Friday, 28 February 2014

Friday staff day off

It's staff day off and again it's snowing.   Yesterday we had a brilliant day.  We had had some fresh snow so skied some of our favourite off piste places.   We didn't go up Mont Joli as  we were told it was windy though the snow looked good.  Instead, we skied down to Chatterix and caught the bus.   Noone had skied the fields and they were fantastic.
Today we had about another foot of snow.  This time we decided to ski the Emila Allais down to the Chattaz bus.  It was quite tricky as the track is narrow and with large moguls under the new snow.   But the fields down  to the bus were good.   We then went up Jaillet and decided to try and find a way to ski from Combloux to the Princess lift.   We got down but it did involve rather a lot of walking down the road carrying our skis.  Having done it once I thought that was it but John insists that he now knows the way we should have gone so next snowfall here we come - it'll probably be tomorrow as it's snowing now.  Anyway, here is a picture of the first primrose, I think I shall call it the premature primrose, in the snow this morning.  And here is  clip of Gordon skiing without poles down the field towards the Princess lift.

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

First primroses in #Megeve

Elizabeth will be cross with me for mentioning primroses and skiing leaf mould (which we did yesterday) but this is my blog.  Anyway, as we walk to the Chamois lift we pass alongside a building and the first primroses always appear there.  It must be a sun trap. And I have just spotted the first ones for this year.   They are tiny and incredibly hardy. They keep going even when the temperature is freezing and they are covered in snow.   It is snowing as I write but once it stops and the sun has come out they will be there - and we will be skiing the powder!

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Tuesday - Jaillet

We were on the 8.50 bus to Jaillet and straight up the lift.  We skied the pistes on Christomet and this is a view of the blue piste from the top looking towards Mont Blanc. Although it was a lovely day the pistes were not crowded, as you can see. I suggested that we tried the off piste run down the front of Jaillet which takes us down to the bus.   The first part was cut up and not a lot of fun but we found powder through the trees and the last field was virtually spring snow.   It was well worth doing.  Gordon had left his ski poles at home as he is nursing his left hand.  He hit it about 3 weeks ago on a tree stump (I didn't see what happened to that) and thinks that he has cracked a bone.  Skiing has not helped it so the last few days he has been resting it.   It didn't seem to stop him skiing the off piste perfectly.

We caught the bus which was going towards Chattaz (half way to Praz).   Usually it goes along the back roads to Chattaz and  comes back along the Route National.  This time the driver came back along the route he had driven out.   When we got off we asked him if the route had changed and he said it was the first time he had done it!     I hope there were not too many people left stranded as that bus only runs every hour.

Monday, 24 February 2014

Monday sunshine

I skied by myself again this morning as John had a date (details to be disclosed later).  I was on the first lift again thanks to the nice liftie who waves me though before opening the door to the hoi polloi.  I skied the Grand and Petit Epaule ridge down to Chatterix and then came up and found some lovely powder off the side of the ridge so I did it again.  I came home though the forest off Etudiant.  At the bus stop on the road another skier asked me if I had skied from Mont Joli.   He had and he said the snow was hard and crusty at the top so I was glad I hadn't bothered to go up there.  I decided to ski home via the Rochebrune ridge and John rang me to say he was free so he came and joined me for the afternoon.  This is a photo of the Petit Fontaine piste today
in the French holidays.  Even in high season  #Megeve is not crowded.            

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Sunday sunshine

John was doing a transfer so I skied by myself.  I was on the first Chamois lift and Rocharbois and then straight up Mont D'Arbois.  I met an acquaintance on the lift but he was off to Mont Joly.  We had skied that yesterday and though there had been fresh snow it was a bit crusty underneath and I didn't think it was worth it.  Instead I found some powder off the sides of the Epaule ridge.  Although it was Sunday and French holidays there were a few queues but only about a 5 minutes wait.
Yesterday we had some friends for dinner.  I had cooked a Moroccan chicken dish which turned out to be such a hit that there was nothing left over for the next day!  And I thought I had cooked too much.  

