31st Jan 2013 Grand Montets
The last day of the month and what a month it has been, Last night we had about 30 cm of powder fall so we had an early start and hit Grand Montets to get first bins.
The Strong wind slowed down the lifts today and when we finally made it to the top Of Grandmontes the strong wind had blown most of the powder away.
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29th Jan 2013
A slower start to this morning after a great powder day yesterday we gather a group and go chase some pillow lines. We head into some of Chamonix tree lines and scout about looking for fun features to play with.
here are some snaps from today’s little mission.
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28th Jan 2013
the Snow Packed in overnight, We woke blessed with yet another powder day. How good does life get. Today we head for Grand Montets.
The Bochard was open so we managed to get a few lines down before getting in line for top ticket. Taking us to 3275 we had a top to bottom run of Grand Montets. The Snow was great blower powder down the front face as we moved into the trees before hitting the peirre a ric piste to the car park almost 2000m vertical drop
We then moved location to Flegere where the snow was not as good but still had some fun within the Floria section.
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With global weather becoming more and more unpredictable, even Montreal ended up with good powder conditions over the festive season.
Seb Toots took full advantage of record snow in the city by creating his very own urban line. Starting at the top of Mt. Royal, a park located not far from the heart of the city, and ending up on the streets below.
Seb is better known for his contest antics, throwing crazy double corks on icy kickers and spends most of his time traveling the globe. But when your hometown throws conditions like this at you, you have to make the most of it.
Filmed over two days by Mathieu Cowan this run has it all rails, kickers, gaps, powder and even a cliff drop. With runs like this in your hometown who needs to travel!
For more snowboarding madness, go to EpicTV.com
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Ten days since I last posted? A big no-no in blog land, I’m told, but I’ve been busy in Munich at the annual ISPO tradeshow wankathon doing ‘work’. I got back yesterday and it was straight up the mountain today to check it out. So apologies, but it’s been worth the wait. For you and for me. Why?
Well, in nearly ten years living in the mountains, it’s not been better than it is now. The snow is perfect – light and dry, cold and fluffy, thick and smokey, easy to spray up; and it just keeps piling up, storm after storm.
This last stormcircuit saw a weird snowfall pattern, with more snow lower down. I cleared 40cm off my driveway and Argentiere only saw 10cm or so. Looks like anyone skiing Grands Montets was disappointed with the thin fresh layer, which schralped out soon. Today, Brévent was the place to be. And we weren’t alone; I took a run with ex freeride world champ and all-round Scandi ski warrior Ane Enderud which was humbling and sick; a bunch of the Perfect Moment guys were up there going huge, and there were smiling locals with snow in their hair everywhere, with snow packed in open pockets and clogging up collars.
I didn’t even bother straying over to the Cornu chair, although I hear it was off the charts over there; we sent overhead pow run after overhead pow run down the demilune, l’ENSA couloir, Pass Payot, everywhere. Had a bit of a wait for a guide to rap his clients into the ENSA, but once they were done it was sideslip-of-death to heel-hop-sharp-board-eating-rock to massive-overhead-pow-up-the-sides-mania.
So, if you’re wondering what the snow is like in Chamonix right now, hopefully that answers your question. It’s all-time.
A two footed platform
Aim to push both skis into the snow when intitiating your turns, this will provide you with a two footed platform of pressure through your turns. It’s important to change your edges similtaneously and not sequentialy.
Make smooth shaped turns
Go for smooth, fluid movements, this will encourage smooth shaped turns. Any abrupt movements or turns will have an abrupt effect on your balance. Smooth turns and a good rhythm are essential for a fluid powder skiing run.
Push the heels downwards
Not to be confused with learning back! In deep snow we should push the heels downwards a little to keep the ski tips up. This will stop the feeling of the ski tips wanting to dive deep into the snow which is oftern proceded with the classic forward face plant.
