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

 Poster: A snowHead
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Hi Steve arriving in Val this Sunday 14hrs Ben bus dropping me off at Gare Routier have to get to my accomadtion nr the grall night club . Do you know of any taxi that could transport me I have a lot if kit !
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Hi Steve arriving in Val this Sunday 14hrs Ben bus dropping me off at Gare Routier have to get to my accomadtion nr the grall night club . Do you know of any taxi that could transport me I have a lot if kit !
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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?
Glorious sunshine

With little cloud cover / none overnight it was a little colder overnight... this will have helped the snow quality and stability massively. Anyway it was a little chilly but a welcome sight to have settled conditions for once!

I met Paula and we decided to head up the Solaise... I must say I am surprised how long it is taking to get things set back up there - the Glacier Express is still not open and they only opened the Arcelle in the late afternoon. Anyway we lapped (it is nice and quick now with the Datcha lift in place) on the blues that lead to the Datcha lift working on carving... Something strange happened as someone had had a bad fall and their were several pisteurs on scene... it took them a fair while to sort it out... I could see a pisteur holding a neck in position then on the next lap the guy had an oxygen mask on then by this stage I was certain that they would rope the scene off and bring a chopper in... however by the next lap the guy was being taken away by skidoo.... and that was the end of it as far as I was concerned but then noticed a little while later that the SAMU chopper was being brought in to the helipad at the top of Solaise next to the pisteurs hut... now the SAMU chopper is NOT good news but IF the person was that badly injured I am not sure why they didnt just drop down the chopper on the piste... Anyway hope the man makes a full recovery!

It was a jolly good morning... some good improvements and basically no one around. Yay



Now that IS A huge slide that has come down - there has been lots of clearing up to do before they can open the Glacier Express lift!

This shows how much snow there has been - this is the TIP of a buried piste marker post.... they are 6 foot long and we are skiing on the snow just about it!

The new Letincelle restaurant at the bottom of the Solaise

They are still digging out the magic carpets atop the Solaise!

I had a long lunch break as at 2pm I was meeting the people behind the new Ski Instructor / client portal app called SkiBro... I was filming the first in a series whereby I taught a beginner and over the season the videos will be released showing the progression he makes... I must say he really did well and by the end of only 1.5 hours he was snowplough turning reasonably well down the long magic carpet.... good work Shaun.... Shaun works for SkiBro but doesn't ski until today so he was a willing 'dummy' and made my life pretty easy thank goodness. After that I had a 30 min ski around or so being filmed for my profile video.... when either / both videos come out I will link to them here!

So this evening we have had Clare father around for dinner and here we are... not really much else to report from today really... they still haven't found that young man over in Tignes yet.... not looking good!

Anyway my periscope from today link is below BUT (if you can zoom in then hopefully you will be able to refer to it) I also managed to snap on the bus this morning the night timetable for the buses...



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

TTFN
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vipul - hmmmmmm that could be tricky as most taxi companies will be doing long distance drop offs etc... airport etc... all I would do / be able to suggest is when you get into the bus stop there is the taxi rank right there and you could ask... not really aware of taxi companies doing really short trips like that to be honest! Not much else I can suggest I am afraid!!!!!! Tricky one that!
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Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Oh well will have to steel myself for the slog to my accommodation
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Oh well will have to steel myself for the slog to my accomadation
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
@vipul, is your kit too much to transport on the free shuttle, which links into Gare Routier and would get you close to accommodation?
Another possibility, if no taxis, is there baggage storage at/near Gare Routier? Then would there be a nice person at your accommodation with a vehicle who would go back with you to pick it all up?? snowHead
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After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
any recomendations where i can get a plate of chips and a beer up on the mountain, obviously not looking for posh expensive chips......thanks
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@vipul, Speak to your accomodation, there may be someone that can pick you up from Gare Routier. They'll most likely be used to Bens Bus drop offs or depending on how much gear just shlep it, it's not that far
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Quote:

They are still digging out the magic carpets atop the Solaise!

