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

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Yes a bit of a leap in many ways!
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Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
PeakyB wrote:
@Steve Angus,
Quote:

The one at base Tufs has been there at least 3/4 years now I'd say. You may not notice it...


3 years ago I stayed in the Vanoise hotel. Bedroom window overlooked Tufs base station, about 25m away. Still never noticed polytunnel and me a trained observer! Those tunnels are great for beginners and strawberries. Very Happy


Cant believe you didnt see it.
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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?
PeakyB wrote:
@snowornever, very handy. I could see morning lift queue from window and time my departure.
The tunnel’s for the Piou Pious then. Ahhhhh...



No this one that snowornever is talking about is on the main pistes side of those buildings that the kiddies use.... so its not this one but a new one that went in a few years ago for all and sundry to use!!!! Within 50m max of the base of Tufs lift as I say!!!!
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PeakyB wrote:
It’s no preparation for this one Toofy Grin



No certainly not - not many Strawberries can be grown in their either!
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Another storm rolls in and CATEX blasting results!

Once again last night the weather rolled in and delivered a lot of wind and snow. You know it has snowed a lot over night as you can hear the snowploughs starting up about 0530!!!! Well I can't but Clare lets me know that she has heard them if you get my drift - haha!

So there was about another 20cm of fresh overnight and the temps have come down somewhat!

We were told that there was going to have to be a lot of PIDA clearance to be done this morning therefore to keep off the touring route up to the Folie until 0900. The problem is that so many people just ignore messages like that BUT having said that there was a lot of positive results from the blasting this am! I snapped the enclosed shot when about the third charge had been detonated on the Catex system up there - you can see the pisteurs hut where the CATEX winch point starts from and the fact that the whole lot went down to the ground as you can see - well thats made it a lot safer for later in the season if anyone gets off piste in that sector!



I was trying to get the video camera to snap an actual detonation and the possible result but kept missing the charges going off during the waits - doh!

Anyway the rest of today has mainly revolved around good old fashioned lesson planning! Have a packed pm tomorrow at Apex and then later in the week plenty more over there!

Tomorrow the logistics are going to be quite complicated.... because of a contact case therefore self isolation and all that the canteen at the school is going to be closed therefore the kids need to be shipped to school, home again for lunch, back again in the pm and then home again in the evening - luckily the school bus is going to run but still - arghhhh! Later in the week, in a break from normal French rules, they are allowing a packed lunch to be sent in with the kids! Thankfully!

Apart from that tomorrow will be a normal day!!!!

Finally to finish I thought the enclosed shot from my balcony yesterday would cheer those up wanting a fix of what its like out here at the moment - daily torture not really being able to use the slopes unless you walk to get it!!! HAHA



We should be having another announcement from the government this week about the 'next step' and all expectation is that some tightening of restrictions but NOT a full lockdown.... a tweak to the rules so that schools may stay open. And on that front an extension of the school holidays as a sort of circuit breaker too.... hmmm time will tell!

Anyway folks until next time...

TTFN
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@Steve Angus,
Quote:

Cant believe you didnt see it.


I got mixed up with trips. Actually end of April 2016 I last stayed in Vanoise. May pre-date Tufs tunnel.

Quote:

Ahhhhh...
No this one that snowornever is talking about is on the main pistes side of those buildings that the kiddies use.... so its not this one


Yes, I realised, it was just a random pic of Piou Pious for cute effect. Always amuses me seeing tiny ones tottering in line, holding rope to keep them together.

Quote:

not many Strawberries can be grown in their either!


Must be mushrooms, always smells of manure in Tunnel to La Fornet wink

Cricket...England win and good to see younger players star in second innings...the two Doms.

Good luck with hectic schedule tomorrow and thanks
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
@Steve Angus, That picture is really not helping Very Happy

I knew that 12 people from the road service team that look after snow clearance and rubbish collection had to isolate last week but didn’t know it was now affecting more of the town.

