You know it's time to come home.........
When you start seeing bikes on the piste :)
Don't think the snow on the bottom runs will last the rest of Easter week, was getting very patchy.
So back home in the UK now, skied right up to noon on Saturday, then more than a few hours packing up and cleaning etc etc, then lugging all the kit down to the car.........more skis and boots were bought, as it was a no brainer, pay 80 Euro for a weeks hire or buy the skis you've been using for 100 Euro.......so Nicki and Jo took advantage of that.
We all stayed the night at my brothers just north of Grenoble, then the famille Baylis went in the van up to Boulogne, where we cut it very fine, but I'll let Elaine describe the detail and my brother to Nicki & Jo to the airport.........
As ever, now does not feel as if we've been away for that long........think there were only around 4 or 5 days when we did not ski or board. There was still so much more we could have done if we wanted and that's where the mountains score over windsurfing and the sea.......where you are so reliant on the wind.
Mission accomplished with the skiing, though no where near as profficient as on the board in deep fresh powder, now feel I can handle most conditions etc as the last day in La Grave proved....
And yes, before we left were making plans for next year.......
PS FROM ELAINE
Had fun ski on Saturday - getting up early for first lifts but OMG the snow is disappearing up the mountain in front of your very eyes. Last run down was VERY lumpy and heavy - but good for technique ie going straight down whatever...Actually had one brilliant run down to Monetier before snow turned warmer. Light springy snow.
Resort was surprisingly quiet considering it was Easter Saturday but this could be a) because it was changeover; b) snow reports hadn't been brilliant; c) the Brits are feeling the pinch. Really miffed by ski pass prices - couldn't get student discount as it was Easter and Joe was classed as an adult even though he is 16 and should, at normal times, have been able to buy an under 17 pass. Also there is a cheaper family discount for 2 adults and 2 children I think that Nicky is going to take this to the European courts for equal rights ie discrimination against single families and single children?!
Packed and cleaned the apartment in a whirl of activity with Baylis doing the MAN thing and packing the van because only a MAN can pack a van. So didn't really feel sad until we were on the road. And, yes, already figuring out next year - how many weeks, etc. Anyone interested, you know where to apply!
We calculated 8hours to get to Boulogne from Graham's near Grenoble. Our ferry was at 16.15 - so left at 7am. The roads were alive with the Flick who had orders from Sarkozy to book everyone going over the speed limit. So Baylis couldn't hack it as usual....and we had to do 130 kph. Still seemed plenty of time with very little wasted on P breaks..
But now they say that they close the check in 45 mins before sailing. We were cutting it close and both Baylis and I had sweaty palms - because, firstly, we had Pooch to be checked and, secondly, we had promised LouLou that we would get he back to Brighton in time for a gig at 19.00. We arrived at 15.28 ie just squeaked in (although they were still checking in well after this).
Handed passports in to ticket office to be told that THERE IS SOMETHING WRONG WITH POOCH'S PASSPORT!! The date of travel she said, was wrong. We were too early.
Now you have to take a dog to the vet for injections against ticks, etc more than 24 hours before travelling but less than 48 hours which gives a very small 24 hour window for travel. This meant that we had to find a vet on Good Friday who we arranged to see at 18.00. We worried that he wouldn't turn up (I arranged it a week before on the phone in Franglaise) but he did! Charged 50 Euros for 10 minutes and two injections. Anyway it should have been fine to travel at 16.15 on the Sunday less than 48 hours later?
Wasn't it? The check in woman shook her head and then looked at the day's date again. Oh, oui, I made zee meestake. It eez fine! By this time Baylis and I had sweaty everything...!
We are now home and the Baylis/Deed Big Adventure is over. So that's all for now folks!!
PPS THE DOG'S BLOG
I was in a White place with lots of white stuff that was cold in your mouth and on your paws. People clapped whenever they saw me and said SAUSAGES. I was fed beer mats.
And then I woke up...
Thursday 9th April - A different day.......
So apologies for lack of "blog" over the past couple of days, but nothing significant as such to report. Pistes in Serre now very very slushy at resort level think water skis would be more useful.....
Today was all about planning and luckily it paid off........on Monday driving to from Grenoble airport van would not go above 3,000rpm, met Robin at Grenoble airport who runs the Eidelweiss Hotel in La Grave, so I asked him about the garage there........and a great coincidence, in that I did not know he too has a Vito which they service for him!
So at least when I turned up at the garage, I was able to mention him and just as I was talking to the mechanic, Per came past, somewhat amazed at seeing me there, so thankfully I felt that I had some sort of non tourist credentials and was not going to be ripped off!
Bertrand the mechanic determined it was the fuel filter, so he tweaked a few things and the engine was way better, so he told me best was to order in a filter in (especially so as we leave for the UK on Sunday) and then I come back up and get it fitted, only problem was that the filter did not show up for two days!
So I took a bit of a flyer and drove over to La Grave early this morning, in the hope that the filter would turn up.....but there was also sound methodology to my plan, in that having spent the past few days on the pistes I was gagging to get some real skiing in, so family could not really complain with me abandoning them and going to La Grave for the day as I needed to get the van fixed!
I've been going to LG for over ten years, but always with a guide........I spoke to Per, the guide, last night, who basically said it was pretty safe up there........thing is that there are no marked pistes, it's just a mountain that you ride......I was sort of mildly excited at the prospect of going it alone anyway, and was reasonably confident in my route finding away from the more popular well known lines, that said as I left the top station on my own and no one around I was quite nervous!
Started off down the Vallons and was pleased with the cold snow, so refreshing after the warm slush of recent days....and then I noticed something was following me, and worst still it kept grabbing the basket of my ski pole and not letting go, all a big game, it was the dog from the restaurant who thought it would be amusing to chase me down the mountain...........so in effect I did have my own guide, for we both made our way down to the middle station where the dog then came back in the lift with me.
What was a bit strange was that the dog's owner no longer runs the restaurant at the top station but a small refuge (Chancal) further down the mountain, so this dog sort of makes his way all over the mountain. On the second descent I skied down to Chancal to tell Daniel the owner where his dog was, but this time he didn't follow me but found someone else to "torment".
By the time I came back up the top glacier was open and people were coming over from Les Deux Alpes.......this can always present a few problems as people have no idea as to where they are going and what they are letting themselves in for......it can be ok if visibility is ok and they follow the main run down, but if they venture off following tracks then it can all go pear shaped very quickly.......
After a few runs on the glacier I dropped off down the glacier on a route I was pretty confident in doing and no real major safety issues......snow was perfection, light untracked powder.......I then made my way down to Chancal where I needed a drink.
Once there heard a helicopter in the valley, and Daniel "joking" to a couple of guys that it was there helicopter to take them back down, didn't really think too much about it till I heard the two "Brits" talking.....and quickly became obvious that there was indeed a problem.......one of them had walked away from the refuge and in deep snow had twisted his knee really bad, in fact so bad that the only way off the mountain was by heli, as there are no such things as blood wagons / snow mobiles to take you off as every where is pretty well inaccessible, and there are no pisteurs anyway!
The injured guys mate did not know the route down and was grateful when I offered my "years" :) of guiding experience to take him back down......heli eventually came in and took the guy away off to Briancon, and think he's going to be left with a huge bill as your insurance is invalid if skiing La Grave without a guide!
Managed to get him down in one piece and think he found it pretty arduous through the trees in the soft snow, and then on down through the traverses and mogul fields and subsequent combat skiing..........
Did one more run off the glacier briefly meeting Pelle Lang who runs the skiers lodge (first place we ever stayed in LG) and he was somewhat bemused at me being on skis as he's only known me as boarder and shooting off down the untracked glacier on my tod!
Arrived back at the garage and van was sitting there with a new filter, so seems to be running ok, hope it goes all the way to the UK........but as days go was quite eventful!!
PS FROM ELAINE
You know that I know that Gavin tinkered with the oil filter with the van so, OMG, he HAD TO GO TO LA GRAVE…!
Fortunately, he is having an affair with skiing not a woman (um, I’m pretty sure!).
Anyway, it meant that we all had a very pleasant ski back in Ser. Had to go via Nicky’s who is staying nearer the Pontilas lift as we all left our skis there (seeing as Baylis had the van). Great fun ski – Nicky, Joe, Lou, Siggy and Me (doing DE-TOURS). We had a few You’ve Been Framed ski moments – as in my back pack getting caught on a chair as we got off and nearly whisking round for one more time (very ABFAB). Joe got stuck in a snow hole wrapped around a pole in front of the drag lift – while eating a boiled egg. You had to be there…
It was a sunny cloudy day and we all have caught the rays – although we have been here 5 weeks it is the first time I’ve skied without a hat, so hence glowing forehead.
Joe and I skied down to La Grotte at the end of the day while the others took the gondola – a wise move as the snow by now is pretty gluey at the end of the day. Only decent run is the black cos it is steeper and the skis actually move..!!
Back in time for Happy Hour at Grotte. Now doing pizzas – er a bit of déjà vue here…
PPS from Nicky Baylis Tours Victim!!
Those of you in the know will understand – got here on Monday and the tour begins – lovely dinner with the Baylis crew and Graham and Lily. Next day it begins Gav in fine form as we non-stop ski till my aged legs nearly fell off – no respite!! Lots of gambling in the evening after a few cold beers in the Grott – I have lost most of my money by now to Elaine who is a secret card shark at Wist! Beware all…
Now penniless the next morning we have no choice – now Joe and I are totally in the Baylis control. Up as dawn breaks and ski on fantastic snow – lots of fab runs and the girls and I are needing refreshments unfortunately Baylis tours does a wrong turning and we detour – well lets just say we deeeeetouuuur … until finally desperate for the local tavern we come across the quaintest place and enjoy refreshments and rest. Gavin and Joe get all blokey and ski back to the next resort – whilst the girls get all girlie and decide to go to the local spa!
More gambling in the evening and now seriously broke! Joe cooked chilli – Gav cooked expert rice. Today great day – got up late, skied all afternoon and about to have pizza – if anyone knows us Jai Wendy – rescue us!!! Hey just kiddin having a fab time with the Baylis clan !! oh and pooch…
PPPS THE DOG’S BLOG
Well, it’s okay for Them. I have been stuck in the apartment being told WE’LL BE BACK SOON. In dog time, it takes Them about a week to get back.