Remember to pole plant
Smooth co-ordinated pole plants are very important. This will help you to build fluidity and rhythm into your run. The pole plant also helps for commiting to the turn and helps move your body forwards and in the direction of the turn.
Hope you enjoy the ski tips and all that great powder!
Last week an old friend sent me a mail requesting availability at Ski Breezy. He was quite excited, not having skied for some 20 years and having just ?¢‚Ç¨?ìinvested in?¢‚Ç¨¬ù skis, boots and poles. I read on with a slight premonition that there was going to be a twist. As an old friend was he after a cheap deal? No. Maybe he was going to suggest getting the old rugby team together to go skiing too? No. Then I found it, right at the bottom of the email, it read ?¢‚Ç¨?ìPS the skis are Elan and poles Scott got them from the charity shop I now work in for ?Ç¬£10 – do you think this is a bargain??¢‚Ç¨¬ù
So do you think it is a bargain?
I did not reply for 2 days. Call me a chicken if you like but I felt that I had to ponder my response and come up with a plan. After all, a simple No may cause offence. I had to find a way of saying No in a positive and constructive way.
What would you have said?
After careful consideration and research I did write a reply and it went something like this.
?Ç¬£10 Bargain!!! I assume that the boots fit and the poles are the right length. Having your own boots that are comfortable and fit well is always good. If you can use the side of the skis as an architect?¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s ruler then you probably don’t want to bring them. Skis have moved on a lot in the last few years and modern ones are so much easier to use. Plus there is an economy thing too. Basically with airlines like Easyjet charging ?Ç¬£18-50 each way for a pair of skis, then a return flight is gonna be ?Ç¬£37 extra with your own skis. Unless they are brand new then servicing (wax and edging) is gonna be another ?Ç¬£25. Put that little lot together ?Ç¬£62 and you can hire a set suitable for intermediates in resort for the week including poles. Advantages are that they will already be serviced, they will be modern waisted skis, you don’t have to carry them to and from an airport, don’t need a ski bag and don’t even have to bring poles either, if you only do a week a year you get to ski on new skis without the purchase, you don’t need to store them the rest of the year and lastly if you scrape a rock you don’t have to get them repaired. Plus, if you use Chamonix Ski then they will deliver and fit skis, and boots if you want at the Chalet. That way the ski shop comes to you so you don?¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢t have to queue up for a couple of hours on your first morning and if it dumps a load of powder when you are in Chamonix then just change them for something wider.
So, do you think I will see my friend this season?
This month has been absolutely amazing we haven?¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢t been more than 4 days without a decent slab of snow suddenly falling upon the wonderful valley of Chamonix, which has kept both seasonaires and holiday makers alike with big powder filled smiles all day long! There has been so much to do over the past few weeks, a lot of the tours have now been possible and many lower off piste routes that descend to valley floor have become possible with around a 2 metre base on the lower slopes and almost a crazy 4 metres on the higher ones! It has been impossible for me to take a day off over the past month as there has just been so much snow that if you miss a day, you?¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢re guaranteed to have someone come up to you and tell you just how amazing their day was, and I would be very jealous, so seen as jealousy is a sin I have been up every day! The only reason I have had time to write this now is because I?¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢ve just pinged my knee after a 20ft cliff drop to a flat landing spelling the end of my day today, which may possibly call for a day of rest tomorrow, which I wont mind as long as its snowing heavy so I can have an awesome day after that!
Before my accident today I have been getting right back in to the touring which has become possible after the snow stabilizing a lot more than the previous month with a massive cold front that created a very unstable layer in the snow pack which has now dissipated in most areas, although the risk of avalanche can always remain. One of my favourite tours in the valley starts at the very top of Flegere where you climb over the ridge in to a sweet north face 1000m decent followed by a bit more walking up to col du Burrard which descends to the village of Buet where you can catch a train back to wherever you stay in the valley. There are some amazing views along the way and you will be guaranteed at least some fresh along the way! If you are in snow shoes doing this tour make sure you have a decent pair for this as a mate of mine found that along the walk which can be a long traversing one, that if you don?¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢t have the right ones it can be quit easy to fall off the track spelling a long dig yourself out process!