I think a lot of people presume that because Val d’Isere is in the mountains that it’s isolated to a certain extent from Covid but this shows you are still facing the challenges that we are back in the UK.
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After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
muppet wrote:
@Steve Angus

I think a lot of people presume that because Val d’Isere is in the mountains that it’s isolated to a certain extent from Covid but this shows you are still facing the challenges that we are back in the UK.


Not quite. They've got 1-less challenge over there.

They can go ski touring for their exercise wink .
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PeakyB - ah that makes sense! Yea it was 2017 or thereabouts I think! Ah OK twas a random pic - didnt guess that actually! And yes the cricket win - how could I forget!
muppet - Sorry! Yes more of the town is becoming affected. They have just cancelled the canteen for next week too. There are confirmed cases all over the place at the moment and Radio Val and the talk of the town is that things are getting bad again locally! Doh! Macron will now speak in a few days time to announce the next step and a strict lockdown and longer school hols are under consideration... I think if they stop tourists at all coming from outside the local area then that may help - hmmm we shall see!
Bergmeister - indeed! Sorry!

Storm and a half

Well I had a very hectic schedule yesterday at Apex but all went off OK in the end. Twas a long day!

Meanwhile today has been pretty relaxed really. The kids slept well so it was a nice relaxed morning... Clare headed out to teach her little ones English this morning so the kids and I enjoyed time at home before a family lunch! The much promised storm of the century hadn't arrived last night and it was not too bad for much of the day but little by little the storm has been rolling in and I suppose in the last 24 hours we have now had about 30cm but they think we could get as much as 2m of snow in the next couple of days - hmmm could be an interesting!

The kids enjoyed playing in the snow for a couple of hours before hot chocs all around and then our neighbour came around with her two kids (one of which is also Bens best friend!) for a little play. Meanwhile the storm has intensified outside!

Tomorrow is a big day... Clare and I (after getting the kids off on the school bus) need to get off to Chambery (roads could be interesting getting there and back!) to sort out our french residency cards by getting our fingerprints etc taken... on the way we need to stop and get passport photos in Bourg. Having done all that I need to get back to drop Clare off before heading to Tignes to teach there for a couple of hours - could be an interesting day!

Wish me luck.

TTFN
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@Steve Angus,
Quelle journée. Bonne chance!
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https://m.facebook.com/gendarmeriedelasavoie/posts/1771317083048698

Snowshoer buried but survived. Stay safe folks.
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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.
If you are listening for the detonation and pressing the shutter, you are probably a good three seconds behind the actual detonation.
Eyeballing for the slide will get you closer.
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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
@chocksaway, avalanche risk 5! Quite rare isn’t it?
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You know it makes sense.
PeakyB - Thanks and yes it is extremely rare - can count on one hand how many times Ive seen it happen here!
chocksaway - Was horrendous - more on that in a moment

Well folks what a day it was..... 30cm of fresh snow overnight - an early start (the snowploughs outside didnt help at 6am) and the walk up to get the car out. I was petrified that the road to the parking itself would not have been cleared by the ploughs but luckily they were!

The drive to Chambery was OK on the snowy bit to Bourg - it had snowed all the way to the valley floor. After we got down the snow turned into rain and basically it was a monsoon! Alas we got to Chambery in OK time and found the place and we in and out in about 20 mins so all good! Next stop will be the cards being posted to us - yay!

The drive back was equally easy but the road got slippy about St Foye where the slush line was but after that the blanket of snow meant for OK driving. One of the good things about the Covid situation is that 99% of people on the road are locals and know how to drive in snow and / or have 4x4's with snow tyres. The road into Val was pretty horrendous to be honest... there was a small slide across the road into Brev apparently earlier in the day and just before I came through there was a small slide onto the road into Val between the last tunnel and La Daille... it was a little off roading for about 2 mins over the debris! Anyway no sooner had I dropped Clare off than I turned around to get over to Tignes. The road up to there was no better and in fact the little tunnel half way up that is normally just one way was today 2 way as there was so much snow on the road side (if that makes sense) - a slide covered the road there.

