Wednesday, 24 February 2010

More Tignes offpiste.

Another good day today, with visibility holding most of the day, and good snow all over the mountain...

Ed in the Super-Spatule:

Anne takes some air:

Mickey's Ears South:

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Another day...another couloir...

Day 2 of Jagged Globe/ Off Piste Improvers week:




Fresh tracks anyone?:

More snow overnight, so it should be another great day today!

Sunday, 21 February 2010

Tignes Off Piste Improvers #2

Back to Tignes this week for another Off Piste Improvers week, run in association with Jagged Globe. With some fresh snow over the weekend and blue skies greeting us in the morning we couldn't have asked for a better start to the week.

After the usual first morning faffing sorting out lift passes, skis and so on, we headed out to warm up the legs, and quickly got stuck in about some fresh powder:

Giles enjoying the powder off the Borsat Express:

The afternoon was completed by a run through the rarely opened 'Tunnel' at the top of Solaise, with some great powder on the other side. With more snow due this week we should certainly get plenty of practice skiing powder...

Saturday, 13 February 2010

Dent du Villard West face

With a day off before the half term chaos begins, a phone call from Will scuppered my plans of an easy day watching the rugby...
An early start saw us scoping through binoculars for a line down a local bit of esoterica - the West face of the Dent du Villard. Rarely skied (and not often in condition), we had some first-hand information from a friend who had been up the week before and found great conditions. The whole of the West face is lined with narrow gullies, the problem is that only a few of them are actually skiable all the way down, and once committed there is generally no swapping of gullies...

The West face - our chosen line just right of centre:

Agreat ski down the hidden playground brought us out at the Lac Rosiere and the start of the uphill effort:

The skin up follows the summer path - a real winter wonderland with snow-covered trees, but the occasional scabby passage across steep gully walls to keep everyone on their toes:

The world's best alpinists??
Chamois tracks across 80ยบ powder over loose, chossy rock... incredible!:

The final slopes below the summit:

Table d'orientation at the top:

Will on the summit:

Great looking slopes, shame they finish in unskiable dense forest!:

A novel view of the Courchevel 1650 slopes:

Looking over to Courchevel 1850:

Starting the descent from the summit:

The first real turns, bottomless perfect powder...:

The gully line gave great skiing, though care was neede as the left bank was soft but 'sluffy', with the right bank starting to get a bit crusty in the sun... great fun all the way down though!:

Finally a bit of combat skiing took us back out at the Lac Rosiere, tired but happy...:

From La Jairraz a secret clearing through the trees gave untracked powder down to the last 50m into Les Moulins...
Skis off 30 seconds from home, the Dent du Villard in the distance 1500m higher:

Intro touring

On Thursday & Friday I was out with Mark, Mike, Andy and Neil for 2 days of ski touring introduction, with a night out in a mountain refuge to add a bit of spice..

On the Merlet shoulder, smiles all round despite the bitter temperatures:

Searching for good powder on the sunny slopes off the shoulder:

Skinning round onto the 'Rateau shoulder':

Perfect fresh powder in the shadow of the peaks:

Gentle slopes leading back to the short skin back to the hut:

Andy outside the Refuge du Grand Plan, plenty of snow on the roof!!:

Lionel's new avalanche dog:

After some fine soup, Diots & Crozets, Tomme & Beaufort & a blueberry tart courtesy of Lionel the hut guardian we retired for a slightly noisy but very warm night in the hut (Happy Birthday Ben!).

Next morning, the team primed for action:

The best way to wake up - leaving some fresh tracks in untouched powder, figure 8's courtesy of Andy & myself, Freeride arcs courtesy of Neil!:

More champagne powder:

Great views of the Vanoise peaks:

With some tired legs in the team we opted for some lift served off piste for most of the day, finding perfect powder in Little Equinox, and on the North side of the Col du Fruit (worth the short walk!). Mark & Mike on the ridge from Creux Noirs to the Pointe Emilienne:

A late afternoon couloir... Andy in the Emile Allais variant:

And some more fun on the way back to La Tania, soft snow all the way:

With continuing cold conditions, and a relatively stable snowpack it's all looking good for the coming week!

Road trip

With a few days off booked in for the mid-season I headed South this week for a couple of days ice climbing and skiing in the Hautes Alpes. A warm welcome st Stew & Sam's, along with plenty of laughs provided by the touring IRATA ice-climbing dream team made for a great couple of days. On Wednesday a small team headed out to an 'unnamed' resort for some powder hunting...

Stew hiking to the summit:

Sammy, Leila & John:

10 minutes from the lift, 1000m of perfect powder, and only a handful of tracks (mostly Stew, Kenny & John from the day before!):

Stew wielding his big lens:

Kenny & John scoping lines:


More powder:

A pleasant slide out through the trees:

Stew & Sam's house is perfectly placed so you can slide right to the back door for a cup of tea & some cake...before heading off for another lap...: