Sunday, 28 February 2016


Today was clear but grey skies.  We decided to take the bus to Jaillet and ski Christomet and Giettaz.  Usually we tend to ski the Combloux side and Christomet on our way home from Giettaz. But today we skied the red and black runs on Christomet before heading over to Giettaz.  We skied the red run Boenet (it is the run going back to Giettaz from the ridge home) which was beautiful corduroy, so we went up and did it again.  The sun had come out and the views were impressive, though there was cloud over Chamonix.  The drawback is that you have to go right down to the bottom and endure the two slow chairs. We then skied the two red runs at the top.  By that time we had got cold (I think it is sitting on the cold chair lifts) and headed home.  There were surprisingly few people around considering it was a Sunday and still French holidays, but perhaps we just chose the least busy part of the mountain.

Above is a picture at the top of Giettaz taken when we were skiing with Chris Gill last week.  Chris is the editor of "Where to ski & Snowboard".  Here is a link to his blog:

Saturday, 27 February 2016


I have failed to blog for a few days for which I apologise.  The weather has been patchy, cloudy with some snow and yesterday and today some sunshine.  Friends of ours have been staying with other friends in Montroc, a village just outside Argentiere.   We went over to ski with them on Wednesday in Argentiere.   The cloud was down and it was snowing intermittently so visibility was awful.    So we skied by feel, which was not particularly easy as the pistes were quite lumpy, and you had no idea where to turn.  We were told by guests in Megeve who skied on Jaillet that they had some sunshine!

On Friday we joined them at La Tour, which is at the head of the Chamonix valley and in my experience is always windy.  In fact, as La Tour goes, it wasn't too bad, and we had some sunshine.  We skied piste, powder, wind crust, heavy snow and Avalanche crud!  It was very busy and we had long waits for the lifts.  We spent the afternoon with them and then we all went out to dinner at a restaurant just outside Chamonix.  The food was good but the service was slow and John and I left before the dessert as it had been a long day and it was about an hour's drive home.

Today John and I skied the Rochebrune ridge.  The pistes were lovely and surprisingly empty, considering it is still the Paris holiday.  See picture above, taken at 9.30.  We found some untracked powder when we had given up looking, so that was a bonus.

John has spent a lot of the week on plumbing.  He spent two days trying to sort out a blocked drain at the Rond Point.  He was told by a local plumber that the pipe he was trying to remove had been fixed in permanently, so he ended up having to cut it.  We have also  had a slow leak in our apartment.   Well it started as a slow leak and then John touched it and induced a rather faster leak, so for the last two days we have had to keep turning the water off at the mains.  Anyway, we came back early today and John has now fixed it.  So now we are wondering what it was that caused a fuse to trip on Friday!  There's always something.

Monday, 22 February 2016

Skiing on my own

John decided to do other things this morning and Gordon is cutting down trees in Hampshire so I was on my own.    I put my skis on at 9.20, took them off at 12.10.   In between I skied 16 pistes no-stop, including the Grand Epaule and Petit Epaule.   I finished off with Voltigeurs and Bridans.  I missed the queues though there did not seem to be as many people skiing as I had expected.  Anyway, not a bad morning.

Sunday, 21 February 2016

Where to Ski and Snowboard

Chris Gill, the co-editor of Where to Ski and Snowboard has just spent the last two days with us, together with his friend, Ben, a photographer.  They are going on to Monte Rosa for three days now.  Yesterday was very cold, with snow flurries and poor visibility.   We skied the Rochebrune ridge and then caught the bus to Mont D'Arbois aiming for the Porcherry for lunch (this is on the piste off the back of the Epaule and going down to St. Nicholas).  It was a set lunch and very good.  And who should walk in but Alex Perrinet with a group of clients.   We knew we must have chosen well as Alex only takes his clients to restaurants where he likes the food and the waitress is pretty.  After that we skied the Clementines run on Croix de Christ, then went over to the Croix chair at Communailles, up the Bosses drag lift and down the Marmire, down to the Princess lift and back home.  We reckon we skied most of the mountain!
Today was a totally different day, sunny and warm and instead of putting on my boot heaters I was taking off layers.  So Ben was able to see Mont Blanc without us pointing in  a vague direction and saying Mont  Blanc is over there.  We went over to Jaillet which wasn't too busy, considering it is the first day of the Paris holidays and also all the locals ski when the sun shines.  After skiing the Combloux  area we went over to Giettaz and did a couple of runs there.  We had lunch at the Bonjournal on the way back which was excellent.  Tomorrow looks like another sunny day and then I think more snow is forecast. 

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Mont D'Arbois

Now I know where all the people were yesterday - Mont D'Arbois!  We got there early as usual and had most of the pistes to ourselves until about 10am when we headed for Mont Joux.  Because it is a fast chair the queue moves quickly but the queue for the Epaule chair took about 12 minutes.  Anyway, we found some powder off the back of the Epaule ridge which was fun.  We ended up having lunch at Le Gouet.   We sat inside as the air temperature was at about freezing even though it was sunny, but everyone else was opting to eat outside.  My feet were cold so I needed to get warm.  Also, I don't like eating cold food.  So apart from a family of six and the lifties, we were the only people inside the restaurant.  After lunch we skied down to Planellet off piste.  At the top the snow was lovely but the sun had got it a bit lower down and John and I both took a tumble.  It was rather annoying as a ski instructor had taken a family through the trees and they watched us go first.  Still, I am sure they were making a meal of it as it took them a long time to reach the bus stop.  Several of them were children and they did not look very competent skiers.  We thought it was a bit irresponsible of the instructor to take them there, particularly as it is difficult skiing through the trees. The bus took ages to arrive, and when it did it obviously had some problem as it crept down the hill at about 10 miles an hour.  Actually, it was rather nice sitting on the bus and looking at the view.  