Bet their wishing they'd kept the Poma !
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compostcorner wrote:
any recomendations where i can get a plate of chips and a beer up on the mountain, obviously not looking for posh expensive chips......thanks


Marmottes at the bottom of Borsat/Marmottes lift, perhaps?

Ouillette on top of Solaise, maybe - I've never been but I get the impression it might be what you're after.
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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.
compostcorner wrote:
any recomendations where i can get a plate of chips and a beer up on the mountain, obviously not looking for posh expensive chips......thanks

Not quite 'up on the mountain' but either Loop bar or Tignes Cuisine (next door to each other) opposite the Rosset lift & piste in Tignes le Lac, or Brasero bar at the end of the Digues piste in Tignes Lavachet.
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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
Nice snow

Firstly compostcorner - best bet would be Marmottes (best VFM)... plenty of other options (not Ouillette they dont fry stuff) ... here in Val...

Anyway what a lovely day it was once again - cold start but the sun was shining...

The usual start to the day but I did have to pop to the office to get some off piste kit for my morning off piste... anyway after meeting my client (nice young guy from London) we were off... It was not aiming to be a hard off piste morning but more building on what he had been taught by a colleague of mine earlier on in the week ... plenty of technique etc but today mainly putting it all into practice.

Anyway we headed up the Olymique and I did a few itineraries through various parts of the Jardins des Borsat as well as in the glades under the Pisteurs coloir.... all in all there was some jolly nice snow out there still. It was a fun morning and apart from a couple of splats he enjoyed it (I think / hope!)

I treated myself to a Tartine lunch and then it was time for the first session with my seasonnaires group... a nice bunch of girls from various tour operators... anyway we worked on various general and short turn piste performance things but kept it quite light hearted and active... plenty of mileage. Trick of the day for them was backward skiing which they not only loved but they were pretty natural at doing!

After a family meal of fajitas at home it was time to spend 30 mins or so chatting with a ski journalist on the phone who is writing a few various pieces for different sources and wanted some quotes to put into some articles regarding ski technique.... so that was good!

And that more or less sums up the whole day!

Im only on a half day tomorrow but nevertheless I am looking forward to a good sleep tonight!


Ready to rip up that powder!!!


And again!


Whoops splat!

My periscope for the day was fitted in this evening from the comfort of my balcony at home.

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

Not much else to report today.

TTFN
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You know it makes sense.
Thanks Steve. Reading your posts is almost as good as being there.
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@PeakyB, yes I will try the yellow bus from Gare Routier on Sunday should get me about 200m from the accinadation that is feasible walk . Return nextbsun lokksca nightmare 3.30 am Ben bus and forecast is terrible .
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 Poster: A snowHead
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@RichClark, thanks will ring the resort staff when I approach bourg st Maurice
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can somebody tell me about the vallee perdue run, i"ve seen the you tube videos and it looks like an adventure, it doesnt look to steep and should be in my capabilities, i"m just a leisurely intermediate skier, but i think i could squeeze between cliffs and duck under overhanging rocks.
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Quote:

Whoops splat!


That looks very similar to my powder technique. I've certainly done that a few times during lessons with you. Laughing
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compostcorner wrote:
can somebody tell me about the vallee perdue run, i"ve seen the you tube videos and it looks like an adventure, it doesnt look to steep and should be in my capabilities, i"m just a leisurely intermediate skier, but i think i could squeeze between cliffs and duck under overhanging rocks.


Oh I hope someone will! I've heard about this but never knew where it was. Apparently it's past tommeuses lift and into a gully on the left. I'd love to give it a try, but once in could I get lost or is the route really obvious?
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Can I ask for some suggestions on where to ski in Tignes or Val d'Isere please? I know the place fairly well, at least on piste. Off piste I've always gone with a guide.

Next trip we'll be skiing with some friends and their kids, all good competent skiers. The kids are 10-13, have done all the ESF levels and just want to ski with the grown ups this year. Some of them will be challenged by the steep pistes, but I'm sure with the current conditions they'll want to try some deep stuff.