Anyway, I’ve been promised a walkies down to MoJos tonight. Can’t wait cos they have the most delicious beer mats. I ate a whole one, last time. Needed a coffee and copy of Hello in the morning before I could do my business.
Have heard talk that I have to go to a vet tomorrow before we can go home. I am sharpening my teeth, right now. Although, maybe I will behave as my impression of a rabid Rabies dog may not go down toooooo well.
Hope to see you all soon.
Tuesday 7th April - Anyone for Tennis?
Anyone would think this was a skiing holiday the way people want to carry on, getting up late, wanting rests (on the piste) as well as for food and drinks.
So joined the throng that is holiday piste skiing, and it was warm, very slushy all the way down - Lily came with us and she was not impressed with the snow, especially so after she made the mistake of following me into the really soft stuff.............anyway think everyone enjoyed the day.............most amusing thing was coming back down past Club Merdre with people playing tennis outside on the courts!
Monday, 6th April - Change over again!
Had very entertaining Sunday with Aylia going up higher and doing more skiing. But coming down at the end of the day was a bit of a challenge. Basically, for Aylia, ski pass was E32, coke, E3, headplant in slushy snow, priceless!!
Went up in hot sun and took off layers at apartment. Lesson learnt...as it clouded over and got quite chilly. Note to self, we are IN THE MOUNTAINS.
Took Aylia back to Grenoble for EasyJet flight - and picked up Nicky and Joe. Had slight van problem that Baylis will explain...and worried that we wouldn't make it. Met Per and family in La Grave, without any planning. Then spent afternoon sorting out apartment, shopping, skis, etc.
So, that is kinda today. Will update more 2morrow. Looks like some weather coming in...!
3rd & 4th April - Early Bird Catches the Worm
After yesterday (see below) took the board up on first lift (09:00) with Elaine and had a couple of nice lines, much of what was untracked yesterday was pretty well tracked out, so later in the morning decided to go for a quick hike up Cucumelle, which many years ago we thought was really hard core but was almost a walk in the park. Didn't go to the summit on the first hike as I was not too sure of the route I was going to take, but still had a decent ride, snow was superb, timed it just right for the sun to turn it into some sweet spring snow..........Elaine then left to go back down as I went back for a bigger helping, as I was getting the various lifts was sussing out my options for a descent, and was quite optimistic about my possible route...........hiked up at speed catching a few people up (lot younger hee hee) and then at the top were a couple of Swedes who I obligingly acted as cameraman for, then I asked for a return favour, as it occurred to me that it was some ten years ago a similar photo / video was taken of me there, and we are getting close to Easter so have to join in the spirit of things :)
Just as I was about to start the descent a "guide" turned up in advance of his group and we exchanged pleasantries, and I asked in a semi casual way if my proposed route was cool, and he said for the board and at that time of day it would be very sweet and how right "we" were, probably up there with some of the best descents of the trip so far, made all the better as I did it on my tod!
(For Andy, Jes etc did not go the same route as we did all those years ago, but ended up dropping in over Frejus village on more S facing slopes)
Arrived back down around 13:00 where Elaine and the girls collected me in the van, quick change of kit and I was back on skis attempting to teach Aylia the necessity of being able to slow down and be in control after a few face plants!
Woke up to a hard frost and faintly clear skies, so grabbed the board and went up and sure enough the heavy powder of the previous couple of days was far better at the top on North facing slopes,
though some of the upper slopes are still closed due to a very high avalanche risk (http://pistehors.com/news/ski/comments/0917-major-pounding-for-the-southern-alps/) - had a couple of really nice lines and my tracks were the only ones all morning, packed up due to the light becoming flatter
and getting back into ski instructor mode with Aylia and the girls. Quite satisfying to see her progressing well.........
Then late afternoon back over to La Grave where the village was in celebratory mood as it was the annual Derby de la Meije, where basically people race down the mountain choosing the fastest route possible........by the time we arrived the party was just starting and it seemed like it was going to be a good night.............usual laid back La Grave style that makes the place so unique, God only knows what the people attempting to drive through the village (as it's on the main road linking Grenoble / Briancon) must have thought............
PS FROM ELAINE|
Ah, so what happens to the early worm? Er, it gets eaten by that early bird!!
Went SKOARDING today - snowboarding and then skiing. Because we could!!
Decided to get up early and go snowboarding with Baylis this morning. I needed to give myself more of a challenge. Haven't down anything that has scared me for a day or two. Except that is, going to La Grave where the number of grungy/dope smoking/back country/testosterone fueled blokes is TERRIFYING.
Good news, though, is that we got Aylia turning on skis, yesterday and coming down the green run from top of Arivet.
It was kinda icey first thing, this morning and we went straight up Balme which meant doing the very narrow chemin or going off piste without even a warm up of the legs. Baylis couldn't see a problem. Warm up? What's that?
Anyway, I chose the former as I do think that it is good to practice steep chemins on a snowboard. Half and hour later and Baylis wanted to hike up Coucomile - I declined because a) avalanche risk is very high at the mo and b) if anyone is going to set one off it would be me!
So I elected to do the videoing which meant sitting on my arse in the snow for 20 mins while Baylis walked up and then stood NATTERING to another skier for 5 mins.
We have had the resort practically to ourselves for the past two weeks which has been amazing. Going up on the first lifts or at lunch time can mean totally empty
slopes. Even coming down at 4.00, this afternoon, I said to Sigs, "Listen". We stood in the woods on the piste and all we could hear was the SOUND OF SILENCE...
Now, though, the Easter holiday trippers are here. The supermarket in Briancon was full on Anglaise stocking up their self catering apartments.
Girls are making pizzas for dinner and then I AM dropping them oFf at La Grotte.
Um, apartment now full of smoke - oven not great for pizzas....
PPS THE DOG'S BLOG
Have you ever smelt a pack of wet mangy dogs? Well, that's what it was like, yesterday, when we went to this other place where the pack Men smelt very strongly of, well, Men. They
ran around with their tongues hanging out, tails wagging, sniffing each other's bums. At least, that's what it seemed that they wanted to do.
He Who Toments Me didn't have a pair of skis to sling on his shoulders so he put me up there instead. It felt quite comfortable except I felt that He should have had a wooden leg
and I should have squawked. Which, actually, I did. In my usual duck-with-a-sore-throat way....
Thursday, 2nd April - The Wrong Type of Snow
It pretty well rained all day yesterday, throughout the night and all day today here, quite depressing last night walking through the old village wishing we had an umbrella!
The only positive was the thought that the rain could well be snow further up, but the big question was how far up? First thing this morning rang a friend in La Grave who lives at 1,800, she reported that it was raining there and the snowline was around 2,200, good for LG as that is 3,600 at the top of the glacier and 3,200 at the top of the cable car, however dear old Serr Cher peaks at around 2,500............suddenly the likes of Deux Alpes and Alpe D'Huez seemed more appealing.
I went up at 09:30 om my tod leaving the females in bed, taking the board in a vain hope of some powder........think I was the only person taking the bubble up, but by 1800 snow was falling heavily, and at the top (2,000) heavy.....scootted off down to the chair, which although was running I was advised by the pisteur there that it was now shutting due to security issues, they were not happy about the amount (50cm) of wet snow up top.........so that left few options open as similar problems were in other sectors........if it's not the wind, it's the amount of snow, and the wrong type!
Decided to head back down and head for Frejus lift where there are some drags at the top, that was a good call, again almost deserted, looking forward to getting some good lines in, though visibility was pretty dire and snow was soooo heavy, went in between a couple of pistes and became really bogged down, having to almost walk out...........lesson learnt make do with the untracked on the piste...........mind you nothing to four or five Brit snowboarders who ventured off to find some nice lines and were stuck for over 20 mins as I went up a chair twice watching them swiming :)
Overall with that much snow that had fallen it was quite a disapointment, the fresh was so heavy, that was due to the freezing level being around 2,500 with snow falling at circa 2,000 - sludge powder...
Came back down to take Elaine and Loulou out, and take the skis out, not that much better, over to Elaine..........
PS FROM ELAINE
Highlight of the day was going to Monetier des Bains for the state of the art indoor/outdoor spa baths with the girls. That's to say, the skiing wasn't great...Zero visibility and snow like Velcro. Lou was less than impressed at Baylis Tours. She went as white as the snow in the deep sticky powder with no way of seeing three meters ahead. After all it was only her second day. Sometimes Baylis has no concept of what it is like to have fear.
But I will always remember standing with Lou on our own in the snowy visiblity at the top of the deep powder run and hearing the avalanche cannons going off and echoing all around the valley.
Do something that scares you every day? Well, we did that a few times.
We came back down to see how Alyia was doing on the pomma slope at Frejus in the rain. Took her to the Mickey lift by La Grotte and, after an hour, had her doing turns down the slope so she is now less likely to do a Bridget Jones. She is still on debutante slopes so still only paying E14 which is good value.
Monetier baths were brilliant - amazingly landscaped pools inside and out with jets and jacuzzis. Also plunge pools, saunas, mist rooms and amazing underwater music pool. Swimming outdoors in 37 degrees with the backdrop of the mountains is brilliant. It was E62 for four of us (Baylis declined to come) - worth every euro. .
PPS From Siggy
Midday- dog woke up at 1..lazy bum. Then there was the left over of sheets and pillows, so I crawled into the nearly made bed and snuggled under
the duvet for a few minutes; which then varied into a few hours. I was prepared to go skiing with the rain pattering on the windows practicually all night.
Therefore I was suddenly told not to, because of the weather still in bad form. Apres I had a duvet day and had a fix of watching 'SexandTheCity' which
made my day totally chillaxing.
Girlies and I ventured to the spa this evening- ohh the therapy from skiing. :] xoxox
PPPS THE DOG'S BLOG
Had a tipple or two last night - bit of beer, shot of toffee vodka and some blue lagoony looking cocktail. Found using a straw was a bit of a challenge - getting my lips into a sucky position was not easy. But it was even harder when He Who Torments Me tried to make me say Sausages. I could only manage Shhhhhorageshh.
