben and Olivia).... we had a nice lunch in the self service area of the Folie - Clare raved about her tune salad thing!

After lunch A + C and I took a trip down Santons to drop A back at the hotel as he needs to revise for some school exams... whilst C and I went for an adventure... we took a trip over the Col Pers... as the clouds were rolling in and back out again there were a few moments when I thought we would can it but I decided to go ahead anyway! We were the ONLY people down there... the entrance was a little windy and sketchy but after we got in we had some really nice turns although the clouds really moved in thick which made it slow going - luckily I know we route down there pretty well! It was only when we got down the bottom and into the gorge that we got some visibility back... AND BOY did we enjoy the ambience - an hour on our town and as a result all the wildlife was coming out to have a forage... we saw an eagle, 2 bouquetain, 2 chamois and 3 ibex... it was magic.

By the time we got back to the hotel C was somewhat tired. However he needs his energy as we are going to attempt something that I have never attempted before tomorrow - an attempt to try and ski ALL the black pistes in the Espace Killy in one day - arghhhhh could be interesting!

Back home Ben and Olivia were very happy when Mummy and Daddy came home and granny was happy to get a rest!

I think some photos and videos will be the perfect way to end todays post.

I was the star of this weeks TDC snow report:

https://www.facebook.com/tdcski/videos/10156086522098607/


Where was everyone on the Face at 10am???


Moody


C edited this photo in a funky way!!!


Artwork atop the Bellevarde - a spare €100000 anyone!!!!


Interesting entrance to the Col Pers - it was NOT nearly as good visibility as it would seem in the photo!


"ummm Steve, my skis seemed to be wedged sideways here!"


Nice wildlife show on the way out through the gorge!



The Val pisteurs posted these photos today showing the good effect that the snow fences can make in trapping the snow as the wind blows that then allows the piste bashers to spread that snow over the pistes.


The pisteurs bringing the PGHM chopper in up on the glacier to an injury last week


The pisteurs are always training in their use of transceivers - last week they did an exercise whereby 2 'people' were buried off piste.


TTFN
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Quote:

By the time we got back to the hotel C was somewhat tired. However he needs his energy as we are going to attempt something that I have never attempted before tomorrow - an attempt to try and ski ALL the black pistes in the Espace Killy in one day - arghhhhh could be interesting!


Sounds like a fun challenge snowHead Does this mean they've got the Grande Motte running again?
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Quote:

as a result all the wildlife was coming out to have a forage... we saw an eagle, 2 bouquetain, 2 chamois and 3 ibex... it was magic.

Steve - what is the difference between a bouquetin and an ibex?
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What an incredible week of skiing - absolutely spoiled for weather and conditions.

Took some group lessons with one of your colleagues, @Steve Angus. Cracking few days!

Will now be reading these posts envious of the fact it may very well be another year of waiting for the next trip...
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They are the same beast, just speak different languages.
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Wow, all the black pistes in the same day sounds like a fun challenge, especially as they are so spread out. Assuming that this excludes the non-pisted runs (you'd hardly call them pistes!) this amounts to Rhone-Alpes, Combe Martin, Epaule du Charvet, Face + Stade Olympique, Descente, Leisse, Pramecou, Trolles and Sache. Descente might remain closed which would stick a spanner in the works (it's currently showing as closed rather than "planned" on the status webpage).

If you include the non-pisted runs then add to the list Foret, Marmottons, Campanules, Evers de Campanules, Grizzly, Paquerettes, Aster, Silene, Golf, Guerlain Chicherit, Aiguille Percee, Epilobe, Oeillet, Primeveres and "Piste S". Bit of a tall order so I think we can safely assume these are excluded from the challenge snowHead

How would you do it @Steve Angus, starting and ending in Val? I would probably do Rhone-Alpes then Combe Martin. Then up the Olympique twice - once to do the Epaule and again to head to Tignes via Trolles but cut off to the right just after the wibbling ledge and head to the Paquis chair, ski over to Val Claret via Piste H (sorry, Henri) then up Lanche/Vanoise (I hate funiculars with a passion) and down Leisse. Back up and, if cable car and piste are both open open, do Descente. Then up the Col Des Ves to do Pramecou. From there go round the bowl to the Aiguille Percee and thence down Sache. Have a long rest while riding the Sache gondola and clanking up the Aiguille Rouge chair wink Down into Le Lac and up the Aeroski (sorry, Toviere), up Marmottes and down Face/Stade back into Val. I reckon that even with a decent lunch and a morning break for Choky avec rhum you can knock that lot off comfortably in a day Toofy Grin
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Looks like the wind over in Tignes has put the kaibosh on this plan for today.
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I'm on the countdown now, less than a month til I'm back in Val, woo-hoo! I've realised I've skied all the pisted blacks except Pramecou. Of the naturides, I've only tried Silene and Campanules - both horrible, ha. Don't think I'll bother with the rest. Especially Piste S.
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@moosepig,
It's doable, you've just got to pick your day eg a sunny, wind free Saturday in mid-January, about a week after the last snowfall. One of the advantages of 'doing a season' means challenges such as this can be achieved.
PS The challenge does include all the black naturides - the are marked pistes, after all. wink
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@Kenzie, depends how you define "piste" I guess. To me that implies that some grooming takes place, even if infrequent. I think of naturides as marked off-piste routes that you can safely do without avi gear. That said, including them in the challenge does make it much more of a challenge! snowHead
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what would the order of these pisted blacks be in difficulty, any run that is narrow icy and mogully would be top of my list
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I'd say the runs off the Col de Ves chairlift are well worth doing. Pramecou and Guerlain Chicherit. Slow slow chair, but lovely views on ascent.
Sense of being as 'away from it all' as is possible in such a busy area as Tignes. Challenging but not what I'd call scary.
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