Monday, 23 February 2009

Steep Vanoise Day 1

First day of the offpisteskiing Steep Vanoise week, and today with a mixed forecast we headed up to Val D'Isere.

A quick warm-up, and we headed off piste on the classic Cairn descent to check out conditions. Despite some snowfall over the last 24 hours there was not a lot of fresh in evidence, but still some nice chalky snow, with the odd patch of softness here & there.
Next up we hiked to the top of Bellevarde, for a run down the Table D'Orientation couloir. After a tight entry the snow in here was actually very soft, giving some nice skiing before rejoining the Cairn run.

Ian in the lower part of the couloir, with Steve & Mike watching:

After an early lunch and some boot adjustments we then took in the East Face of the Charvet, which gave some more soft, if tracked, powder. With the weather definitely not playing ball (forecast to clear) we made our way over to the top of Le Fornet through wind and snow, but always with a hint of brightness promising blue skies at some point.
With a big clear patch failing to materialise we settled for a descent through the Col Pers and Gorges du Malpasset. As if on cue the clouds cleared enough to give perfect visibility, and we had a great run putting in big curves on windblown powder down to the valley bottom.

Back in Le Fornet and with time & energy to spare, we jumped back into the cable car and went off in search of the Couloir Gerthoffet. This steep, narrow little number had some nice soft snow in the top, a trench forcing a sideslip through the narrow section, followed by soft snow through the trees all the way down to the river.

Mike negotiates the tricky upper section:

And relaxing lower down:

Roll on tomorrow!!

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