Sunday, 24 March 2019

Steep Vanoise 2019 - week 2

Week 2 of this year's Steep Vanoise courses started with uncertainty - after a majorly warm 36 hours would the snow forecast for the Sunday night do enough to repair the damage done?

The answer became apparent on our first run on Monday morning...:

And Tuesday kept up the momentum...:

Despite 2 days of sunshine Wednesday stayed cold and so did the snow:

On Thursday we made a pilgrimage to the North face of the Bellecote for a run down couloir Cairn, with lots of cold fluffy snow still left to ski:

For the final day we went hunting for spring snow off the back of Val Thorens, with a great run down the 'Deversoir' topped off with lunch at the Auberge du Col before a fun ski back through to Meribel...

Thanks to Amanda, Iain, Elliot, Rich, Andrew, Jack & Gavin for a great week, and to Dorian for sharing the guiding duties very capably!

Saturday, 16 March 2019

Steep Vanoise 2019 - week 1

Last week was the first of this winter's Steep Vanoise weeks.
With a strong crew but wild weather in the forecast we set out on Monday not quite knowing what we would find - as it happens we found a near-emty mountain, with the cable car couloirs refilling between runs with wind-drifted powder!

Tuesday always looked like the best day of weather in the week and half the world seemed to have turned up in Meribel in the morning - combined with one non-functioning lift the queues were massive - forcing a tactical coffee break to let the mayhem subside. Once we got up the hill it turned into quite a nice day:

Wedsnesday was forecast for a clear start then gradually closing in, however the morning dawned snowy and windy. We took a gamble and went for a skin & bootpack, which paid dividends when the clouds cleared for a great run down:

Thursday was a road-trip day to Sainte Foy. Again expectations were low as the forecast was steadily worsening, but the morning gave enough visibility for 2 quick laps off the back of Col Granier in knee deep cold powder - top marks to the gang for making the second lap - it is a tight squeeze to get a lap in between the 2 shuttle buses, and you definitely don't want to miss the pre-lunch bus or it is a long long wait!!

Friday could have been an amazing day had the 0ยบ isotherm stayed 500m lower - as it was there was porridge, porridge and more porridge pretty much everywhere, so a day of technical and tactical coaching, punctuated by coffee and lunch, followed to wrap up the week in good (if damp) style.

Thanks to Dave, David, Mike, Jeremy, Karen, Sandy, Rod & Chris for a great week, and thanks also to Rob W for a top job looking after half the team. Roll on week 2 of Steep Vanoise this coming week!

Haute Maurienne Steep Coaching & Adventures 2019

At the start of March i found myself once again making a pilgrimage to the Haute Maurienne for the 8th annual instalment of the Steep Coaching & Adventures week for the Eagle Ski Club. A very unsettled forecast with lots of wind and some precipitation forecast meant I spent vast amounts of time each evening and morning scrutinising forecasts and trying to figure a good plan of attack, and with a bit of flexibility and the odd drive we managed to piece together a week of really good snow and skiing!

Day 1 - increasingly wild and windy, but a fun warm up day:

Searching out soft pockets after the night's wind:

Getting onto the steeps:

...and some powder & sun to round off the week...:

Roll on the 2020 edition!