Might have to go out again tonight for a hair of the Man.
Suddenly noticed that there was a very big animal in the room. And, no, not an elephant. Some deer was obviously out of control and stuck his head straight through the wall. I tried to help but he looked at me with glazed eyes like I was really boring him. So I tried the old Jack
Russell smile. Still not so much as a twitch. Looking at that dumb animal unable to move almost made me laugh my head off - which, I guess, under the circumstances ,would not have been advisable.
I might have been tipsy but no need to call me a taxi (dermist).
Wednesday, 1st April - Bridget Jones diary
Today was Alyia first proper day on skis. Started on moving rope and progressed to poma. So far so good. Coming down, she was following Siggy and looked great UNTIL slope was a little steeper and SHE WAS OFF down the mountain screaming like Bridget Jones on skis. That is when we decided that a proper one to one ski lesson was essential. Booked Didier from ESF for an hour.
I came down at end of the day behind Baylis and Lou. OMG SHE IS ALREADY FASTER THAN ME ON THE FIRST DAY!
Now in the Frog bar for End of Season party - paela and sangria. Appropriately it is raining cats and pooches..
P.S. FROM LOULOU
First day skiing today. Nice and relaxed? It just wouldn't be a Baylis family day on the slopes if swearing and evil eyes were not involved really. Started off easy on a couple of blues, couple of reds...black! My legs were screaming at me but a packet of ginger biscuits and tea healed it all. In the local bar at the moment waiting for our paela and sangria and thinking Poohie will be needing some strepsils in the morning: too much yapping! Anyway, another day of skiing tomorrow. Carve, carve, carve.
PPS THE DOG'S BLOG
And yet another bar - where everyone claps when they see me. Really I might get a big head and need bigger goggles. I have my latest fashion statement goggles so I can see the world through my rose tinted glasses even though it's raining boys and girls outside at the moment.
Tuesday, 31st March - Here come the girls
Late morning, no stress, bit of skiing. OMG will Baylis survive?
Think Baylis was not too ungrateful for some recovery time from skoarding (ski and snowboarding) and he had some Internet work to do. Also it has been a grey day - ie nothing to get excited about. Sooo sorted girls out with skis which meant buying some HEAD carvers for Lou - ex rentals this year for E140 including poles which is cheaper than hiring for 10 days. Also spent a while in the ski pass center where we discovered (ie it is not obviously advertised) that debugtantes/learners can have a limited ski pass for E14 which is perfect for what Arlia will be doing this week. Also Lou can get a good student discount (also not advertised). So, RESULT.
Baylsi and I are now at Mojos leaving the girls to chilax and play cards - Cheat or Bullshit whichever you like to shout. As we went out of the door they said: Don't be late and don't come back pissed. Can anyone see the irony in this???
PPS From Siggy
Went skiing today for miles-green, blues,reds..first proper one in 3 days..SHOCKER! Along with teaching Aliya which was ace :] she was a 'good girl'- well done.
Came back to the apartment and slept for a few hours, considering I woke up at the crack of dawn, ha.
Now in Le Frog listening to the awesome band..BRING on the food and drink later and also tomorrow.
Also; let me introduce you to the game of Bullshit..Watch this blind swearing space. ;] xoxoxPPS THE DOG'S BLOG
I think that I might be a bit of a celebrity/colourful character/dog about town. Everywhere I go, people are saying "sausages" to me. I repeat, I do know how to say this but until someone SHOWS ME A SAUSAGE why am I going to say a word which, let's face it, is quite hard to get my lips round?
Meanwhile, I am putting together what I believe is quite a cool look. But, do tell, do my ears look big in these?
Monday 30th March - Back on the boards
Not a lot of time to blog as we're off to Turin to collect Loulou and friend, but had a great blue sky powder morning, back on the boards.
Though has to be said, as we were again up on first lifts, and to get the Deed's boards legs working we ripped the courdroy pistes a fair bit before going off sniffing out powder.
Finished the morning off with a couple of great pitches that I'd recently done on skis, but have to say I rode it far better on the board, so as I know still have a long way to go to get the skiing up there with the boarding, but on the piste skiing is better me thinks...........
PS FROM ELAINE
Just back from picking up Lou and her friend Aliya from Turin - suddenly turned into a very giggly girly time (Baylis is looking perturbed, like, where can I escape to?).
Back on the snowboard this morning and had a great time - must have been looking good/confident cos Baylis took me off piste black. I took off my hat and glasses and put them in my pocket cos I knew I would be headplanting. And I was. A lot. Very steep, very deep. Made Lingen seem like nursery slopes. Oh well, IT IS THE ONLY WAY TO LEARN...
PPPS THE DOG'S BLOG
They have learnt a new trick...to make me say SAUSAGES. Trouble is, I don't see the point of saying SAUSAGES when I blatantly want a biscuit... Of course, I CAN say SAUSAGES. You just have to give me a sausage...
Watch this space/sausage..
Sunday 29th March - Untracked Sunday
Woke up later (08:44) than I'd planned for as I could not be bothered to set an alarm thinking anticipation would do it for me.......snow was falling steadily in the village and that meant it could well have been snowing all night up top!
Had a bowl of porridge for breakfast; and we still made it up on to the Frejus lift by 09:30 - no faffing!
There was hardly anyone going up on the bubble, most were just turning up for their first day of ski school, and would probably be quite wet & miserable by noon, as the earlier snow was gradually turning to rain lower down.
Once up at the mid station it was even more deserted, and everywhere was just untracked, even saw a pisteur coming down on a snowboard, he's obviously been up getting a couple of sneaky rides in. Elaine and I were on skis, quite a big call for Elaine as I suspected the powder to be quite deep, so the board would have been the better option (for both of us), but anyone would think this is a holiday!
Can't remember how many runs we did taking the various drags riding down the blues and greens enjoying all the powder, but then I noticed the Balme chair opening up just as we were coming back dowm, so pleased to report that we were first up on that which wasn't exactly difficult as there were not too many people about.
Once at the top opted to go for Cucumelle all the way back down, was tempted by the small black by not too sure about Elaine and what would be very deep powder, which was a good move as just I looked up hearing a big shout from Deed getting in some involuntary air time, I'll let her describe what she was up to later :)
I think we did three Balme / Cucumelle runs, visibiility was up and down and a few more people turned up, but this was good skiing, more by feel & balance and not by sight. Ended up going all the way down to the bottom as Deed took a wrong turn missing the chair, so back up again, penalising her for her mistake by not allowing the promised coffee break............once up on Balme, decided we'd had enough of easy skiing and opted for the Choucas run, which is a black, but closed off as a run and you go off under the ropes being advised you do so at your own responsibility. Visibility was dire and again skiing was by feel, which was not helped by moguls under the powder, I tried to let the skis run and took more than a few tumbles in the process. Deed was having a few more problems and I don't think she was relishing the challenge of it all..............
So eventually agreed to go back down, think most sensible people had taken that option a couple of hours earlier................
All credit to Elaine, she skied really well, in quite demanding conditions and was not allowed ever to take an easy option -, but we both think the boards tomorrow.
Past on going out later on in the afternoon for various reasons, in no particular order....
1) Knee hurting a fair bit
2) Cooked myself a late lunch
3) Fell asleel for a couplr of hours
4) There's always tomorrow.
PS FROM ELAINE
You know how they say that you should do something that scares you everyday? Well, I did enough scary stuff to last for a month, today.
1) Skied with Baylis (pretty scary)
2) First up top chair lift into complete white out (quite scary)
3) Down very narrow red chemin which I didn't know was narrow so flew off the edge (very scary)
4) Did loads of powder ON SKIS (quite scqry as usually do it on board but thought, well you gotta learn)
5) Went UNDER A ROPE DOWN UNTRACKED BLACK WITH HALF A METRE OF POWDER AND MOGULS UNDERNEATH (bloody scary)
But, survived it all..!! So feeling good (knee a little tweaky). And, hey, actually had a laugh coming down that black with Baylis wiping out infront of me. Once I got the bottle to turn (thanks to Baylis shouting TURN) doing turns and coming up a mogul you can't even see was funny too.
Funniest of all was sooshing down at the end and coming to the wet snow at the bottom resulting in an almost dead stop from high speed.
Finally, welcome to the world to Finn Archie Webb - I am sure that you will be beating us all down in 10 years - if your father has anythng to do with it,,!!!
PPS FROM SIGGY
Collision of summer and winter..today was a deep snow powder day; snowed heavy in the morning- hence They went out for some fun and games!
Meanwhile I woke up after my dreams and had a bite to eat x2.
In actual fact..it cost 30Euros for me to have some mega enjoyment via a skipass and today was a chillaxing day..yet again. - You could hardly see the tops of the mountains; the foggy weather was that thick.
Anyway..now glamed up and ready to check emails etc and have a refreshing drink..BRING ON TOMORROW when I can say 'HERE COME THE GIRL'S'!! xoxox
PPPS THE DOG'S BLOG
I have one incredibly favourite thing out here - ICE. Out in the snow, from a glass of coke, WHERE EVER. Just give me the crunchy cold stuff and i'll drive you mad looking for more..
And, discovered another amazing thing - there is a table in La Grotte and every now and then a white ball (like a snowball but not as cold) comes down into this hole. JUST FOR ME...All I have to do is wait, hear the rumble ET VOILA my own ball arrives...Don't know why people start shouting at me, though, when I run off with it?
Saturday 28th March - End of Chapter Three
Awoke to the worst kind of weather in a ski resort, rain........not helped by feeling very shabby from the "last night".
Thanks to Andy & Tim for dinner in a super little restuarant run by Veronique, who is Lilly's daughter, so all en famille again. They left at 11:30 this morning and we went off to Briancon to do the super market shop, sort of change over day again.
Then later on in the afternoon decided to go up with Elaine to see at what level the rain was snow, as we heard from Tim & Andy that as they went over the Col at Montgenevre it was snowing at 1,800ms, and we were not disapointed, snowing heavy from 1,700 and we had a great couple of white out powder hours.
