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

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Where did the day go

I must first apologise but so many things needed to get done today not least packing before we leave for the UK tomorrow - eek it is going to be a crazy few days and drive tomorrow night too.... so apologies I never found time to do my periscope today!

Anyway once again it was the World Cup in town... yesterday Lindsey Vonn won but today she decided to look after a small niggle injury! Two Super G's in a row was not what was planned but hey ho. So there was a new champion in town... Anna Veith - congrats. The race was delayed by 15 minutes as we had another 10cm overnight - it just keeps on coming!

The fresh snow meant that there was another early start for the 'lisseurs' to work the snow off the course... check out this photo a colleague of mine took:



So it was a mega cold day up there today... a good -20 without any wind AND crucially no sun coming through - CHILLY. I had my team and we worked on moguls but again trying to show different parts of the mountain to different people in the group whom did not know the resort we did a little up Solaise first... I even took my first ride on the new Datcha lift - same as same as but faster!

I tried to avoid the thousands of students that are once again here in Val and would inevitably mean the Bellevarde area was going to be busy and of course the 2-3000 spectators watching the World Cup

So last week the resort are reporting that there were 6500 visitors (staying in the resort in 'registered' beds) representing 46000 nights!

Anyway this afternoon I had a HUGE pile of jobs to get on top off before heading back to the UK. We are leaving straight after skiing tomorrow and heading back overnight to be in the UK for lunchtime on Tuesday and will not be back in Val until Xmas eve.... so that means my next report will be Boxing Day!

Sorry not the most exhilarating of reports today but hey ho....


My view of the World Cup from my sofa!


OK maybe not that close up but still decent!


The various fan clubs are in town!


Come on sun come up... its chilly up here! Anyway I'm not concentrating - I'm riding the new Datcha lift!

So ill see everyone after Xmas!

TTFN
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Hi Steve - Wishing you, Claire, Olivia & Ben safe travels and a very Merry Christmas! We arrive in La Daille on the 2nd Jan and will see you on the 5th for our first lesson. We can't wait!!
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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?
Happy Christmas steve! Hope you all have a relaxing time off.
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Merry Christmas, Steve, to you and all your family!
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Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@Steve Angus, Happy Christmas to you all!
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Great World Cup update and pics. Wishing you all a very happy festive season snowHead
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Back on the game

Well thanks folks for the Christmas messages (and other messages too) folks. We had a good trip back - the journey there was absolutely knackering after several long days on the hill... then driving virtually all night - totally over it by the time we got to my mums house in Bournemouth... after we got the kids into bed we hit the sack about 10 mins later!!!! Ben and Olivia both ended sleeping for over 13 hours!!! wow - wish it was like that every night!

We had a lovely few days with my mum - yummy Christmas meal and the trip to the Panto was a highlight - never thought id see Rachel Stevens (from S Club fame) dressed as a fairy on the stage singing away - ha ha!

Mum really loved meeting Ben and seeing Olivia!

After a couple days there we then had a couple of days at Clares mums and step fathers house near Newbury and again with all the family around it was a festive couple of days.... plenty of food and drinks to be enjoyed and festivities! There was a huge amount of things that I had ordered online for delivery (well Clare too) over the past few weeks that the car was rather full up for the trip back - luckily we have a large van!

The journey back was very smooth and the 7 hour crossing on the ferry overnight with our own cabin was very welcome and we all got plenty of sleep - yay!

So we rolled back into Val late on Xmas eve and after unloading the car and sorting bits out for the big day itself we once again collapsed in a pile ready for Xmas day onslaught!

What a good day we had too.... good old Hu.Ski food order made our Xmas meal and it was jolly yummy. However seeing how excited Olivia was was the highlight of the day... the main present Santa brought her was a trampoline on which she has jumped non stop all day today apparently and she also got a cool little kids camera and so far she has taken 19849577 photos of which 1 is in focus and worth keeping but hey she is enjoying snapping away!

Ben on the other hand has suffered from the disruption to his schedule and has been under the weather with his first bought of man flu - poor little man!

Santa brought me a new Mammut / Dakine ABS pack (R.A.S. System) and I have been trying to get that all set up - can't wait to sport the new pack... it looks rather smart even if I do say so myself!

--------------------------------------------------

So you're hear to hear about the snow and Val d'Isere right!!!!!

So lets get back to the conditions on the hill.... well since I last posted there has pretty much been no snow to fall and temperatures have been pretty high .... that coupled with a (ever increasing as we edge towards the New Year day by day) resort that is getting busier by the day.... this has all meant that the pistes are getting a little worn now, the off piste is more stable but pretty much all tracked out but everything is now 100% open!

I met my morning lesson (she was a little late) but not knowing the resort and not trusting herself to self navigate I was a tour guide this morning coupling with some tips thrown in for good measurement.... it was a fun and relaxing morning. All the time the clouds were building and it was becoming more and more threatening. When you were out of the sun (and that was pretty much all the time by late morning) there was a breeze blowing and it was a little chilly at times! Lots of people who have been skiing the last few days were a little caught out I think by the weather!

