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

 Poster: A snowHead
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Just back from our resent trip to Val Claret, we had brilliant time good weather, good snow.Big thank you to Steve Angus for his super tuition, our skiing improved big time Very Happy
Quick question, how you can attach photos to post Embarassed ?
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Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@Edga, welcome to Snowheads! The best thing to do is find a free photo hosting site, then to post them you just need to use the [img] [/img] image tags..
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@Edga, http://snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewtopic.php?t=25601
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20180325_121620<script></script>
Master and two apprentices Very Happy
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Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
.... 1 apprentice asleep - ha ha! But thanks Edga - glad you enjoyed the trip and skiing. 'Super' tuition - ill use that! See you another time!
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The weather is certainly not improving

With another grey day, strong Foehn winds and not much inspiration out there this Spring is certainly not a Spring as such so far.

The avalanche risk was raised to 4 today as yet more moisture around and a lack of freeze has meant that things are very unstable out there but I dont really think many people are venturing off piste unless touring! Anyway the instability is meaning that lots is closed - sometimes all day like Piste L etc but also pistes like the Joseray piste down the side of the Face are closed for risk of slides from above - stay vigilant people!

I met my am team and it was to turn out to be a day when I did a very similar lesson both morning and afternoon. Anyway we headed up the Solaise and the wind was not as bad up there as I thought it was going to be. Working on fundamental elements we built things up progressively and it was a jolly good session all in all I felt and lots of smiles all around by the end!

It was fairly busy up on the Madelaine and Glacier areas - lots of instructors 'testing; their groups etc out for the week ahead! I was surprised actually how busy it was... as the week progresses everyone will fan out. I also bumped into a friend I see from time to time - the tech head of ESF Val Village (the main ESF in Val centre) - a nice young guy called Ben. Anyway his brother works in London (not that that is relevant here) but the interesting thing I found out today was that he has a young little girl about the age of Olivia - I never knew that - maybe she is at school with Olivia - I never knew that!

The weather was threatening all day but never really truly moved in too badly and for most of the day we had just about enough visibility to operate with - yay!

I took lunch under the Sun Bar before (as reported above) essentially delivering a very similar lesson in the afternoon! It was the wife of a SH and it was a fun afternoon and again I was pretty impressed with the results! Good on ya!

My only gripe about today and this is a gripe I see quite often unfortunately in some quarters of certain ski schools... that is the bad habit of sending all the kids up on lifts ahead and then the instructors of multi groups hanging back so that they can sit on a lift together and thus showing a) no interest in the kids in their groups and b) showing no real regard for their safety as much as they could and c) showing (often) poor form by having a fag on the lift together. Anyway today I noticed it happening with the Club des Sports coaches and there were other poor form displayed but I try not to air my gripes here too often as it makes me feel old amongst other things!

I did my periscope at lunchtime today but for some reason the link has not come up on my Twitter feed therefore I can't share here - sorry!

Talking of both my periscope and my written blog here - this coming Friday will be my last one of the season... off to Val Thorens the next day for the EoSB but over the Summers as normal I will be doing an update approximately one a month! So keep watching this space!

I am sure there was something else I had to report from today but I really can't think for the life of me what it was so ill sign off for now!

TTFN


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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Quote:

this coming Friday will be my last one of the season

Wow, that's come around so quickly Shocked . These updates have kept me going through this non-skiing season.
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After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
halfhand wrote:
Quote:

this coming Friday will be my last one of the season

Wow, that's come around so quickly Shocked . These updates have kept me going through this non-skiing season.


Yea Friday 13th is a little earlier than normal but when I'm in VT for the EoSB then ill be busy enough with that and away from home turf to commentate and as soon as I get back from there I have my tax return and both Olivia and Clares birthday parties so it will be all systems go. But yes it has come round quickly - for some! For me it has been a mighty long season with interesting weather for most of the time! Have racked up a lotta hours on the slopes this year!

