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THE NEW I GOT LOST THREAD

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
This is my proposed thread for 'I got lost' stories in the wake of the loss in Tignes.

Starter:

From the top of Saulire, between top and middle station, zero viz, piste jinks to the Left and my partner thinks they gap between the two RH poles is the piste - cue high speed exit off piste into deep snow and 45 minutes of slicing snow with my skis to try to find her lost ones. She managed to land between two large rocks rather than on top of one of them, where the outcome would have been very different.

Later that day we find a family making their way to Meribel thinking in the fug that they were on the piste to St Martin. Lifts are about to close, and the father is a cr+p skier, the mother OKish but freaked out, and the two kids debuntantes. They are completely out of their depth. The father is shouting and completely panicked. So we say to the adults 'follow us' and then get the kids tagging directly behind us. We head down as quickly as is comfortable for them, clearly far faster than they were able to go before, and just as we hear the middle Station clanking in the whiteout, the 11 year old I am nursing says '...are we going to die?...'. I am pleased that I can smile gently and reassure him, 'no, we're fine'.....
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
We ( Mrs Baggins and myself ) used to always ski at half term as all our friends had children, ( fortunately now they are all adults ) so no more half term nightmares for us.

Anyway half term in La Plagne a good few years ago, despite being allergic to children, i somehow find myself alone the only adult at the top of the mountain with a mix of teenagers and younger, ( our friends children ). The mist and fog suddenly came down and we are total whiteout, now i didn't start skiing till my mid 30's and this was my 3rd or 4th week skiing, so at the time skiid the Bruce Lee style. "The style of no style". I have now got to get all these teenagers/children off the mountain, or face their parents wrath. I find a pisteur and they are actually leading groups off the mountain as it is that bad, "follow me" says said pisteur and promptly skiis off into the gloom at warp factor 5. So we try and follow. At some point one of my friends daughters who is a known drama queen ( still is at 30 ish), lies down in the snow crying loudly "Leave me here, i want to die". FFS. I grab said drama queen by hood of jacket, and in the stylee of no stylee we manage to carry on in the direction Franz Klammer the pisteur bombed off in. Eventually we start to see the village below, and thus make it to safety. I still have nightmares about being lost on that piste with a group of teenagers and kids, brings me out in a sweat. I hasten to add that all their parents were on the lash in the pub near our appartment when we got back. 20 years on i will never ever go up a mountain with a group of children in my care.
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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?
@Timbobaggins, excellent...we also have d-queen in the family, who reacts with rolling eyes, muttering or shouts of 'LEAVE ME ALONE' if asked to lay the table for dinner, put the milk in the fridge or shut a door. On the hill she is slightly better behaved, but still very shouty and muttery.

In 2015 we had the thickest clag I have ever skied in, which existed as a band of cloud below clear skies, starting at around 2500m. It was so thick it looked as if you could ski on top of it. Entering it was like having your eyes poked out. Seriously, when I raised my hand I could see the cloud going between my face and hand. In this we had absolutely no idea where we were - and I know every cm of the pistes, having skied them for 20 years. I skied entirely by gradient, estimation of distance, and snow surface. And smell, probably. With said Moaning Mini and partner, we stayed in sight of each other - which in effect was about 2m, using the 'top one skis to the bottom of the three and stops 2m ahead' technique, which works well in deep clag. Slow but safe. I was relieved that I had an inkling of where we were, and knew that the shape on the right was a snow machine, which confirmed exactly where we were. Except that the snow machine turned out to be an instructor from the 'Red' school, standing there lost, without her class. Sh=t. At this point I really didn't have a clue as to exactly where we were. And neither did the instructor. We knew at least that we were on piste, so we kept going, doing the 'treating each other as gates' technique. I began to get more confident as to where we were, and was able to link the few visible feature and the gradient to our actual location on the hill. And then suddenly the piste went flat, where I expected it to increase in gradient. Which threw me completely. Yes, we are on piste, there's a pole. Yes we're OK standing here. But Where the F are we? At that point, the clag breaks a tiny bit and suddenly I can see we are at least half a km further down the hill than I thought. Very sobering.
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I have to admit that my only story of being properly lost was at Evasion Mont Blanc and it potentially didn't help that I had been in the Folie Douce during the afternoon. (This was in fact the same day that I threw up in a pint glass whilst trying to chat up a nice lady which is documented elsewhere on the forum... I'll see if I can find a link).