So the afternoon session I was meeting over in Tignes and it was a lesson in the afternoon with a group of 3 whom wanted a handful of ideas of how they could move away from the intermediate plateau. It was tricky 3 hours with failing weather, some cold persons, a variety of 'needs' and experiences BUT we had some good developments. Bravo!

With some friends popping around for a cuppa and some Xmas meal leftovers to be eaten that has finished my evening up nicely.

Some fresh snow is forecast for all day tomorrow and possibly into Thursday so we shall see how that pans out.

Anyway my cold is nearly behind me (yay) after plenty of Sudafed so I think an early night is required for me and then I think I will be back firing on all cylinders once again!

Todays photos and periscope follows.

TTFN


Excusing the dodgy postures?!?!?!?!!? this is the new developments to the Toviere restaurant atop the mountain of the same name


It was promising early doors wasnt it?


OK little quiz time.... name the 3 pistes you can see in this photo (well could do it the clouds weren't as thick) and the 2 lifts!

https://www.pscp.tv/w/1kvJpkEkqNLGE
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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!
I'm going to try and actually remember this. Piste H, the top of Paquerettes* and possibly Campanules. The first lift is I think Tufs, and the one in the distance is maybe Fresse?



* never skied that, looks terrifying from below
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Hi Steve welcome back!
Looking forward to arriving at Val Claret on Saturday - nearly here!!
Thanks for all your brilliant reports again
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
That lift has to be tommeus, as I can see three foot bars meaning an 8 seat chair. Not sure of the one in the distance. Datcha?

Edit: I clearly can't do basic maths. 2x3=6, not 8. Tufs sounds right then.


Last edited by Ski the Net with snowHeads on Wed 27-12-17 6:06; edited 1 time in total
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snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
I've now had a look at the piste map and datcha is way off. The one I was thinking of is mont blanc (I had borsat in my head but knew that was too high), but that's not the right answer either. I wouldn't have known the piste names. When I've used tommeus is nearly always been to head towards tignes.
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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.
Tommeuse is on the other side, coming over from Val d'Isere. It's Tufs. The picture is taken from the top of Toviere, looking over Piste H (or Henri, whatever it's called now) towards Tignes.

The clue is two photos above!
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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
Yes I knew Snowheads would work it out. I guess theoretically you can see Paquerettes, Piste Henri (H), Prariond, Isolee and Genepy pistes and Tufs and Fresse lifts yes!

Anyway another tricky one coming up!

Not quite what was expected

I was pretty sure we would have a fresh canvas this morning but when I opened the curtains there was not a drop of snow and the clouds were moderately threatening at worst BUT it was to move in.

Ben has really come down with something and kept Clare occupied all night - bless him (well them both really) - Olivia on the other hand needs about a weeks worth of sleep to catch up as it seriously tired with all that has been happening the last couple of weeks!

Anyway I jumped on the bus and headed into town... the bus was rammed (as it often is at this time of the year) but hey ho it gets you there. Talking of the buses the town put into service today a brand new bus after one of the other 12 they use started to falter and it was decided cheaper to replace than repair... ill try and spot it!

Last night the ESF did a torch lite descent (our turn next week) and they once again used LED torches.... one could be rude and say that it was their own safety not to use real flares but apparently it is to do with reducing fumes in the air to make it easier to view by the public!!!

Anyway back to today...

I had the daughters (11 and 14) of a Snowhead this morning and what a couple of great little skiers they were... we had a really fun morning - lots of fun and games mixed in with some technical work.... in fact I took a trip down Le Face at the end of the lesson (and I dont ski Le Face that often really) and I have to say it was a scrapped so badly down to the old World Cup ice surface it was not that pleasant.... so many 'pivot and slide' skiers and boarders have been down the run that even by mid morning it is getting pretty treacherous!!!!

That ended up becoming a topic for todays Periscope:

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

Lunch was taken in town and then I had a VERY rare thing indeed.... someone who had paid for a lesson was a total no show - no message received or anything and even despite trying to call them (and leaving a voicemail) I still did not manage to get through to them. No idea what happened but I hung around for over an hour and no sign of them at all - strange!

So I eventually headed home mid afternoon and helped out with the kids at home! That translates into getting nothing done of use apart from trying to help a poorly little boy out on one hand and a tired little girl on the other... Clare got a little fresh air for an hour as she took Olivia out for a slide around on the La Daille nursery slopes!

The weather really moved in (initially at altitude but dropped down after that) and it was snowing pretty heavily from about lunchtime onwards all the way down into town. However as the evening has progressed the wind has really got up and it is now very windy out there - eek hope it is OK tomorrow!

So I promised earlier a tricky quiz this evening so here it is:


For one point, which direction is this photo taken (North, South.....). A second point, which lift is this picture taken from and finally for another point which mountain is in the foreground.... I think this is rather tricky

Anyway TTFN.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Really hard to tell, but I'm going to guess at Genepy/possibly the start of Epaule du Charvet taken from the Fontaine Froid lift? Which would make the mountain the Rocher du Charvet. As for direction, not sure! Facing west?