So after getting to Tignes the news came through that a large slide had come down on the avalanche path down to the Chemin des Coves.... a French family of 4 who were walking on the closed path got buried. Anyway it was all hands on deck as of course non of them had transceivers etc. So everyone who was in the vicinity who was able came to help and there was about 150 locals helping out down probe lining! 3 of the family got out quickly as were only partly buried but the husband / dad was under for well over 2 hours. All the line searches and everything was turning up nothing and finally the PGHM used new tech to track his mobile phone signal! Anyway the guy was pulled out standing up right having sheltered behind a tree but was still swamped! His heart beat rate was well down in the 30's and his o2 level was down to 12% or something. He was also frozen having been cocooned for 2 hours! He is VERY lucky and what a team effort to get him out alive! If you look on Facebook and do various searches there are videos (see Henry Avalanche as he put a good vid on his website today as he was one of the searchers!) and pics etc! Quite incredible. Talking to a couple friends who were involved they were shattered by it all but thank god they are going home as a family of 4!!!!

Meanwhile teaching at Apex was OK (I have to be honest i was a little tired so not my best but hey ho) but there was a false fire alarm at one point that really stuffed the flow of one of the lessons! Also when I heard the road out was closing at 1800 I made a run for it about 10 mins early too! But hey ho I got home OK. So this evening all the roads around town for cars and pedestrians are closed and the road to Bourg and to Tignes are all closed. Tomorrow they will hopefully be able to clear the road somewhat BUT there is a LOT more snow forecast! Doh!

Here in Val the school is going to be closed tomorrow because of the snow so that will be a day of home schooling and then the Club des Sports this weekend has been cancelled too.... there is going to be a lot of time at home the next few days and that is aside from what Macron may announce in terms of a national lockdown again! I may be able to get over to teach at Apex tomorrow possibility otherwise I will be delivering those lessons online too!

Well folks I think thats all for now.

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:
Just seen some of the avalanche reports. Monumental effort, and a life saved, a whole family in fact. Good work indeed by all concerned.
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@Steve Angus, Glad your traveling worked out in the end as it was probably the worst few days of the season to pick for the journey.
That family were so lucky, and stupid after all the alerts posted on lots of various media.
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Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@Steve Angus, lucky family indeed. Chapeau! to the professional and volunteer rescuers. Impressive turnout in those conditions.
Good to learn your journey went OK and expect the fizz is on ice for when the residency cards arrive.
I was in Tignes one week way back (maybe 1999?...late Jan) when the area was pretty much in lockdown from avi risk. Bit scary just walking around the village.
Be safe.
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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?
Steve Angus wrote:
Iski

loving my omelettes though!

I ended up binge watching a few things... one of the things I have really gotten in is The Serpent on the BBC... I should finish the last episode on iPlayer after this.


Still got all those "lockdown eggs" to get through, I see.... Puzzled Very Happy Very Happy

And The Serpent is indeed fantastic. Gripping stuff, isn't it? I certainly recommend it to all who haven't seen it yet.
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PeakyB wrote:
@Steve Angus, lucky family indeed. Chapeau! to the professional and volunteer rescuers. Impressive turnout in those conditions.
Good to learn your journey went OK and expect the fizz is on ice for when the residency cards arrive.
I was in Tignes one week way back (maybe 1999?...late Jan) when the area was pretty much in lockdown from avi risk. Bit scary just walking around the village.
Be safe.


