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

 Poster: A snowHead
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aewynia wrote:
... Geneva Airport was a nightmare... The queue went on round and round (the security tapes) right up to the food court, so we were ushered downstairs to a separate side room next to terminal 1 (possibly connected on first floor).


Is this the near-mythical 'French side' security rat run that has been mentioned on other threads? Locating this is akin to finding platform 9 3/4 at Kings Cross...
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@red 27, Its a lot easier to find 9 3/4 at Kings Cross - just follow the hordes of Chinese tourists waving wands Very Happy
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
I've rented cars several times from French side and had no problem finding it. Squeezing through some of the narrow doorways with luggage was more challenging.
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Sounds like GVA was nearly as bad as Chambery (see separate thread, I suspect not for the first time)...
I wished I lived nearer St Pancras when we drove past the TGVs in Bourg.
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@Steve Angus,
Hi Steve, looking forward to a lesson with you, 4 weeks to go till out trip!

Just wondered, is there any way to find out each day which runs were groomed the night before?

Thanks
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Some good reports and banter above folks! Ha ha!

rossyl - indeed not long to go - counting down the 'sleeps' like a kid b4 Xmas!

GREAT question there re groomed v ungroomed slopes. The short answer as far as I am aware is 'no' certainly not here in the EK and I suspect most of the Alps (probably although I am sure someone will correct my use of 'most') however think of it another way.... all things being equal and without avalanche danger etc then all greens are likely to get pisted each night and all blues... then most reds and some blacks... 'popular' and well used reds and blacks (e.g. the Face) will get pisted each night and some lesser used ones not so often but those are a minority that would fall into the category. What makes it more complicated is sometimes the timing... they could for example piste a green early in the evening and then it snows heavily on top making the appearance that it wasnt pisted at all whereas in fact it had been.... or another classic in the Spring is when they piste a run early and freezes hard.... often the Arcelle red run on the Solaise is pisted early in the evening therefore it freezes solid for the next morning... if they pisted it too late it would look the same but would ski (feel) totally different as would not have frozen hard in place.... one other thing to look out for is the winch points the piste bashers need for steeper slopes - the lack of those e.g. the Foret black run at the Fornet end of town = no pisting ever!

Hope that helps!

Today update to follow
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
And again and again...

Im gonna make it quick this evening... Clare Dad was round for dinner this evening and it has been a frustrating day for many reasons and I have to admit I am rather brain dead so gonna make it a quick one... sorry ill get the mojo back but the poor weather is getting frustrating on the teaching front!

With just a few clouds but the promise of high winds at altitude and with the temps around about zero it was a 'grey' start to the day and I was not buzzing with excitement I have to admit. However I met the client (Lisa again) and we headed up the Bellevarde (initially there were VERY few options of places to go). The southerly Foehn / Lombard wind had been blowing hard all night and not much was open... however the snow soon started and we lapped on the Etroits (La Daille Chair) chair up and down from the Folie and made the most of the conditions! It was not that busy but busy enough on the slopes... first day heroes everywhere - argh!

Anyway it was wet snow and quite depressing really. In fact the snow has falling VERY hard all day and the flakes are big. This is a CLASSIC retour we are experiencing and right along the French Italian border it is hammering it down and since the winds are orgraphic only this is NOT a weather FRONT so not really moving anyway - just sitting and dumping! There is talk of already 5 metres of snow at the top of the Fornet and since no one has been able to get up there for several days the restaurant (Cascade) is submerged under snow!

There is also talk that it could be another black flag day tomorrow - it will CERTAINLY be a 4 and limited openings at best! I suspect that it could be a shut down day! We shall see!

Anyway I headed home and at about the same time Clare took Olivia to meet her Grandpa and they did a couple of laps on the Village - Olivia actually wanted to do more and more but with her going back to school tomorrow and needing some rest Clare halted that idea before it all ended in tantrums and tears of exhaustion!

I had some time with Ben and we watched some ski racing on TV (yes I know he's only little and screen time is bad for them at that age - but it is skiing so that is OK!)

As I said we spent the evening with Clares dad and chilling out really but after clearing up after he left I am left without any energy so must hit the sack soon!

I thought I would finish with some photos before heading to bed... thinking about what on earth it could be like tomorrow - there is just so much of the white stuff out there now and with wind at altitude I really feel for the pisteurs in particular....

TTFN


And you thought defrosting your windscreen before driving to work in the UK was bad!!!!