Any suggestions for places to go for a gentle introduction to off piste? Somewhere shallow, safe, and accessible. I'm well aware of the off piste safety issues and have all my own gear but I'm definitely not looking for somewhere I'd even need to consider kitting them out. I'm not ready to think about the implications of that for my own son yet.

I think my own intro was around the Stade Leggetaz with @Steve Angus, a fantastic start to what's now fairly competent off piste skiing! I'd like to have some other options planned too, so can anyone suggest good spots and if possible any areas that might look suitable but actually wouldn't be?

Thanks Very Happy
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Pending wrote:
compostcorner wrote:
can somebody tell me about the vallee perdue run, i"ve seen the you tube videos and it looks like an adventure, it doesnt look to steep and should be in my capabilities, i"m just a leisurely intermediate skier, but i think i could squeeze between cliffs and duck under overhanging rocks.


Oh I hope someone will! I've heard about this but never knew where it was. Apparently it's past tommeuses lift and into a gully on the left. I'd love to give it a try, but once in could I get lost or is the route really obvious?


Access it just beyond the bottom of the Tommeuses chair, it runs between the Verte and Triffolete pistes (and should be 'marked' on the piste map as VALLEE PERDUE). It is very easy to follow - it is a gorge, so nowhere else to go. But once you enter the gorge you really have little choice but completing it - it brings you out onto the Triffolete piste. The main difficulties are keeping your speed down (as it is narrow), and having to lower yourself through a short natural tunnel through a cliff. Don't forget your camera and/or Go-pro type thingy, as it is (IMO) one of the more visually spectacular off-piste routes in the Espace.
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Re Piste Perdu- be aware it is a potentially deadly terrain trap following fresh snow or when slopes above are warming. Once you have committed to it there is no easy escape!
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@retsil, very sound and timely advice.
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seconded re snow quality in piste perdu and danger. Done it a few times. Last year in minimal snow, which meant you couldn't get down the drop after the tunnel bit without a rope, so we had to climb over the cliff thing to get back onto the run. It was marked at that point with crossed black / yellow poles. All good fun! Took a snowboarder down it at the end of his first week once, so it's doable for most, if a bit of a scramble sometimes depending on snow.

You aren't going to go down it like Leo Tartiflette!
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perdue different every time dependent upon snow depth . sometimes not enough snow you have to lower yourself through the tunnel on the rope ,other times in big snow year skis off and crawl through a small hole ,when huge snow its a climb out as endoman points out . one year 2000 or 2001 i did not check if trifolet had sufficent snow to ski down there was only a ribbon of snow zig zagging down ,i decided to take skis off and walk st down bad mistake i silpped and fell all the way to bottomon my backside with rocks crashing all about me it was a long way .i was lucky my backpack save my me no helmet .people thought i must be dead .friend was readying a call for the fumeral director . after making sure i was oky they burst out laughing as i was covered head to toe in mud no one got in the la dialle cabin with me and when i emerged at frutiere the crowd had a good laugh !!! be careful but it is a fun route
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I am another who had to do the climb out a few years ago from the PP. It is not far but very steep and quite physical. It took the whole group quite a while to get out. There were a few undignified scrambles at the top.

I would definitely try and find out beforehand what the conditions are. Despite the name it is not a piste.
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
I'd love to give it a go, but I'm never sure when's a good time. The pics/vids online look fun!
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Trifolet was a bit of a grass and rock field as well once we got to the bottom of it, ( is it ever open) then we had to paddle through the river at the bottom. i did hear, " are ski boots waterproof" as we did that wink
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Jehu - thanks! Very Happy
compostcorner - yes as others have said it is an adventure and controlling the speed and being able to stop in VERY tight spots is vital but it is Indiana Jones meets skiing really!... and yes Pending - its the gully right below the loading area for the tommeuse - just follow gravity into the gully and you will eventually end up at the other end of it. But as retsil says it is a terrain trap and again as others have said when you are in you are in no easy way to get out of it! Depending on how much snow there is (lots this year) it can be a scramble through holes / abseil down - lots of different variations exist... sometime the 'hole' in the rock doesnt even exist and you ski over it when there is lots of snow in there!
sno trax - he he... its not that bad with you!!!!
Pending - basically I think what might suit the bill is the area between the Madelaine and Glacier Express lifts - particularly accessed from the latter of the too is fairly flat, safe etc. Otherwise Jardins de Borsat... so towards Borsat lift from the top of it off piste, towards Grand pre alternatively... as far as not needing kit... I can't endorse suggesting you go without the kit... ALWAYS worthwhile having it but thats as far and as much as I will say!