I bet I'm spectacularly wrong Laughing
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
@Steve Angus, Thanks for the lesson. Both Beth and Hannah had a fun morning and were noticeably improved! Beth thought she'd learnt something which is a first 😀
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Oh and I think Beth was there when you took the photo so I won't cheat!
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Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Hmmmm that was windy

It has been a bit of a whirlwind of a day... first it started (or was it finishing still from yesterday!?) with Ben having a puking / coughing fit at 3am and my help was needed for a good hour so that meant that when my alarm went off at 7am I was still rather sleepy!

Anyway ce la vie. I looked out the window and it was rather windy (nearly 100km/h winds were up there) and it was not only grey but there was non (well little) of the forecast snow.... oh well better make the most of it eh!

So I met my team of girls from yesterday once again and we tried to make the most of the conditions!....

Anyway back on the quiz from yesterday - it was a very tricky one indeed... and of course I knew someone would get it right.... of course HoneyBunny you're right... all of it correct apart from its looking south east mainly... top of Santons is just about in view too!

alan empty - my pleasure - great kids to have a ski with!

... talking of which when I met the girls this morning they were somewhat tired and I think put off by the conditions but that coupled with end of week fatigue meant I needed to gee them up! It took some work!

Anyway we headed up Solaise and decided to warm up on the Glacier Express but it was very windy and very cold - something like -15 before wind chill and with the wind in your face it was a non starter really and the little accumulations of fresh snow meant the flats were hard going...



So we beat a retreat and mixed it up between working on carving on the lower Solaise slopes (good work girls) and then some fun freestyle tricks like Ollies and 180 jumps... the hot choc break in the Lounge at the top of Solaise saw a VERY VERY VERY packed building but we finally got somewhere to sit and apart from a spilt hot chocolcate (everywhere) and the vending machine not releasing the choc bar for the girls we had a good break!

Anyway I had booked the afternoon off and had planned to do my broadcast but found out that the severe cold had whacked my phone charge so decided to get home and let the phone warm up and charge etc before doing my periscope... HOWEVER as I walked in to the house it was CARNAGE... Olivia was having a play date and in between some arguments with each other and other moments of fun there was toys etc EVERYWHERE... however Ben was not a happy baby so the afternoon was mainly spent fire fighting! Arghhh!

About 4pm and with the playdate and some sleeps by Olivia behind us we popped out for a drink with a family friend over the road and it was only when I got back in (Ben was once again not a well baby this evening so lets hope the night ahead is a good one !!!!) that I realised I had totally forgotten and missed my opportunity to Periscope - really sorry folks - just one of those days!

Anyway the clouds did part a little at lunchtime but moved in a again this evening... the wind is heavy this evening so lets hope we have some snow left in the morning before really heavy snow moves in tomorrow night....



EARLY WARNING - for anyone travelling this Saturday be warned that the roads could be chaos (and the airports for that matter) as some serious snowfall is forecast - we shall see!

Anyway thats about all for now.

TTFN
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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?
Thanks again Steve. The girls have improved noticeably and they both had a fun couple of mornings. Really hope we'll be back soon.

We had a similarly excellent time with Rich. Skied some off-piste areas I've never been before and he found some great snow for us.

Preaching to the converted on this thread probably but very impressed all round with tdc. Enjoy the rest of your season!
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Ahh yay I was right! Actually I should have thought more about the direction as well, as I know the sun always goes down behind the mountain when you're sitting at the Rosee Blanche Toofy Grin Toofy Grin
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@HoneyBunny, great get! You got X-ray vision? Very Happy
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@Steve Angus,
Quote:

HOWEVER as I walked in to the house it was CARNAGE... Olivia was having a play date and in between some arguments with each other and other moments of fun there was toys etc EVERYWHERE... however Ben was not a happy baby so the afternoon was mainly spent fire fighting! Arghhh!


Oh dearrr! They came, they saw, they spread out their toys. Hope things settle down before they reach those awkward challenging teenager years.

Great to see the thread back and an early Happy New Year to you all Very Happy
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
alan empty - thanks. Glad you had a fun time. Always good to hear good things about TDC and our school!
HoneyBunny - yes the Rosee sun deck gives it away a little!
PeakyB - yes it was a tricky quiz that one... yes I'm looking forward to the teenage years (hmmm am I?!!?! - while to wait yet!). Anyway glad you enjoy the thread!

Todays report coming up shortly.
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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!
A proud dad

Ben was better last night but Clare still thought that she had better take him to see the doctors this morning. However not withstanding that it was 7.30 before Olivia came and woke us up... I realised that today would be my last day off for about 10 / 11 days straight (and fully booked for all those days) so I had better make the most of it. So a nice scrambled eggs breakfast as I looked out the window at glorious blue skies and looking at the weather forecast it might be a few days until we see the sun again!

So Clare headed off with Ben to the doctors and I took Olivia for a ski. Next week we have her booked in for a weeks ski school - her first 'proper' week. Anyway it is quite an operation getting both of us ready to ski but after an hour or so we made it the bus and up into town. One of the stumbling blocks for both student (little ones) and instructors in a group situation when Olivia skis next week is a drag lift as that is quite possibly (especially of the weather is poor) where they will be skiing (the savonnettes)... so anyway I thought it best to see how she faired on the poma lift. I need not worried as she nailed it first time and another couple more times for luck.... well done!

