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Off Piste Ski Sabbatical

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
@alice8217, what a wonderful dilemma to find yourself in!

Would be great if you kept a blog/thread going wherever you decide on, so I can dream of a similar sabbatical when I figure out how to save enough money to pay my mortgage and not have to work for the season! Laughing
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Not sure if anyone has mentioned Val d´Isere. There are several small off piste outfits where a solo skier can join up for a few days, ski hard on or near famous off piste routes with either lift access plus a traverse or a modest skin. Excellent bus service from La Daille to Val, then on to Le Fornet, you can access all of Tignes from Val. Or you might explore the Zillertal in Tyrol, Kaltenbach, etc cheaper, friendly, loads of terrain. The mountains are lower then eg Chamonix but because the NE alps are further from the Med they usually do fine. Enjoy.
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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?
jedster wrote:
@boarder2020,
Quote:

Should anyone be skiing that terrain on their own?!

by independent I meant without a guide rather than solo


Is the main Valle blanche route or something like col du tour noir on argentiere basin that serious? I thought they were a bit of a motorway? I guess maybe argentiere is a little quieter without the top lift? Granted you would need crevasse rescue knowledge, but a weekend course would be sufficient assuming you are touring with some experienced people that know what they are doing. I'm going off what I've seen in guidebooks and videos regarding the terrain so maybe they didn't reflect the actual difficulty so much.

I always did wonder about people with no crevasse rescue knowledge assuming they are safe because they have a guide. What's supposed to happen if he falls in?
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 You need to Login to know who's really who.
You need to Login to know who's really who.
boarder2020 wrote:


I always did wonder about people with no crevasse rescue knowledge assuming they are safe because they have a guide. What's supposed to happen if he falls in?


Call the rescue services (PGHM) on tel:+33450531689. They rescued my group once! In Cham main thing is that someone sees you go in and so knows where you are. There are a lot of crevasses on VB and plenty of people fall in each year on the main route! If you’re somewhere more remote then you need to make sure more than one person has a rope/kit and knowledge do a crevasse rescue

Here’s a reminder from the great man!
http://youtube.com/v/Ukhnzlh22qQ
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@boarder2020,

I think the question was about going solo. In general I'd say that was a bad idea for avalanche travel although some people do it.
I agree that provided you are practised in the ropework associated with crevasse rescue and read the terrain then you don't need a guide.

As @BobinCH says, if your guide goes into a crevasse and you don't know what to do then you phone for help. Even then, I suspect guides would generally be able to climb out without needing to be hauled up on a pulley. But guides typically know the terrain well and are cautious when with clients so don't fall in. When I was a young climber I asked an experienced guide if he had ever fallen in a crevasse he said "yes when climbing for myself but with clients never, and I intend to keep it that way".
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 You'll need to Register first of course.
You'll need to Register first of course.
jedster wrote:

As @BobinCH says, if your guide goes into a crevasse and you don't know what to do then you phone for help.


as a general rule Chamonix guides will also phone the PGHM if a client falls into a crevasse (you've no idea if the client is injured until you get them out) assuming of course, they can fly and are not on another shout. Very few Chamonix guides have actually rescue someone from a crevasse although they would all be capable of it, I'm quite sure. Of course Chamonix is something of an exception for the efficiency of the rescue services.

Quote:


http://youtube.com/v/nWOTVHhgnIs#t=10

Yesterday afternoon, wonderful day in Chamonix, with childhood friends, a friendly guide, an exceptional day for a beautiful descent of the Vallee Blanche
And yet surprise ... little higher than the Requin refuge, a snow bridge crumbles under my skis and here I am in a few seconds at the bottom of the hole!
Strange and unpleasant feeling to be a few meters from the surface between two walls of ice, blocked by a layer of unstable snow. Impossible to move, my legs are knots and my position is really not comfortable. I think I'm not hurt anywhere .. I'm positive, my friends are behind and saw me disappear into the abyss, my guide is in front and he will come to get me, another guide is not far and will help him in the manip!
The minutes are long but I see the end of the rope with an indefinissable pleasure! I have an efficient and experienced guide, a helmet, a harness, a carabiner screw, but today I know why .. I know that I am very lucky and that the crevasses are not always so indulgent. Thank you to the guide who took the time to come and help .. I love the mountain by its excessive beauty but I never forget that she does what she wants to anyone and no matter when!