Today update coming up!
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Nice to get over to Tignes

Firstly could I apologise for NOT doing my periscope today - a combination of battery problems on my phone (forgot to charge) this morning when I was skiing then children being 'difficult' this evening meant that I never got around to it - me bad - back on it tomorrow

So I was at the meeting point nice and early this morning and I had a nice young guy from America who had flown over with his wife and a couple of other friends from the USA for - wait for it - 3 days skiing - all the way from the USA to Val d'Isere!!!! Wow that is commitment.

Anyway after checking out his level I thought it best to give him a nice tour around the area and so I headed over towards Tignes - we had a really nice morning combining mileage and me showing him the sights and sounds of the EK with technique development - some good things seen - well done!

The most annoying part of the morning came when we got to the Fontaine Froid on our return to the Val side and there was technical problem - bug! We had no other option other than to ski down Santons - now I really hate that run but I realised when skiing down there that it has been YEARS and YEARS since I last went down that way - it was busy but the snow quality was OK and with the amount of snow that had infilled it due to avalanches it was rather wide.... we ended up only being 10 minutes late in the end!

I hurried back home as Clare was waiting to take Olivia out for a ski with her father and by the sounds of things she did ever so well - she even ended up skiing all the way down to La Daille - AMAZING work! The job now will be to contain her on green runs and tease her towards parallel turns - little by little and a slow burner that will be!

Anyway when Olivia got home the 'dark' side came out as she was evidently so tired (but ecstatic!) - what followed as about an hour and a half of chaos - however we got there in the end and as I said I never got around to my periscope - sorry!

So we have just been out for dinner with Clare father and some other friends and it was a jolly nice meal at La Toviere....

I am now ready for bed and with little else to report from today I shall do just that..... the sun was shining today and will continue to do so for another day or two before another storm or three moves in. Meanwhile the avalanche risk is dropping all the time and there is talk of it dropping to 2 tomorrow - we shall see whether that happens or not!


Beautiful up there and no one around!

OH yes whilst I remember this weeks TDC snow report - a little late but any quite good summary by my colleague Nicko!


http://youtube.com/v/_1qVahvYwak&feature=youtu.be

TTFN
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 Poster: A snowHead
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@Steve Angus, The food at the Toviere was excellent when we were in town during the autumn.
Are they still doing a 3 course set menu ?

Conditions look fantastic, very slightly sad we'll be in 3 valleys this month but looking forward to being back in Val d'Isere in February.
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@Steve Angus, if Olivia can already do Verte down to La Daille, she could likely cope with average reds in most other resorts.
2034 Winter Olympics mate, pencil it in
snowHead
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Steve Angus wrote:

compostcorner - yes as others have said it is an adventure and controlling the speed and being able to stop in VERY tight spots is vital but it is Indiana Jones meets skiing really!... and yes Pending - its the gully right below the loading area for the tommeuse - just follow gravity into the gully and you will eventually end up at the other end of it. But as retsil says it is a terrain trap and again as others have said when you are in you are in no easy way to get out of it! Depending on how much snow there is (lots this year) it can be a scramble through holes / abseil down - lots of different variations exist... sometime the 'hole' in the rock doesnt even exist and you ski over it when there is lots of snow in there!