Friday, 21 February 2014


It's staff day off and it's snowing again.  That's Fridays for you.   I went out for a couple of hours today along the Rochebrune ridge to Cote 2000.   I had a good ski  but the joy of being here all season is that you don't have to stay out all day because you're only here for a few days.   Yesterday was a lovely day but I went to London for a meeting, getting up at 6am and reaching home just after midnight.  It was a long day.
Skiing is an odd business.  Last Friday Gordon, John and I went out.  It was snowing ( again, but it was Friday)  and blowing and none of us felt motivated to ski so we decided to come home.  Three hours later we eventually made it back!   The trouble was that we found some rather nice bits of powder which just had to be skied, and the more we looked the more we found.  So all in all we had a lovely morning, but unexpectedly so.   It's always worth going out because some of the most unpromising days can be the most fun.
As I write it's still snowing and forecast to do so all day.  Should be good tomorrow in #Megeve.  Why not come out to Megeve and see if my prediction for snow on Fridays holds good?

Monday, 17 February 2014

Mont Joli #Megeve

Probably the best day of the season.  We woke up to blue sky and fresh snow, what a combination.  Gordon, John and I skied off the back of the Epaule lift, then came back up and went over to Mont Joli.  We skied this three times  and then traversed across the top to the ridge on the right of the chair.  I haven't done this in years as it is a high exposed traverse above a band of rocks.  It is also avalanche prone so one has to be sure that the snow is stable before going across.   We had looked carefully at the other skiers skiing on that slope before venturing across. The likelihood is that this is the one day of the season when it is safe enough to ski it.  Even so, my knees were shaking by the time I got onto the ridge.   But wasn't it worth it!
The following video gives some idea of the conditions and the view.  On the last part Gordon is videoing John and me skiing down the bottom part of the ridge.   You can see the summit of Mont Joli in the background and the traverse.   After that, there is a section through the trees and then a superb couple of fields down to the piste du fond track.  We had to pole along that and walk uphill carrying our skis for a couple of short sections but it was worth it.  We got the bus back to Mont D'Arbois and then went up the Etudiant lift and skied home through the forest and eventually down the Calvaire to town.   We ended up in the St Paul Bar!  What a day.  Come and see for yourselves.

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Wild life in #Megeve

No, that's not the old man!  We were skiing off piste by the black Princess piste when John saw an ermine disappearing under a fir tree.   It poked its head out to check if we were still there.  John was lucky enough to get these pics.

As you can see it was in its winter coat, with a black tip to its tail.  About 3 years ago I was walking on the path from the Javen restaurant at Rochebrune and stopped on the bridge to look at the stream.  A stoat appeared in its summer coat, and then another.  They wanted to cross the stream but I was on the bridge, and though they tried to cross on the rocks, couldn't.  Eventually one of them, probably the male, ran across inches from my heels.  The other stayed on her side of the stream.   I then walked round the corner and saw a black squirrel. So you never know what you are going to find when you go skiing.
Anyway, we had a brilliant morning.  As it was snowing I got the old man onto the first lift at 8.45am.  We were the first down the red Princess piste.  We skied the black Princess, Bridans and Voltigeurs though we were not the first down.  They had not been pisted so were huge fun.  We then decided to try the off piste.  Yesterday there was no off piste as the foehn wind was blowing and it turned warm, so we thought the off piste today would be crusty underneath the fresh snow.  How wrong we were!   We were the only ones skiing it though the pistes were busy as it is the start of the French holidays and the English half term.    Eventually we got home about 2.15p.m, having skied non stop (apart form the lifts).  Not bad for OAPS.  

We took a video but we can't get it to work.  Perhaps tomorrow. As you can see the snow is good but not the visibility.

Friday, 14 February 2014

Dreaming of #Sochi? Try #Megeve instead!

#Megève has the image of style and sophistication but is perhaps not best known for  it’s slopestyle creds!  But did you know that Megève has five snowparks complete with rails and jumps for practicing your slopestyle moves?  One is set up for ski/boarder cross so skiers can get going at speed over those rollers!  Then there are the airbags at Rochebrune and Mont d’Arbois.  Just right for perfecting twizzles and twists before trying it on the mogul slopes?!  Fancy trying your hand at cross-country instead?  Megeve has a dedicated cross-country centre at Le Livraz and wonderfully quiet cross-country pistes.  You can even try the Biathlon as the Megève ESF is one of the few French ski schools to have it’s own shooting range.  Then you can practice your figure skating at the large indoor ice skating rink, catch an ice hockey match or even try your hand at curling!  If your taste runs more to spectator sports then why not watch the French Mogul ski Cup on 5th March and see how it’s done properly!  A real Olympic experience! 

