Saturday, 16 April 2011

Espace Killy off piste

Mixed conditions in the Espace Killy last week with the Craig & Longney families - Monday started very warm, with good spring snow up high rapidly giving way to breakable spring crust over 50cm of sugar... we did find some nice turns around the Col de la Leisse with a bit of skinning.
Tuesday was similarly warm, and after an epic descent of the Face in knee deep slushy bumps at 10am we headed up the Solaise side of Val D'Isere for a run down the Cugnai valley. This gave some good spring snow, and an interesting & adventurous exit involving a river crossing, breakable crust, and a close call with an early-closing Machet chairlift!

Wednesday came with the promise of a good refreeze overnight, and cold temperatures first thing in the morning at Le Fornet backed this up. we enjoyed a gentle cruise on softening spring snow to the Pont de la Neige and donned skins to go in search of good snow & maybe a summit too.
Leaving the crowds to the Col des Fours we made for the Ouille des Tretetes, and a great panorama from the summit with not a soul around.
The ski down far exceeded expectations, with some wind-drifted powder filling the slight gullies and providing some very pleasant skiing:

Thursday was cloudy & snowy all day, so we had a focussed technical day on & around the Grande Motte area, with the odd foray off piste when the visibility cleared momentarily...

Friday dawned with a mixed forecast, and with cloud, snow & -12C at the top of the funicular at 9.30 expectations were low, but after a warm-up run it was clear there was some sunshine to be found and we set off down through thinning cloud on the Leisse shoulder, finding some great spring snow covered by a dusting of fresh:

Leisse shoulder in the background:

Skinning up to Col 3015:

Trevor, Georgina, Claire, Keith & Pip on the col:

Great spring snow:

And it keeps on coming... 500m vertical down to the valley floor for a picnic in the sun:

A (very) warm skin took us back up to the Leisse chair, to rejoin the crowds on piste down in to Val Claret for a well-earned refreshment!

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