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

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Powder day

Well I had a pretty good nights sleep but I think a decent nights sleep once again tonight will get me back on track!

It was cloudy to start the day which was to be expected but it was coming in quicker than expected unfortunately! I met my team at the bottom of the Tommeuse and the plan for the day was off piste guiding so off we set.

I wanted to make sure we made the most of the morning before the weather moved in. First up was a trip down the Cairn which was surprisingly poor at the top but lower down through the trees much much better. We cut back to the piste (Face) when the snow got heavier and more choppy.

The stashes on the Solaise were next and proved to be very good actually before we took at trip to the bus stop which proved to be excellent. In fact it was so good we looped around getting in a tete arollay and another bus stop. Just before lunch we took a trip through the fornet trees which were surprisingly tracked out.

I managed to gate crash a wake just before lunch... the eatery (Crozets) under the bottom of the Fornet cable car was closed for a family funeral but I did not know and managed to go down the stairs inside the cable car station and walked right in - whoops. So ultimately we took lunch at the Signal which never disappoints in my book!

By the time we had finished lunch the weather really was moving in so we decided to stay low and had another go through the fornet trees but this time stayed in the deeper woods where the snow was awesome!

In local news (and these things have stopped amazing me these days!) 3 swedes were rescued from the Gorge Malpassat up at the Fornet yesterday. They went down there based on the 'expert' opinion of one of them who was a seasonnaire here last year. Anyway what was particularly amazing was that it turned out that one of the 3 has only skied 3 days ever in his whole life.... I mean seriously people!!!!

PBJ - yes should be a good day. Im looking forward to another day of being 'guide' tomorrow with my lot!
endoman and chocksaway - ha ha.... its not THAT bad a place and being by the lake it is idyllic in the Summer! Well I think anyway!
supamattski - I'm just going on what their paperwork and marketing says so there must be some clever wording used somehow! Who knows!




TTFN
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
("highest hotel in the world")
>>I'm just going on what their paperwork and marketing says so there must be some clever wording used somehow! Who knows!

Fair enough! (I think they called it a Spa Hotel)

Marketing should be taken with a pinch of salt. Remember that the Courchevels were all marketed up by tens of metres to get an edge on Val d'Isere.
(Le Croset in C"1850" stands at 1757m, the Gangettes TC in C"1550" at 1479m )
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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?
Awesome day ... yet another !
Grand Valloon and col pers etc
End in petit Danois with Andreas playing.
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Pays desert
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
And a great night in Petit Danois with Andreas from alpine playing !
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You'll need to Register first of course.
Perfect tracks!
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
PBJ - NICE.... I had a wonderful day too. It was tres bon out there wasnt it!

One of those days

It was once of the those days of the season when you feel like you are skiing for yourself whilst working at the same time. It was a great day!

After the usuals with the kids and the school bus etc I headed to meet my team. Everyone was rather excited as there was some fresh snow about - around about another 10cm or so AND the night had been cold so it meant that the snow was going to be cold, light and dry! Anyway we met and the plan for the day was POW, POW, POW.

So it was quite a day but without listing it all it included Super Santons, Cugnai, Danaides, Grand Vallon and a whole host of other places. The snow took a little bit of learning to see where the best snow would be and which orientation but generally speaking there was plenty of powder all over the place and by knowing where this snow would be we had an amazing day! It was certainly tiring though!

Lunch was at the Ouillette and I really like eating there as the food is so refreshing and different from anywhere else... so a yummy lunch was had by all!

This evening we have had a friend come up to stay with us for the weekend to coincide with the visit of her parents on holiday for the week therefore we have just been out for an amazing dinner at the Vieux Maison down here in La Daille - really lovely place to eat and highly recommended!

A few photos and videos of the day follows (hoping the links work)




https://www.facebook.com/steve.angus/videos/10161390537915416/
https://www.facebook.com/steve.angus/videos/10161390537920416/

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!
A nice finale

So after having a few days since I last skied with them I have the team of the Australian family I taught loads last week - today was their last day of their 10 day ski trip here (they are definitely back again next year as they have loved the terrain here so much!).

It was not the most amazing of nights sleep but we had had a great evening out last night with Clares friend and her family at the Vielle Maison for dinner so I was still a little full this morning. I knew a solid days skiing would sort me out! With Clare at home with the kids all day it was going to be a tough day for her but I had a job to get done. However I met them at 10am after dropping the avalanche bags off from yesterdays excursions.

We started on the Solaise working on a little powder turns here and there... as there is such lovely snow still all around! After a few laps on that we headed to the snowpack on Bellevarde and had some fun time on the jumps - the park was in amazing condition it really was... the jumps are in great shape and with the weather it was brilliant in there. The kids loved learning a couple of grabs and I also taught them twirly birds too - many smiles all around!