Get back on those slopes soon!
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@Steve Angus, do you reckon you’ll be traveling much around the 3V and are you in uniform? I’m skiing in la Tania until the 14th so will try and keep an eye out for you!!
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kitenski - still waiting to get confirmation on which lift pass Admin is getting me as to whether just VT or not but ill be in uniform yes - all purple! Hang on a minute if you leave on the 14th thats the day I arrive so no skiing for me that day!!!! 15th is my first day teaching so dont think you'll see me unfortunately!
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@Steve Angus, shame, yes I leave late on the 14th. Very Happy
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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.
I was in Val T last week - great conditions for the most part - 2 fantastic powder days. I saw a TDC guy there too one day - not one I recognized from Val D'Isere. The kids' instructor from Prosneige said they had the most snow for 60 years - amazing some of the buildings are still standing. Shocked



Enjoy the end of season Steve and thanks for the updates.
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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
@Steve Angus, do you know what weekend the season starts for 2018/2019?
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
What a change an hour makes

nemesys - that would be Jamie - he is Mr TDC '3 Vallees' and thanks for your thanks! Yes the best season in living memory and it was still snowing today too!
bar shaker - it is always the last Saturday in November until the first Sunday (or Monday if dates dont work) in May - so thats Saturday 24th November by my reckoning!

So we woke this morning to grey skies and ever increasing weather and no real freeze again overnight. The wind was also pretty strong at altitude too!

Anyway after everyone was ready we set off en famille to the meeting point and Clare took Olivia off for her ski lesson (Ben has to come too of course which makes it all very complicated) whilst I did my periscope:

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

I met my team and with the weather getting worse and worse (it was JOLLY wet and cold and not dissimilar to February weather to be honest) we set off and headed up Bellevarde! We had some really good turns and we battled through the worst of it and apart from stopping to warm up mid way through we did very well I thought! More of the same tomorrow folks!

I took lunch in the Sun Bar and the weather was intense to say the least - HUGE snowflakes were pouring down and whilst the wind was dropping off (coming from the South and East - a warm Retour style Foehn / Lombard wind YET again) it was pretty intense!

Anyway I met my pm lesson - a nice family from Bath - well the father and 2 teenage'ish kids on their second trip skiing and having skied with a colleague the last few days the main thing was to get mileage for them! Just as we arrived at the top of the Olympique (seriously) the clouds seemed to part in the space of about 10 minutes and every minute for the rest of the afternoon the weather got better and better until there was barely a cloud in the sky and it was scorching hot!

The actual lesson was fun and we covered a lot of things including crocodile valley amongst other things!

On the way home on the bus (I have to say it happens relatively often that people 'recognise me' on the slopes / busses from either here / my periscope or clients I have previously taught that recognise me) there was a strange occurrence... someone recognised me from the sunday fun cricket team I play for... this guy last played for the team a few years back and last time he played (near where I occasionally play in the Summer in Berkshire) I was also playing in the match and apparently we chatted Val and skiing. Small world as he is now here on holiday with his family and recognised me from that conversation a few years back! Wow!

So this strange weather is also leading to such a complex set of situations avalanche wise even more complicated. What I mean by that is that things are really 'set up' already for lots of snow to come down... however we look for a 'bullseye' set of events to look for extreme avalanche activity and for a couple of hours late this afternoon it was just that - the bullseye of 3 variables is temperature - a large fluctuation like we had into this afternoon; wind - there was lots around moving snow earlier in the day and fresh snow - about 20cm fell and there will be much more up the Fornet area too! Anyway reports came through late afternoon of the pisteurs CLOSING THE ROAD TO TIGNES SO NO ONE WAS ON THE ROAD AT THE TIME so they could do avalanche clearance high up above the road! What came down was more than they were expecting.... check it out!


https://www.facebook.com/mark.finucane.94/videos/10216436828452441/

and

https://www.facebook.com/yqueffeulou/videos/1978534628854869/UzpfSTExNDM5NjI5NDA6MTAyMTU2OTA4MjI2MDA2MTc/

So the road is going to be closed until further notice as there is a lot of clearing to be done! Perhaps all night long... the temps might not drop down to produce a decent freeze overnight which will keep the danger level high of other natural slides so they can't risk it.

Tomorrow the conditions could be interesting - stay safe everyone!

I think that is all for today.