PS FROM ELAINE
Amazing good news, we were skiing powder all afternoon. And the bad news? Couldn't see a thing! Incredible time in powder and snow storm, almost on our own. Now getting the hang of skiing in the deeper stuff. But going up one drag lift I thought that Baylis was going to turn into a snowman before my very eyes.
Give Baylis credit, he DID wait for me - just as well, otherwise I could still be up there!
Change over day again. Washing linens. Guys have gone (and missing you, Tim and Andy), now HERE COME THE GIRLS....on Monday.
PPS From Siggy
Due to the lack of sunshine- misty, grey, cloudy, snowy, rainy ERUGH weather..no sessions' for me today! Though saying goodbye to Uncle Andy and Uncle Tim in the mist early hours of this morning- half 11..After their depture; I started thinking about things a little too much..
Went shopping; food and a little bit of reality of clothes shopping. Got my daily fix of..Brad Pitt- and can I just say..He's Bloody YUMMY!! :)
Now in the pub with some coke and checking various comp stuff- a chillaxing day mostly today..only 1 more day till the girlies start their arrivals- Papa is going to feel all against one..ha! xoxox
PPPS The Dog's Blog
Been in the blue kennel- staring out at the outside world; yet shivering, because I know that I will squint like Leonardo Dicaprio and my paws' will feel like they will freeze over..
Other than that; I've been chillaxing and sleeping with dreams that are too visual for my own good 'dans la maison'.
I am now venturing around the pub; literally- roaming around for ice and stretching, buzzing around for attention from my return out of the Blue Kennel; I was asboed..BIG TIME. MAIS ALL I wanted to do was control the pointy arrows that swerved into the round board..
The secret- you know how this works..I stare at the laptop whilst They type; I stare in a 'Matilda way' and all this is being mind read..I control Them with my mind..magic power ya' see..BUT SHH..DON'T let Them know..ha!
26th - 27th March - Boys Road Trip
Last Thursday plan was to ski Serre in the morning and then drive over to Courchevel to meet up with two different groups of friends in the evening, and then ski with them on Friday.
So as we arrived off the first bubble Thursday morning dropped down to take the chair up, but no Andy, Tim and I waited but still no Andy, eventually after 10 minutes or so phone rang and it was Andy who was painfully describing how as he went to put his ski on, the brakes caught in the up position and his ski shot off down the slope from the bubble exit, carried on pass a restaurant, through the kiddies area, narrowly missing a couple of toddlers before disappearing down a gulley, needless to say mildly amusing in only a way that mates can find the misfortune of others to be funny!
Tim and I carried on, with Andy calling us 20 minutes or so later with the good news that he'd managed to find the ski down the gulley in a stream, but was now very hot & sweaty having had to clamber back up.........we then skied a couple of faces that had good cold snow on them from the snowfall the day before, trick being to find those areas where the wind had blown the snow into. Then mid afternoon there were a series of power cuts so we came back down through the wet slush of the lower slopes with ASBO as ever trying to spray us with his skis, so Tim and I let him blast off in front of us as we hung back to avoid being constantly sprayed.........this strategy worked well with Andy then shooting off taking a wrong turn and ending up having to walk a half mile or so back to meet us :)
Drive over to Courchevel was some 200km, with one amusing incident in that both Tim and Andy forgot their passports; I was stopped on the border after driving through the Frejus tunnel (33 Euros one way!!!) by some very officious French Police, and at one point it all looked as if it might be going tits up, but they came round and were satisfied with our explanations and Tim & Andy's photo driving licenses.
Night time in Courchevel was very over the top, met Tim's friends in 1850, who were out on a corporate property jolly (one last one), and had been at it since lunchtime so had a few beers (8 Euros a pint = £8) with them before dropping back down to meet Bing, Tracy & The Rat (Peeps) in 1650 for a pizza I think, then on down to 1550 to a bar where a French band was playing old classic English punk, all rather hazy from then on...............
Then in the morning it was back into serious mode for what turned out to be an excellent day. Started off with quite a severe hours climb (skis on back packs) up a ridge, where at times was really tough kicking out steps, yours truly (the oldest fart in the group) led most of the way, with it taking about three kicks to make a solid step for the others behind me. We then had an excellent steep face to come back down.
Snow in Courchevel was excellent, they'd had a much better dump than over in Serre, plus hardly anyone goes off piste there, so there was so much untracked to gorge ourselves on. We did one more 15 minute ridge hike with another decent run before being joined by Bing's brother Phil and Tracy. Bing & Phil have been out there for many a season so know many of the classic routes very well, in the past they use to hike up in boots etc, but last year we introduced them to touring and now they've seen the light!
So no guide, and at times I did wonder / question if we were doing the right thing especially when in the afternoon we were skinning up a long ridge and then traversing across a face with me cutting first tracks, ever so aware of what might happen........but better to be aware & cautious of the situation rather than over confident, we were also well spread out. Phil said later he'd never know that specific face to avalanche but there's always a first time.
So as you can see from the photos we did lay down some very nice lines.............all in all an excellent road trip!
Skinned up and along the ridge then you can make out the lines taken
Start of the last pitch
Looking back at where we'd been
Friday, March 27th - Mad Hares
Sittng in our office, La Grotte, at 8pm waiting for Baylis, Tim and Andy to return from Courcheval. Siggy and I have had easy, girly day - afternoon ski, crepe and cokes. And I bet we have spent far less than Baylis in Ponsecheval...
Avidly checking Twitter to see if Pete's baby has arrived yet (and not yet). Wondering will he call it Spider (heehee) or Lance if it is a boy. Charlotte if a girl...
PPS From Siggy
Skiied vast amounts of times today..went red to blue to green at the sight of the slopes we were taking and the Pommer we had to take; after not skiing, but snowboarding instead. Going in a steady pace to make technique and tan up to a perfect standard! :)
Grotting it at the moment..cokes, music and cheery men with Pooch sometimes barking at the sounds..sitting wating in hope that Baylis and crew are all smug and in one piece!
Dinner as a treat; a plan by Uncle Tim and Uncle Andy- looking forward to it..! xoxox
PPPS From The Dog's Blog
The highlight of my day; my fuzzy green, speeding tennis ball bounced from one side of the room to the other..In sight of this..I followed, nose first; BUT the ball fell metres down the balcony and so I had to do an emergency stop...!
Another highlight of my day (Lucky Me) was seeing three strange creatures leaping around outside our apartment. I watched them in amazement and then decided to give chase. I was off like the proberbial greyhound after the hare. Two of them took off but one hide behind a bush. I ran up to it expecting it to hare (heehee) off. But it didn't. So I had to stop abruptly and pretend to sniff a tree.
Thursday, March 26th - A Glich of a day
Planned an afternoon ski with Siggy but heard from Baylis that there was a power cut and lifts weren't working - so did a snowboard lesson with Siggy on the nursery slope. Then decided to ski for a couple of hours and walked over to the lifts . Baylis has taken van to Courcheval as guys are staying with Bing and Peeps tonight (sound like a couple of dodgy women or cats). Got in gondola and moved a couple of inches, then sat there for 20 minutes before being wound back into the station and told lift was caput....Then back at apartment, tried to get the TV to watch the one channel - BBC news - that we have and can't get remote to work (needs batteriers?), and knife drawer has got stuck. Ho, bloody, hum...
Believe that Andy had a bit of a glichy day, too - something about a ski going AWOL at the top of Aret gondolas...?
PS From Siggy
Knew it was destiny NOT to ski today..so I snowboarded instead :] again no major wipeouts and no major broken bones..phew!
Came back, had a decent hot bath..slept on the sofa for an hour and enjoyed the silence.
A night of feminity!! Got made-up to stroll down to the local pub; number 2-Le Froggy. Whilst meatballs were cooking..got some bread and some much needed batteries on the way.
Got into the pub..took a seat..ordered an alco drink..first of many restful hydrations.
The band member from the band came and said hello to Pooch..would she accept a greeting from a guy who sings, is Scottish and plays guitar..NO! Snappy and stressful little B**** she was!! and also to other people also..this is a misson we have to sort out..we're thinking the pink muzzle HAS to come and play. See girl power at it's finest! xoxox
PPS The Dog's Blog
Slept for another seven years..this is what it felt like..Woke up and sunbathed in the heated sun..I took Them for a walk and was barking and ordering the thing that speeds down the white stuff to go faster. (the snowboard)
I came back to the place that is warm and had pieces of yellow food- the cheese stank and my breath took a toll on this..
Guess what? I was offered a job, yesterday - as backing vocals for the Scottish band at the Frog. (Or is that barking vocals?). We came to the same place tonight and the tall, lanky one was there. He smiled at me and had a fist..I didn't know what to do..was he going to do something evil? Infact..I took this as a threat. My eyes popped out of my head; Bilbo Baginns moment. I arched my back and brought my sharp dental teeth in a snapping beware moment.
What was I to do..I was on She Who MollyCoddles Me! and he was the height of a..Great Dane!
Actually, I could have floored him just with my cheesy breath...guess he won't be giving me that job, now...
Wednesday March 25th - La Grave "Big Day"
The plan was "confirmed" the night before, we'd go over to La Grave to meet Jonatan our guide at 08:45. Wind in Serre did not look good in the morning but as we drove over the Col D'Lauteret it was not too bad. It only takes 30 mins to drive over and we went into the Catillian bar for a quick coffee, where I bumped into Philou a guide who came on "holiday" a few years back when we were up in Lyngen on the boat.
Philou asked what were we doing over in La Grave as he thought the conditions would be hard & icy, that comment sort of took the "team" adrenalin away..........it had been snowing a fair bit the day before and although windy we were hoping for some powder stashes.
Jonatan arrived and we went up the mountain, not exactly busy, where was everyone, this was sort of the recurring theme of the day, along with what happened to my 32 sausages I took to dinner and at a friends (Stefan) the night before for a BBQ but only ended up having two??