We took lunch over in Tignes at the Panoramic restaurant and boy that place (the self service side of things) has certainly upped its game since I was last there - much nicer and better organised etc.

After lunch there was some carving work to be done and then the kids favourite the skier cross course in Tignes. We finished with a nice descent (as nice as it has ever been I thought) down the Valley Perdue - as easy as it ever gets down there!

This evening Olivia was at a play date so it was rather quiet at home and then our guest has gone out for dinner with her parents at their chalet and Clare has gone to bed early so it is a very quiet and easy feet up evening.

Once again tomorrow I am back out on the mountain so I might just take an early night myself!

TTFN




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whoops never actually click on 'POST' last night... so yesterdays blog has only just been posted - whoops sorry folks!
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A change

It was all change today - it seemed so much colder (mainly because I suspect there was pretty thick cloud) but lovely and quiet. It was change as the clients (the various sets of them) from the past couple of weeks had all left so it was a case of retuning in to someone new.

Clare and the kids were having a chilled morning at home before Clare was taking Olivia out skiing this afternoon so it was a simple start to the day for me in terms of getting up and out the house! However I still almost missed the start of the lesson time as the bus took absolutely ages to leave from down here in La Daille! Anyway it all worked out OK in the end!

The slopes continue to be nice and quiet up there and we made the most of the first hour or so. 'N' and I went for a warm up lap around the green triangle even though she is capable of skiing everything up to and including the Face it was a case of making the most of a warm up morning for her and tuning her back in. The first day of her holiday it was a sensible way to start out. Still breaking in some new boots of her and the cold weather meant that we needed a hot choc stop after an hour before continuing with our work of tuning back in lateral movements in her long radius turns... It was a chilled start to the holiday for her!

I got home for lunch and it was nice to warm up as I was freezing. Clare headed out for a slide with Olivia whilst I had a chilled afternoon as Ben slept watching some of the ski racing on tv (some recorded and some live). Val this evening is a buzz as we celebrate Frances first podium win in a long time in a World Cup slalom race AND Val's first since about the 1990's when the Goestchal sisters were topping the bill!

Anyway apart from that not much else to report from today. Olivia was SO tired that she was in bed about an hour earlier than normal and bed has not made a noice since going down either... lets hope it stays that way!

TTFN



https://www.facebook.com/steve.angus/videos/10161397983055416/
Olivia is learning some freestyle already! ha ha
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snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
@Steve Angus, pleasantly surprising to learn slopes fairly quiet on a Sunday. Traditionally Saturday quietest as main changeover day.

Maybe not so many French weekenders are coming? Or your local knowledge helps avoid the busy bits?

Also thanks for keeping your great posts coming when life is obviously so hectic! Lots of regular readers clearly enjoying them.
snowHead
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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.
Just back from a perfect (almost) week long visit for my GF's birthday.

The pistes are in mint condition but Thurs snow gave some epic powder, all over the resort. I spent Friday on Arollay, Signal bowl, Pissailas and the Danaides, putting first tracks down in most places. I got five laps of one of my favourite routes on Pissailas, before I saw anyone else's tracks and that was between two pistes. Perfect snow and made even better as my GF had decided to leave me to it and go shopping.

Arollay, untracked...



We stayed mostly on piste (and I was back on skis) for the rest of the week and finally ventured over to the Tignes side on Saturday. Had a great trip down to Brev, with Chardons in very good condition for what is normally an 'icy wall of death'.

I've had to come back to the UK for a few days but can't wait to be back out.

Stand out meals this trip - Ouilette for lunch (several visits, their quiche is the best in EK), dinner at Casa Scara and at Vieille Maison. For lunch you also must try the Patate Burger at Gourmandine (on Rond Point), simply superb (although not cheap).
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
PeakyB Yea thanks.... We dont get many weekend skiers up here - too far up the valley and away from the big smokes like Lyon etc to get people popping up here. Yea there are a lot of tour ops that use Sunday as a transfer day these days not just Saturdays!

bar shaker - such a good summary of where you went and what you did for the trip. Yea those dinner recommendations are all on my hit list too! Good work!
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Naturals

I was on duty for Olivia drop for the school bus followed by taking Ben to creche before getting to the meet point for 9am! It was all going swimmingly until our bus broke down as we left La Daille so thank goodness there was another bus about 2 seconds behind although I was worried my timings were going to get totally stuffed up by the problem! Alas not it all worked out OK.

I was snowboarding this morning and as it turned out the clients were a little late. Anyway it was nice couple from the Bournemouth area who had done themselves a favour by having their first few lessons on the dry slope to get the basics under their belts. So we started on the Village run and before long we were up the mountain on the magic carpet runs up Solaise and they were pretty natural riders it has to be said. So the progress made was fast and before long we were in a position to make a descent down the Madelaine... well done folks really good progress - more of the same tomorrow!