The crown wall of the Danaides slide - the lift (was) nearing being fixed and ready to be put back into action.... the tonnage of snow that came down was like a oil tanker falling off the side of the mountain... it came to within 300m of the Laisenant part of town... thats why curfew orders are put in place to keep kids etc indoors when we have weather events of the magnitude of the last week or so! The avalanche paths are so well (scientifically) mapped out they are pretty darn good at seeing where could be in danger when there are extreme avalanche conditions!


With the rain that fell on Thursday the rill and gullying effect on the snow landscape off piste is quite weird to look at eh!


The only photo I took today - digging out the roof of the Solaise gondola!

My periscope from today:

https://www.pscp.tv/w/1OwxWMLyvwwGQ
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After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
@Steve Angus, You deserve an early night. It must be so frustrating on the teaching front, so hope it improve soon. Thanks for taking the time to post though.
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geepee wrote:
@Steve Angus, You deserve an early night. It must be so frustrating on the teaching front, so hope it improve soon. Thanks for taking the time to post though.
Hear hear. The photos are extraordinary too, especially the weird, stripey snow. I've never seen anything like that.
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Fascinating photos, the volume of snow is quite incredible, and I can't believe it's still coming down! Can't wait to see pics of Cascades after 5m of snow, that's insane Shocked Shocked

Kind of exciting though.

Hopefully your season will be back to normal soon Steve.
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@Steve Angus, FWIW Courchevel (and thus I assume the Trois Vallees) does a "pisted runs" list/map in the mornings at the ticket offices and it appears online as well...

Sods law all this snow and I have no plans to get out there until at least March/April Sad
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Crazy scenes up on the Pisaillas Shocked

http://www.valdisere.com/en/webcam/glacier-du-pisaillas/
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newrealm22 wrote:
Crazy scenes up on the Pisaillas Shocked

http://www.valdisere.com/en/webcam/glacier-du-pisaillas/

That is utterly bonkers!! Compare with this "normal" picture:
https://media-cdn.tripadvisor.com/media/photo-s/05/c6/91/e4/la-cascade.jpg
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You know it makes sense.
lifts closing at 3.30

Solaise TC at 4pm!!
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Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
@moosepig, that certainly underlines the difference. Unbelievable.
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Thanks folks... yea frustrating all round..... there is stupid amounts out there - it just keeps coming... apparently 3m has fallen in neighbouring Bonneval (AT RESORT level) in the last 24 hours - I can't believe it but it is possible!

Official lockdown

So for the second time ever in my 25 seasons (around the world) or whatever it is we have a total lockdown - everything shutting in town from 2200 tonight - stay indoors - no going out - nothing ... some other firsts....

1) my weather station wind vane has disappeared - I think the weight of snow (seriously) or snow falling off our roof has ripped it off... bearing in mind we live 25 metres up it hasn't been stolen... I shall go looking for it in the Spring / Summer (whenever the snow at the foot of the building melts away!
2) Meteo France has put the haute savoie and in particular the haute tarantaise on RED alert for avalanches.... this will in effect mean decisions (I think as to whether to open the lifts tomorrow or not will be taken out of Vals hands but we shall see!)
3) The avalanche safety talk in town had to be cancelled this evening BECAUSE of risk of avalanches - irony!
4) A resort that is MORE than used to dealing with snow and weather had to close the school early today (and tomorrow) because of the snow!

Anyway there was also a VERY weird first today and probably the only time it will ever happen in my lifetime (and I have spoken to people who have been here for 40 years+) that it was a black flag 5/5 avalanche risk BUT (for a short time anyway) they did manage to get some runs and lifts open... when you have a 5/5 day they are more worried about keeping the town / roads etc open

However there was very little general optimism that anything would open at play time this morning but we hung around for an hour anyway to see if (with 140km/h winds at times at altitude and over a metre of snow to have fallen up high and 60cm lower down) anything might budge... there was little hope so I slunk off home to dry out and warm up - it is wet out there. Shortly after they got a few things running and I still cannot explain it... I spoke to the pisteurs at about 9am briefly and they basically said nothing would open BUT I think the resort put them under so much pressure that they were forced to get something open as refunding days of passes / insurance letters and all the rest of it costs so much money! Think €40 x 10000 passes - something like that!

However as the day progressed it became apparent that things were going to start going into lockdown as lifts shut again... the school shut early and lots of other 'signs'.