TTFN


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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
https://www.facebook.com/pisteurval/videos/1846017005472804/ - that was a little close for comfort - much bigger than they were anticipating really!
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@Steve Angus, holy moly. The power of those things scares me, even though there’s a lot of talk about avi risk and the dangers, seeing something like that is jaw dropping. Reminds me a lot of when the ocean is rough, another powerful thing that people underestimate.
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SnoodlesMcFlude - indeed - power!!!!!

Here we go again

The weather built all day long and we are expecting another 30cm or so of snow localised overnight. Perhaps more - who knows. To be honest the weather is once again so complicated in terms of weather patterns that it could go either way over the next few days - arghhh!

Anyway I had the same team this morning and we made the most of the pretty good weather and did an 'around the world' over to Tignes and back and work some more on what to do (or not) with the upper body and it was a jolly nice outing I thought! It was colder than yesterday but it really does feel like mid Winter still - I can't believe it is now nearly mod April - I think the resort can safely say that this is the snowiest Winter in more than a generation.... there is still so much of it out there!

I had the afternoon off and came home and had a really fun afternoon messing about at home with the kids and chilling out - some down time. It was much needed and appreciated! Tomorrow is going to be a busy day, likewise Friday and then of course I am not here for a week so getting some time with the kids and at home out of ski boots was welcome!

That avalanche I talked about yesterday and put the videos online of were pretty crazy eh... however I have been talking about the general dangers off piste out there and for some big releases to come on down. Anyway it turns out (not that they triggered it) that apparently there had been a group of 4 skiers skiing this slope shortly before this slide came down (well in the area of anyway) so they must be thanking their lucky starts on that front!

So with the weather really moving in again tonight we could be in for a quite a powder day tomorrow but if the sun comes out the temps go up it could be lethal out there again!

I have to be honest that I did forget to take a photo again today but I do have 'spare' photo from a couple of days back that could easily have been taken today!



Oh and my periscope from today:

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

TTFN

P.S. A reminder that I will be finishing my daily written blogs here this Friday (with the periscopes) and will be back for a once a month update over the Summer months!
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@Steve Angus,
Quote:

Gonna try and post some photos as often as possible so everyone can see what the conditions are in Val d'Isere and the Espace Killy... will try and do it as often as possible. So here goes.


The end of your 7th season of blogs is nigh then Steve. Fair to say you've gone well above and beyond your original aim (above) from Nov 2011.

Thanks again for a great season of EK pics, info, advice, expert insights and fascinating snippets of news. There'll never be another like 2017/18....or will there? snowHead

Hope to see you at EOSB and buy you a celebratory drink.
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Wahhh can't believe the updates are nearly over already! So glad I got to see Val with the most snow I'll probably ever see. What a season it's been - and continues to be!
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@Steve Angus,
Just like to say thanks for the blog Steve, your broadcasts are genuinely informative and helpful. I picked up Edge mag last week in Val is that you in yellow on page 35 - the TDCski feature?

I wondered about your thoughts on the chair lift quality in EK? particularly compared to the 3V - I was surprised few have canopies and too many have no back rests and are fast pick up slow ascent arghhh...! I see The investment in Val centre (200m Euro) will improve slopeside village access - do you know of planned lift improvements at altitude?

BTW Skiing was superb and will plan to return with an aim of getting some improver lessons - did La Face @ 16:30 last Thursday not good so did it again 1st thing on Friday - much better wink
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Andy4467 wrote:


I wondered about your thoughts on the chair lift quality in EK? particularly compared to the 3V - I was surprised few have canopies and too many have no back rests and are fast pick up slow ascent arghhh...! I see The investment in Val centre (200m Euro) will improve slopeside village access - do you know of planned lift improvements at altitude?




We are getting a new €10m gondola out of La Daille this summer and the infrastructure expenditure by STVI and STGM over the last few years has been unrivalled any where in the world. We already have the world's largest snow making capacity and one of the fastest lift systems in the world. The fast new gondola's all have free wifi and heated seats.

All main lifts that I can think of are de-coupled but I can only think of one that has canopies over the seat. If the weather is so bad that I need a canopy, I'm really unlikely to get on the lift in the first place, so this is of little interest to me. That's not all, we have an extensive free bus service that runs to 3am, we host varoius FSI events including downhill and slalom world cup events, host the X Games and provide training facilities for many Team GB riders. Tignes will be the home of the new Team GB training camp, headed up by Sir Clive Woodward.

