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The Swiss Wall

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Anyone ever done the Swiss Wall in Morzine over to the swiss side.
There was a heavy dump and we were skiing on the white out. To be honest, I was a bit worried about the avalanche risk as it was 3 that day and this is quite a steep slope - any thoughts?
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I'm sure it would have been checked by the avalanche patrol and blown if necessary.
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have a look here. I did it the other week.

http://snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewtopic.php?t=38715
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GordonFreeman, probably also worth a read here:

http://snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewtopic.php?t=38547
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Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
if it was open the avalanche risk would have been considered acceptable.

mind you, a good number of years ago, when still mostly a manual operation, a couple of pisteurs had the DH of their lives by triggering the whole slope, taking the chair out with them...I believe they were OK the chair not so...
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Last time I skied it was as a teenager in the 80s. I remember it was pretty steep, full of huge icy moguls, with a nice run-out at the bottom.
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GordonFreeman, if it was open it would have been safe, that's probably the best conditions you can do it in too, assuming the bumps were nicely filled in.
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After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
i have done it on a board on two trips recently,

twice when it was icy moguls and not fun, even the side bits were not nice, Sad

and twice when it was soft moguls and it was all fun, especially the side bits. Very Happy
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Not icy at all when I did it. Lots of soft snowy moguls. Still bloody difficult and scary at times
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Have done it a couple of times. Both times the moguls were the size of minis and it was quite exhausting, but good fun.
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Nice vin chaud stop at the top of it if im thinking of the same one!
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Swirly wrote:
GordonFreeman, if it was open it would have been safe, that's probably the best conditions you can do it in too, assuming the bumps were nicely filled in.


define nicely filled in had one of the leastenjoyable runs ever on a red run in serre che in fresh snow where the very tip of the icy mogul was the only bit not filled in. hard soft hard soft not good Sad
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Nadenoodlee, yep. Left may mates wife and his son waiting there for us.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
GordonFreeman wrote:
I was a bit worried about the avalanche risk

The run is an itinerary - so if it's open then it will have been controlled.

To be a little pedantic, the run is between Avoriaz and Switzerland, not Morzine and Switzerland. I only mention in case someone reads this thread, goes to Morzine and goes looking for it. Toofy Grin

The worst thing about the run - as with many such runs - is the entrance. The size of the first couple of bumps (everything you've heard) tends to mean that most people traverse in skier's right, with the consequence that the traverse gets rutted and icy very quickly. I've only fallen once on the run and it was the first turn out of that traverse - I turned and my ski stayed in the rut.

The biggest danger is an early fall - I've seen somone fall nearly top to bottom. Not nice.

The next biggest danger is being hit from above by someone who's fallen early.

In the case where I fell, I was had the presence of mind to get the other ski below me very quickly and I only fell a few metres.

I'll pass on the one piece of advice we were given by a BASI Trainer. If someone is falling at you from above on a run like the Swiss Wall then stand aside - don't ever try to stop them unless their life really is in danger. You're almost guaranteed to get a broken leg for your trouble and you don't have a get chance of stopping them. They, however, are unlikely to be that badly injured.

3 minutes after he told us this, a guy fell above us and came hurtling down (the one mentioned above). At first he was head first, but then he rolled and then rag-dolled over some bumps. By the time he passed us he would have certainly created a lot of damage to anyone trying to stop him. He stopped about 200m from the end of the piste at the bottom. There was blood everywhere, but he skied away.
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PhillipStanton, a salutary tale.
Quote:

The size of the first couple of bumps (everything you've heard) tends to mean that most people traverse in skier's right, with the consequence that the traverse gets rutted and icy very quickly

I recall I Immediately went left. Perhaps thats where I went wrong Puzzled
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dan100, sadly runs that aren't quite nicely filled in are absolutely horrific, I'd imagine it would take a heck of a lot to fill in the wall to a nice state. I've done a few runs like you describe and it become a war of attrition.