I saw some pics on another thread - scary stuff, but to be under for 2 hours he is a luck fellow. My Tignes app has been pinging for the last few days re avalanche risk of 5/5 and to not head out either walking or skiing.
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Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@Steve Angus, Love reading your posts... almost like being there! Reminds me of my seasons in the Alps - 3 were in Val Thorens, the others travelling around various resorts. Often thought about living there all year round - had jobs / work etc lined up, but never quite made it, mainly due to family / personal circumstances... and the dog I had at the time! (it was pre-1992). Your kids are very lucky - they will be bi-lingual and great skiers Smile What a combination!
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rob@rar - indeed. How are you - hope all ok with you![/b]
muppet - indeed rather foolish but hey ho! Yes it was definitely not a good day to be travelling that is for sure. Today I didnt even bother attempting to get over to Tignes to teach - the road was closed (still is) for much of the day and the weather is not getting any better anytime soon!
PeakyB - it was an amazing community effort thats for sure. Fizz is on ice already! Yes when you get these weather episodes it is scary times indeed!
Bergmeister - ha no that was a while ago no thankfully! I actually binge watched all of The Serpent so know what happens - it gets better and better I thought!
FrediKanoute - a very very lucky guy - he was released from hospital in Chambery today!!!!!!
Ricky B - thanks on many fronts. Yes I guess I just made the dreams come true!!!!

Weather not improving

Well today the weather didnt get any better... the road was closed most of the time and they were letting cars out in convoys here and there. There was a lot of blasting but mainly natural avalanche activity. The much anticipated government announcement didnt really come to anything for now (another week of waiting for the next update) but with the case numbers in Val at a department high of over 1000 / 100,000 the decision was made today to not only cancel kids club for this weekend but also the school is going to be closed here in Val next week - hmmm home schooling starts again! Haha!

Apart from that I thought some photos of not only yesterdays rescue but some of the movements from today!

TTFN


Queueing for the road to open this argo to get out on the convoys


One lucky survivor - buried upright having sheltered behind this tree!


Tough work (and yes that is my colleague Nicko in the middle fiddling with his rucksack!)






One of the natural slides that came down today and buried the car park up in Fornet - I can't find the photo (and to be honest its too far away to work out what it is) BUT this slide up at Fornet swept a parked 4x4 car into the Isere river too! Lampposts and all sorts taken away!


A still from the video the pisteurs got today of a natural slide coming down the Dome side of the resort and the airborne snow cloud engulfing the town!


Locked in for the night here!

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!
@Steve Angus,
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Glad they made the decision to suspend the traffic convoy.
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Gosh..! Great photos, tho... Love all the colours in the snow, despite the sad circumstances...
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@Steve Angus,

It was great news that the chap survived being buried for more than 2 hours. Wasn't he aware of the fact that he was walking in an avalanche chute?

When they used the Wolfhound device to track his mobile phone did everyone else searching for him have to switch their mobile phones off?
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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.
I am reluctant to say great photos of the rescue effort but I hope folk will understand my meaning.
The magnitude of the response brings tears to my eyes a truly magnificent effort.
It is a sobering thought looking at the pictures that this is the "real event" not a training session, there is a person under here who is going to die if we don't find him.
The mood of the gang when he was pulled out alive must have been very special indeed.
I am beginning to think that snow showers are more vulnerable to avvy danger than regular skiers.
The stats from Henry might be interesting regarding how few snow shoers attend his courses.
However celebrate a super result.
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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
muppet - not half. In fact I needed to move our car at one point yesterday and the 'exit' roundabout out of town was so snarled up from the UG parking bit / the main road and from the supermarket side of the road that I decided / had to drive the wrong way up the back road past your place to the funi roundabout....
Ricky B - luckily it wasnt 'sad' in the end
welshflyer - incredible it was! It was a game changing search as first time the Wolfhound system was used (and no I have no idea what it entails really either as apparently its normally only used to find people 'lost' in forests etc!) in a snow avalanche scenario. The guy probably 'ducked' the closed signs - those that know the 'avalanche path' know its a shortcut from the La Daille back into town. More on that below! Yes everyone had to turn their phones off yes!
Rogerdodger - of course we understand yes! Yes there was an enormous 'community' relief / proudness / solidarity yesterday and today! The fact that the (virtually exclusively) locals came together - whether ski instructor / pisteurs / fireman French / Brit or 'other' etc etc etc for those few hours in the middle of horrendous whether at great peril to themselves (they could all have stayed in their apartments as 99% of people did all day) to find an 'unknown' to themselves but assuming that it was ALMOST certainly a 2nd home owner from out of town was an amazing moment! The town is proud today! Snow-shoe'ers - hmmm perhaps! Yes Henry of HAT (who is my neighbour and whose youngest is in my daughters school class) knows his stuff! But in terms of the mood etc then read below.