I can only really think of 4 lifts that could do with an upgrade, but have never seen a queue at any of these so I guess they cope fine with their demand.

I'm happy that the investment is going where it is needed... to ensure good pistes and fast uplift of customers.

I'm not sure what you mean by the back rests. All lift seats have seat backs.

Glad to see that you will be coming back.
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Do many lifts in 3V have canopies? I can't think of them being widespread in any resort that I've been to. I imagine they add quite a lot of drag to a lift, so a resort would only add them where they are needed. Espace Killy does have the slightly odd Fresse/Bollin chair out of Tignes towards Val. Both lifts share the same rope at the bottom, with Bollin basically being a fairly early mid-station to unload. The chairs for Bollin all have canopies, even though it is a short, sheltered lift. The Fresse chairs have a long journey over windy terrain, where you'd really benefit from having a canopy, but they don't.

Most of the heavily used lifts in 3V are detachable, are there any in particular that you think need an upgrade? The only area that springs to my mind is around Aiguille Percee, particularly the Marais lift because it is so long. It probably doesn't have enough traffic to justify being replaced, but it might be nice if they could add a magic carpet to the loading area so they could speed up the rope (which is what they've done to the Aiguille Percee or Grand Huit lift).

You can tell the detachable (fast) chairs on the piste map, because they have a round bar behind the chair icon. The fixed (slow) chairs have a straight bar.


Last edited by Then you can post your own questions or snow reports... on Thu 12-04-18 12:55; edited 1 time in total
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@bar shaker, Thanks. I should have said 'cushioned seat backs' rather than just 'back rests'.
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@thelem, About half a dozen have canopies in 3V, but as you say they are probably only there as needed. Borsat and Leissieres could have done with canopies on a couple of days last week..
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Yep, I remember Borsat being one that can get chilly. Also Cascade up on the val glacier. Were you cold on all of the Leissieres, or just as it goes over the top? IIRC that lift already gets closed when it's windy, I assume adding canopies would make that worse.
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On the lift front side. There are some upgrades planned for Tignes Brev side over the next few years. Including Marais, Aiguille Rouge and I think a complete new Gondola station coming out of Brev which (I think) will link up with the Boisse gondola removing the Brev free chair lift. But I can’t remember if that also meant they would remove the Sache gondola as well. I think more people would use Marais if it wasn’t so long and slow! So will probably get more use once upgraded. But I do agree with Steve, Tignes/Val D has some of the best lift infrastructure in Europe by quite a distance.
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Good point about the wind etc. Cascades wasn't nice either - it wasn't particularly windy or excessively cold, but snow being blown directly in your face over the Glacier side made it fairly unpleasant, good job it was only a short lift. I was interested because heated seats and free wifi suggest a very modern lift system which is true to a point, however the further you venture the (c)older they were. Don't get me wrong I think the skiing in EK is superb, I just found the mix of heated gondolas and cold chairs a bit odd.
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The only fixed chairs in Val D that I can think of are Grand Pre and Mont Blanc ( aside from the nursery slopes) Having skied it a fair bit in the last few years, and also Whistler, well, I know that EK for me knocks the spots of Whistler as far as lift provision goes.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Mont Blanc is painfully slow for such a key lift. On the Tignes side, the Grand Huit and Aiguille Percee chairs are also slow (despite the rolling carpets) so good to hear that replacement is planned. Grand Huit in particular is key to travelling from Val Claret to Le Lac.
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@endoman, +Cugnai, Cema and Etroits (in its last days!)

I think most of the lifts don't have canopies to reduce wind resistance, so they can operate in higher wind speeds and reduce power consumption. When Vanoise was re-routed a few years ago the canopies went and it now runs more often.

Initially the plan was to replace the Sache Gondola this summer, but I note a public enquiry is being held that lasts till mid May so I wouldn't be surprised if it is delayed. There will be more bubbles on the Boisses Gondola. Marais and Aiguille Rouge will be replaced with detachables in the next 4 years.
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Also consider that Les Lanches used to have canopies but they took them off as the lift had to close in quite light winds. Without them, it can run in a higher wind strength.