PhillipStanton, yes fallers gather quite a bit of momentum, especially if they've come from the first couple of turns. I saw (from the lift) a guy fall a couple of hundred meters, he seemed a bit dazed but his mate recovered his ski and he got up put it on and promptly fell another couple of hundred meters before he'd even moved off Embarassed he skied away fine though, just a bit of battered pride. At the top I just wanted to get away from the people making a meal of it, although I maintain you wouldn't get me near it if it was icy.
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PhillipStanton, when I last did the Wall it was good soft conditions - a young lad, maybe 13 (ish) perhaps, lost his balance near the top and fell and started to slide down, a skier near him, whom I assume was his father, saw him sliding and tried to ski in front of him and sort of fell on purpose (it looked like that anyway as he was in control and it was a bit like putting a motor bike down) in front of him to stop his slide. Unfortunately it seems that skiers do not follow a straight path and almost immediately the young lad changed direction, the father kept sliding in the same direction, they both missed each other and continued to slide in opposite directions. Luckily neither of them fell too fat down the slope. i am sure there is a moral in this somewhere Laughing

Swirly, it is quite tricky when icy and not much fun on a single edge, a quick traverse to avoid most of the bumps was the order of the day
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Quote:
i am sure there is a moral in this somewhere


Always have your camera handy?
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richmond wrote:
Quote:
i am sure there is a moral in this somewhere


Always have your camera handy?


it was hard enough thrying to avoid the errant skiers, let alone trying to knock off a few pics wink
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There was no way I was getting my camera out part way down. A couple at the top, a couple at the bottomo and a couple on the chairlift back up - that'll do nicely. Shocked
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halfhand, i did take a few pics half way down, but as I was, in snowboarder fashion, sitting in the middle of the piste on the top of a mogul, it was not such a problem. I did keep a dicky eye out for sliders though Laughing
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Quote:
The worst thing about the run - as with many such runs - is the entrance


Actually, IMHO, the worst thing is that there are too many people on it, who aren't capable of skiing it safely (for themselves and everyone else), aren't enjoying themselves and are only doing it out of some misguided sense of ego/machismo/stupidity/t-shirt acquisition.

If you want steep, I know steeper. If you want bumps, I know bigger ones. When I repped in the area I only ever took groups down it (assuming they were capable in the first place) if I thought it would be enjoyable or if they absolutely insisted. There are much better/more fun/tougher/steeper/bumpier* routes from Avoriaz into Crozets...(* delete as required).
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David Murdoch, is there also the case that at that junction the only other alternative is to get the lift down... I certainly have friends who regardless of their ability wouldn't dream of getting a lift DOWN a moutain... obviously this falls under the "misguided sense of ego/machismo/stupidity/t-shirt acquisition" bit too...
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Having got the T-shirt once and taken it slowly down I've avoided being taken down it again this year and last year - either bu mates cajoling or by my own little voices. Last year because the light was so C**p and I don't like bumps and no visibility and this year because the entrance looked awful. When I did it not sure if I turned to the left or right - but the top bit to me seemed really steep - steep enough for me thanks!
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ski-finder, yes, that may well be the case. I only ever get lifts down if I'm going to have to walk >25% of the way. Sliding down fallen trees, a little hike or fording raging torrents only add to the ski experience.
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I don't really see the point in getting the lift down: a better option is to head over Mousettes and do the red down into Les Crosets (my favorite piste in the PdS) then head to where you want to get from there. OK it takes a bit longer but if your not going to do the wall it's a better option.
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Swirly, is that this one?

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Just traverse out wide right and you avoid the moguls. there is also a secret way through the cliffs. wink

I did it last wednesday and it was deserted and had good untracked spring snow out wide on skiers right
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Epic thread resurrection - I know. But for the record - as I found this on google, I'd like to add my own Swiss Wall Story, it's called the:
The Swiss Wall & The Chairlift of Shame - blog here : http://skiingwithdemons.com/2015/09/29/the-swiss-wall-the-chairlift-of-shame/ Twisted Evil
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Even though you 'blew your own trumpet' @skiingwithdemons, 😉 I enjoyed that, thanks for posting
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@skiingwithdemons,

You are without shame.
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Been to the PdS a number of times now and never done the wall. The only real reason I can see for doing it is to say you've done it and while it's within my ability all I see when I look at it is a way to get very tired very quickly...and about 1/4 the way down Smile
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Yep -@under a new name, "ruthless self-promoter" - guilty.
@Timberwolf, Hopefully getting the balance of self-promotion and entertainment right (dog to feed etc, etc...)
@Mjit, Yep - I concur with your assessment. You grow out of collecting signature runs (so they tell me).
Twisted Evil
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Just been looking at some video clips of Swiss Wall - looks pretty straight-forward and not that steep, just full of intermediate skiers who struggle with bumps. I have certainly seen more challenging routes elsewhere.
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@zikomo, I agree - It's not even the most difficult in the PdS (IMO) - but it is called THE WALL - so a magnet for intermediates.