So this afternoon has been a stay at home and watch crap tv afternoon but play with Ben and Olivia when she came home from school - so its not all bad news!

There is some sad news to report though... it looks like a 39 year old British man who took the Paquis lift at 4.36 (that is pretty much the last lift of the day) yesterday seems to have gone missing... at 2200 last night the alarm was raised and with still no sign of him I should think (my personal theory anyway) he either took a wrong turn in the bad weather / intentionally or foolishly and has either perished to the elements or worse still is buried somewhere under something... it could be a grizzly find sometime later in the season for someone! Who knows but I dont think it will be a good outcome!

So the snow continues and we are expecting ANOTHER metre or so of snow tonight up high and 50cm or so in town... I really dont know what tomorrow will bring but I dont think we will be skiing - certainly in the morning. Not only are closed days frustrating but as an instructor when you can't work you can't be paid... lots of people think we get paid no matter what but you only get paid when you teach... so sitting at home watching the snow falling means the bills can't be paid... with so many days at the moment with these challenges, insurance letters are so important to allow the instructors to maintain an income... trying our best to get out there and deliver something to the client is our motivation - at least the client gets something and the instructor gets something but the insurance company is the next stop!!!!!

Anyway lets see what happens tomorrow eh! Some videos and photos to finish off with for today.... fingers crossed it is 'sensible' tomorrow eh!

http://www.webtvvaldisere.com/upload_vids/2018-01-08%20Timelaps%20chute%20de%20neige.mp4
Timelapse from the centre of town last night

http://www.webtvvaldisere.com/upload_vids/2018-01-05%20avalanche%20Laisinant%20Radio%20Val.mp4
Aerial overview of the destruction in the Danaides / Solaise / Laisenent / Piste L avalanche last week... came within 300m of buildings this one!

http://www.webtvvaldisere.com/upload_vids/2018-01-06%20Drone%20Avalanche%20santons%20banane.mp4
The debris and aftermath of the Banane slide - THIS IS THE REASON WHY SANTONS AND EPAULE WERE SHUT THE OTHER DAY - so if you ducted the ropes and skied down and just happened to be standing at the bottom when this released then you would be no more!!!!


On red alert


Everywhere highlighted in red you cannot walk / drive / crawl / swim / sleep or anything along until further notice.... with everything shut down from 2200 why would you!


OK!




The black flag goes up BUT incredibly...


A beginner lesson (middle of the pic) takes place on the foot hills!


That pole took no effort to disappear into the ground...


OK taken a couple of days ago up top but that sign will have disappeared by now!


I know a random pic but I noticed this when I was in the shop earlier this morning - an easy and alternative quiz today - WHAT is WRONG with this photo? Is that not illegal!!!!

TTFN

P.S. I mean SERIOUSLY WTF is happening... apparently that big 'avalanche' sound coming down the mountain side a moment ago we all heard was thunder and lightening - everyone is confirming that they saw / heard thunder and lightening on the social media channels at this exact moment as I type away - WHAT IS HAPPENING out there.... what next - noah's ark will float by with Bob Marley signing away!
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Whoops my periscope from today!

https://www.pscp.tv/w/1OdKrAWoQpvxX
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Good post, dude.

Historic storms (at altitude) across France, Italy and Switzerland at the moment.
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@Steve Angus, I heard that in Tignes but the curtains were drawn. Not sure whether it was the four horseman of the apocalypse or Lord Lucan riding Shergar!
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@Steve Angus, Is the poulet past it?
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Ok - regarding the chicken - it is a day old BUT it is half price!! Bargain.

Guess we made the right call wrt to our lesson this afternoon. We are totally ready for this weather to clear out now. rolling eyes
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@Steve Angus, @chocksaway, I heard a loud boom of thunder from Sestriere too (thought it was an avalanche). Only one though. About 35 miles as the crow flies, probably wasn't the same thunder clap.
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After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
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Stay safe people!! Amazing pictures, but I'm glad to be looking in from afar.
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Thats a first I've heard off... dropping bombs out the Olympique lift to clear the Face area!

red 27 and vasta - yes its old... but if it was cooked the night before how have they either kept it warm OR let it cool down then reheated it - thats what the dodge part is... I didnt actually see the 50% off sticker on it I must admit!!!!! Anyway needless to say I didnt buy it!
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It’s reminiscent of Storm Desmond two years ago.