I spent the afternoon at home sorting a few things out before going to collect Ben, do some jobs at our apartment we rent out, collecting Olivia to take her to music and then getting everyone home again! I managed to tick everything off - yay... BUT unfortauntey I seem to have lost one of Bens shoes - it must have fallen off enroute coming home with him - whoops!

Anyway tomorrow it looks like I have a varied day of work and some time at home.

TTFN

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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Found it

Last night when I got home with Ben from creche I discovered that one of his boots had fallen off - no wander he was not very happy and cold! Anyway after some detective work and the power of Facebook I discovered that it had been found on the bus and handed to the lost property department so ultimately I went there and collected his show - phew!

Anyway it was another sunny morning and I was in the very rare position of not having a booking this morning which is a rarity... so I tried to get plenty done at home... the problem is when its work, work, work over the Winter months and then you get a little time off you can't swap to 'domestic' mode very easily! Anyway I did get some things done - yay!

At lunchtime I was back into my snowboarding boots and off to work! I had the same couple from a couple of days back and after they had been away and practiced it was time to take them around the green triangle. It was a good trip and they really loved getting mileage under their board and going further afield than they had been before. We tweaked a few areas of their technique and then they absolutely loved having a go at doing flat land 360's which they totally nailed - well done!

I picked Ben up and came home and have done a fair few bits this evening but as always have not got as much done as I would have liked - arghhhhh always the way!

In other news the latest Michellin Restaurant guide has been released... as far as Val is concerned we have the restaurant at the the Balme d'lours (Table de l'Ours) with 1* and the Atelier d'Edmond 2* (In the Fornet)... also highly acclaimed but without a star there is La Table des Neiges, the Luge, Yvonne's Table and the Baraque.... so basically some top nosh to be eaten out there folks!

Also in local news (and I dont actually know why) but the Europa Cup next week has been cancelled. No idea why but thats a pity for Val!

Ps the Classical Val music event started yesterday too!

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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Boy was it cold!

Today was one of those days when the air temp was low and it was cold! There was cloud about it with a breeze at altitude it was one of those days that meant the breeze and lack of sunshine meant it felt WAY colder than it actually was!

I took Ben to creche as Olivia was going skiing with Clare for the day and then had to get up to Laisenant as the booking notes said I was meeting up there. Anyway all sorted and I got there on time... So I was skiing with a group of 4 (2 x couples) that I last skied with a few years back (I normally ski with their grown up kids these days) and so we headed up into the gloom and cold towards the Fornet. Its not all bad news though as at that time of the day (and this time of the year in general) there was no-one about up at the fornet.... so we pressed on up to the glacier and had the place to ourselves. With a little fresh snow (couple of cms up there) it was amazing conditions!

We worked on some fundamentals and rebuilt elements forgotten of their technique and had a jolly successful morning. The target was to ski down the Plan M red down into Val at the end of the session and there was some great snow down there. We had a really good ski but it was cold that is for sure!

I warmed up at lunchtime in the office before taking my seasonnaires out for their second session of their lesson program! So tactically I decided to head up the Solaise side once again and we did some technical work on the Madelaine followed by the Glacier run.... this was all building on what we worked on last week.

Finally we took a trip over the top to the fornet and then ultimately stopped at the Signal as they were REALLY cold. They then let slip (well a couple of them anyway) that they were actually hungover too! So we headed home.

I collected Ben and then had the usual evening for bath and bed time with the kids!

The snow moved in again this evening and we could get anything from a few cms overnight through to a reasonable amount - but lets see what happens... either way it should be sunny tomorrow - yay!

TTFN



P.S. The 3000 drag lift was open today BUT just for testing and once the safety review from today is worked out then we should get a date for when the lift will finally re-open! Yay!
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Hi @Steve Angus, we’ve been watching them work on the 3000 drag the past week or so. Is it used just to access the off piste on that side of the valley opposite the top of Glacier?
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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?
Success

Thanks lynnecha I was actually going to post the following photo that the pisteurs have been getting of the preparation work for the opening of the 3000 drag.... talking of which this photo was taken by the Val pisteurs yesterday and the news is that they hope to get it open in the next week or so as soon as the license comes through the post. HOWEVER they dont think the tunnel will open up as there is not enough snow cover on the Fornet side so it will be just the Solaise side for a slide down (for now anyway).



Some interesting analysis by the firm looking at occupancy rates in the french alps... looks like Val d'Isere has the highest occupancy rate of 'professional' and 'holidaymaker' beds in the French Alps. The typical bed is occupied for 81 days on average a season. I have to say that is slightly lower than I would have thought but then again I do not know WHERE they get their data from and for example whether that includes tour op beds or just hotels and things like that but either way that is a descent number! Its 60.2% occupancy BTW!

