There has been a lot of negativity about the winter we are having in the Alps and I can kinda see why, Christmas and New Year were pretty disastrous with warm temperatures and brown ski pistes. The ski shops had their mountain bikes out for rent instead of skis; it was that bad! The odd snow day has come with strong winds and general blergh kinda weather. There has also been much rain! Now, however, I think that we have had one of the best snow years for skiing in the 7 years that I have been here. Perhaps I’ve been out less than previous years (its quite easy to role over and hide under the duvet when its blowing a hooooley outside) but each time we have been up it has been absolutely wonderful! Yes, you have to accept that you may have to ski in zero visibility but thats surely a good thing every now and then?! Its all good practice at the end of the day! This week especially has been a week of contrasts but there has been a common theme and that is beautiful snow!
At the start of the season Dan brought some massive skis from a ski sale and picked up some second hand bindings and had them mounted a few weeks ago. They sat inside looking out the window feeling sad and neglected waiting for the next storm to bring enough snow to warrant taking them up the hill.
The storm blew in! Dan, Pete and Aine all grabbed their enormous skis and ran excitedly to Grands Montets in the worst visibility that Dan has skied in (he could only just see the end of his skis), the snow was cold and bottomless and his big skis were purring excitedly. The next day the sky cleared so the three plus Georgie and Olly decided a Vallee Blanche was in order, again with the big skis. It was fantastic, we were the first down our particular route so had to spend a while wading through deep deep powder on the flatter sections, teaming up with some Frenchies, working together to put in the track. As soon as the gradient got up we let rip!
Today Dan and Pete headed up to ski the north face of the Belvedere. They broke trail to the col so were the first to ski the steep north face the other side. Beautiful blue sky on the way up but some murky cloud on the way down made the face look very atmospheric and slightly terrifying. Dan chose to absail the steep 50º section at the top, Pete blasted the whole thing! Another awesome day out in absolutely perfect snow!
There was also the Col du Passon x 2, an afternoon in Le Tour, two stunning mornings in Flegere……..all in amazing snow!
Lets hope this continues for the remaining weeks to come!