Was it the calm after the storm

The weather this am was somewhat snowy STILL but little by little improved - but then deteriorated again this evening - doh! We think we are in for a lot more snow over the next few days again - hmmmmmmmm! The wind thought is a little less (yay) and the temps about the same (for now!)

Firstly I forgot to mention that with an incidence rate now of about 1000/100,000 in Val d'Isere the prefecture have ordered the schools / creche etc in Val to be closed all of next week (then the school hols are on anyway) so we are home schooling for next week. That coupled with a 'non' announcement last night means we think / assume a national lockdown will happen from next weekend onwards. Great!

Anyway back to today.... so the weather improved enough for them to get the road to bourg open from 1300 today thankfully so its back in business... likewise things like walking about (much) of town and the road to Fornet is open again! Phew! The weather window at lunchtime'ish allowed them to get the chopper out and blast not only the 'road threatening' slopes but also the areas above the Fornet road (hence it opened again!). Ditto to Bourg too! However the chopper apparently did a fly over as much of the 'territory' as it could to see any damage from slides etc.... unfortunately it looks like there has been some damage to the Vallon gondola. There are / were plans to upgrade it this Summer anyway (whether this happens now given the drop in income to the lift companies I dont know!). Anyway check out some of the pics below!

I popped into town earlier to do a little shopping and walking back (the path to La Daille past Cret parking is open for pedestrians again!) I bumped into my friend Clare Burns (who is an instructor for Mountain Masters!) Anyway she was telling me that she was next to the guy (ESF) who probed the missing guy in the slide the other day! She was saying that the 2 hours she was next to him probing etc it was a sense of determination but everyone was losing more and more faith and dreading more and more probing and finding a 'body' - she said she dreaded pushing the probe down but adrenaline kept her going - it was very quiet and everyone was focussed! When the Wolfhound device appeared the guy operating it got to a few metres then there was everyone converging on the scheme and - lots of probers but everyone else with shovels ready to dig and when the guy was probed on the head the frantic shovelling was impressive by all concerned! The guy was totally limp and lifeless when they first got his head out... and it was the pisteur there who confirmed he was alive (I think they attached a pulse sensor thing to work out he was alive) and immediately whacked oxygen to his face! Ironically she had spent much of the last two hours talking to the ESF guy about it would it would feel like if they hit a body as opposed to rock / tree stump etc! Well he know nows!

This idea of going somewhere where they new there was danger is an interesting point. The issue in these things and amongst us ALL is that we get away with in un-knowingly all the time (well potentially). A person could drive a car a million miles a year for 100 years and 'hang up' their car keys after that time and say that the seat belt / airbag was a waste of time... likewise a first time driver could turn the ignition on and turn out of their front drive and immediately the seat belt saves their live and swear by them! In the mountains it is all about acting objectively and minimising risk and being prepared for the worst! Millions of us ski every day (in a normal winter of course!) on terrain that could kill us - we play Russian Roulette every day - we get away with it so assume the risk is lessened but in fact its not. The same family may have ducked a million ropes before that say 'avalanche danger = closed' and gotten away with it therefore feel immune but are not! Were the pisteurs correct to close that path - well perhaps they were but a thousand other times they could have closed it and nothing slid down - were thy right to close the path before - yes as the chances are a slide could happen! I can't tell you the number of times I have had a client on an 'intro' to off piste situation say something like 'dont take me anywhere there is avalanche risk' etc or something like that.... well in that case I can't take you off piste really... 'we' will do all we can to minimise the risk in the same way you would put your car seat belt on and obey the speed limit and signposts but there is still a chance of incident! Defensive skiing and as Henry would say 'pick the low hanging fruit' is the order of the day! A true expert knows that caution is the best course of action! We are suckers for heuristic tendencies!