Basically after we left the Folie we skied some beautiful runs in perfect light conditions and didn't think there was need for concern. By the time we got the chair back to where the Folie was to ski them again, there was fog so thick that you could barely see the tips of your skis. We skied the way we were pretty sure we'd gone when the light was good, I was skiing along confident I was in the right place when CRUNCH... off the side of the piste and into some sort of hole. I thought I'd probably broken my legs as I wasn't in a comfortable position, it turns out I just needed untangling but I did need somebody else to untangle me, if I'd been on my own I'd have been in trouble. Just in an awkward shape in a hole and no way to get out of it!

After that we realised we had absolutely no idea where we actually were and couldn't see a thing. We found the piste again and skied til we found a drag lift... fortunately there's not too many of those on Evasion so between a piste map and a rough hit on google maps we worked out which one we were stood next to. Skied to the bottom of it and by chance bumped into some piste patrol who were basically skiing around in a big snake trying to pick up all the stragglers. We joined the back of this snake and basically had to ski to the bottom, skiing all the while on the heels of the person in front so as not to lose them.

It was just good fortune we bumped into the piste patrol really. Would have been an interesting evening if we hadn't.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@dp, ...quote: 'I'll find the link' ... I think we'd rather you didn't....far too much information!
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@valais2, tough luck...

I wrote:
I got suspended for something I didn't do the day before my birthday, so I dealt with this by telling my employer where to go and helping myself to a ski holiday. I dealt with the bigger picture of being newly unemployed by getting absolutely poleaxed in Chamonix, for those who know the town this at one stage involved hanging off the moose's head in Chambre Neuf whilst crowd surfing to Green Day. Anyway, went from there to a variety of the town's lovely bars, and when I got to the burger shop on the main drag, it had already finished doing burgers so had nothing to soak it up. Didn't make it any better when I got back to the chalet and, with my room-mate, finished the half bottle of wine we'd started over dinner and then both started and finished a full second bottle. At 4am. After drinking all night.

I woke up the most ill I have ever felt from drinking. I chucked up in the shower, that kind of ill. Didn't manage much breakfast. Considered staying in all day but was staying with awesome chalet hosts who managed to convince me to go out. Went up to Evasion Mont Blanc and had an absolutely brilliant morning of skiing, with a beautiful young lady doctor. When I say out of my league what I mean is that I was like Barnet Working Men's Club 5-a-side football team and she was like Chelsea. But I had a wonderful morning with her and a lovely drink in a nice bar, then we went for lunch somewhere and onto La Folie Douce for some champagne and party. I kind of wanted to ski through the afternoon but whilst I wasn't really trying it on with the doctor, I was mildly enjoying the company of a hot lady which doesn't happen all that much - and enjoying the fact that all the blokes I bumped into in the Folie assumed she was my girlfriend and gave me that 'fair play son' nod of respect. So I thought buying the drinks in the Folie could possibly help with keeping up the image.

Somehow the combination of champagne, red wine, lager and a panini did not sit well on top of what remained of last night's liquid dinner; I felt the stomach movements in good time and began to make my excuses to use the bathroom. However I was not nearly quick enough and had to chunder into a pint glass I was holding. I held it over my mouth and just let my insides go. It filled quickly so I grabbed a random empty one on the table and filled that most of the way too. I thought if I moved quick, I could get them into a bin and nobody would know. But looking for a bin, I then slipped on the wood veranda in my icy ski boots, and whilst trying to keep my balance together, threw two pint cups full of vomit all over the place.

I don't know if she saw. I never asked and she never told. People stood nearby pretended not to see. The younger guys gave me a nod of "must've been a good night", the rest just pretended they hadn't noticed. I ran away and went skiing. I still talk to the doctor. All's well that ends well.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
@valais2, questionable timing and taste, starting this thread, in the wake of the Tignes missing person Puzzled
We're all different I suppose.
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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!
@PeakyB, +1
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@PeakyB, @Markymark29, I think @valais2, has done this to thread to keep the other thread clear of ‘I got lost stories’.
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PeakyB wrote:
@valais2, questionable timing and taste, starting this thread, in the wake of the Tignes missing person Puzzled
We're all different I suppose.


OP can speak for himself but anecdotes about getting lost were being posted in the other thread. Better here than there.
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snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
@PeakyB, keep up....that's the whole idea. People were posting these on the OTHER thread and the idea was to allow people to add their reflections but not on the other thread - to allow the other thread absolutely to respect the family and keep that thread for support and information for the family.
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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.
Better nowhere right now imo
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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
@agw, precisely. @RUGBY PETER, many thanks, that's it....
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
@dp, ...you git...now I have to force myself to read it.....
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
@Markymark29, yes....but people WERE posting like crazy and I felt something needed to be done...ADMIN! ADVICE PLEASE!
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
@valais2, I'm with you, lets keep the Tignes thread clear for news and commiserations. By people posting on here, someone might read and learn and avoid another tragic incident. If every day is not a school day then you are doing it wrong!

