The Ski Blog 12th-14th December 2017

Snow, snow everywhere but no lifts open! So out with the cross country skis in the bad vis and, as soon as the sun comes out, so do the fat touring ones...

So now there is serious snow throughout the Alps. And pretty good powder if you put on skins and avy bags.



ski touring with dogs

It had to be done. After more than a metre of snow over the past few days and the prospect of blue skies, it was beyond tempting to go and find some pow. But we'd had freeze / thaw, some rain in the valley and avalanche Risk 5 up the hill so the question was where to find powder and stay safe.

Gav's mobile, on Tuesday, was pinging all day as plans were made and scrapped and the decision was, as usual, to wait until the morning. But when it came to the morning it was just Gav and me so we put on our transceivers and avy bags, whistled to the Rando Chiens (Jacks)  to come with us and headed up the piste opposite Style Altitude HQ. As the resort doesn't open until this weekend the idea was to use the pistes to ascend and hope for powder on the return.

The snow outside our apartiment was 50cms and rock hard thanks to the rain and consolidation. Climbing up past Club Med we avoided the churned up icy piste basher tracks (ie ungroomed) and climbed up the side in what seemed like pretty good pow. The Randos followed in our tracks - or sometimes preferred to take the firmer icy plough trail when it ran alongside us.

It took around two hours to skin up the powder beside and on the pistes with some groomed stretches to the bottom of the Vallon chairlift, then to Frejus village and beyond up into the trees. The snow on the meadows (see above) was completely untouched as we climbed to around 2000m (total of 700m vertical) before taking the skins off in what seemed like rather deep bottomless powder. 

And it was. We had effortless cold pow down over the terraces (see Gav, main image) back to the Frejus chair, some cordoruy, then chopped up pow on the pistes and some side country powder all the way home. The Randos were on fire tearing after us, but were never even out of breath when we paused to give them a rest.

Today there's low cloud and more snow is due. So it's a good day to tackle our self-employed tax returns. Which is fine with the Randos who are snoring contentedly on their cushions.


Serre Chevalier December

Great thing about X-Country my cycling Lycra gear looks the part, but I unfortunately do not once  I'm on those feckin thin skis!

And, yesterday, what I was attempting to ski on was not really a cross country piste. As there were no grooves and the snow was really soft/melting (temps were +4), and along with some skis I'd never used before, that were meant to be able to ski classic as well as skating style, I was all over the place.

That said I made it up to Monetier and on the run back managed a superb face plant as ski sunk in the soft snow, but luckily only pride hurt.


Serre Chevalier December

So here's our Christmas card to all of you, a beautiful snowy scene, this morning, from Style Altitude HQ.

We do feel slightly smug to be sitting at our laptops, with mugs of tea, looking out at the perfect snow vista while others are struggling to get here! We had friends on the TGV from Paris which stopped at Chambery on the way to Oulx, last night, and had to return to Paris while others had to endure a seven hour halt on the motorway south of Calais and that's before even getting near the col-closed mountains.

The forecast is for more snow over the next few days which is good news for the resort before the official opening on the weekend. And, so far, looking clear for pre-Christmas week which is even better news for travellers!