(just seen that Chocsaway said the same, as I was typing).
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chocksaway wrote:
@endoman, Marais and Aiguille Rouge will be replaced with detachables in the next 4 years.


TBF we've been hearing this for over 10 years now.

I suspect that Marais may not get replaced any time soon as the top of the Aiguille Rouge can be crowded... as it is (it is also served by Aiguille Percée).

Etroits is being removed this summer. It's a nice alternative to the slow gondola, especially on a sunny day, but will be redundant when the new gondola opens.

The only really old lift is Col des Ves but none of us that use it really mind. It kind of adds to the mystique of getting into the bowl, for me. It's also slow enough to let you plan a great line.
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
@bar shaker,
Quote:

the infrastructure expenditure by STVI and STGM over the last few years has been unrivalled any where in the world. We already have the world's largest snow making capacity and one of the fastest lift systems in the world.

I'm a massive fan of EK but find this statement difficult to believe. The investment in the Sella Ronda (Dolomiti) lift system and snowmaking, in the last decade, seems much more impressive and effective to me. I also believe investment in major Austrian areas, such as Saalbach-Hinterglemm, has been more than in the French 'superski' areas during that time.

I think the EK lift system was definitely the best I'd used in the 90s and noughties. Better than 3V in my opinion. But my observations suggest it is beginning to fall behind, especially against those examples I quote.

Any reliable facts and figures? Any other snowHeads have thoughts on this? snowHead
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PeakyB / HoneyBunny / Andy4467 - thanks all... yes another season and what a 7 years it has been... still eyeing up the 1,000,000 page views 'target' though - ha ha!

AS FAR AS LIFTS ETC ARE CONCERNED - I have read what everyone has said above... my tuppence worth but much has been said about it. 1) I think the lift system is very good in Val / Tignes 2) 'old and slow lifts' (which interestingly and on another note are GOOD in many ways as it reduces injuries as pours fewer people onto the slopes at any given time AND allows more rest (which is needed) between runs) - are being upgraded little by little WHERE they are warranted - there is complex planning that goes into deciding where lifts should be built / replaced! Options such as replacing the Mont Blanc are part of longer term plans.... yes the Etroits Chair in La Daille is going this year. New lifts cost a fortune therefore feasibility studies are undertaken and time is taken to 'get it right' in the correct order etc.... for example Datcha was replaced this year WHEN it was deemed that the old rope was needed to become defunct - now the lift is way better than that old rope and you have a nice ski to get to the magic carpet now. 3) hoods - problem is that they would catch the wind therefore as others have said they needed to be removed... in due course those lifts might get replaced by something else.

There are LOTS of fascinating stats that show up... for example if you analyse lift movement numbers you'll see that the MOST efficient lifts in terms of how many people they ACTUALLY move up the mountain would be your typical 6 seater lift - Tommeuse at 8 seats actually moves LESS people most of the time APART from peak time at the day end... why because people a) want to sit with friends therefore wait until everyone is all lined up and in doing so a lift goes past (thats why there is a revolving carpet to stop someone at the end of the line going forward and then stopping because another friend at the other end of the line doesn't go through the turnstile) and b) people often ski in groups of 6 / 8 and with lines of kids that need to be loaded with an adult (can't be bothered to explain the reasons here) they HAVE to split up anyway when it is a 6 seater lift but in their minds when it is 8 seats they faff around trying to get 8 people on the seats. Lifts such as the Olympic lift are massively under utilised too.

Anyway...
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All the lifts at Fornet are pretty old except pyramids. Interesting to see that there is a plan to reinstate the 3000 (tunnel) poma ?

One of the downsides of more chairlifts seems to have been more lift closures in strong winds.
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Really!!!!! I mean REALLY

So we woke to clear blue skies - well if you looked north and to the west anyway but towards the Fornet it was a completely different story. In real terms the Fornet end of town in relation to Tignes might as well be different countries and resorts let alone anything else! In fact it turns out that the Pissaillas glacier has received another 70cm+... it has also been snowing all day is currently VERY heavy out there. They think there could be another 50cm or so coming up there. The other thing about today was that there was some INTENSE wind up there - from the south and east whipping across and it meant all in all that the Solaise side was deserted and cold - really cold and the vis was variable to say the least!