After that I thought we would head up to see how she would go up top... the aim was to push her a little more as she has not skied the Madelaine this season yet. Anyway she did very well skiing down there so that was another tick in the box. We will now leave it with the instructor next week to get her in the correct group.

I bumped into a few friends / associates and colleagues up there so it was nice to see a few peeps! They thought she was doing grand!

We headed home and had a nice family lunch (Ben was OK and Clare given some instructions on how to help him clear his throat etc) before having a chilled afternoon. Apart from Clare having to head out for an hour to our little chalet to pick up the dirty laundry it was a relaxing afternoon.

I fitted in my periscope just as the storm was starting to move in.... we are expecting some serious snow and wind for the next 24hours or so and some estimates are suggesting a metre of snow might fall. A colleague has been speaking with the pisteurs and they are confident it will be a 4 tomorrow (avalanche scale) or possibly higher the day after if the storm continues. The weather having started nice and sunny BUT BITTERLY COLD AT -20 soon changed and the temps have risen as the clouds move in and the heavy snow has started... right now there is a fierce storm raging out there.

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


Happy family ski time


Ski model time!





Analysing the skiers below / or was she sleeping!

So one thing I promised I would mention tonight (see my periscope) is the new clarified publication the town have made of flying drones... essentially if for 'personal' purposes and not for commercial gain then you CAN fly a drone as long as it is not more than 800g in weight and you dont fly over buildings / lifts and people. Depending where in the resort you are the height you can fly is limited... see picture below. I dont think the map is complete for the Tignes side but as this was published by Val lets just looks at this side.... so in a nutshell and to be on the safe Solaise (parts of) and the Fornet are areas in which you might realistically be able to fly! Good luck.



Finally for now - roads... tomorrow they are forecasting 30000 cars to come up the hill so that coupled with the weather means that I should think there will be some major delays so be prepared. Best of luck!

TTFN
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Hi Steve, we are due to arrive in La Daille on Sunday 7th for a week and, although I am so glad there is so much snow around, I am wondering what you think is likely to happen when the freezing level rises - potentially above 2,000 metres. What is that likely to do with the lower pistes? I am hoping that the snow due after that will sort any potential issues out anyway but interested in your thoughts.
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
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@Steve Angus, thanks again. Interesting drone zone map. Did Picasso and Dali concoct it between them? I can make out a pregnant woman resting against a pillow in the middle. What can other snow Heads see?

Seriously though, how's anyone going to police drone flying? Even as an avid photographer and videoer IMO personal drone use in such a busy area should simply be banned. Special use, eg by tourism marketeers by prior permission, fine. I await with trepidation the first story of a drone dropping on an unsuspecting soul. Hope they're wearing a helmet if it does. END OF RANT

Great to see Olivia enjoying it, obviously loving Dad time. Those new excellent beginner-friendly facilities top of Solaise timed perfectly eh? Hope the blizzards not too grim next week and lay down a base good enough to last into May. Very Happy
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 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
Olivia looks super cute in her ski gear!

Just looking at the webcams it's chucking it down with snow in the EK - although a lot of lifts appear to be closed today. Should be a great week for the hordes out for New Year.
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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.
Ill start todays update with a couple of replies to the above:

tonyswift - the rising freezing level will have very little impact - certainly this 'far out' it will not make much issue at all. It will allow the snow pack to stabilise (in the slightly longer term) and also will be great for pisted snow. A long time with sun and it will start 'turning' the snow but that is more what happens in the Spring. What I am trying to say is I wouldn't worry a thing about it... certainly not this far out or anything. Wont be great for the off piste snow in the short term or its stability but after a few days it should stabilise! The more snow arriving and the 'layering' this will cause is more of a concern in terms of safety!

PeakyB - yea it is a little crazy the map isnt it... about typical though - totally ridiculous and unenforceable in reality and all that... but I am sure as, if and when the officials decide you are doing it wrong you'll get in big trouble!

Yes Olivia loved it and the new slopes are perfect you are right!.... yes sure the snow base is now set up for the whole Winter in terms of piste skiing yes!

HoneyBunny - yes she IS cute!!!!! Yes chucking it down all day and there was a lot closed but ill move onto that now with todays update.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Wow, just WOW.... and more to come

So the snow that started last night well and truly kept on coming... it snowed hard all night and the winds (at altitude) were relatively severe.... we woke to news of about 50cm of snow to have fallen and it was always going to be a slow opening with lots of PIDA avalanche clearance work to be carried out by the pisteurs!

I headed to the meeting point and I knew it was going to be a waiting game. You never can tell how long things will take to get open as as the pisteurs do their work and the results are logged the 'plans' as to what they can or cannot open take shake.

Starting early in the morning and working remotely the Gasex's are triggered and these protect the slopes / lifts etc immediately in the danger zone of avalanches before the pisteurs can move up the hill to see exactly what is or isnt moving at which point they can then start working on the secondary clearance work via Catex and hand blasting work etc.... as they log the results of what is moving and do any pisting work etc and by looking at where people 'could' spread out to when a certain lift is open they can then open the various lifts and sectors up... it is quite complicated the work all in all!