So the skiing, within a couple of minutes we were following Jonatan down in really good fresh cold snow, as he knows the mountain so well he knows where to find the powder that has accumulated in bowls from the wind, so a series of mini traverses followed by some decent vertical lines. First couple of runs visibility was good, but forecast was for changeable conditions and we certainly got that!
The mountain is not pisted at all, even though there are some obvious routes down, the benefit of a guide is that he knows where to go, and more importantly if the weather closes in you will get off the mountain rather than go off a cliff!
I've boarded La Grave since 1999, and only skied it once or twice since I started skiing again after some 20 years, so yesterday was quite a baptisim of fire with some great snow up top on the glacier, but as ever lower down becomes more challenging but on skis was a damn site easier than on a board!
Back to the sausages..............we were at Stefan's the night before, he's a guide living in Serre who we've known for over 10 years and he was up on the mountain with his son. Max aged six and to see a six year old skiing the traverses was amazing, he's so small and such a low centre of gravity he just absorbed the bumps / moguls etc etc, beating us down, as Jonatan said, we'd been skiing with a future champion........
We actually stopped for lunch in refuge Chancal and then after lunch weather really closed in with strong wind and total white out, but every now and again weather would clear, conditions very much typified what LG is, beautiful but wild and brutal at the same time.
Last run down was a classic, Jonatan took us down Bannanne Couloir where even at 15:00 we had first tracks in superb powder. So felt stoked that I skied that as well as I've boarded it over the years!
Above photo of Bannanne does not show just how steep and narrow it is further up!
Off to Courcheval to catch up with Bing & Peeps today / tomorrow - should be amusing!
Tuesday, March 23rd - too damn windy!
Just about everything shut due to wind, so not much point paying around £30 for a runs. So Tim's been looking at some rather nice boards akin to the Burton Fish - he has one on demo if we could only get up the mountain!
So we have a plan for tomorrow if the weather plays ball!
Monday, March 22nd - Why we don't hate Mondays
Aaaaahhhh this is more like it - couple of runs to get the legs working, one steep to see if all was working on a north face, then a long run down Montagnolle, with around 5 pisteurs / lifties, so a busmans holiday, then we kept higher and skied across into the next valley where we then skinned up and did a very quick 600m in just over an hour. Run down was through varying snow pack, again challenging with Andy loving it on his Seth Pistols spraying us all with his snow off the back of his skis - afterwards we even had a drink in a mountain Cafe, unheard of this past couple of weeks...........!
Then back with Tim picking up his split board to try the setup with his hard boots...so joined him on the board for a couple of runs before retiring to the Grotte for the end of happy hour.
PS FROM ELAINE
Hurray, Baylis has Tim and Andy to play with on the mountains. We collected them yesterday from Turin, going via Sestiere for a ski in the afternoon (hence no blog). It was Italians' Sunday outing again. When they pack the cars to go skiing they go: skis, check; ski boots, check, bambinis, check; deckchairs, check!
Skiied steeps and off piste with Baylis - and amazingly my legs no longer hurt...(maybe they've just gone numb).
Today Siggy and I went for a ski - took her down a bit of black on route to La Grotte. She did it really well without slipping or falling but it was steep! I think that she has forgiven me...
PPS FROM SIGGY
Grabbing onto a Pommer for dear life..literally! Followed by a smooth Blue run into an icy red and finally ending on a steep Black run..attemped slowly with fierce turns; falling over 0- SCORE!!
A busy day with glistening snow overall. :]
Live music with apple juice and a resturarnt at the height of the mountain with a takeaway Panni, deck chaired and all..bliss :]
Now a bubbling Corono..well I did have; seems to have dissappeared down Papas' mouth. Back to the appartment soon for a yummy caserole of beef, carrots and potatoes.
Short and sweet; like me ;] ..'COCK'. ohh i am too sleepy to type- apologies. xoxox
PPPS THE DOG'S BLOG
Spent a long time, yesterday, in the blue kennel on wheels. And now we have two more in our pack. He Who Torments Me was positively wagging his tail when he saw them - I expected them to sniff each others' derriers.
Talking about alpha males - we went to the Grotte again today. And Gary (the German Shepherd) was there. I now can't remember why it was I didn't like German Shepherds.
Poochie and Gary sitting in a tree - L-I-C-K-I-N-G...
Saturday March 20yh - Change over day
OMG - Baylis had a day off today! Hence he can't blog (will only blog about manly mountain stuff).
Graham and Lily went home this morning so we did all the bed linen changing ready for Tim and
Andy ("change over day").
Then we went on a Baylis tour (but minus skis) to the old fortress
part of Briancon and to Nevache for a walk and lunch (yes, you read that right, "lunch").
First time we've paid for lunch since arriving!
Someone alert the media...
PS SIGGY'S BLOG
Woke up mega early by a full volumed Baylis! Had some divine cornflaked cereal, got dressed into some summery clothes and headed off down the steppy slope to the van in the sun's hot heat.
Drove and drove till the van practicually ran out of petrol and finally came to this parking fairy land where we took a sunny shadey walk through a little French town.
it was ancient and semi looked like the film set of Choclate and Lord Of The Rings; the village was surrounded by fortresses of vintage buildings, shops and castles..
Apres we reached this dump where Papa was sneaky, leaving the bumper piece behind with a
full fledged German Shepheard watching on duty.
Into The Wild; where the scenery literally looked like the film set itself. We ventured into another
petite ancient French village, with snow on the ground and sun shining in the sky; the buildings had cute French shutters and sweet wooden doors with roofs covering them. Eventually we got to this church with gravestones galore and I checked out some names of the people..there was a Jesus Christ statue and also a sundial on the building itself..suddenly the bell chimed and we moved in a steady pace with our walk. Apres we decided to have lunch, because we were all mega hungry at this point; we ordered a massive TarteFFlete pizza which filled our stomachs'up nicely and continued the journey back to the apartment.
This evening is going to be a little rest with dinner, followed by some glamour and Rock N' Roll at
the local bar<3 xoxox
PPS THE DOG'S BLOG
He Who Talks Too Loud (brother of He Who Torments Me) and Lily were here last night so we
practised some French. I have decided that I like the French cos, guess what, I am la chienne as I am a female, Which sounds soo much better than being a bitch.
And I sooo love this white stuff that They call, snow - eh voila, you have instant balls to chase and when you pee you not only leave a scent but also a visual reminder that you were there! (It is though a little cold on my petite chienne derrier)
PPPS Late edit from Gavin
Not bad eh, have managed to limit them to only one lunch so far.........watch that all go tits up when I'm out and about next week!!!!!!!!!
Friday March 20th - Daily bog........
One of those easy days that you can only really do when you're out here for a while, though legs were still quite tight from yesterday's excursion!
Took Elaine up to Point D'Alpe for a liitle hike, knew it was not going to be a good day when after a couple of steps the binding on my approach ski came off, of course nothing to do with me fiddling and re positioning the bindings before I came out, fixed it then carried on - then as we neared the summer village the wind was howling which made it really hard with the boards on the back packs, then binding came off again, so we called it a day.........
Came back home, but still a nice couple of hours, better than being stuck in an office :)
Then after lunch took Deed out for a technical ski, though not too sure she's call it that, but hey pistes are for pussies!
PS FROM ELAINE
Thought I was going to take off with the snowboard as wings! Not too unhappy that Baylis' binding broke (No, I didn't do it!!). Wanted to do some more difficult skiing this afternoon and Baylis obliged....went up to top and came down v knarly black (narrow and moggly) then went totally off piste (quite steep stuff). It was cold though and not the best conditions.
Nearly two weeks here, now. Missing retail therapy - somehow the supermarket shopping doesn't quite do it..!
PPS FROM SIGGY
Slept in and had breakfast..basically a lazy boned day!
Eventually went to the supermarket and there was a dodgy apple tart pie..it broke in some slices..
Papa had a little steam coming out of his ears..so to speak!
Minutes later; Papa drove into a wall..the bumper fell off! Hence that is a laughing factor again now. :]
That is all; not very exciting as my previous statements..though wait till tomorrow!
Also..put my name down for some HELLA fun on wednesday..BRING IT ON!! xoxox
PPS THE DOG'S BLOG
Lay in..as if I haven't had enough sleep nowadays!! walked around the apartment for what seemed hours on end. Eventually went to the some funny buildings with speeding cars twisting and turning practiually everywhere..stayed in the van though; whilst They went and brought back a feast..I thought it was for me; my face turned upwards and my eyes bulged in excitement! Unfortunately it was put into the back of the van..
Back to the Grotte where OMG, I have made a friend. With a German Shepherd called Gary. Well, it is his place so I can hardly go for him. But if he puts a paw out of place, it will be dog eat dog - and I would start with his perky ears..!
Thursday March 19th - There's hope for us all !
Didn't mention it in the "blog" yesterday, but there was a "plan" for today, but it didn't look like it was going to materialise, however circa 20:00 phones rang, and 10 hrs later I'd be getting up to drive down to the Queyras region, some 80 mins drive.
I was heading down to ski with Mr Dynafit, a long story, but I met him up in Lyngen (Northern Norway) a few years ago, and we've stayed in contact ever since. Fritz is the techincal guru of Dynafit, it was his father and Fritz who invented the Dynafit binding.
It was a long arduous drive through some of the most dramatic scenery, old villages and gnarly roads I've ever driven on in the mountains.
I eventually found their Gite by 07:30 and said hello to Fritz's team, all good friends who had been ski touring together for quite a while, I was a bit concerned when I saw crampons being tried out on boots as I did not have any, but Fritz said our route today did not involve climbing.
I was also nervous as to would my skiing be up to their standard, or should I therefore board as I'm better on the board descending, but a boarder can hold skiers up and again I did not want to be the damn English boarder, so I opted for skis and thought well at least I can climb well, so I thought!
We left from Le Roux just up from Abries, heading for Bric Froid at 3302m
Fritz mentioned to me that his father was with us, a spritely 74 year old, also in the group were two 65 year olds, so quite a mature group..........as we started off every one went at their own pace, spreading the group out quite quickly. I'm used to touring in quite tight groups, resting every 400ms or so, and at least one long 15min tea break, this was not the case so I was a wee bit confused about the etiquette. What happend to the guy who reaches the summit first, does he freeze his butt off waiting for everyone?