Also (IMO) everything looks easy until you're on it. POWDER by (Patric Thorne) gives it a trouser-rating of 4. OMG, I'm promoting the wrong book! Twisted Evil
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skiingwithdemons wrote:
Epic thread resurrection - I know. But for the record - as I found this on google, I'd like to add my own Swiss Wall Story, it's called the:
The Swiss Wall & The Chairlift of Shame - blog here : http://skiingwithdemons.com/2015/09/29/the-swiss-wall-the-chairlift-of-shame/ Twisted Evil


A fun read and oh so true Very Happy
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I would agree with the point about this being on a 'to do' list and hence the popularity. The times I have done it the moguls were big enough to stand in. When it was soft so a good blast but a nightmare when it was icy. However, if you are tired by about a quarter of the way down is it really within your ability??!!!!
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I hate bumps, and i have nothing to prove to anyone - there's better skiing to be had than that stupid place. Too many Try-hards for my liking.
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The Wall isn't actually the toughest run in the Portes du Soleil - but it does attract the "need to tick it off the list" crowd: of which I was very definitely one.

I’ve skiied it many times, in all sorts of conditions. The first time I did it I was a very intermediate skier, and picked my way down quite happily, and then proceeded to be very pleased with myself for a couple of years until I did it again. With the benefit of hindsight, my first time was a slushy spring day, the moguls were big and soft, and bouncing down it was tiring, but hardly very difficult.

The second time, a couple of years later, was after a big powder dump and, once again, apart from it being utterly knackering, it was ultimately a pretty benign experience. As others have said, the drop in at the top is by far the worst bit. And when you have some soft slush or powder, it is not really that bad.

So I was an expert at the Wall. Someone who had boated down it twice, in lovely snow, and laughed at the losers who chose to ride the chairlift down to the bottom. "Swiss Wall mate? Yeah, don't know what the fuss is all about, to be honest".

Hubris, friends. Hubris.

The next time I did it was two years ago, right at the beginning of my ski season in Morzine. I was with some friends who were visiting, it was early season, and snow coverage was pretty poor. It had snowed, it had warmed up and melted, and everything had refrozen. Of course, this didn’t matter. After couple of weeks of blatting around the ski area in all conditions, I was now a “seasonnaire” and an “expert”.

The Wall taught me several valuable lessons that day.

1. Conditions are everything. EVERYTHING.
2. Never take intermediates onto an icy, swept, mogul run. It’s not macho, it’s not funny. It’s dangerous.
3. Never believe that because you have ticked off a signature run and boasted about it in the bar, that you are now an expert skier – see 1 above
4. The Wall is a famous and feared run for a reason. It won’t bite every day, and often an intermediate can get down without falling or hurting themselves. But despite what everyone says, and the nonchalance with which they refer to “doing the Wall”, occasionally, on the wrong day, with the wrong snow, the Swiss Wall is enough to make an expert skier blanche.

I made a point of doing it regularly, so I could not pick the conditions I skied it in. The results were predictably variable. Sometimes, I got to the bottom, feeling like a ski god. Often, I got to the bottom, and vowed never to do it again. Once, memorably, I fell most of the way down it.

No matter what folk say, no matter their skiing level, The Swiss Wall is a run worthy of respect. Is it fun? Sometimes. Is it something you really should have a crack at? Of course. Is it something that once you have skiied it, you can claim to have conquered it? No. Are the folk taking the chairlift to the bottom of it worthless tourists? No – often, they’re a hell of a lot wiser and more experienced than you are.

Bonne chance.


Last edited by You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net. on Tue 8-12-15 22:40; edited 2 times in total
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@Harry Flashman, great post
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