High Hopes in the French Alps

Sugar Loaf Mountain

Well, we were in two minds this morning with the ski choice. As it happens the weather was going to speedily arrive with cloud and precipitation relatively early. The choice was Les Grands Montets again, where the snow would be in pretty good condition, but visibility would be lousy… or Les Contamines where the cloud would not wipe us out until much later although the snow quality would be somewhat inferior. The sky was already whiting out so I think we made the right decision. It would be terrible up high with quite strong winds and virtually zero visibility… so we chose the latter.

Going up in the ‘eggcup’ lift it was all looking quite depressing… was beginning to wish I’d stayed home. Anyway, we were on our way so we may as well ski and see what it’s like. At the top there were a few  snowless exposed areas, but it was skiable, so that’s something.

Well, it turned out good… the snow was like sticky wet sugar, so felt that I needed to place my weight just a touch further back to release the front of my skis. It was quite hard work keeping the position so the skis ran freely when the sticky wet sugar was creaking underneath causing unexpected and unwanted ‘braking’. It turned out good practice for me to work on  springing turns to release my skis from the heavy snow.  Dennis said he’d wax the skis if we skied on this type of snow next time, sounds like a good idea, any extra ‘slip’ would have been most welcome.

We skied to the High Speed Six lift, where on the way up it was starting to get bleak, the cloud was descending and there were flakes of snow, it may well have continued to snow whilst the rain continued down valley, the wind was cold but ok.

It was an interesting mornings ski, but the best bit was on a lesser skied area that had been pisted behind a tree line, it was amazingly good where we could ski nice long sweeping turns, most of the time we were the only ones on the slopes!

These conditions are not easy, and unfortunately on the way down in the lift there was a young woman with her leg in a splint, a stretcher was waiting for her at the bottom lift station, she was assisted by one of the ski Instructors and a lift attendent. It’s very easy to get it wrong in the wet sugar stuff.

When we got home, it poured down… and is set to continue for a while. Although tomorrow is forecast good for flying.

Click on the pics for a much larger image.

March 31, 2011 - Posted by | Skiing

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