Anyway back to today... it was a success as I dropped Ben off at creche (it was another super cold morning but at least the sun was shining!) them met my team of the snowboarding couple.... they had been out practicing and we aimed to get onto some blue runs.... after some good work on technique they were nailing the blue runs up the Bellevarde and even had a good stab at riding switch (which for them was 'regular') so well done to them!

I was home for lunch and got some things done before getting Ben and doing the usual activities!

Some photos wrap up todays report with them telling the story nicely.


Some clouds down the valley make it look like a sea with mountains sticking out the water!


My friend Caty fronts up this weeks HAT snow report!


Dramatic photos of a rescue involving the SAMU heli up Bellevarde yesterday - looks like ANOTHER (the usual spot actually) incident in the area of the flattening of the Diebold / Verte / 3J etc pistes... hope the person(s) concerned are OK!


OH and finally I found this clip summarising one of the several days that Val was on GMTV last week.... this was the 'day' they highlighted what goes on at the folie...

https://www.facebook.com/lafoliedouce.valdisere/videos/389528995156958/

TTFN
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Now been back for almost a week and thought I'd take the opportunity to feedback. Snow was very good and we got 2-3 powder days with plenty of fresh tracks. The missus had lessons with @Steve Angus, and her words were 'the best lessons I have ever had' and she has had a few. We also had Steve to guide us off piste for two full days and I think my friend says it best when he said 'That man is worth his weight in gold'.

If you haven't already guessed, Steve gets the friends and family seal of approval and one should always try and book stuff with him. Unless we are using him that week, in which case, please find your own damn instructor!
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Its noticeable that they have replaced the floating bullwheel with a fixed one. Here is the original entry on remontee mecaniques. The refurbishment of this lift seems to be generating a lot of interest here snowHead

https://www.remontees-mecaniques.net/bdd/reportage-tkd-3000-montaz-mautino-5041.html
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@Steve Angus, 81 days of occupancy equating 60.2% indicates a season of only 134.5 days! 1st December to 30th April is 151 days outside a leap year, and Val D'Isere opens late November & shuts early May.
I'm guessing that the statisticians chose dates from mid-December to late-April (ie when lower resorts are also open) to compare 'like with like'. Lies, damn lies and statistics. Laughing
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Rishie - thanks - the cheque is in the post!!! Ha ha! Glad everyone enjoyed themselves so much!
Peter S - Never seen that site - fascinating stuff. Brough back loads of memories of old lifts flicking through that page!
Kenzie - yea I thought the figures seemed 'interesting' but as you say stats are open to interpretation!
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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!
Even colder

I know I have been talking about how cold it is of recent but seriously each day it is getting colder and colder at the moment. We always seem to get a week of baltic conditions each season and this week is it. I had my heated socks on the highest level but still my toes froze off! Even this evening I am only just getting feeling back in my toes - ouch!

Anyway this morning I had a lovely lady who had simply lost her bottle. She had skied loads and even done quite a fair amount of off piste and had skied things like the the Face previously but had not been to Val in a few years. Anyway on her return here she had found that she had lost her bottle. Explaining why she felt this way I couldnt help but agree with her in many ways... essentially she felt that there were a lot of inconsiderate people skiing the slopes here... there seemed to be a lot of bravado on the slopes, a lot of boy racers, a lot of people who thought they were way better than they probably were and all the time an air of supremacy for skiing harder and faster than anywhere else... it was a depressing picture she painted but I couldnt help but agree on many levels! Arghhh unfortunately the EK is becoming a 'chargers' resort which is never a good thing! Lets hope it has some checks in its ongoing future!

Alas she was ready to go back to the green and blue runs and having spent a week here she had not been up the Solaise yet this trip so we took the opportunity to get up there. After some foundation work on the Madelaine and Glacier Express she felt much more comfortable. As I explained to her if you tweak the technique and skills then the confidence follows on... this then make it more enjoyable and we feel more comfortable on the slopes and everyone wins!

I came home for lunch and spent the afternoon on some admin before Clare and I collected the kids and took them to Blue Note for some apres... not that we do it often as it is quite a lot of effort but nice non the less. Anyway an hour or so there before Ben in particular made it clear that he was ready to come home.

And that pretty much sums the day up!

Tomorrow we have a complete family day off altogether which will be nice - lets hope the kids dont wake too early and spoil the potential 'lie in' - ha ha fat chance!

TTFN


SOOOO cold (-22 on the Madelaine Express lift thermo!) out there and especially before the sun gets going!
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PBJ wrote:

Pays desert


Been done a million times since skiing began, but still a great photo.
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"What 'D' (animal) did we see in Tignes today Olivia" (speaking to Clare when we got back)?......... Ans: Dinosaur

From the mouth of babes eh! It was obviously a dog but we were in hysterics at the time the dead pan answer she gave!