After a couple of hours I started to get worrying signs of cramps in my thighs on every kick turn, basically I was getting dehydrated and bonking (same old story), by this time I was with my soul mate Paulo (65), Maria circa 60 odd was already way ahead.
Paulo was suffering and I sort of jumped at his suggestion of stopping and going down, think we'd done 1,300ms and were 200ms shy of the summit, as I did not want to go into spasms up there.
Just as we were getting ready to go down, Fritz's father Manfred came by on his way up to the summit!
Snow was not brilliant up top and it started to cloud over so the soft snow started to freeze really quickly, but lower down it warmed up and I actually skied it quite well for a change, was it teh snow or me getting better.
Once back in the village, took the boots off and went into violent spasms with my left calf looking and feeling as if a cricket ball had been embedded in my lower leg, damn painful, and I was quite worried about how I could drive back.
In the ensuing hour and a half as we waited for the others I managed to loosen it up by stretching and applying ice, not too sure about how it will be for tomorrow.
So all credit to team family Dynafit and friends, just goes to show that there's hope for us all to carry on enjoying the mountains.
Manfred & Maria
PS FROM ELAINE
Missed blogging last night as the battery gave up - um, not mine, the computer's. Feel that Baylis has become completely addicted to...eh, pain, extreme, insane touring. And he's still NOT BROKEN...OMG Tim and Andy..BEWARE!!
Went skiing with Siggy today and went to the top thinking it was easy runs down. Then saw the red poles and the steep-sih inclines. Went ahead and hoped she wouldn't notice. AND SHE DIDN'T. She skied down without any real problems that is, until I told her we were on a RED!! But we did it easily - no stress.
Oh and then we hear about Natasha Richardson - and I remember how my brain jangled in my head last week after a fast soosh fall on the snowboard. I guess when your time is up....?
Planned to go to the cinema tonight but WOULD YOU BELIEVE IT the film, Last Chance For Love was in French (not subtlitled). All we have in the chalet is around 30 digital channels with just one English BBC World News....
PPS SIGGY'S BLOG
Ski- sunny, windy gusty weather..still good excersise I must say.
Papa was doing his INSANE adventure at this point, day and age..
Therefore Edie and I took it with no stress and a pinch of salt. We changed into our gear..
ready to rock n' roll, took our equipment and walked for what seemed to be miles.
Walking up the slope to take a gondola, which was spooky, because it creeked every now and then; enter my thoughts of Final Destination! We then squeezed into our robot boots, clicked on our skiis' and went to a lift..taking another two lifts aswell; one with no feet platform;legs' were
dangaling in the air..ouch.
We got to the top, so I took the first slope in stride..the next one had a narrow lane of ice on the right and bumps of powder on the left- I took the powder..smart move? A bunch of people were following after my tracks, slowly. Reaching down to Edie with no rush or panic..in the back of my mind I was thinking 'how can this green run be a tad tough?'
Edie told me my answer..it was a red run! So a few slopes further..we moved onto a windey
green run cutting into the red and finally getting to touch down with a HUGE smile on my face..
Apres we walked the dog to the local bar..her obbsession with ice became more obscene..
walked back, eventually ending up at the cinema, MAIS it was in French. I chillaxed in the
apartment..heard the Natasha RedGrave story..[my heart goes out for you <3] and I shed a few
tears, because to be honest that story REALLY got me..being a fan of Liam..knowing his family,
the whole skiing vibe and loving her acting, especially in the Parent Trap..Ahmen!xoxox
PPPS THE DOG'S BLOG
Had a whole bed to myself..trotted into the kitchen on a scent of where to stretch my legs'.
What seemed mintues later, I decided to practice my Vogue poses in reflections of the outside
door and various mirrors..including 'The Puppy Eyed Look'which causes speech of 'aww'..
unfortunately the main door that streams through fresh unknown smells, shut.
Therefore I was left..left to wonder, left to sleep.
The steps made noises, the main door was in the process of being opened..I needed to pee..I
needed to greet..I needed to get out of here..! My wish was granteed..I greeted, I peed, I get
out of there and had a steady adventure on the lead pulling whatever was behind me.
Eventually we got to the local pub..this woman came up to me..stroked me and said I was
beautiful..charm and years' of practice and the much rehersed 'Puppy Eyed Look'
recieving those compliments; I tell you! Wanted some
water..settled for ice..stared at the glass some more, but had to hold my thirst. Walking; I
went in the van, looking out of the window to whatever drfited past..
Trecked up the long steps to the top of the apartment, had food, a chewie and some water..Woofderful!
Wednesday March 18th - Quick 1,000m
After a quiet day yesterday made a plan last night for this morning, decided to skin up the route that I did on Sunday but in reverse, and not all the way! I checked with Jonatan if it would be safe and that I was not unaware of any obvious problems. The main issue was to stay well away from the South facing slopes and stick to the middle of the valley. I left around 08:45 and the first 450ms was up through the run out from Montagnolle, that time of the morning it was very icy, but as I was not traversing but going straight up ski crmapons were not needed.
Once out of the trees at the bottom of the valley I headed west away from the main Montagnolle valley.
I was going at quite a hard pace, as often happens when you're on your own. Looking across at Montagnolle I could see one group of skiers coming down, which made me think that would be a good session, get the lift up and do Montagnolle, then rather than go all the way down, put the skins on and go up the valley I was heading up, so if you're reading this, Tim and Andy that's currently the plan for Monday!
There had been a few slides since I was up there on Sunday, and I was quite encouraged about the snow pack for the descent, still quite hard and had not gone to soup, so was feeling quite optimistic about the ski down.
I'd set myself a target of 1,000ms and looking at the map, that seemed a sensible option as any more and I would be getting into more demanding terrain and not the best idea to be on your own.
Sure enough as I progressed, there had been one big slide on the South facing slope and then further up a chunk of ice had fallen off the glacier above producing a fair sized avalanche, and this point I decided to head back down.
I think I skied it better than Sunday, but jees my legs were burning again by the end, it's amazing how those conditions take it out of you, as later on in the day I was trashing the off piste and soft snow in between the pistes and not one ache.
Then looking at my HRM log, I actually recorded a high heart rate going down than going up, how bizarre is that!
Tuesday March 17th - Rest Day
PS FROM SIGGY
Slept in..was pretty much heaven apart from the surreal dreams..
Got up and had some crunchy nut cereal followed by a refreshing shower.
Minutes later I got changed into some summery clothes and walked with some
shades on into the lanes and windey paths. The scenery was cute..for it is my favourite resort.
Whilst on foot, we looked at some anglais places to go job hunting..I was also nostalgic for some reasons..sigh! :]] <3
We finished up at the local bar and having been slightly unsuccessful at asking at various places; I finally asked there and they took my contact info..sooo we shall see what occurs?
Sitting down, RIGHT infront of the sun..practiucally beaming at me..he and she left me to go on their own routes and face their addictions for the day; I on the other hand was left with la chein.
We grabbed a tuna toastie and it was completely tasty..afterwards I observed peoples' technics of snowboarding and skiing to try and work on my own..also Gary the German Sheperhard <3 and the various people who thought we were eye-candying bundle of cuteness came over and distracted us from the time that was tick tocking slowly, considering how long it takes to get an ace tan like the one I have now; along with a few pints from happy hour some heures later.
Supermarket sweeping; taking the food and goods up to the apartment, having a little nap and eating some frenchie dinner..now blogging..papa has his major addiction of going up insanse miles and hikes up the tremedous mountians..me and mama will take it easy tomorrow. Today has been no amusing stories about snowboarding or skiing pour moi, parce que I decide to reflect and have the day off..xoxox
PPS FROM THE DOG'S BLOG
Getting kicked out of bed..moving from underneathe it to ontop of it and finally on a pair of trousers lie-ing on the floor..this was one knackering night, especially for my short legs..
Eventually woke up and ventured outside onto mini slopes of snow and tarmatted roads..being shouted at to 'stay' and shouted out to go where ever they wanted..
Happily content whilst they were having a drink..looking at the world from a tables' point of veiw.
Suddenly Mummy left me..I slipped my collor trying the go into the bar, but thought it was not a wise time to escape..minutes later I was sat by a table for what seemed Seven years of my life just passing me by..that massive
A Baylis blogless day - he didn't do enough to feel able to write! Needs a guide to do extreme stuff and people his level to do it with - can't wait for Andy and Tim to come!
Siggy was determined to try snowboarding today - so had to swop around boots and bindings. She ended up with my flows and the too small Salomon boots that I bought on e-bay which are perfect for her. Then we had to decide which way she rides - she is left handed but so am I and I ride regular. Did the slipping on the floor test and she was right leg forward. "Ah ha, you're goofy," declared Baylis. At which comment, Siggy took a swipe at him...!
After Siggy's snowboard try out, Baylis and I went to the top - I was back to the old Clickers which feel soooo unsupportive. Probably go back to the Flows.
Typical spring day - sunny and slushy. Tans coming along, nicely!
PS FROM SIGGY
Slopes and snow my brake my bones..haha ohh how i chuckle, because i didn't even wipe out once and it was 'the premier'- must be in my genuine blood of nature.
Saint Paddys' day and I snowboarded..[technically the second fun lesson that i've had] practiced the weight, movement and direction of the board and I was gradually beginning to turn side to side, left to right.
The sun is tanning me day by day, so working my magic and the colour is becoming stronger- yay.
The temperature earlier could of made the snowboard melt..metorphorically speaking.
As the hours tick tocked- I decided to take 'la petite chein' into the powder which surprisingly didn't seem THAT deep. A few minutes later, she started shaking like a leaf, which was weird considering how hot it was..therefore I resuced her and tucked her up into the van where I played goooood old british music :]
Apres..venturing down to the local bar :D and having a refreshing coca..enjoying the sunset..eventually being inside; the dog was barking at the Brits playing pool,
whilst also having a pint of guiness.