So anyway we (Simon a regular of mine) had to wait until about 9.30 until they had blasted the top of the Combe Folle with a hand charge and then the Village lift was 'on' - so got a couple of laps in there. Of course people are desperate to get a ski in therefore the queue got quite bit quite quickly! We were then ready to head up the mountain when we discovered that the family pass that had been purchased had an error on it and the pass for some reason thought that this was their last day and not the first... so the whole family had to be retrevied from the various parts of the mountain / lift queues they were now in to come and sort it out - took about 30 more mins so it was not until nearly 11am before we got skiing properly.

The winds and visibility at the top were pretty severe but I have definately skied in worse up there on many occasions but with all the fresh snow (about 1.5m deep in some drifts) it was tricky... the snow got pretty chopped up with the skiers too.

Anyway we made the most of tricky conditions and had a good slide around before heading back down. The temps were rising quickly and it was still snowing hard with it verging on rain - so lower resorts will definitely had rain today - anything lower than about 1500m or so... so that will have ruined things lower down! Anyway in Val it remained as snow all day and has only just stopped snowing with around about 80cm to have fallen in town and more up top and with the effect of wind there will be some big 'surprises' up there.

The afternoon I was back with little Henry and we made the best of what we could up Solaise but a long hot choc break was well earned!

Tomorrow we should have a day without snow and then it will start moving in again on Tuesday and we are expecting LOADS more snow this week - several metres more potentially!

The av risk was 4/5 today and will be high again tomorrow.... I have seen that Tignes are posting 5/5 black flag tomorrow initially which means that there will be NO plans to open things until they have done loads of sorting. They are also going to do some heli blasting work on the Italian border somewhere up high above Val tomorrow between 2 and 3pm - BUT there will a lot of work to clear the slopes tomorrow first thing and I should expect another slow opening!

With this fresh snow etc it will be a 'triple bullseye' tomorrow which is the 3 main danger signs that added together point to severe risk or off piste danger tomorrow from avalanche risk. We have the fresh snow in high quantities.... tick; we have the winds that will calm down overnight but have done their business already.... tick and we finally have a freezing level that has risen and will drop again overnight and this yo-yo effect is not the best news!

In other local news... the traffic out there today was HORRENDOUS - there were HUGE jams in both directions and it has taken some 12 hours to get from Geneva Airport to Val for some people today and in many cases there are shelters being set up down the valley as many people will not make it with coaches out of position etc etc! I dont know why I should be surprised by all this as we lice in the mountains and if only everyone had chains / snow tyres etc and left plenty of time many of the issues and snarl ups could be avoided - anyway mini rant over!

The only other piece of news was that someone was annoyed last night when they just missed one of the train rouges in town as it pulled out a bus stop that they tapped the drivers door with his ski pole and managed to shatter the glass... it just so happens that that was in the brand new bus and that means that that bus is now out of service until the glass door is repaired - idiot! Oh and I even heard from a colleague of mine and I have no other details about it - but he witnessed (yes I am being serious) a mass brawl amongst some French people at the bottom of the Laisanent chair yesterday afternoon between men and women - no idea what it was all about but I believe my colleagues recount on all this! Weird - it all happens doesnt it!

So that just about brings you all up to date.... think the best thing to do to finish will be to link to my periscope from today.... and finish with a selection of pics to summarise the day!

P.S. Video link aswell for the TDC Snow Report for this week too: https://www.facebook.com/tdcski/videos/10155967132703607/

TTFN

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


Taken from my weather station you can see how the temps have been bouncing around - especially looking at the last couple of days with the temp going from -20 something to positives temps late this afternoon!!!!! CAUTION


So much snow means that the Pim Pam magic carpets atop Solaise are now (temporarily) snowed under!


Bleak up there this afternoon with not a lot open... but enough to have a ski about in the Solaise and Bellevarde sectors today (Fornet remained totally shut all day!)


The local 73 prefecture posted this photo (not sure how it was taken) but I know this was showing the traffic leaving the Tarantaise in the Moutiers road intersection area around lunchtime - it was gridlock both ways of virtually all the day and 25km of jams were reported - gridlock (due to the snow all the way down the valley) from Moutier to Albertville!


Ignore the 'time' just note the amount of red!!!!


The snow movers were busy all day and will be all night and throughout tomorrow and for most of the week I should think!
snow report     
 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,
Quote:

a mass brawl amongst some French people at the bottom of the Laisanent chair yesterday afternoon between men and women - no idea what it was all about but I believe my colleagues recount on all this! Weird - it all happens doesnt it!


I expect they were fighting for the last Gauloises in the pack rolling eyes
ski holidays     
 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Great reports Steve - thanks for the time you put into these brilliant updates. snowHead
snow report     
 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
RIP to the ski tourer killed in Col des Fours today (from Radio Val)
snow conditions     
 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
chocksaway wrote:
RIP to the ski tourer killed in Col des Fours today (from Radio Val)


I was just coming on to say that - you beat me to it - just heard about that. WTF Col des Fours though!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! RIP! 22year old guy or something

red 27 - thanks I do my best - takes some time but when you have lots to report from a day like today it takes time but glad to provide a service!
ski holidays     
 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
So sad about the skier who was killed today - gonna make my wife even more nervous when she hears about that but I am not planning on venturing far (if at all) off piste!!