So Ben made an early morning chorus so it was defiantly my turn to have him so Clare could get a little extra rest. So I ended up attempting to get back to sleep with him on the sofa but that never really works unfortunately! Today was no exception. Anyway it only lasts a couple of hours and then everyone was back up again anyway!

Clare made yummy pancakes and then we geared up (Olivia and I) for a ski together. She has skied a fair few times since I saw her last and that also includes a week and more of lessons so I was really impressed to see the progress she has made. For the first time it really feels like we can start going places - yay!

So we headed up from down here in La Daille and over towards Tignes - it didnt help that her ski popped off as we got on the Tommeuse but I managed to grab it before it got 'left behind' and managed to pop the ski back on as we rode the lift! Anyway she skied all the way down to Val Claret without a fuss and we had a wonderful ski - taking in little jumps at the side of the piste etc, playing some games and generally having a lot of fun!

We arrived in Val Claret and thank goodness the temperatures seem to have risen since the last few days as it was very much warmer today and pleasant. Being a Saturday the pistes were empty and the snow was in perfect condition - yay!

We arrived in Val Claret and headed to The Corner and had a lovely cuppa of tea and hot chocolate for Olivia respectively! I also (naughty) had a 2nd breakfast (couldnt help myself) of a bacon and egg sarnie - YUMMMMM! Somehow I managed to smash a jar of brown sugar too - whoops sorry Lou.

Anyway it was a lovely break and Olivia was over the moon when someone who works in there who we know well brought her 1 yr old black lab in - Olivia was in her element!

So back to the skiing we headed back to Val and skied the snow park, petit x course as well as croc valley before finally getting home for some lunch. Olivia and Ben had a sleep with Clare and I caught up watching the skiing on tv.

The rest of the day was a lazy family day and we finished with a family lasagne yummy!

So it has been a nice rest day!

The big news is that snow is forecast - in fact there could be a large amount over the next week... starting tomorrow morning. We shall see as it could be an up and down week weather wise!

I am back working tomorrow morning and according to the our planner it is a couple of beginners - that could be interesting if the weather is horrendous but better than being up the mountain in really horrible weather if that is what happens!

TTFN


Is it really THAT far still to go!

https://www.facebook.com/steve.angus/videos/10161418404025416/
Nice work - the ski through the legs trick!

https://www.facebook.com/steve.angus/videos/10161418404285416/
Keen bean!
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 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
PS Congrats to Clement Noel from the Val CDS again for another World Cup win in Kitzbuhel today - awesome work! 2 in 2 weeks!
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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.
Here it comes

When I opened the curtains this morning it was grey and overcast BUT not snowing yet a while! In fact it was later (yay) than normal looking out the window as both kids slept past 7am - double yay!

Anyway Clare was taking the kids off swimming whilst I headed out to work!

By the time I got out the front door the snow was starting to fall and little by little the intensity increased.... by the end of the day we had about 15-20cm of fresh snow down in town and about 30cm at altitude although I would say that the wind has really gotten up this evening after it started off negligible!

So I met my new arrivals a couple of young junior doctors in their mid 20's who were both respectively here with their boyfriends! Anyway they had done a 3 hr session on the artificial slopes back home but apart from that this was there first time skiing! Little by little we increased the difficulty and intensity of what we were doing and ultimately we headed for a run on the Madelaine so for their first proper day on the slopes they did very well. I just hope this afternoon they took my advice as to where to go and what to do - I think they were sensible enough so fingers crossed they have not been led astray by their boyfriends!

What was annoying today was the sheer numbers of friends trying to teach their friends how to ski / snowboard... it meant that the slope was awash with people who were WELL out of control / groups standing in totally inappropriate places and blocking the route etc - arghh drives me insane! Lethal idiots!

Anyway I headed home at lunchtime and with the kids having a sleep (well Ben anyway) it was a relaxing afternoon of film watching / drinking tea and generally chilling out! We had guests around for a cuppa and a slice later in the afternoon and then the usual bath and bed time routine!

So the snow continues to fall and tomorrow will be a complete contrast for me with the near beginners in the morning and then some American experienced off pisters in the afternoon... lets hope the wind does not wreck the snow and also lets hope we do not get a HUGE amount of snow tomorrow as the avalanche risk is already looking like a 4 tomorrow and possibly a generous 4 so it could be interesting to say the least!



TTFN
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
That was deep

It was rather windy but also mega snowy last night and at first light I was a little apprenhsive about the day... at one end of the day in the morning I knew I needed to get the girls up the mountain as it would really feel like a disappoint to them today if we could not get up the Bellevarde and I could not attempt to show them around the green triangle and at the other end of the day in the afternoon I had some VERY VERY strong off piste skiers booked in and conditions promised to be 'juicy' to put it mildly!