An event that Breaks records but only 10 years after they were already broken twice ie. beyond coincidence.

Fits with the climate change model. More heat into the system means more moisture means more exceptionally heavy rain or snow at altitude.

Like Cumbria, VDI is vulnerable to moisture laden airs from the north West or in this case from the south.

sooner rather than later it will repeat. Puzzled
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
It’s not much better further south in ADH, we haven’t had the snow but the wind kept virtually all the lifts shut bar the beginners drags yesterday and again today until 2 pm when some of the lower chairs opened. It’s blowing a gale again know and it’s snowing, ditched the skis today and hired a board to learn as there was so little open.
Best make use of the down time
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@Steve Angus, We saw 3 or 4 lightning flashes here in Tignes and heard the rumble of thunder in the distance. We did wonder what was going on after the first one. Strange effect when the sky is full of snow already.
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You know it makes sense.
Actually managed to get some fun snowboarding done today! We rode La Daille in the morning - first run off the funicular was grim, awful winds and visibilty at the top combined with deep, but chopped and heavy snow. Never witnessed scenes quite like it. Whenever you got any brief visibility, there were just bodies strewn everywhere, nearly unskiable for most. Lower down was better, but the snow was HEAVY. Got a few fun sections in where we could ride a steeper line. Did a couple of laps of the chair (much better than going up top), but that closed down around mid-day.

Had some lunch, then they got the Solaise gondola open, so we did a few laps of that. The snow up there was noticeably lighter and a lot more fun to ride. We did 4 or 5 laps in deep, deep cement, lots of giggles. "Nipple deep" was, for once, no exaggeration. Vividly remember losing speed at one point but managing to ride back to the piste with my board more or less down on the old base and my whole body plowing through the porridge.

All of this was either on "piste" (with so much snow that last night's grooming or otherwise was irrelevant) or just outside the markers, venturing any distance off-piste would have been very unwise.
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Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Had a fun day today got the Olympic at about 10.15 and played on the Funival and Marmots till about3.45. The sun even came out for about 40 minutes. Have never seen so much snow and hats off to the people who made it possible.it will be a holiday to remember.
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Video of the VDI thundersnow can be watched here.

https://mobile.twitter.com/severeweatherEU/status/950522531928268804
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Emerging out the other side

Well it snowed hard all night and pretty much straight away this morning we knew that it was going to be a long way (perhaps in vain) to see what might or might not open.

With a slide across the road outside Val being reported early on and with the road from La Daille into town barricaded shut with a snow barrier the town was in lockdown... however the glimmer of hope was that Meteo France had downgraded the general risk from a red alert to an orange alert.. this meant Val could make its own decisions as to whether to open or not.

There was a traffic jam to get into town from 7am (the road from Bourg (apart from the slide across the road which was quickly cleared) remained open all day - as the road was fine as the snow was wet and road 'warm').


It didnt help the pisteurs and lifties etc try to get to their stations when a couple of impatient people tried to pass on the wrong side of the road and ended up blocking it!

Anyway as the morning wore on and the snow finally stopped it became brighter and brighter and you could tell that they were going to be able to get something open - but when? Finally around about midday we knew that by 12.30 some things would open up.... as it turned out ultimately the snow front lifts opened as well as the Solaise (just the ski down the front was available on that side) gondola and then on the Bellevarde side the Olympic / Marmottes / Mont Blanc / Funival and Etroits chair opened... that was it.

So it was off at 1300 finally for the lesson... and boy we were in for a treat as the wind had died right down... the sun was trying to come out and for the first hour I used my local knowledge to have several laps of various lifts without any queues - yay!


Now normally you would be looking UP at that sign not down on it!!!!

With the black flag flying it was another very weird situation to be in... but again I think the resort were desperate to get stuff running and trying to limit bad press HOWEVER it did not stop hundreds and hundreds of people ducking ropes and skiing stuff that was not open... its a 5/5 day (and in fact this morning the pisteurs were joking that it was more like a 6/5 day!!!)... Anyway it is totally reckless to ignore signage on a day like today it really is... however as far as I know nothing serious happened... lets hope it stays that way out there!

Anyway with not much open the pistes that were open were packed and it got pretty bumpy quickly and it was chaotic on the runs that were open...




Check out the queues for the train rouge when the roads did finally open again! People were STILL coming down at 6pm - didnt get it right did they to still be skiing down with crazy tired legs at that time of the day!

