Its that time of year and the sun has been shining to close off the season in the Chamonix Valley. It has been a long season and looking back it is nearly 5 months since I first put on my skis. I am going to try and make it a full 5 months and to do that I will need to ski on 2nd May. With Grand Montets closing on 1st May that may demand a short tour with no lift access being available other than the Midi. Continue reading “The Season Draws to a Close”
Ski resorts throughout France have been inundated with holidaymakers but, thankfully,the holiday season is over and the valley has returned to normality. Those who have visited in the last four weeks have had a very mixed bag of weather varying from Sun to Siberian and to pouring rain to powder.
To be honest our skiing has been limited(mostly by weather)and when we ventured out conditions have varied from awful to sublime.
On 25th Feb we headed for Brevent with a view to touring in the large bowl towards Aguilletef des Houches but although sunny at Brevent Summit, a large cloud had enveloped everything below us and we were limited to a no visibility run home on hard pistes. Probably the worst ski of the year
The snow depth is greater than it has been for years promising great skiing in March and April.
Saturday 3rd March we skied perfect empty pistes in Les Houches.
On the morning of Sunday 4th March Le Tour was blanketed with fresh snow. Unfortunately the snow was heavily wind blown on the Vallorcine side and variable on the Le Tour side so I headed home after a couple of hours. Two separate avalanches claimed two lives that day in this area – the avalanche risk was 4/5.
Monday 6th March we headed to Bettex and couldn’t get into the car park. Not to be put off we drove to St. Nicholas de Vorace and easily gained access to the area from this sleepy village. 90% good piste skiing with some powder turns still to be had on northern aspects.
Fresh snow on Tuesday and Wednesday provided some great skiing in Les Contamines on 9th March. A cold sunny morning with good fresh snow provided some great runs in the sun
After that work interfered with time on snow until a return trip to Les Contamines on Tuesday this week. Some restricted visibility but good powder. Hayley was thrown in at the deep end for her first day but enjoyed her first day on snow for a year.
Wednesday back to Le Tour for a bluebird powder day and for Hayley to try out her new touring set up.
Japan lived up to hopes/expectations. We arrived to significant, even by Japanese standards, new snow. I think about a metre and a half fell in the first seven days. It is not just the quantity of the snow but the quality.-10/10.The cold air and continuous light snow provides the best snow I have ever skied. It carried on day after day. It was nice to have a couple of days of sunshine to see the mountains but to me Japan is about skiing open tree glades whilst the snow falls. On one day skinning on the north side our skin track was almost filled in each 40 minute lap.
Ski, eat, sleep repeat. If you can it is a trip you must make. Some photos…..
A long trip back to Chamonix left me with man flu. Completely debilitating -couple of days in bed feeling very sorry for myself followed by 2 more on the couch (feeling equally as sorry for myself). Penny managed out for some good powder on a bluebird day – having to be on first lift with the English school holiday crowds and also a small tour with Ziggy .
It was this week before I ventured out.. surprisingly good snow on Tuesday on the Vallorcine side of Le Tour. We returned the next day with the intention of doing a couple of short hikes to ski the last of the powder but high winds and freezing temperatures sent us scuttling home by 11. Next, a morning skinning in Les Contamines delivered some solitude and a nice walk but not the best skiing.
Despite the snow depth we could do with some fresh snow. The pistes are in great condition if a little hard. There is little by way of easily accessible off piste available.We are promised some of the coldest days on record for this time of year and hopefully some fresh snow