Then buying food, and coming back to the apartment..I am now going to make pizzas'..maybe watch a film and have a snoozing nights' sleep..yay :] xoxox
PPS FROM THE DOG'S BLOG
Walked to collect the bread in the morning - have now discovered a route UNDER the cheesegrater steps so I don't get shredded. Had quite a chilled day finishing with a Murphy's at the Grotte - well, it is St Patrick's Day and I am Irish. Feeling like He Who Torments Me - not enough activity to write home about.
As we say in the canine world, It's a Man's Life...
Monday March 16th - En Famille
Rather heavy night resulted in feeling a tad shabby this morning, but knew the others would not be exactly raring to get out early. And sure enough had to wake them at 09:45. We did have a plan, and that was to go up to Puy St Vincent, about 35 mins away and link up with my brother, Graham and Lilly his lady......staying with us overnight was my niece Emily, her boyfriend Johnathan and my daughter Siggy.
Puy is a super little resort, we opted for 4hr passes, though with our season passes we get three days in Puy anyway. So after getting all the kit sorted, trousers, jackets, glasses, boots etc etc, binding on boards one way, then changed when Emily realised she was not in fact "goofy" but "regular", we managed to get out on the piste. Jonathan was snowboarding for the first time ever, so we left Emily & Johnathan trying to work things out.
Then came back down to check how things were progressing, and as we arrived one kid came hacking out the wood on skis hitting a little "jump" but messed the landing, resulting in screams of agony as we ran up to him. We alerted the guy at the lift and a pisteur turned up, poor kid was in a bad way.....turned out he was Slovenian, so communication was in English then translated into French for the pisteur who was patiently trying to fathom out how serious the injury was in between the screams!
In the end, the blood wagon was called and ambulance radioed in for. Pisteur reckoned it was tibia fracture just below the boot, not good either way, and you can imagine what it did for Siggy's and Jonathan's confidence!
So back out on the piste skiing en famille etc etc
Then a nice picninc lunch
After lunch took my niece, Emily out and inflicted servere leg burn on her. Puy really has some good steep North facing slopes that are all off piste, though quite well skied out, but still challenging with the snow pack.
Meanwhile Lilly's daughter, Coreen a ski instrtuctor turned up giving Johnathan a good little lesson, which resulted in him progressing really well in a short space of time.
Then finished the day off in a small little bar with everyone.
PS FROM ELAINE
A brilliant and very memorable family day with the English tribe meeting the French side of Lily's. Fab to be out with Emily, Jonathan (Emily's boyfriend/definitely has OUR approval), Graham, Lily (such an elegant skier), and Siggy (finding her ski legs on her first day). Actually STOPPED for lunch - Baylis skied down to get the sandwiches that we made in the morning and came back up to see us all at the mountain restaurant. I could see the smoke coming out of his ears as he thought we were having lunch! But, acutally, only did Cokes and then followed Baylis to his picnic spot.PPS FROM SIGGY
Papa ALMOST got stressed- mouth tightened, eyes bulging out and temper vaguely causing an alvalanche!!
Did the splits today; ballerina esque. And improved style and technique of skiing throughout the day.
Apres a kid was in agony..robot boot not in motion; as his shin and leg was proper twisted..OUCH! and as a witness and pro on the scene..an experience of many.- enter hereos without powers..or hereos with needs.
Boots and skiis were ace, though the pressure of blue/red/green slopes took a toll on the shins downwards..was glad to have a steaming hot bath and no penguin action in the snow.
Pleased for 4 hours of venturing the same slopes and controlling my ski knowledge to the max..
First day- tan needs topping up for a few more days..i'm waiting to be a lobster or a beetroot. aha.
Hopefully i shall snowboard tomorrow..a challenge in itself. :]PPPS THE DOG'S BLOG
Is this my home? I can't remember if I ever lived anywhere else? Have memories of a vast expanse of water and a room of glass that was very warm.
Spent quite a lot of time in my blue kennel on wheels today. I decided not to ski or snowboard and have a rest as my thighs were burning after skiing on Saturday. Had a beer at yet another bar today and practised my French. I have new word, Cock. Is that French?
Sunday March 15th - Whooaaaaahhhh!
Big day at long last - up the Glacier de Seguret Foran, (after a wee bit of challenging descent off Roc Montagnolle, did this a few years ago when we did Combe de Riou) to the Dome de Monetier - then across to the Pic Dormillouse and Paveous before descening all the way back down coming into Montagnolle, and Vallon de Grand Tabuc - route map here
This is steep - first hike up Montagnolle to get to the ridge
Now zoomed in - you can just about make out Jurgen and his clients dropping in - very steep and exposed.
Saturday March 14th - Bellisimo!
And finally some tracks lower down
As I was with Jonatan we did not exactly stop for any breaks, think Elaine had briefed him to not allow me any stops, so legs were burning big time.
Can't say I skied any of it well, if I'd been on the board would have been a superb descent, quite a few face / head plants trying to get the skis to turn in the heavy powder / snow pack, did get better towards the end and I did get some compliments at my end of run report, probably more to get my mojo back!
We did beat Jurgen and his clients down, but think that had more to not stopping than any skill level on my side.........was totally trashed by the end.
And then the rugby, and Pooch, but you'll have to wait for that - but Pooch was in effect sin binned!
PS FROM ELAINE
Spent Sunday cleaning the apartment for our guests - Siggy, Emily and her boyfriend, Jonathan (no, a different Jonathan!). Went for long walk with Pooch up to the old Villeneuve which is amazingly untouched by civilisation. Baylis arrived back about 3.30pm, knackered at last! The others arrived half an hour later from Paris/Grenoble driven by Graham and Lilly. All went up to the Grotte for Happy Hour and the rugby before dinner back chez nous.
PPS THE DOG'S BLOG
In the blue dog house again! I was only barking because everyone else was shouting when England scored. Okay and also when France did. And, maybe, quite a bit in between. Next thing I know I am sin binned.
Beginning to learn some French - such as petit chien, bonjour, allez. I know quite a lot of English words - and sentences. Such as "do you want to go for a walk", "where's your sock?" and "did you just fart?".
I will be bilingual soon (trilingual if you count "dog").
Drove up to Montgenevre (40mins) for a change of scenery. Montgenevre is on the French / Italian border so you can ski across into Italy, Claviere is the resort on the Italian side. As we arrived around 09:30 the resort seemed to be rapidly filling up with half of Turin! Car parking in Montgenevre is limited in the center so that's why it seemed so busy, but once out on the slopes it was quite empty and as ever no real queues.
What was amazing was that there was still loads of untracked to be had in between the pistes and through the trees. I was again on skis and found all types of snow, by noon South facing slopes were very heavy.
Came back into Montegenevre for lunch (picnic) and check on the four legged beast. There were so many Italians, many many families enjoying the glorious weather, the difference between the French and Italians is so apparent, but I'll let Elaine detail that side of the fashionsita stakes!
To me they are on the whole so cool and just seem to want to enjoy life.
After a quick picnic is was back up and over to Italy and Claviere, again great conditions, though legs were begining to ache as I was skiing cement further down in the trees, in the end just stuck to the piste.
Just heard, that tomorrow I'm meant to be doing a very big ski tour, up and around the Dome De Monetier with Jonatan, so watch the weather change, and or anything else that can throw a spanner in the works - now getting all my kit together as this a big glacier hike!
PS FROM ELAINE
We were among fur trimmed hoods, Dolce sunglasses and endless streams of chatter - yes, it had to be Italy. Out skiing for 5 hours with just half an hour to have a picnic and play with Pooch. Really enjoyed the Dynastar Legend 4800 skiis from Per - they go anywhere, even after Baylis sometimes off piste. Also able to keep up with him more, that is if I can find him among the trees, valleys, powder and slush that he skis down...!
PPS THE DOG'S BLOG
Had my beauty sleep in the blue kennel on wheels while They went skiing. When They came back for lunch I decided that I would try - so I made He Who Torments Me carry me up a moving carpet.
And then we skied down...
It was sooo easy - and made me bark with joy. So I decided to go on the ski as well.
This was the best thing since sliced sausages. Or, as we say in the Canine World - it was the Man's Bollocks...
Friday March 13th - Ski & Surf, lie in for some.......
Let the "Bitches" have a lie in this morning whilst I went back up to Monetier for first lifts again, was surprisingly busy. Put the planks on and ventured forth to try and find some soft snow, but was still cold and there was quite a crust, evenentually found some nice snow on a reasonably steep north facing slope just of the Balme lift, if I'd been on a board, like yesterday would have been no problem but my skiing needs a lot of work, that saidno one else was going off down it. Found a whole mixture of snow with better conditions further down, where I'd be ripping on a boar I was skiing like a numpty but it gradually came together after one good face plant.
Then back up for more of the same, and this time keeping a better rythm and speed was a whole lot better. Back home for a breif "lunchette" and then back out on the board, which is the better option as from noon onwards sun softens the snow up.
Kept looking at a mini couloir and run that I'd done in the past with a guide (off the Col du Vent under the Yret chair) and mates but didn't have the bottle to do it on my own, but after seeing various people go down in and by this time was getting bored with some of the runs, and seeing some others go down it decided to do it, and the entry was not too bad, ending up laying some good tracks. Andy, Jes etc you'd remember it the face & couloirs by the chair with the large avalanche deflectors.
Tomorrow thinking of going to Montgenevre, so not going to commit to a plan, just in case!
PS FROM ELAINE
Had hoped that Baylis would be out with Jonatan today - but no such luck! Feel that he needs some Big Boys to play with. But, anyway, kept to my plan to take it easy this morning and go out at 12 when the slopes get really quiet. So when Baylis came back I went back out on the snowboard - and OMG so much better.
I eased off the Flow bindings and loosened the Boa (constrictors) lacing system and had much more movement. Flow bindings are amazing for getting in and out. Rode top to bottom of runs without stopping - only fell badly once thanks, ironically to a skier ambling across my (very fast) path. Stopped on my head and felt my brain jangle from one side of my skull to the other. Something to be said for wearing a helmet - even if it means having Helmet Hair!
PPS THE DOG'S BLOG
Finally got rid of He Who Torments Me early so She Who Mollycoddles Me and I could have a decent lie in.