@Steve Angus, Thanks for the reassurance. Really looking forward to our trip!! Not leaving for a week and I am already packed with my gear taking up half the lounge!!
snow report     
 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?
@tonyswift, Don't let her panic, to get there you have to do a major off piste itinerary and then skin up hill for 40mins to an hour.

@Steve Angus, Just had a WTF out of my window. 3 guys coming down Palafour with head torches down a slope that was shut at 3 for avalanche risk. By the way they scuttled under the Almes chair and onto the Terrace at La Place (avoiding the front de neige) I expect they knew they were in the wrong.
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You need to Login to know who's really who.
Thanks @chocksaway, I showed her your message and told her you were an expert - suitably reassured now!!
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Yes RIP the young ski tourer who lost their life today. So very sad.

Just looking at the snowmageddon thread and forecast for next week. It looks like being extremely challenging. For all our infrastructure, plant, expertise and technology, Mother Nature reminding us that we can't control life as much as we like to think we can.

Please respect local advice and above all stay safe. Oh and don't blame everything on tour reps, pisteurs, lifties, resort workers etc. I'm sure they'll be doing their best and, in many cases, for not much financial reward.
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 You'll need to Register first of course.
You'll need to Register first of course.
PeakyB wrote:
For all our infrastructure, plant, expertise and technology, Mother Nature reminding us that we can't control life as much as we like to think we can..


This is what ant's think when I go turf the garden Laughing Laughing
snow conditions     
 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Very good Mr.Egg and also well said PeakyB

Busy / chaotic / madness

There was a lot of anticipation in the air this morning and with the sun shining it was game on. The thousands and thousands of persons that arrived in the wee hours (and some not at all yet) were ready to hit the slopes after such a crazy travel day yesterday.

Anyway with the prospect of fresh pow and perhaps the only decent day of weather this week it was heaving at the meeting area and around the Solaise and Olympique lifts first thing. I was watching the pisteurs hand blast the face in places with the results of moving snow (or not) - quite fascinating. It was always going to be another delayed opening and it was a best guess of which side would open first. With Simon I really wanted to hit the Bellevarde side and we joined the queue for the Olympique and luckily we picked the best side as about 9.30 the Olympique started rolling and we were off. We had a nice morning building up some confidence and rediscovering some of the technique we had touched upon yesterday and last year! Initially there was not a lot open up high but little by little they got things going. There were slides on virtually all aspects and a mix of human triggered and natural slides at that too. With the avalanche risk of 4 in Val (and initially 5 in Tignes for the first hour or so) and Tignes you would not really wanting to get onto meaty terrain on a day like this.

Whilst we were waiting in the lift line first thing I was watching the PIDA chopper work - dropping charges from the chopper all over the place and watching some of the results... however we also got to see the sad sight of the PGHM chopper brining the dead body back too... that was sobering lining up to get on a lift and seeing that fly overhead.

So the news on that is that a group of 6 young 20 something Parisians wanted to spend a couple of nights (including tonight) out in the national park so skinned out there (I think yesterday morning) and that in itself probably wasnt the best decision ever. Anyway they got out there and for whatever reason some of them (3) went for a ski (possibly deciding that staying out in the park overnight and possibly getting stuck there for several days) was not the best idea ever... so around about 4.30 last night a slide buried them and whilst some of them free'ed themselves one person perished. So the PGHM chopper this morning brought the body (at first light) back and repatriated the others back to Val. Rather sad!

Anyway back on the pistes today the snow was very soft and lots of it and with the warming temperatures the off piste was by all accounts actually pretty rotten.... hopefully as the temps etc drop it will sort the snow out a little better! However with the fresh and soft snow and the thousands of tourists (we are now at capacity as a resort) the pistes were always going to get really bumpy and chopped up.... in fact after having a nice lunch with the clients at the Fruitiere (how nice - thanks!) I skied little Henry hard - we went all the way around the lap of Tignes... however boy were ALL the pistes bumpy by the end of the day. In fact downloading on the Olympique lift at the end of the day and looking down on the Face - BLIMEY those bumps looked big!

A quick drink at Blue Note to welcome in the New Year and catch up with colleagues and then a yummy curry courtesy of Hu.Ski and here we are. Shall be in bed shortly though as pretty shattered.

So tomorrow it looks like we will be having more snow moving in and that with general clouds and wind and the odd glimpse of sun is the way it will roll the next few days.

Best finish with some photos to summarise the day (and of course my periscope too!)


Ready to roll first thing


Temporary info shelter


Glorious up there

<img src = "https://scontent-cdg2-1.xx.fbcdn.net/v/t1.0-9/26047445_10159828127485416_1310212052520497519_n.jpg?oh=c794c990970607d88fd05658219e614d&oe=5AC46F6F"
The Face was closed for the first hour or so but that didnt stop person after persons ducking the rope you can see - in the time it took us to clip on our skis I watched about 10 people duck the rope!


