Sunday, 20 December 2009

Intro to Touring weekend

This weekend was an Introduction to Touring weekend based over in Chamonix. A couple of weather-related last minute drop outs saw a small team of 3 fit and ready for action on Saturday morning. Arctic conditions at Le Tour unfortunately meant we couldn't do much by way of the great mini-tours that are possible there, but we managed a short section of skinning for Ross to find his feet, which gave us some great powder. Transceiver practice and some technical coaching and a bit of hot chocolate drinking to rewarm frost-nipped body parts made for a full if slightly chilly day...
With a good forecast for the Sunday morning we headed slightly out of the valley to Les Contamines for the classic Col de la Fenetre Tour. This gives a relatively short skin to a good north/east facing descent, with a final bushwack/survival ski/walk down the route Romaine to Notre Dame de la Gorge, at the head of the valley.

L to R, Ross, Ian & Paul, at the start of the skin:

Ross through the narrows on the final slope:

Paul at the Col (R-hand variant)

With a good few bodies at the normal Col we headed right through a little notch which drops you out above a nice little couloir, with only a few tracks in it was in great condition, with 2 feet of fresh all the way...

Ian easing in:

Paul near the end of the couloir:

Ross sliding in to the top:

And into the first turn:

A split in energy levels meant a couple of the group blasted on up to the Col de Cicle for some extra powder fun, while the others enjoyed a bit of lunch in the valley below...

Paul enjoying the deep powder:

Once regrouped we headed down, with a couple of spectacular double-ejects due to hidden drops (no names!) to the long slide out of the valley.

Looking back at the head of the valley:

A slippy wander down the Chemin Romaine (Worth checking passability before launching down here - we had first hand reports from Saturday..) finally brought us out at Notre Dame de la Gorge, for a welcome hot chocolate and Tarte au Poires.

Thanks to Ross, Ian & Paul for a great weekend, and hats off to Ross for his first tour - a classic in the bag already!

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