Then we hit the slopes and I shredded some white stuff on my board - does that make me a Boarder Terrier?
Finally realised that I am on a dog spa retreat. I mean, I walk for 2 miles a day, run miles over the snow chasing, um, snow - and then have a sauna in the van while They are out skiing. I have to say I never svelte better...
NB I do have windows open, water and a cool area in the back, should I have enough of the sauna, and should the RSPCA/Health & Safety Brigade/Granny be reading this!
Thursday March 12th - This is more like it!
Another day getting almost the first chair up from Monetier, in the vain hope that yesterday they never opened the top section up after we left........but no they did, but only late in the afternoon, so there was still a fair amount of untracked about.
I was back riding the Shogun, having just had it serviced, first time in ages, riding my touring setup which is a very flexible alpine touring ski boot and hard boot bindings, I still think it works well, and no real difference between my flows and the soft boots I was using yesterday.
Today was way better, found some nice routes down through the trees with more confidence in route finding on my own, for those that know Serre I was mainly riding down from Balme and Cucumelle ending up in the trees above Frejus village.
Elaine did attempt to come with me, but the snow was a bit too heavy and deep for her little carver skis but all credit to her for trying. We took the radios so we could stay in contact, but that never really worked, but we managed to stay together, with her going back whilst I did one more.
Late afternoon went over to La Grave and met some friends and collected some touring skis for Elaine. Snow conditions are superb over there at the moment, was due to be skiing there tomorrow, but as ever, "Make a plan and watch God laugh" so now looking like it's Sunday.
Had dinner in the Edelweiss, staying sober, a rather unique feat, but the Gendarmes are really hot and it's zero tolerance.
So back home and wondering what to do tomorrow.............think I'll "Wait and See"
PS FROM ELAINE
Am I getting too old for snowboarding? It's not so much that I feel that I can't do it, more
the fact that every snowboarder on the mountain seems to be 18 years old - and a boy. I feel a
bit like an old pensioner in a skateboard park. And I am really enjoying skiing, which is a
bit of an old fart sign!
Went over to La Grave to see Per, Josephine and famille - and had a drink in really off piste ski guides bar then dinner in Eidelweiss.
You could count the number of women in both places on one hand. But, looking at the 50 or so knarly, baldy, unattractive (maybe Finnish) men having dinner at Eidelweiss, I can imagine their wives saying, "you want to go for a week in La Grave? Hell, why don't you stay a month. In fact, don't how about coming back next year".
PS THE DOG'S BLOG
OMG am I in the dog house? We went to this different bar, tonight. The first thing I noticed
was that my nose twitched like I had just whiffed a cupboard full of He Who Torments Me's socks and sweaty running stuff. Apparently we were in a bar full of ski guides. Then He Who Skis Huge Mountains arrived. The next thing I know, there is a mountain lion attacking my neck like I was moments from death. So I went for it with teeth and snarls in my best impersonation of a Really Fierce Don't Mess With Me Sort Of Dog.
Except it wasn't a mountain lion, it was He Who Skis Huge Mountains. And then He Who Skis Huge Mountains And Is Afraid Of Nothing wouldn't even stroke me. It all got very loud in the bar as it
was someone's birthday and I was sprayed with champagne like I was some Grand Prix winner. Which made me bark. A lot. Hence I ended up in the doghouse - (or rather the blue thing on wheels that we travel around in). I left lots of hairs all over the seat and the Missoni blanket in protest.
Hope it's not cold tomorrow.
Wednesday March 11th - Fecking windy!
Back in the UK we wait and hope for wind, so was with a huge touch of irony that we woke after a rough nights sleep (due to the adrenalin buzzing over what the day had in store) to a howling gale, and all that lovely powder being blown away.
Sort of knew last night sods law would prevail once I'd mounted the bindings on the 197 Gun!
We opted to drive to Monetier just a couple of miles up the valley, did consider Montgenevre, but was advised wind would be even stronger.
The Brits did well, managing to get on the third chair going up, one observation was that there were hardly any snowboarders ready at that time, think that's an age/hangover thing........though the Swedish Freerdiers were there in numbers!
I took the big Gun but was not the best move as the top lifts were shut due to the winds, so terrain was limited but first couple of runs had a fair amount of fresh, and then it was a case of riding the untracked on the side. We did set off together, but managed to loose Elaine after five minutes, thought I'd better make attempts to find her, though the trees were looking more appealing!
After an hour decided to switch back to skis, in an attempt to get to grips with soft/crud/ice/wind blown snow pack..........had a couple of tumbles, one being taken out by Elaine getting off a chair, wait to see her excuse on that later on!
We called it a day around 12:30 and came home for lunch, and chilled for a while. Then I opted for going out on my touring kit, as ankle bones were a bit sore from the downhill boots, and my AT boots are ok. That said, very much a case of fourth day aches setting in me thinks, might take it easier tomorrow, though maybe a quick skin up might be in order.............."Wait and See"
PS FROM ELAINE
Baylis pushed me off the chair to get me to speed up - and I fell taking him with me! I was boarding using flow bindings for the first time after about 10 years using Clickers. Flows are fab getting in and out of, but I rode like a muppet for the first run down. It felt as though my legs were encased in concrete. Second run was better and by then most of powder had been done so onto skis!
Remember the days when we used to start early, break for a hot chocolate, ski some more, have lunch, ski a bit more? Well, those were the days. Baylis tours means non-stop skiing for as long as I can keep up - a Coke is far too expensive let alone lunch. We might be "allowed" to go back to the van for a thermos of tea!
Feeling quite tired after non-stop boarding and skiing even though we finished at 12.30. Knee is a little sore! (Also thighs, calves, etc).
PPS THE DOG'S BLOG
I had a very active day, too. Caught two flies, chilled in the apartment, evidently went to Monetier and then walked to the pub. Apartment is aparently now home - seems very nice except for the first three flights of steps which are made of sharp squares of metal. Like a cheese grater. And I am the cheese. Mostly I wait hopefully to be carried.
Had a long sleep in the van waiting for He Who Torments Me and She Who Mollycoddles Me. I had an ashtray (thankfully clean) with water and a tartan blanket. She Who Mollycoddles Me said that the blanket was Missoni and too good for a dog.
Lucky for me she thinks that I am her baby....
Though on a more serious note - click here
Tuesday March 10th - It's snowing
Another chilled out morning, almost getting into a routine already. Walked up to the Grotte to check email and do some "work"..........honest!
Amusing conversation going on next to me about the weather outlook for the day, as to whether it would cloud over some more, get cold, snow etc etc the main issue of concern was would they be able to play........took me a while to realise they were the local band due to play oustide at one of the mountain restaurants up top!
Then stopped off at the The Ride Doctor the guy who's servicing a couple of boards, he does make some truly beautiful skis, decided to pick the boards up in the morning tomorrow, that now might be a wrong call!
Back home and then we went up to Monetier in the van. although the car park was busy the pistes were empty, as ever up there. Light snow and very cold up top, the weather slowly closing in and by the time we left viz was getting awkward.
Back in Villeneuve, and snow getting heavier all the time. Had to but some more touring poles as my old ones have given up adjusting and are nigh on impossible to lock into place.
So was expecting some friends to come over for dinner tonight from La Grave, but have just had a couple of phone calls and as the weather is so bad up top they will probably shut the Col later which means they will be unable to get back to La Grave, and that's not want they want to be stuck on this side of the mountain with their clients on the other side on hopefully, what will be a big powder day!
So happy hour in the Grotte continues, even though it's past 17:00, but the rule is that when it snows, it's happy hour!
PS FROM ELAINE
How do you spell "criticism"? It's spelt BOLLOCKS. Filming didn't really work due to technical reasons and fact that I didn't take any footage of Gavin as forgot to press button. But today Gavin actually "listened" when I said critism should be constructive not destructive. Guess he left his earplugs at home, too.
So we had good day - and can now go straight down the fall line on reds without, um, falling. It has been snowing since about midday so we came off mountain about 2.30 when it was a white out. Looking forward to 2morrow. To snowboard or to ski? Hmmm...
PPS FROM LA WOOF - A DOG'S BLOG
Sitting at the bar. Again! But everyone seems to think I am some sort of celebrity. Well,
they keep clapping when they see me. (Don't know why they then laugh!)
This white stuff is now coming down from the sky - it gets in my eyes and makes me squint like Leonardo di Caprio. Then He Who Toments Me throws a white ball of white stuff into a whole load of white stuff - and expects me to find it!
I'm just going to pee in his beer and see if HE can find THAT..
Late edit: Stopped off at The Ride Doctor to collect the boards, have now switched bindings to The 197 Powder Gun - now the snow will stop!
The Gun up against the 169 Shogun.......
Monday March 9th
Chilling, as it was windy earlier on took our time this morning..........I went to work around 08:30 and did around an hour and half in the Grotte using their WIFI, so earned some cash as one of my web clients needed some stuff doing.....so can't complain!
Loads of the team working here all come from Brighton & Worthing!!
Then we went into Briancon, (the large city down the road) do get some more wine and provisions. So more humping of goods back up to the apartment!
Eventually hot the slopes around 12:30 - always good, because the French always stop for lunch for at least two hours. Very windy and cold up top, in fact did not really have the right kit, as at the moment taking advantage of not skiing with back pack etc .
Wanted to video Elaine anyway (for some destructive criticism later), so did some of that, Elaine kindly filmed me, but only once back down did she realise that apart from turning the camera on you actually have to press the record button!
PS FROM ELAINE
Gavin just asked how to spell criticism. Now I know why! Oh, just can't wait for the destructive criticism! Slopes are quieter today, but looking forward to snow forecast for Wednesdsay - then can use snowboard which is have well necessary waxing after about 3 years...Soooo,, after such a hard day at the office now sititng at the Grotte having a vin chaud with Pooch barkibng at the band again!
PPS FROM LA WOOF
In a bar with lots of noise - and clapping! Which is why I have to bark. The owner came up with two halves of a baguette and put me in the middle! Quelle nerve. Life's a bitch - well, actually it is all the time for me.