Anyway I headed the Bellevarde way and there was anything between 5cm and 25cm of snow on the pistes up there - varying depending on the orientation with regards the wind. Some nice snow although not great for nervous persons not used to it! Anyway it was a tricky session trying to marry up two levels of expectations and attitudes to the conditions etc but we got there. Some laps on the Fontaine Froide and also some on the Orange (well for one member of the team whilst the other took the path around the side instead) was the order of the morning.

I had a quick lunch before meeting up for the afternoon session. It was a shot gun afternoon for a slightly shorter session than normal (long story) taking a very strong skier for an off piste technique brush up blast and trying to maximise the time to get in a long (unknown route to him) descent in!

So after analysing conditions very carefully as well as looking at the weather (the avalanche risk was 4/5 this afternoon) I decided to take a calculated
decision and head straight into the wind... so we went up a pretty deserted Solaise and after testing the snow (mainly windblown) off the Cugnai and not only me testing him out and giving him some feedback we were off. We dived off the back of the Cugnai and there was hardly anyone around - in fact we only saw 3 other people on the whole descent and I opened a couple of sections up! Anyway despite some 'average' visibility the snow was AMAZING. There was even some waist deep snow in there and some face shots to be had... in fact with the wind it was some great face shots.

I keep on saying that 'this will surely be the last pow day of the season' but they just keep on coming and perhaps this really is the last one - we shall see!

Anyway it was a LOVELY descent...

We finished with a descent down S Prime - however I was somewhat surprised by how poor it was in there... needn't dwell on it but it was not the best call of my life.... the snow was not great and it turned into more of an adventure than anything else but ho hum you live and lean sometimes!

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

I have mainly been ic looking after the kids as Clare has been out doing some jobs and meetings with some people but as I said yesterday it is nice to have some down time with them!



Which lift(s) and run(s) are these then?

I think that is all for now - last DAILY Periscope and update on here tomorrow for this season... monthly ones to follow.

Anyway TTFN
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Peter S wrote:
All the lifts at Fornet are pretty old except pyramids. Interesting to see that there is a plan to reinstate the 3000 (tunnel) poma ?

One of the downsides of more chairlifts seems to have been more lift closures in strong winds.


Yea the Fornet is... but that also keeps it quieter up there and great skiing! However the town council ratified plans towards the next stage of the Fornet cable car and Valon gondola replacement for 2021 earlier this season which I talked about in my blog at the time too! So hopefully that will come to fruition!

The plans for the 3000 tunnel poma - yea that keeps on being talked about and dropped again so not sure what is actually happening on that front!

T - Bars and Poma's - bring em back - they never close in the wind - ha ha - but then again the paying public in this day and age want heated gondolas with WIFI etc - now they are susceptible to the weather - you can't win!
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@Steve Angus, good point about the rest time on the lifts, we've not skied this week before and its noticeable how much more slope time I've gets in when nor having to queue. I think we've stood in only 2 proper queues all week, marvelous.

Regarding Marais lift, it's so old that modern humans don't fit, my 14yo couldn't get his skis on the rest with the bar down. Admittedly he's 6 foot and mostly legs, but he's not unusual these days.

Yes, Fornet is a different land from here in Tignes. Had lunch there yesterday in continuous snowfall but hardly anything fell here. Chunking it down now though, already as much has fallen as did last night, and that have lively conditions this morning. Gonna be busy tomorrow with most folks on their last day.
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bar shaker wrote:
Also consider that Les Lanches used to have canopies but they took them off as the lift had to close in quite light winds. Without them, it can run in a higher wind strength.

(just seen that Chocsaway said the same, as I was typing).


I'm pretty sure that Les Lanches still has a cover ....
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[quote="MontyP"]
bar shaker wrote:

I'm pretty sure that Les Lanches still has a cover ....


Yup, Lanches is the only covered lift I've seen here. Very useful it was in the howling gale on Tuesday.
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