Anyway they were out in force blasting from early doors and there was certainly plenty moving out there... in fact I saw the two teams that were working on the Clochetons, Bellvarde, Banane etc sectors get down to the Olympic pretty much on time at 9am and check in with their team leader... they were rather laden down with everything from bags with explosive residue materials to ear defenders to ropes etc etc.... anyway the Olympic did open on time (more or less) and we were off - the queues were not as large as I thought they were going to be which was a nice surprise!

Anyway the only option initially and in reality for the ability level of the girls was to ski the Verte down to the Marmottes and back up again! We got a couple of runs in before making our way over to the Grand Pre which was in lovely condition too! Ultimately they opened the Borsat after blasting and then pisting but we never had the time to get out that way but it didnt matter!

Anyway the girls did so well and they are now coming parallel nicely and tomorrow we add in the pole plant (thats when it can all fall apart - we shall see)... either way I would like to get them on a blue run tomorrow or two!

At lunchtime I took refuge from the cold (it was baltic up there with no sun, some wind and sweeping northerly weather systems coming in!) in our office and prepared for the pm. I had 3 american friends who have quite literally skied all over the world, heli skied pretty much everywhere and knew most of the off-piste in the EK (well one of them had done a fair few trips here before). Put it mildly in terms of the higher levels of experience and abilities in this job today was as high as it gets!

So off we set and with the avalanche risk up at 4/5 today and the effects of wind loading in places and all sorts of other factors I had to be on my A game to make safe and good calls! I like to think we got some really good skiing in although I certainly had to manage some slopes with cutting them and on more than one occasion I set a few slides off but it was managed. The snow was certainly educational in places and in other places lovely. The best snow I found was probably on the steep east facing slopes of the Danaides or perhaps the Lievre Blanc (lesser skied side).

Needless to say it was a good afternoon and I am now pretty shattered - not long until bed time now!

So in local news the Stade Francais rugby team are in town for altitude training currently. Also when we were making our way back through the Fornet to the cable car for a second lap we stumbled across filming for the new 'Slalom' ski film that started shooting in Val today - from what I can gather this will be a niche French film. Oh and also Miss France 2015 is in town skiing about at the moment - so I shall have to keep my eyes open for seeing that! ha ha!

The sun is supposed to shine tomorrow before we get pelted with snow on Wednesday and through tel the end of the week - things could get more juicy!


It was puzzling today as officially the pisteurs were calling it a 4/5 and so were Meteo France but the board at the bottom of Olympic was initially saying 3/5 - it was most certainly a 4/5 day!


Sorry I didnt really get a chance / remember to get any photos today - sorry! Whoops! But you can see the grey skies over head today!

TTFN
ski holidays     
 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Chilly again

We are once again this evening expecting a large dump of snow to arrive and for it to be another flat light day, heavy snow and winds... in fact a few days like that coming up! However lets not dwell on that but instead think about the great day on the hill today!

We awoke to clearing skies and lovely snow - perhaps another 5cm that had fallen overnight - there was lots of anticipation out there.

I met my girls for their 3rd and final day of lessons with me and boy was it another cold one. We headed up the Solaise and worked on the Madelaine, Datcha and Glacier lifts and the girls did very well on their first blue run - nice work! I made sure to take them back to some of the harder blues near the Datcha lift as they had been taken down their by the boyfriends on the first morning and not enjoyed themselves!

By the end of the session we headed over to the Fornet side and finally downloaded rather than take the Mangard piste BUT the Fornet was SOOOOO busy as I think everyone was heading that way as the amount of deep and light snow was greater towards the fornet end of town. The girls did so very well and they have now essentially completed the Central Theme as I introduced pole plants today as well so they are now very much up and running so the best of luck to them although they did comment that they will not know what to do without me around - I think they fear it will be easy for their boyfriends to lead them astray and onto unsuitable terrain for their ability and experience! They have said they might be in contact for more lessons before the week finishes!

I took lunch back at the office whilst gearing up for the afternoon session.

I had young L for an off piste session. When I had him last year with his mum and other friends the snow on the Tour du C was generally pretty skied out but nice snow non the less. This afternoon the snow was deeper and fresher and lighter than before so it was going to be an adjustment to say the least! Unfortunately poor mum of L is out of action currently after a nasty injury last year otherwise I am sure she would have loved to join us. Being Snowheads I am not using real names or whatever as I dont do with any persons but they can use names if they would like as anyone can that reads this with us having skied / snowboarded together!

Anyway L and I had a really good slide around - yes a few double ejections and face plants but we learnt about some technique / staying safer and being more mountain aware. The snow was awesome up the Solaise side and pitches off the side of the Glacier, Datcha and Cugnai lifts.

It was all systems go when we got back home... we had an hour to shower, change and get the kids ready for bed before heading out for a drinks party to celebrate the opening of the revamped Toviere hotel. It was nice being invited to this glitz and glamour opening drinks party with VIP's such as the major there.