TTFN


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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Steve Angus wrote:
rob@rar - indeed. How are you - hope all ok with you!
All good thanks mate. Missing being in the Tarentaise. Counting the days until this nightmare is over.
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Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Indeed @rob@rar
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
P.S. (to everyone this is) check out Radio Val as they have some amazing photos on there from the last couple of days!
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Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Fortunately you've still got the col double poma to get up to the glacier. It looks like it is the gondola signal line or power cable (?) that is broken which would be easier to fix. The haul line looks as though it's just been derailed perhaps by the shock of the avalanche on a pylon. That may be what twanged the thinner signal line causing it to break. No doubt they'll need to check the integrity and alignment of the pylons but may be lucky. It may well have happened before, perhaps one reason they have kept the pomas?

Hope you will get a chance to use some of this snow Steve.
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Peter S - good info there thanks! Well lets see if they get it fixed sometime before next Winter!!!!!! Now home schooling has come in I am not sure ill be putting my ski boots back on again anytime soon!
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@Peter S,
Quote:

you've still got the col double poma to get up to the glacier


Are those still T Bars?
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Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@PeakyB, button lifts. Installed 1972/3. Don't think they've ever been T-bars, unless anyone knows better?
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@moosepig, I’m thinking of Pissalais glacier above La Fornet. Though it was T Bars for the final pull to the top but maybe getting mixed up with somewhere else.
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
its the Gondola
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After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
@PeakyB, ah I see where the confusion arises... the Col drags, along with the Vallon gondola, allow access from the Fornet sector to the Pissaillas glacier ski area, as opposed to the Montets t-bar which does indeed provide the last few hundred metres drag to the very top. Peter S was talking about accessing the glacier ski area. Without the Col drags, the closure of Vallon would render the Pissaillas inaccessible by lift.

Not sure why anyone would choose to use Vallon unless they needed a very long rest Toofy Grin or if Col were closed.

Catching up with this thread after a few months.... wow, that was some rescue effort last week Shocked Henry's blog calls the Chemin Des Côves "the Avalanche Path" - is that a translation or a local nickname?
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@moosepig,
Quote:


@PeakyB, ah I see where the confusion arises... the Col drags, along with the Vallon gondola, allow access from the Fornet sector to the Pissaillas glacier ski area, as opposed to the Montets t-bar which does indeed provide the last few hundred metres drag to the very top.


So we were all correct Very Happy
I caught the Col drags (button lifts) on the coldest day of the last PSB. The gondola was closed due to high winds. I was glad I had 6 layers on.

Last time I caught the T Bar to the very top I fell off. Not through incompetence, but laughing at a slalom racer who, on missing a gate, shouted 'F!*k' so loudly that the sound probably carried to La Daille.

I quite like the T Bars. One of the last remaining nods in EK to the golden era of skiing.
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
[quote="PeakyB"]@moosepig,
Quote:




I quite like the T Bars. One of the last remaining nods in EK to the golden era of skiing.


Not so sure that the nostalgia for "golden era" applies to my experience, last time I used them I was joined by a very small lady whose first comment to me as she grabbed the bar in a death grip was " I always fall off these"!
And she was correct, luckily I was able to ski over the wreckage and stay upright!

On the other hand, many years ago I was on the old t bars that used to be above double m (ISTC), with a friend, my wife was on the t bar a few places ahead with a very large rugby player type ( not someone we knew), when the cable to their t bar snapped!
We nearly fell off ours with laughter, I never knew my wife could ski so well backwards!!!!!!
( In the doghouse for a day after that!) Cool
snow conditions



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