Thursday, 26 January 2012

Foglietta perfection

Wow. What a day!

1100m of perfect powder from top of the Foglietta all the way to the bridge below les Savonnes. Not sure I have ever skied it when it has been so consistently good all the way down...

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Off Piste Adventures 2012

This week I am skiing with a group from the Eagles Ski Club. Alison, Paul, Dan, Rob and Susie were all back from last year, with the addition of David. From a base in Bozel we have been free to go where conditions seem best every day.

La Plagne was our first port of call on Monday and a bit of crust gave way to some perfect powder pitches before a warm and 'interesting' finish down into the valley.

On Tuesday we went back to la Plagne knowing there was a great chance the Traversee chair would open up, giving access to all the Montagne de Bellecote and Friolin runs. A couple of warm-up laps in the Rossets couloirs & Derochoir saw us up on the glacier at 1pm, just in time for the opening of the chair. As if by magic the otherwise cloudy skies cleared for a good hour, giving us some reasonable visibility for a great run down the Creux Bozon, with powder aplenty and a great finish through the trees down to les Bauches.

Today we made the journey to St Foy ("the resort which never fails to deliver") and had a great day despite the poor visibility generally. A brighter spell mid-morning was perfectly timed for a run off the Col Granier and down to la Masure. Acres of untracked snow, still very deep and very fluffy:

A visible measure of the cumulative snowfall this winter was the rooves of Le Crot - absolutely creaking under the weight of snow:

2 more days of adventure still to come!

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Epic conditions in the 3V

Yesterday was a welcome day off after last week's Off Piste Intro course and with heavy snowfall overnight the tough choice between clearing the front & back car parking spaces or skiing 60cm of fluffy powder was quickly resolved.

Here is a sneak preview of yesterday's fun. More to follow when time permits...

Quite amusing to think that in the Chamonix valley everything was shut down barring Les Houches where it was the usual bunfight, and we were lapping untouched powder in the trees all day :-) Sometimes its good to not live in a 'Freeride Mecca'...

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Off Piste Introduction

This week was the first Off Piste Introduction of the winter, run jointly by and Jagged Globe.

Tricky conditions off piste have proved great for testing the team's developing skills. Yesterday we hiked into Les Avals and found some reasonable snow in places, along with particularly fine Diots & Crozets at the Refuge du Grand Plan!

Hiking up to the shoulder:

The team:

Variable snow on the South side:

The reward: diots & crozets at Lionel's.

1 more day to go, and with snow forecast for tonight it might be a powdery finish!

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Mountain Safety

Last week I was in Verbier running a BASI Mountain Safety course (part of the ISIA qualification).
Lots of snow the week previous & blue skies from the Monday meant perfect conditions for skiing and for talking navigation, snow safety, group management etc. Lots of good runs - first tracks in Rock Garden, great snow on backside Mont Fort, East side of Mont Gelé and on the 'secret' slope below Mt Gond...

Friday, 6 January 2012

How much snow?

People keep asking how much snow there really is - well to give you an idea here is a series of photos taken looking at our terrace here in Bozel at 850m above sea level:

Mmmm, summer:

Good early snowfall:



Now its fair to say that on an average winter you can ski down to Bozel for a good 3 months, and there are cross-country tracks down here which normally are good until late-March but this year is exceptional so far.

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Bonus trash

Today turned out much better than expected - had a mid-morning appointment with Jules in Sanglard (boot-fitter extraordinaire) to sort out some boots, and had thrown the rest of my ski kit in the car on the off-chance the morning clag/clouds cleared. A lunchtime coffee with Ross saw us eventually heading up to the Grands Montets for a look at 2pm. A couple of runs off Bochard in variable vis but with great powder were followed by a lavancher in good vis with still plenty of untracked. With the cloud clearing we snuck onto the last Bochard and headed over to the Poubelle which was super-well filled in at the top... 10m or so of side-stepping and you're in:

We had been gazumped by 3 people, but despite the couloir being quite narrow there was still knee+ deep pow to be had on every turn.

Ross getting in about it:

Mel's turn:

Below the Poubelle the snow was almost too deep!

The scenery is alright down here...

Bit of billy-goating in the RH exit couloir but no rap needed (yet)

2 happy campers!

Not too bad for a day when I wasn't expecting to ski at all - nice bonus for the day!