And could I just extend my thoughts (well all of the Angus' thoughts and prayers) for Kellie our babysitter who received some terribly sad news from back home this evening so will have to return home asap. Best wishes to you and your family.!

Clare headed into town for a drink with some colleagues of the ski school she is now partially affiliated to straight at the Toviere do whilst I came home to sort bits out... this including watching the drama in the House of Commons as well as Dave Ryding in Schladming (well done on the 9th place)

In other local news (why or WHY do people do it and just follow tracks... day in day out at this job you see the same sh*t happening on the mountain and the same mistakes etc) 39 people followed skinning tracks down towards to the gorge du malpassat even though there are plenty of signs etc up all over the place saying that the gorge is not passable. Ultimately 39 people had a very expensive heli evacuation out of the gorge!

Also up at the Fornet end of town a speedflyer had a very nasty crash ending up in a tree... all sorts of medical problems that required a SAMU chopper evacuation!

That film I mentioned last night - turns out the filming is due to last 6 weeks and the budget in total is 1.7M€ - wow it had better be good!

And also Ingrid Jacquemond (former World Cup winner and Val local) has been named as the new leader of the Club des Sports here in Val and starts in March!


Proud 'L' with his tracks (and a couple others behind!

Where is this then?

Look closely in the middle of the pic... the avalanche rescue dogs training taking place on the Datcha area of Solaise

The new video screens showing current stop / next stop etc like 'real world' buses do.... being trailed on the Train Rouge today!


The 39 people being repatriated from the gorge back towards Val - whoops!

TTFN
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Why do they have to be evacuated by chopper? Can’t they walk out? How tight is that gorge?
ski holidays     
 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
@kditrj2d, Its that or freeze to death. The gorge is incredibly narrow and deep with a raging torrent in the bottom. The summer path is hair raising to say the least (there is a wire rope to hang onto for some parts) and is well above the bottom and the other side to where they arrived from. It is also probably covered in ice snow. The gorge is generally only passable when avalanches from above fill it.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Where is the gorge? Probably not very charitable of me but I did chuckle when I read 39!!! Shocked
ski holidays     
 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?
If anyone spotted some muppet snow boarding down into La Daille Monday morning, with an inflated airbag... that was me rolling eyes

A high speed stack in the (lovely, deep) powder under the Folie on my first run of the morning saw my bag go off. I hadn't taken the handle out of its pocket (an Ortovox Ascent 22) so not quite sure how it deployed. I was laying in the snow thinking WTF is that hissing sound and then I was suddenly popped up on a big orange Lilo. My mates found it very funny.

Big thanks to the guys in Mountain Pro for the exchange carbon canister (€25).

Incredible conditions for our long weekend. A few small slides on Monday (to be expected but nothing threatening) didn't stop some fantastic fun in all the obvious places. Definitely a day for being on a board.

The rest of the weekend, I have skied and it was on perfect piste snow. Soft and grippy from top to bottom, but it was seriously cold on Tuesday. We'd popped up to the top of Borsat for the 6km run to La Daille as our last blast, yesterday. The temp was showing -14degC at Marmottes so probably 2degC colder (or more) at the top of Borsat. The wind on the chair was biting.

Not back now until W3 in Feb (unless I change my mind). This is a great season for bluebird skiing... unless you are now suffering Storm Gabriel.
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 You need to Login to know who's really who.
You need to Login to know who's really who.
Steve (and others with a clear understanding),
Ref. the heli out of Malpasset, and per the Pisteurs' comments on facebook, see below.
What is your understanding of them specifying gravity accessed?
Does this refer to Carre Neige?
Are they saying that Carre Neige won't cover you for rescue, if you have boot packed or skinned into somewhere e.g. Col Pers, Valon de Sachette, North Face Borsat, Chardonnet Bowl, Table d'orientation, Col des Fours, Mont Roup, etc. etc.?

"Selon la loi montagne du 9 janvier 1985, les secours sont payants sur le domaine skiable de la station. Ce qui comprends le hors piste accessible par gravité. Pour les secours en dehors du domaine skiable, une participation peut-être demandée à la personne secourue en fonction de la nature des secours.
De plus les assurances ne remboursent pas les secours si la personne est indemne."