Well its actually snowing at the moment so if you are planning a trip over don?¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢t worry be cool there is plenty on the way and I can feel it in my recently injured knee that there will be plenty more to follow!
Some amazing powder days have been had here in Chamonix over the past week temperatures have been kept low and all the precipitation that has come through the valley has fallen as snow and there has been a lot of that stuff! We are currently in the process of living the dream right now with chilled out January slopes and what has turned out to be an amazing start to the season with the powder we cant stop riding the fluffy white goodness!
A lot of the lower off piste areas have now become much more accessible and feasible to endure, with a lot more snow filling in the rocks and tree stumps which had previously persisted and cut nice big holes in to our boards or skis in December! Most people have been looking out for trees to ride to get some definition over the slopes, and most have continued to stay at altitude where they believe its snow sure, I have been doing the opposite riding the many more trees, big wide open gulley?¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s, and quick thinking tight tree runs down to town, which have been deserted and I have managed to get line after line of the freshest most loveliest powder the good lord has blesses upon our amazing little corner of this tiny little globe!
Although quit dangerous and can be very avalanche prone, the gulley?¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢s that spread off the Brevent area can be truly amazing and are not often done due to their high avalanche risk, so some prior knowledge of the conditions, the equipment needed and how to use it is very essential, and if you don?¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢t know, don?¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢t go! I?¢‚Ç¨‚Ñ¢m not going to tell you how to access them as I would quit like to keep them a secret but you are welcome as everyone else is to explore the area and work out for yourselves how to go about it, getting some locals and guides knowledge will be very helpful if you wish to attain some of these perfect powder tree lines! We spent the day hitting the same lines still scoring freshies line after line and the views where amazing as we where just sitting underneath the cloud and the view of Chamonix was all that we could see below. The powder was bottomless so we where jumping and flying off things as fast and as high as we could! After we felt we had enough we headed back in to town to get ourselves a bit of Apres Ski down at Monkey bar!Scroll to top
Chamonix is seeing some crazy amounts of snow falling up high especially but the freezing level has been up and down more than I have been up and down the many lifts in this glorious valley! It has unfortunatly meant that a fair bit of rain has been falling below 2000m but with some of the highest lifts in Europe operating in Chamonix its pretty easy to get in to the snow line and find some fresh powder snow! The freezing level is comming down lower and lower and this morning it was Snowing heavy with chunks around the size of a small child’s fist laying down a blanket of snow for us all to have fun in! however this afternoon that has changed back to rain, and up the hill it never stopped snowing!
I was up Brevent today as I heard the ques in Grand Montets where crazy, due to the festive season and many people trying to get their own freshies, added with the ridicoulous amounts of snow falling up high, changing temperatures and high winds which have made for a very avalanche prone time for Chamonix, thus the lifts will not open for the safety of the people riding. It was a similar story up at Brevent, not so much que’s to get up initially but with only one chair lift open there was a good 20 minute que for each decent! The snow was amazing though, and some of the deepest I have ever seen, I am not telling a fib when I say this but I actually fell in to a patch up to my shoulders! So it was pretty much necessary to find the steeper slopes and ride fast in order to stay on top of the bottomless powder! I hung around for a good few runs untill I got annoyed at the queing procedures, hitting some of the many drops available in to nice fluffy powder pillows, and scoring some sick fresh lines, before comming back down to tell you guys how good it is up there, followed by getting ready for a really good party tonight celibrating New Years in true Chamonix style!Scroll to top
The past week has seen the big change from little fluffs of snow flowing through the valley to massive winter style dumps, spelling the end of Autumn and the begining of the thing we have all been waiting for WINTER! temprature dropped to a massive low of -22 degrees making for some very nice snow up the hill when the percipitation entered Chamonix, and so it has been over the past few days dumping huge amounts of fresh snow on the lower and upper slopes alike, meaning that all the Lifts in Cham are now open.