As they say in aviation every rule has somebody's name on it.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@chocksaway, I think that's right....
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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?
No issue with this thread, title is self explanatory, people don’t have to read it at this time if they do not wish..
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When I first came on the thread I did think it was a bit stale

But I think ultimately getting lost on a mountain is something that can happen to any of us. People often think that as long as the ski on the piste, they're relatively safe. Period. There's a belief that only backcountry skiers need to prepare themselves with maps, navigation equipment, emergency stuff and warm kit etc etc and that sticking to the piste means you'll be looked after. Evidently that is not the case and there's nothing wrong with sharing stories and advice to reflect on that, IMO.

One of our flaws as human beings is a tendency to only change our practices in the aftermath of something going wrong. If you don't even do that because you're too afraid of upsetting somebody... when do you learn the lesson at all?
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
It is also true, that experiencing being lost, or loosing someone you love even for a short time, whilst making you aware of mistakes you might of made also has a huge emotional impact on anyone involved. When hearing of any similar circumstances it brings it all back and often sharing that angst helps to setle the experience into place. Valais2 is absolutely right that the original thread is not the place for those experiences to be shared, but on a new thread ........ better ..... and maybe helpful to some.
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Well I'm a caver so technically I am never lost, although I do not always know where I am.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
There's also the opportunity to share information which may ultimately save someone else. For example, Lambert posted on the other thread -

"A very sad situation.There have been lots of comments about safety on the mountain, disorientation in poor conditions etc. It always amazes me how many skiers are unaware of how to use the piste poles. Not only do they tell skiers the grading of the slope, but if you look more closely the RIGHT hand side ski pole has a wide orange band.....this helps massively with orientation in bad conditions, and I've been caught in many white outs when this information has kept me on piste. Another top tip is to ski as close to the poles as possible, if you can spot the foot of the pole then it gives some perspective. It amazes me how many skiers are not aware of the piste pole "orange strip".....so if this (rare) post by me helps to avoid just one (potential) tragedy, then I've done my job.Thanks for reading. I know this applies in France, not sure about other countries."

I agree, so many people are unaware of the difference, or if they've noticed, they don't realise the significance. I once discussed this with a BASI trainer who didn't know! The irony was I'd had an in depth conversation about this very thing with my son before we set off. We were in Switzerland with the 2 different orange tips, when were are much more used to France with just the one. As you suggested we were skiing close to the right hand long orange tip poles, and it took a few seconds to register after we'd gone through that the orange tip on the "other side" had actually been the same length! It was that which made me realise what had happened, and we stopped and were able to make our way back to the piste. Otherwise god only knows where we would have ended up.
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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!
@valais2, and others, yes I understand your rationale for the thread and appreciate any attempt to inform about safety on the mountains.
Still unsure about overt reference to what appears to be a specific current tragedy, in the original post. Family and close friends of that person in better position to judge than me. Accept thread has good intentions, timing just feels a bit soon.
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This reminds me of a trip to Grindelwald.. a group of 4 of us, 2 of which had been several years before, so we thought they'd know their way around..

First day,headed to the First area (as it was closest) and headed up to the top, on the final chairlift the cloud rolled in and couldn't see a thing.. we turned to the 2 who'd been before and asked which way to go off the top of the lift.. this was met with lots of shrugging and it was apparent they didn't have a clue..

Being the first run of the season we were a bit wobbly anyway, and there was lots of trying to stay close to poles.. I recall falling off a ledge of some sort and couldn't figure out why, Dave made a turn and faceplanted into a wall of snow.. there was lots of giggling and confusion in equal measure and eventually we descended out of the cloud into better viz..

We stayed low whilst the cloud remained and swapped stories about what we'd just done.. later in the day the cloud cleared and we headed up the same lift.. from the top we could now see that we'd been trying to ski down through the snow park Laughing
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@PeakyB, ...thanks, I do appreciate what you are saying...it's a difficult call. The family has just posted on the other thread and the other thread is now being used far less for general discussion etc, which was what I had hoped would happen. People do feel a need to engage with this in terms of their own experiences, and I just felt that this was best done on a different thread to the one dealing directly with discussion and support for the family...
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 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
@valais2, +1
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