Not sure if natural (dont think so) but this slide came down on the traverse into the spatule!


Notice the tracks under 'Moniteurs' couloir next to the Grand Pre... it would not be long until people are sucked further and further out into the bowl below pisteurs and in doing so putting themselves in more and more danger.... a classic example of 'skier creep' whereby people track further and further out into the danger zone in the false pretence that it was safe 'here' there another 5 yards further out will still be safe.... NOT always the case!


Hmmmm that piste basher at the top of the Toviere is rather buried!!!! Yes those black bits sticking out the snow are the paddles on the front of the machine!


Look closely - lots of gasez triggered slides on this face in Tignes - lots of warning signs there!

<img src = "https://scontent-cdg2-1.xx.fbcdn.net/v/t1.0-9/26168575_10159828127840416_1346160397665664896_n.jpg?oh=532f0e42932b713e85e430cd8d92df40&oe=5AFCD645"
The chaos at Albertville last night as a refuge shelter was set up for stranded travellers!!!!!!!!

Last thing to say is Happy New Year

TTFN
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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!
Whoops forgot link to todays periscope here:

https://www.pscp.tv/w/1nAKEWZXwwYJL
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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.
Happy New Year

Yes it is that time of the year - I love today as it means the back of the mountain has been scaled and we are on the downside towards the calmer and quieter days of January and some time to restock... It means that the Xmas and New Year week are 'progressing' and the school holidays are nearing and end and all the setting up for the Winter is behind us and we are now fully into our stride.... oh and I also like New Years Day morning as everyone is still in bed nursing hangovers meaning the slopes are pretty quiet!

Anyway sorry for coming across as a little bah humbug but I hope everyone is / has enjoyed the New Year festivities whatever you have been doing!

So we woke to pretty clear skies and it was evident that we had had about 5cm or so of snow overnight which is a nice cushion at any time of the year. It was all action station as Olivia was starting in 'ski school' of her own for the first time.... yes both of her parents are instructors and yes we have taken her out ourselves but this was a big moment for us all... she was properly entering the ski world and someone else was in charge of her safety / development etc and she was with other children and other instructors doing it their way! Anyway it was a busy start to the day getting all 4 of us to the meeting point.... my clients had texted me late last night offering me a later start (actually it was them who wanted a later start) which was fine by me!

So we got to the EV2 meet point (lots of reasons for using them but she will ultimately go down the ESF / Club des Sports route in due course but for now EV2 it is - other ski school options are available of course) and got a couple of photos and then she was off. It was EXTREMELY strange being on the other side of the fence so to speak putting some snacks and money in her pocket and putting a bib on her... anyway I was able to spy from quite a distance for a while and see that our plan to have her as the strongest in her group seemed to be working and she was having a ball. Needless to say she loved it and can't wait for tomorrow.


Leader of the pack (pink collar) sets off


Bringing up the rear but only cause the other 2 were having speed control issue on the first run!

Anyway enough chat about that as it will bore people to death with pics etc and the little intricacies of it all.... but needless to say it was a very proud Dad moment with a tear not too far away!

I fitted in my periscope whilst watching her from a distance....

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

Anyway by 10am it was time to do some teaching of my own... so this morning it was other members of the gang I teach this New Years week - the (now) teenagers whom I used to teach when they were little but now generally ski with their parents... We had a great couple of hours dashing around the mountain making the most of conditions although there were already a few lumps and bumps developing with the fresh snow we had and the large numbers of persons around.... there was also a punchy wind blowing - not enough to close lifts but enough to put a chill down your spine!

I arrived back to drop the teenagers at the Brussels where they were having lunch just as Olivia was finishing her lesson so it was lovely to hear nice things about her from her instructor and catch her briefly before Clare, Ben and her headed home.

My afternoon was spent with (not so little anymore) Henry and after the mega ski we had had yesterday a decent hot chocolate break was planned. the poor boy was pooped from last night - he had fallen asleep at the table in the l'Etincelle where they had all gone for NYE dinner / partying. So we had a pretty chilled afternoon skiing around the Solaise area and he consumed rather a lot of hot chocolate and general chocolate at the Ouillette anyway!

The family reports about l'Etincelle from last night were not that great. I think they summed it up as overpriced and not terribly fancy 'fancy priced' food. The service was average too. However the thing that struck me most was that for a mega 8 course tasting style menu they also had a junior version and Henry had that... however somehow they managed to serve him steak and chips with the same sauce for 3 of the courses - not that impressed they were not!

So the weather moved in more and more as the day progressed and by late afternoon it was snowing at altitude and then before darkness fell it was snowing in town and now as I type it is blowing a blizzard out there. It is supposed to be like all night and into tomorrow morning then a slight restbite and then on Wednesday and Thursday - well it could be the end of the world as we know it... in fact Meteo France (and using translator) have issued there following (take some of the wording intention with a pinch of salt!):

"Vigilance Message:

We are particularly attentive to developments between Wednesday and Thursday.
Very large rainfall is expected (100 to 200 mm in mountain as shown on the map opposite) by Friday.
These heavy rainfall will be added to a month of December already very humid and disturbed (200 to 400 mm fell in rain or snow equivalent) with an important snow coat that formed.
The Rain-snow limit will fera between 600 and 2200 metres.
This troubled weather will be accompanied by an altitude storm.