and not so happy

http://pistehors.com/23265465/the-death-of-a-guide
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
A couple of years ago we had a couple of days touring on foot on the glacier above Pralognon La Vanoise and the guide, a super bloke, fell into a crevasse. It was not a terrible one but he could not climb out alone as he had broken his arm. We had an experienced group with a couple of ropes. We secured ourselves and tossed down a Rope. There is a simple way to wrap and secure a rope under your shoulders with one if the other is injured. With a bit of hauling from us, but largely his strength, he got out. He would not have been able to tie himself on to his harness. The guide was a stud and led us down to the car park, about 4 hours. I then drove him back. He was adamant he did not want to call out the rescue services. Even the French can be brave.
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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!
Quote:

He was adamant he did not want to call out the rescue services. Even the French can be brave.


and the forms he would have avoided having to fill in! Probably worth a bit of pain for that!
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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.
Do you have to live on mountain?

There are a number of snowheads who live the city life and then travel to the snow with a multi-resort season pass.

Theoretically always great conditions.

Plenty to do off skis.
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
Mike Pow wrote:
Do you have to live on mountain?

There are a number of snowheads who live the city life and then travel to the snow with a multi-resort season pass.

Theoretically always great conditions.

Plenty to do off skis.


Live in a grotty, wet town under a layer of winter fog vs waking up to blue skies and a winter wonderland. Of course I exaggerate but if I had the choice there’s no way I’d be choosing town living over the mountains! I mean there’s nothing quite like it is there?
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 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
Ive done seasons in Verbier, Chamonix and Aosta. You seem to have highlighted the pros and cons. Without a car and with plenty of cash Verbier is top. With a car but need to find company for skiing then Chamonix. With a car and a companion then Aosta is my top choice. Its cheap, better weather, coffee and best variety of skiing by far.
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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.
Quote:

With a car and a companion then Aosta is my top choice. Its cheap, better weather, coffee and best variety of skiing by far.


I think that is a sound call but I'd be influenced by the fact my French is preety poor but my Italian awful!
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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
BobinCH wrote:
Mike Pow wrote:
Do you have to live on mountain?

There are a number of snowheads who live the city life and then travel to the snow with a multi-resort season pass.

Theoretically always great conditions.

Plenty to do off skis.


Live in a grotty, wet town under a layer of winter fog vs waking up to blue skies and a winter wonderland. Of course I exaggerate but if I had the choice there’s no way I’d be choosing town living over the mountains! I mean there’s nothing quite like it is there?


Depends which grotty, wet town you choose?

And whether you're prepared to ski / tour when the conditions are rubbish.

Living in a town which gives you multiple options may be the go.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Mike Pow wrote:

Depends which grotty, wet town you choose?



Chamonix? La Grave?
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
davidof wrote:
Mike Pow wrote:

Depends which grotty, wet town you choose?



Chamonix? La Grave?


Smile
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Consider Champagny-en-Vanoise. La Plagne is on your doorstep and Les Arcs is achievable without much effort. Both have plenty of lift-served off-piste with a wide range of difficulty.

15-20 minutes down the hill gets you into the 3 Valleys complex - again with a wide range of off-piste options.

And the same time up the hill will get you into Pralognan, the gateway to the Vanoise national park, and endless day and multi-day touring options with a number of refuges to aim for.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
I'm one of the Serre Che crew, living there the past 5 or so seasons.

I also have been skiing/snow-boarding La Grave since 97 and know various full-timers there.

I know a handful of mature ski bums who spend two to three months there and return each season and they do not get bored, interesting to note that some of them only have Mon-Fri season passes as they can't be arsed to ski with the crowds at the weekend, not that they are anywhere near the levels that you encounter in Chamonix.

Out of those that I know, most will do some of the more gnarly routes, but not some of the uber routes where you really need the experience of a resident guide.

Many also do not live in LG but in villages above the village, so there will be some networking to be carried out in order to get to meet people, but that usually takes place in the Gondolas and in the lift queue at the bottom and you soon get to know the regular faces.

The last few years I've probably made more trips over to LG on a powder day to find the lift closed, and wished I'd remained in Serre, that said I had one of my best days ever there this past season, but again that was with a guide who just happened to make the call that no one else did.

I think you have to live in LG to really get the most out of it rather than optimistic road trips where you might end up queueing with many others who had the same thought, but it's still a magical place and the sheer scale of it never fails to amaze me.

When we go over there we sometimes are relieved that we are not skiing with some of the Scandi ski bums we know who just are in another league, and we're happy to ski with the second division as it were where pace is not so rapid.

If you do go there and want to explore our side of the Lautaret then PM me
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