Ive been getting around as many of the resorts in the Chamonix valley as possible the past few days and I can tell you that there is a lot of weather fighting its way through with very strong winds up high but only affecting some mountains meaning that sometimes we may have Flegere closed because of high wind but Grand Montets open and with realtivley calm weather. So if your over at any point its a good idea to check wind direction before you head out as Chamonix will benifit from being able to shelter from one wind direction as we have slopes pointing in all directions!
The past couple of days Brevent has been tugging at my soul, normally a small but quiet hill on a powder day as most will head for the biggest mountain Grand Montets, so heading against the tide I tried my luck at scoring some freshies for the day there. The hill was fairly empty and we were able to get fresh tracks all day sesioning 3 main faces on the mountain, the biggest and probably the best accesible from the top gondola then straying off the Bozon piste where there where many rocks to drop and some really heavy snow up to waist level making the steeper slopes feel much more enjoyable! We also headed over to either side of the Cornu lift but there where a lot more people with the same idea and with slopes not as steep in these areas it was hard to get going in the vast amounts of snow, so back to the top gondola it was where we spent the rest of the day getting fresh line after fresh line!
The whole town is in full swing now, Christmas is just around the corner and there are many festive events going on in the bars around town, the snow is still falling and although tempratures have risen above there near Baltic levels the town is still sitting on top of the freezing level so all is good for a bit of riding in what looks like a very good start to this winter season!
Courmayeur is on the unlimited ski pass again this year with free shuttle busses running from the 19th December or cheap tickets to pass through the Tunnel du Mont Blanc, purchasable from the Montenvers train cash desk. With a fair bit of rain early on this week at lower altitude it?É¬¢?¢‚Äö¬¨?¢‚Äû¬¢s a good time to see just what the weather is doing over the hill in Italy and you can usually be surprised, especially early on in the season that there is a lot more snow not 30 minutes out of Chamonix and on the ski pass!
The snowline in Courmayeur was much further down than in Chamonix, it was a lot colder and the pistes where in much better condition with a good base of snow sitting on them. There are 5 lifts open at the moment but as this weather system is pushing through they are opening more over the course of this week, and should see all the lifts in Courmayeur open before the end of the week. Courmayeur is a secret little spot for those who like the powder without tracks on them or a mad rush to get the best lines! There are many tree runs and long descents, and with most visitors who come to Courmayeur loving the piste over the off piste it really is one of the best places on the Chamonix lift pass to score some fresh tracks! We were hitting line after line of fresh pow directly underneath the lift, jumping off nice floaty rock drops with steep landings and endless pillows of powder to soften our falls, we couldn?É¬¢?¢‚Äö¬¨?¢‚Äû¬¢t understand why no one rides of the track here but hey who cares when we are having our fill of powder! When you come over here you just have to visit Courmayeur and sample some of the local delicacies such as fine coffee and pizza at surprisingly reasonable prices!
Over all here the snow situation has not been as good a start to the season as last year but with such an amazing season last year comparing anything else to it is just plain silly, there is enough snow to ride and the pistes are well filled in and there is even enough to venture of piste a wee bit and if you?É¬¢?¢‚Äö¬¨?¢‚Äû¬¢re feeling daring enough to jump off a few rocks! There has been a few dumps of snow and the last significant one has settled in the valley with temperatures staying below freezing and a new weather system beginning to push through, so it looks like we could be in for a good few weeks of powder and fully open Chamonix over the Christmas and New Year period, if you haven?É¬¢?¢‚Äö¬¨?¢‚Äû¬¢t booked your stay over here yet I would seriously recommend the act of doing so in the very near future!Scroll to top
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