Would you think it would be accessible for the kids? I know my own son could probably get down pretty much anything that I could, and the others are fairly sporty and passed ESF gold star last year. It would be such an adventure for them if they could manage it safely. Another thing I'd love to do would be ski down from 1850 to Les Brev after dark with head torches, (having left the car in Brev) if it was a clear evening and not too cold.

Steve Angus wrote:

Pending - basically I think what might suit the bill is the area between the Madelaine and Glacier Express lifts - particularly accessed from the latter of the too is fairly flat, safe etc. Otherwise Jardins de Borsat... so towards Borsat lift from the top of it off piste, towards Grand pre alternatively... as far as not needing kit... I can't endorse suggesting you go without the kit... ALWAYS worthwhile having it but thats as far and as much as I will say!


Ah yeah, that first bit would be perfect, thanks! I don't think I know the Jardins de Borsat area, although I might recognise it when I see it. I'll have a recce when I get there. I know what you mean about the kit. It's something I need to think carefully about, even whether I bring my own kit or not. Am I better off having it even if they don't - yeah probably. But if I do then they need it... I just don't want my own child in a situation where it might be required. Not yet, he's only 10. I don't want him to even have to think about something as gruesome as that yet. And all we're after is some easy off the side stuff somewhere that's not a terrain trap. I have been considering putting a transceiver on my son, but no way are my friends going to kit out their kids. Actually their Dad takes risks probably unaware that I wouldn't dream of! Steve Angus - what age would you/TDC take kids off piste properly and all kitted up? And I guess I'm too late for you to have any availability next week? wink
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Pending wrote:
ski down from 1850 to Les Brev after dark with head torches, (having left the car in Brev) if it was a clear evening and not too cold.


Sadly not a great idea, pistes will be closed (and hence your insurance will be invalid should you have an accident) and you may find piste bashers right across the piste!
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muppet - the set menu's are (in keeping with most hotels in Val) available in the evening yes but not at lunchtime - in the non Winter period it is the other way around! The 3 valleys - traitor!!!! He he!!!! Bring on Val in February then!
PeakyB - yes I suppose so... but the problem with kids is getting down is different from skiing them with improving technical skills... it is all too easy for kids to get blocked in a snowplough (amongst other things) therefore greens and perhaps a nice blue like the Glacier Express up Solaise will be as far as we take it yet a while...
Pending I've known 4 year olds with not a lot of experience (couple of weeks!!!!) to have gone down there - but then again they have short skis making it a little easier! All in all its generally not too hard a ski no. As far as the after dark ski down... be careful and stick to the easy pistes where there won't be winch cables from winch cats and it should be OK but officially you'd be in the wrong doing it! The off piste areas - yes all easy to eye up (to an extent) looking from the lifts... yes I know what you mean in terms of a dilemma on the kit front. To 'sell' it to your friends talk about it being like putting a seat belt on in a car - it doesn't make you more reckless a driver (hopefully) but its a safety barrier! All to often people talk about 'just off the side of the piste' but more often than not that is where the accidents happen.... just keep it flat, no terrain traps and nothing 'above' or 'below' in terms of steepness and the risk is in effect from an avalanche point of view eradicated... little pot holes etc pose a danger still etc... it is a GOOD way of instilling discipline in skiing with kids doing such an exercise... e.g. 'no overtaking me no matter what'. As far as what age would be take kids off piste etc... well this is how we deal with it... 1) when the coach (and only at the coaches discretion) thinks they are technically good enough AND mature enough to follow instructions 2) with parent and child understanding that 100% of the decisions made are by the instructor exclusively and 3) if the kid wears all the kit... in reality about 10 is the very youngest I have ever taken someone off piste and normally about 13/14 and upwards... we do (not with me but with a colleague) we have an intro to off piste group running next week... not sure how the office would deal with deciding if they could accept the booking in advance having NOT skied with said kids off piste before... Good luck!
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a question about snow depths, who measures it and how do they do it for the offficial valdisere website, the reason i ask is because 5 days ago there was 350cm at 3000mtrs, and today there is 310cm, so even though the temperatures have been below zero you still lost 40cm. and at village level its gone down from 250 to 192, it seems a lot to lose in just a few days while the temperatures are below freezing
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A day of 2 halves - seriously 2 halves