Google Translate:
"According to the mountain law of January 9, 1985, help is paid on the ski area of ​​the resort. This includes the off-piste accessible by gravity. For assistance outside the ski area, participation may be able to be requested from the rescued person, depending on the nature of the rescue.
In addition, the insurance does not reimburse the relief if the person is unscathed."
snow report     
 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
I think it is saying that if you access off-piste boot packing etc would be covered by Carre Neige. BUT the key for these guys is the last part - if you're not injured then insurance won't cover the rescue.
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 You'll need to Register first of course.
You'll need to Register first of course.
nemesys wrote:
Where is the gorge? Probably not very charitable of me but I did chuckle when I read 39!!! Shocked


Top of the Isere valley, upstream of Fornet & St Charles Bridge. I wouldn't want to do it with 38 other people even when it is passable. In my four seasons in EK I did the gorge once - the one short period it was passable during those four seasons.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Kenzie wrote:
nemesys wrote:
Where is the gorge? Probably not very charitable of me but I did chuckle when I read 39!!! Shocked


Top of the Isere valley, upstream of Fornet & St Charles Bridge. I wouldn't want to do it with 38 other people even when it is passable. In my four seasons in EK I did the gorge once - the one short period it was passable during those four seasons.


Thanks - I see it - off one of the Col Pers routes.
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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!
ajdetpwm wrote:
Steve (and others with a clear understanding),
Ref. the heli out of Malpasset, and per the Pisteurs' comments on facebook, see below.
What is your understanding of them specifying gravity accessed?
Does this refer to Carre Neige?
Are they saying that Carre Neige won't cover you for rescue, if you have boot packed or skinned into somewhere e.g. Col Pers, Valon de Sachette, North Face Borsat, Chardonnet Bowl, Table d'orientation, Col des Fours, Mont Roup, etc. etc.?

"Selon la loi montagne du 9 janvier 1985, les secours sont payants sur le domaine skiable de la station. Ce qui comprends le hors piste accessible par gravité. Pour les secours en dehors du domaine skiable, une participation peut-être demandée à la personne secourue en fonction de la nature des secours.
De plus les assurances ne remboursent pas les secours si la personne est indemne."

Google Translate:
"According to the mountain law of January 9, 1985, help is paid on the ski area of ​​the resort. This includes the off-piste accessible by gravity. For assistance outside the ski area, participation may be able to be requested from the rescued person, depending on the nature of the rescue.
In addition, the insurance does not reimburse the relief if the person is unscathed."


The Col Pers is signposted as an unpatrolled area that you enter at your own risk. Manchet valley is similarly signed, from the top of Grand Pré. This is different to the Yellow triangles which say 'Hors Pistes' such from Plan into Danaides. The other difference here is that you are between pistes, with the Traversee du Laisinant at the bottom.
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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.
@bar shaker, your airbag incident sounds like something that would happen to me, hence my user name rolling eyes
I've just started doing about 6 days on snow 10 days back in the UK so we must try and meet soon.
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
kditrj2d - it really is impassable hence the name and without skins, a heli, ice ax and rope you have no hope of getting out!
nemesys - yes bottom of the Col Pers descent although you can do the Col without dropping down into the gorge... however some people head down that way (hence others follow the tracks yesterday) heading towards the refuge for touring!
bar shaker whoops - I had an accidental inflation a couple years back too - different circumstances though... oh and year CHILLY for sure!
ajdetpwm - yes it is complicated but its more complicated still... for example in the Summer when up on the glacier because of the lift configurations e.g. a drag lift up on the Motte the air evacuation is free as they can't get you down using gravity and skis... so the PGHM do the work and they dont charge (thats my understanding anyway!!).

A day of 2 seasons

It was cold (very), breezy and cloudy this morning so it wasnt looking that inviting. I took Ben to creche and then headed to the meeting point to meet my am lesson.

I had a lovely lady who was a very strong technical skier... making lovely rounded turns. I was most impressed actually. With the weather pretty horrendous we worked on a DESERTED (totally) Arcelle and got in a fair few laps on there. There was about 10cm or so of fresh on the tops of the peaks which was nice and lower down less but nicer non the less! One of the aims was to try and work out how to increase control on firmer pistes in terms of tactics and line and with the soft snow it was tricky to develop that but we tried non the less!

Ultimately we skied down into town as the clouds were coming and going and we also wanted to escape the cold! A couple of laps on the Rogoney where we could ski the Combe Martin with the better visibility was a good way to finish up as the piste was a little firmer in there!

I warmed up with lunch with Clare and Olivia at Chez Paulo as they had been swimming in the am which was a nice way to spend the hour.... and then finally I was out for the afternoon with my seasonnaires once again!

The weather was improving all the time and I wanted to get them onto some red runs for the first time... so we lapped down to La Daille with me showing them the best route down for their experience and skills etc! Ultimately the sun came out and we were able to ski some runs higher up! Despite it being cold it was a jolly good afternoon - well done girls! They loved trick of the day - 360 spins!

Oh and congrats to one of the girls I have been teaching in the am's this week - bumped in her on the bus this evening - she got engaged today on the mountain to her (now) fiancé!!!!!

Anyway I'm shattered so heading to bed.

TTFN


Not looking to enticing up their first thing!!!! BUT...


... turned out nice.

P.S. Any guesses for 'where is this' posting from yesterday!???
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