Oh yea and with all this crazy weather it has obviously made the UK press and this evening on the 6 o'clock BBC news at the start of the weather section our house made an appearance in the background - yay!...


The pointy roof balcony immediately to the lookers left in the picture of the lamp part of the street light in the background!

Meanwhile with the huge amounts of snow the road to the Fornet is STILL closed (2 days now) and they are hoping to finally get it open tomorrow morning when they have done some heli blasting (they will be doing this in big quantities tomorrow morning!)... with no snow clearance etc up there it must feel mighty isolated and the photos I have seen our friends really are house bound as there is not many other options!

However the resort are saying that it is officially 4m47 of snow that has fallen but they are not really able to fully gauge it at the Fornet end of town (yet and up high!)...

Meanwhile over in Tignes with this missing man they were hoping to get a heli search happening this afternoon but I am not sure whether it either came up with anything OR took place in the first place or not... fingers crossed on that one!

Think that is all for now.

My periscope from today:

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

TTFN
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
BTW another overview of the Danaides slide up on Solaise - the whole side of the mountain fell off!!!

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Steve Angus wrote:
BTW another overview of the Danaides slide up on Solaise - the whole side of the mountain fell off!!!



Shocked Shocked Shocked
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Back to normality

It was nice to know that today was going to be a 'normal' day.... hooray. So service was resumed... Olivia off to school and I headed to the meeting point...

I got there and it was good to see the chopper doing lots of PIDA work all over the place... however the pisteurs were not taking chances after yesterday as so many people ignore signage and duck ropes etc that with blasting in place the danger was too high. They dropped a lot of bombs out there today and coupled with GASEX and CATEX work there was a delayed opening for about 30 mins or so... not too bad really!

Anyway with V and T we headed up Bellevarde and developed some short turn action... I was pretty impressed with their skiing and some really important changes were made - lets hope they 'stick' now!

With the weather much better (the sun was trying to dominate but for the most part today the clouds (and even a little snow for a very short while) dominated instead!) and the securing of the area most lifts are now getting opened up and the queues much better AND (most importantly) there was less of a frenzy...

However despite all this and the warnings yesterday a couple of Brits snowboarders had to be rescued from the slopes off piste and in another incident a couple of people were taken (but got out) of a slide on the Super S... what the heck are people thinking - argh!

The good news in town is that the road to the Fornet after nearly 2.5 days reopened finally today... some 300 people had been trapped since the weekend... bravo! However down the valley (dont think I reported this the other day) there had been a rock fall onto the train tracks outside Moutiers so the trains are not running past Moutier towards Bourg at the moment... not really sure when the track will be repaired - watching this space!


The view for most of the day... yes a 'view' - hooray!


A welcome when you get off the Solaise gondola!!!!

Meanwhile in Bonneval neighbouring Val but over in the Maurienne valley (a good day trip and heli ride back to Val trip):


Doesn't look much snow but when you get closer and see the clearance





OOOOOOWWWWWWW

In the afternoon I had a nice couple of ladies from Scotland... with the snow being so soft I new it was going to mogul up this afternoon so guess what that is exactly what we spent our time working on - moguls!!!! It was a productive afternoon and we covered lots of ground and plenty of technique covered.... the best outcome with 'beginners to moguls' is that they have some tools to handle them - making them less intimidating - that is the goal and I think we got there.

After skiing we had a family drink in the Toviere with Clares Dad and an old friend of his who still teaches her in Val and no sooner was that done and dusted but I had to head into town for a meeting (fitted in my periscope en-route)...

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

...then finally got home for dinner and then well, here I am.

Not much else to report really... however I am being videoed tomorrow for a new ski app in the afternoon which should be fun... when it is complete I will let you see the finished article!

TTFN
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Hi Steve - thanks for a great lesson today. It is always useful to spend time with a real professional such as yourself. We agree great changes were made and we will work hard to make them “stick”!
See you next week!
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Stunning pictures from Bonneval; quite sobering too. That last photo is a good reminder of how much avi debris sets like concrete once it stops moving. Don't want to get caught in that! Shocked
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After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Quite bizarre to think that we cycled along that road this summer.
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i"m assuming theres enough snow to last the season now
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Vasta - Very Happy - thanks!!!!!!! Keep it real!
moosepig - no you dont want to get caught in something like that.... certainly the snow does set like concrete - scary!
frozennose - yea there wasnt any snow then was there!
compostcorner - hell yea!
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