Megève has a charming medieval pedestrianised centre with bars, boutiques, a jazz club and casino.  There are no mass-market operators because the hotels are small and individual and simply can’t accommodate hordes of guests. The ski area is huge and varied with something for everyone from long pistes through the trees to quiet beginner slopes with great views of Mont Blanc.

Stanford Skiing is offering half price lift passes for any catered chalet or self-catered apartment for short ski breaks, ski weekends and whole week stays from 16th March to 5th April.  W/c 30th March we are also offering 50% off children’s ski and boot hire! 

It keeps snowing out there and there's lots of it so grab this opportunity for a fab March break.


Thursday, 13 February 2014

#Megeve Fashion

Fresh snow again this morning and snowing.  I was on the first bubble from Mont D'Arbois and first down the red Princess.   I did that three times as there was a very nice strip of powder down the side which had to be skied.  I did  the blue Princess and Mon Rosset piste  and then went home as the wind had got up and the snow was blowing.
 So, as it's London Fashion Week I thought you needed my views on Megeve fashion on the slopes.   For men the in colours are garish, orange or bright blue trousers, yellow or lime green jackets.   At least there is no chance of losing them in the cloud.  Women are wearing camouflage: white.   I find it very difficult to understand the attraction of white for ski clothes unless you want to be lost in a snow drift.   I wear black which doesn't show the dirt!  The down side of black is that I can never see Gordon amongst the trees.  He has to put an orange cover over his rucksack so I can pick him out.  John has a red jacket so he is much easier to see.   I think I need to persuade both of them to buy a lime green jacket.  Small chance of that!
Anyway, next week is the start of the French holidays so lots of fur coats in town.  That's on the ladies not the lap dogs.

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

skiing 10 - Navigation 0

Fresh snow again so we have no option but to be out there.  Straight up the Chamois, then the Caboche and the Alpette chair to ski the Emil Allais from top to bottom (the bus stop at Chattaz).   We got the last field slightly wrong as we went too far  right and ended up skiing down the road - not a good idea.  John got to the bus just as it was setting off but the bus driver waited for me.   It would have been an hour's wait for the next one. Then to Jaillet and two quick runs under the Christomet chair and then up again to ski through the trees and down to the road.   Again we went too far right and ended up scrambling down; there was a particularly tricky ravine.   We came out by the husky dog track and the last field was lovely.  So back up again as we don't like to be beaten but this time we decided to ski straight down the face.   However, we went too far left ( navigation was not our strong point today)  and got back to the piste so had to dive back into the trees again.  The last field had not been skied so was great fun, but just getting a bit heavy.  But that really makes you work hard.  And now the sun is shining.  What a way to spend one's retirement!

Monday, 10 February 2014

John's birthday - part 2

  Yesterday evening 6 of us (Gordon, Carol, Jonny and Tracey) went to  M le Bistro.  It is the restaurant for the 5 star hotel near the St Georges, which used to be Le Manege but now calls itself M de Megeve.     We went to the opening ( all of #Megeve was there and anyone could have walked in and probably did) so we had a snoop round then.   There is a small swimming pool which has no natural light - probably OK for now but not sure about the summer- and about 3 spa rooms.  It has a nice bar area and open fire.  The bistro was excellent and about the same price as the Prieure though the wines were very pricey.  We all agreed we'd go there again.  They  also have a gastronomic restaurant at twice the price.
I skied for a little this morning but have hurt my hand and holding the ski pole was painful so came back early.   Rather a pity as the snow was lovely and noone much around.  A good time to be in   Megeve before the start of the holidays.

Sunday, 9 February 2014

John's birthday

It was snowing and no visibility as we caught the 8.50 bus to Jaillet. At the top it was still snowing but horizontally.  We discussed going down in the bubble or braving the elements and skiing down and the latter won.   The blue piste was so nice that we decided to go up again but this time we skied down to Combloux.  Coming up the Pertuis chair  was no fun:  a strong wind and a blizzard so we said we'd call  it a day and go home.  We skied off piste to the bottom and the snow was lovely, but it was getting out of the wind which was the main thing.   About half an hour after we got back the sun came out and I'm now looking at blue sky.  How wrong can you be!  So the moral of the story is that we should have had a lie in and gone out at elevenses!   Oh well, John is now investigating a plumbing problem and I'm reading the paper.
It should be good tomorrow but in the meantime this is a view from our balcony in Megeve.