This morning was bright and sunny but the clouds rolled in and the light was a little flat at times but nothing too major. Once again the temps had dropped overnight so it was a little chilly but with no winds (a little breeze that is all) and empty slopes it was a pleasant morning... I met my morning lesson first up and it was a combo lesson of some on piste performance and some off piste too... they have booked on a whole week of off pisting starting tomorrow morning so today was a warm up. Steve and Karen are solid skiers and it is really nice when you have people that can make really good rounded turns which makes off piste skiing (in particular) so much easier! Anyway we did some nice turns up on Solaise and the run of the morning was the Arcelle which is still in excellent condition... a couple of runs off piste and the combe du Super L was (as usual) my pick of the off piste. Until the next snow arrives which is due in the next few days and large quantities the off piste is complicated to find the best snow as there is some crust amongst challenges to overcome. Anyway it was a great morning but seeing some of the debris around the Laisenant Express from that avalanche last week is incredible... trees snapped in half on the 'fornet' side of the piste etc - wow!


There used to be trees down there!


So this is looking LEFT as you go up the Laisenant Express - notice the tree snapped in half, half way up it and the mound of debris in the big gap between the trees!

Talking of avalanche risk... this was dropped to 2 today... the melt freeze cycles - in the sun during the day the snow is softening up a little enough so with the drop in temp at night it is anchoring more and more!

However with all that snow we had last week and the week before that the uphill side of the Tourne avalanche barriers that protect parts of town (La Daille - this building, and the Cret part of town) have become filled in so today a piste basher head up to the top of the filled in area... and that piste basher acted as an anchor to a second piste basher to winch itself up and down on.... anyway as far as I know the mission was a success - thank you and bravo!



A rushed lunch and then I met up with my afternoon lesson... I had the honour of teaching the first lesson for SkiBro today which is an instructor booking app / website that is about to launch... they are based in town and the people behind it are putting SERIOUS money into making it a success. World domination of the ski instructor booking market akin to something like Uber or AirBnB beckons for them. So anyway I had the pleasure of teaching a jolly little 5 year old beginner (told you it was a day of 2 halves). He was very nervous and quiet and his Dad was never far away to offer encouragement and mental 'help'. So anyway he did really well and his snowploughs were really coming on by the end of the session. More of that tomorrow... well done little man!

This evening has consisted of a nice family meal and not much else so some nice downtime.

The only downside to the day was finding out (have not been over that way this season so far) that the Cabane snack cafe at the bottom of the Savonnette lift has GONE.... this has been in the news for quite some time but to finally see it gone is very sad... its not quite gone yet - the walls are still there and it is derelict so a bit of an eyesore but its certainly not trading. This is a HUGE SHAME Val d'Isere and you should be thoroughly ashamed... effectively this should be considered a public service necessity here where tired beginners can get a quick snack / drink etc and parents / friends etc can watch. OK we have the magic carpet area atop the Solaise now but the weather does not always allow that area to operate and neither do people always want to have to buy a lift pass to get up there. So it is a huge shame it has gone! Boooo!

Anyway I think that is all for now.... apart from I managed to get my periscope done today... although forgot to put a title for it today!

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

TTFN
snow conditions     
 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
compostcorner - the pisteurs do the measuring... the variations is simply to do with the compaction (natural and mechanical - skiers and piste bashers etc on top of the snow)... but for the most part the snow densifies due to natural forces... in the Spring time the temperatures have an effect too.
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 You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.


Wow this is why (thanks Bureau des Guides Val d'Isere for this photo) the Cugnai chair is still not running in Val... I was thinking it was taking a while to get the avalanche clearance done up there.... but they need serious man power to dig out the top station dont they!
ski holidays     
 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
@Steve Angus, OMG that is bonkers!
snow report     



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