In this context we will be watching several bad weather: Avalanches in high mountains, flooding in mountains, floods in the valleys, landslides.

Of course, the forecast will be refined to assess the extent of these phenomena in the next few days.
A first full article will be offered tomorrow night."

The pisteurs have announced that they will be blasting from 7am tomorrow and that could be the way it rolls for the next day or several... talking of which late on this afternoon they received a call from a group of 5 skiers on the east face of the charvet saying that they were 'stuck' and with the fog rolling in they needed a heli evac... that is an expensive mistake!



The other piece of local news was that the piste bashing team had to move 4 piste bashers from Fornet down to La Daille this evening which meant that town pretty much had to come to a standstill this evening whilst they did that... however a good little video was posted:

https://www.facebook.com/1130303713650017/videos/2354076421272734/


Busy on the lesson front at meeting time this morning then!


Who stole the top of the Bellevarde mountain!


It looked promising for a while before the weather closed in again!

TTFN
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
Better than expected

As I always say to people - you never really know what the weather is going to be like until the time comes... as the mountains make their own weather. Anyway after heavy winds overnight and some fresh snow (some 30cm apparently at altitude and a little down in town) it was action stations once more getting everyone sorted and then Olivia to her lesson.

You get a reasonably good idea how long things might take to open when you initially hear PIDA blasting work going on from first light and when it keeps happening you know the pisteurs are seeing results and with positive results they know they must keep blasting to make things as safe as possible. Long gone are the days when just a simple sign at the top of something like the Olympique saying 'run closed' would be adhered to and therefore the pisteurs would not need to blast the **** out of everything surrounding the Face 'just in case' the 3000 people who decide to ignore the signage went down there. So getting back on topic even having started blasting early it was still blasting time at 9.01, 9.15, 9.30.... and so it went on. There was lots of booming echoing around the valley for a long time. As always and being school holidays there was lots of anticipation down in the valley as the waiting game continued. They did get the Rogoney and Village open first so at least a few turns could be had.

So I had some of the teenage girls today as Simon still has a dodgy knee and we made the most of the Rogoney running and squeezed in a couple of runs on there before deciding to take on the queues as the Solaise had just opened and headed up there. On one of our laps of Rogoney I was rather proud to see Olivia in her ski lesson skiing the Village lift run - yay!

Anyway we had a nice slide around atop the Solaise and the visibility AND wind was better than I thought it was going to be... this was strange as around about breakfast time Radio Val had reported that they had measured 175kmh winds at the top of the Val glacier. That sector has been closed for several days now - it will be interesting to see what that area is like when the storms finally pass!

So it was a nice morning skiing with the girls (not skied with them for a few years now).

I took lunch in town and fitted in my periscope:

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

In the afternoon the weather (well initially anyway) improved so the wind had dropped off significantly too and the sun was sort of trying to make a half hearted attempt at breaking through (it wasnt to last!):


The wind dropped off as the morning progressed - these are measurements down here in town on my weather station which is attached to my balcony so probably not the most accurate but a good indicator!


There is rather a lot of snow up there.... here the deck of the Datcha restaurant after another dump of snow landed on it overnight!


Started busy and snowy and ended (less busy) but just as snowy at days end!

The afternoon with Henry and the break in the weather we took our opportunity to fit in a slide down the Face.... the bumps are pretty big but soft but by getting our timing right we not only got some good light but also not too many people skiing down it with us!

Clare had taken Olivia to see a new friend (the girl in question is about to start at Olivias school for this term). It is possible (and quite a few parents do it) for a child to spend just one term a year at school and this child is about to come into Olivias class therefore I think it was nice for Olivia and the other girl to make a new friend before school starts next Monday!

So yes the weather has really moved in once again this evening.... heavy snow is once again falling and Meteo France is issuing a serious weather warning for tomorrow and into Thursday. I have been looking closely at all the radar images and the various forecasts in detail... it is looking like SERIOUS wind coming in and serious amounts of snow in the air... could be an interesting ride for a couple of days...

In other news Radio Val have issued more details about the heli evac yesterday afternoon.... looks like a german family with grown up kids... knowing Val d'Isere well (apparently (familiarity is often a killer in the mountains!!!)) decided (ballsy decision at the best of times even without the weather and avalanche risk out there) to ski the East Face of the Charvet... anyway they got a little lost and as the weather was closing in and light fading they sent a photo of their location to the tourist office and based on that the heli was dispatched.... a couple of pisteurs then had to help winch them up to the chopper and off to safety. The flying was pretty special too as the cloud base was JUST above the chopper and there was some wind about too. Anyway a couple of rotations of the chopper sorted it out nicely! However the €3000 bill (or so) the family will receive will not be welcome by them I dont suppose!



Also apparently on New Years Eve (well it will have been New Years Day morning in reality) long after the bars had closed there was a burglary (not sure which bar it was) and €500 was stolen!

Apart from that not much else to report. I suspect tomorrow will be a rather interesting day but we shall see!

TTFN
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