Saturday, 8 February 2014

Snow again in #Megeve

We did not ski yesterday but had a day off, doing more things to the apartment.  I have now finished most of the varnishing though I noticed today that the shelves in our wardrobe are pine and need a coat or two.   It's always the way when you think everything is done.  Anyway, last evening we went to friends in St Gervais for another musical evening.  Three people chose music that have influenced them, or have happy memories.  John waxed lyrical about lying on a girl friend's bed (no hanky panky so he said) listening to a particular song and talking about the meaning of life - which you do at the age of 17.  He has grown up since, though as he spent the drive back home singing "Poor Judd is dead" from Oklahoma I'm not sure.  I was the only sober one but then I was driving.  It had been snowing heavily on the drive down but had stopped when I drove home but the roads were treacherous.  You will be pleased to know that by breakfast time this morning he had remembered all the words to the song and sang it to Carol and Gordon after lunch.
Back to the skiing.   We had a fantastic morning with fresh snow, though some off piste slopes were affected by wind.  This is a picture of Gordon skiing with me standing at the top.  I had just dug myself out of a snow hole so was feeling tired.
This pitch takes you down to the road where there is usually a bus.  However, we discovered earlier in the season that the bus service does not start running until tomorrow.  So Carol very kindly came and picked us up and we then went to a tiny restaurant on the road up to Chatterix.  As I look out of the window it is snowing  again so we may be celebrating John's birthday tomorrow with a powder day.  Wish you were here!

Thursday, 6 February 2014

#Megeve powder

Fresh snow again today.  John and I caught the early bus to Mont D'Arbois to be first up the lift (we weren't).  We started by skiing off piste down to the Princess lift - see video above. 

Mont Joli was open so we skied that twice although it was terribly windy at the top.  It was fine when you got about halfway down.    I was surprised it was open because of the wind.   The third time we skied off the back down to the Porcherry restaurant.   We saw three ESI ski instructors go down so reckoned it was safe.  The snow was fantastic.  After that we felt we'd earned lunch at the Gouet - crout de gouet of course!  In the afternoon it clouded over and looks like more snow.
It's good to be back in  #Megeve again.   

Monday, 3 February 2014

Fluffy, Deep, Powder #Snow in #Megeve!

40cm of fresh snow fell Saturday night in Megeve so Sunday was a powder day.  

We even managed to get up early (for us) and made it onto the 9:00am bus up to Mont d'Arbois.  Gordon, of course was still ahead of us on the 8:40 bus.  Never mind.  We did a run down the black Princesse to warm up - I was very warm by the bottom having mis-judged an off-piste field and had to walk back up to the piste!  Oh well, you live and learn.  Then on to the Princesse field - John became rather friendly with the stream bed, not a good place to take a tumble.  We all had a few spills though.  I did a very elegant rolly polly on the Mont Rosset field.  Great fun.  The visibility wasn't good but as long as you kept in the trees it was fine.  I haven't got any pics of Sunday as it wasn't really photo taking weather but there's a few of the day before which was beautiful!  Lunch at the Alpage and then back to the chalet and picked up the transfer back for the UK.  Home in Norwich by 8:30pm.  A great weekend.  If you fancy a short ski break or ski weekend, we have plenty of availability in late Feb or March and conditions are excellent. 

The ski trialling is continuing apace.  Having not been very happy with the Scott Maya's, I tried the Atomic Cloud 8's on Saturday which I enjoyed.  Much more zippy out of the turns than the Scotts on piste and off-piste they were good too. Mind you it might have been helped by being told how to ski them i.e. get on your edges!  On Sunday I tried some Volkl Kenja's which I also really enjoyed.  The problem is that the conditions were so different on the Sunday that it was quite difficult to compare.  The Volkl's were a nicer colour though!  I shall reach a firm decision when I'm back out at the beginning of April.  After 14 years, I am definitely due a new pair.  Many thanks to Ski Concept though for letting me trial the skis.  Much appreciated.