Japan – the snow is deep

Cal and I are currently in Japan and I intend to write a full report when I get back  to Chamonix. It is difficult to comprehend how much snow falls here

Nito Trailhead. The hardest thing about this area is trying to climb out of the area where you are dropped off by taxi.
We think this is an overhead road sign above the summer road at Nito
Another Road Sign
Mount Yotei

Chamonix January 2018 Week 3 Les Houches comes to the rescue in poor weather.

Col de Forclaz

Skiing has been very limited in the Valley in the last 7 days. A storm cycle has battered the Mont Blanc Massif and the first views of the mountains emerged yesterday for what seemed an age. For those of you who have not followed the weather all I can say is that it has been entirely different in the valley compared with at altitude. Wet snow, at best, or rain has been prevalent at lower altitudes and heavy snow, extremely wind blown, has been the norm at altitude. The authorities have been extremely concerned and have done all they can to keep people safe as the avalanche risk increased to 5 at all levels. Chalets have been evacuated at Route du Pont, Les Houches and Le Tour.( I am not sure of the present status)Col de Forclaz has been subject to a landslide taking away a large section of road. Anyone hoping to use their Verbier Pass will not make it through till March(at the earliest) when it is estimated that the road will be cleared. The top bin at Grand Montets is out of action after wind damage-mid February is the estimated repair date.

Les Houches has remained open and saved the day for holiday skiers whilst almost everything else has been closed till yesterday/today.

We went out yesterday for a quick ski to find enormous amounts of snow up high and evidence of widespread avalanches.

Today’s forecast is for very warm, spring like conditions returning to winter at he end of the week.

Quite a base for later……

Pistes in good condition and softening in the sun
What the rain has done to low level snow
Lots of high level snow

Chamonix Week 2 – 2018

The less said about week 1 the better. After a snowy and cold December the weather deteriorated with at least 3 days of torrential rain accompanied by substantial snowfalls at altitude and storm force winds. A few intrepid skiers ventured onto the mountains but I wasn’t one of them. It has been cold and clear for the most this week and it looks like a return to winter conditions next week with the promise of a metre of fresh snow. Continue reading “Chamonix Week 2 – 2018”

Chamonix Ski Conditions 1st January 2018

New Years Day-no skiing for me

Below is a link to a short video of the run

NM Les Contamines

NM

The weather and snowfall in the last week has been very strange. It has been cold with loads of snow until a few days ago. On Saturday 30th December the weather changed when a violent storm hit the valley unfortunately coupled with high temperatures. It rained constantly  in the valley for 12 hours causing carnage on the roads. At higher levels significant snow has fallen accompanied by high winds. I haven’t skied since then but understand the the pistes are in good condition if a little hard lower down. The snow quality off piste is poor and at higher altitude the avalanche risk is high. This week promises more of the same and as I write this 15 cms has fallen this evening. It looks like a good day tomorrow! Unfortunately there is more rain to come on Wednesday and Thursday.  High winds at altitude are also promised.

Prior to the rain we enjoyed powder days on the 28th and 29th. Les Houches on Thursday, more or less first lift, allowed us to ski under Prarion Gondola for first run. If you havent skied this line there is only one essential- First Lift. Good conditions but skied out within the first hour. Second run on the same face through the trees. A bit of bushwhacking is required to find the glades.

Once you reach the first road cross over and ski to the rubbish bins on the second road. A five minute walk ( to your right) allows you to rejoin the piste back to the Prarion Gondola

Friday brought a return of sun, powder and a return to Les Contamines. It was -13 in the car park and a pretty epic morning. We were fortunate to ski a new line which I will call NM after the French guy ,with local  knowledge , who led us down, broke trail on the walk out and was generous to share the run.

Half way down NM

 

 

Flegere-the best laid plans and Les Contamines-The Best

 

Thursday 21/12/2017

Flegere

Sunny and cold

The best laid plans gang aft agley………..

After snow early in the week it has been cold and sunny in the valley and on Thursday we  headed to Flegere with touring gear. Continue reading “Flegere-the best laid plans and Les Contamines-The Best”

Marker Kingpin Review

Maybe I am not the best person to review touring bindings due to my limited experience and lack of knowledge of the breadth of options now available. However a punters eye view can’t really hurt. To explain I want my binding to work on and offpiste. I don’t ski on ultralight kit and I am not going to climb 2000 metres in a day. I want the binding to be solid and confidence inspiring. Continue reading “Marker Kingpin Review”