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Cote 2000

It was a glorious day today, sunny and cold.  Yesterday was grey cloud and you couldn't see a thing but today was the opposite.   Both days we skied the Rochebrune ridge.  Both days we ended up at Lanchettes skiing through  the trees by the side of the lift.  The snow was wonderful and untracked, until we had got to it.  We managed to get a bit low to get back to the piste yesterday (we couldn't see) and ended up climbing though trees.  Very hard work.
Anyway, today we got to Cote and were amazed how quiet it was, considering it is French and Swiss holidays and English half term.  This is a photo of the queue at the top lift at Cote at about 11.30.   Very few people had skied the Magic Garden so we did that twice.  We then skied off the back of the Ladies Downhill course and were making fresh tracks, even on the fifth time down it.  Here I am, skiing down to the track.  We were on the lift by 9am and back about 2.15, no stopping for coffee or lunch, so it was an excellent day.  We had one queue at Lanchettes on the way home, but that was less than 10 minutes, so where is everybody?   We're not complaining! 

Sunday, 14 February 2016


Just after Christmas we met someone on the Chamois lift who was wearing a contraption which caught our eye.  He explained that it was a Ski-mojo which is designed to minimise shock to the knees and reduce muscle fatigue.   Gordon has been having a problem with one of his knees so he made an appointment this morning with Dimitri to try it out.  I tagged along as well and as he had two pairs we both tested them.  It comprises a spring which goes along the outside of the leg, which supposedly provides more power to the leg. It is secured by a strap just underneath the cheeks of one's bottom and by straps around each leg, and is fastened to the boot. To begin with it felt quite constraining.  I felt as if I was being held in a particular position.  Sadly, the weather was foul, blowing a gale and snowing, so we only did a few runs and only on piste.  It would have been nice to have tried it on bumps to see if it did help to minimise the jolts. We did not give it a good trial as we only skied for an hour or so, rather than all day.  Gordon found that having to disengage it frequently was not helpful on his knee, as one has to click on the button and then straighten the knee to disengage.  I felt that it did not really help, but then I am not sure I gave it a fair trial.  Having abandoned the day and gone home, the weather improved and the sun came out! 

Friday, 12 February 2016


Yesterday we woke up to blue skies, sunshine, snow and -5.  We skied down the front face of Jaillet and the from the top of Christomet down to the Chattaz bus.  Instead of the bus, Carol came and picked us up and we went to Praz for a drink and then lunch.  By the time we had finished lunch it had started to cloud over and was snowing by evening.  We were feeling rather lazy.
Today we were on the first bus and skied the Red Princess and Comunailles fields.  Then we went up the Epaule lift and by that time it was snowing.   So we skied off piste down to the Porcherry restaurant, which was full of people like us coming in for a hot chocolate and warmth.  
It was windy and cold on the lift.  The snow was wind crust and not very nice.  We were thinking of coming home but then our leader,Gordon, lead us astray down to St Nicholas.  The snow was lovely, light and fluffy, and untracked.  When we got to the top we realised that it was excellent timing to ski down to Chatterix off piste and catch the facily bus which only runs three times a day.  We got down in record time and had to wait ten minutes for the bus. Fortunately it arrived.  We have been caught out in th past and had to walk about a mile uphill carrying skis.  That is definitely not to be recommended.    By that time it was snowing hard and by the time we got to the top of Mont Joux it was blizzard conditions.   So we decided to call it a day and ski home.  The snow is piling up on our balcony and the trees are laden.  The snow ploughs are going to have to work overtime.

Thursday, 11 February 2016

24 hours

 What a difference a day makes.  We woke up to snow and it was still snowing and continued to snow on and off all day.  We caught the early bus and were first down the red Princess, except for someone who had walked up, in 6 inches of powder.  It was so good we had to do it again.  Then we played around under the Ideal chair as the Mont Joux chair was closed first thing.  We did not get back until about 2pm, and that was with no stops, apart from lifts.  The off piste was fantastic and such good fun.  John took a vid of me skiing down from the Monrosset chair to Bettex, but we can't get it to work which is just as well as I could have skied it better.
Although if you would like to, you can see it on our youtube channel.

Video of Kathryn

Monday, 8 February 2016

John's birthday treat.

John's birthday is tomorrow so we planned an off piste day with Alex Perrinet, a mountain guide who we have known for about 15 years.  He suggested the Toula Glacier which is just above Courmayeur on the  Mont Blanc side so it was a 7.30 am start from the St. Paul bar to get the first lift.  The old 3 stage lift has been replaced with a state of the art lift which revolves.  Gordon pointed out that the lift stations were all bolted together like meccano so could be moved.  It is fantastic.  Anyway, at the top there is a walk along an iron way to the snow, then you put your skis on to ski up to the top of the iron staircase which you have to walk down.   I gave up counting the steps down but there must be about 200.  As you can see from the following photographs it is very steep.  The last bit is a terrifying climb down a ladder (about 20 rungs) which is vertical and wobbles.  It was quite a relief to reach the snow.  And that was another challenge as it was more breakable crust than powder.  In this photo of John it looks better than it felt.  We skied to the middle station and got the lift down.   Some people skied down but Alex said there had been an avalanche and the last part you had to ski Avalanche crud which is not fun.
So after that we went over the other side where there far too many people on the pistes for our liking.  Sadly the top lift was closed because of wind so we could not do a long run back down to the valley as planned.  However, we skied some couloirs and found some lovely powder.  At the bottom we had to ski out along a stream which was very challenging, with rocks and bumps and nasty surprises.  Still, we all survived.
Alex had booked lunch in a lovely restaurant and told the patron that it was John's birthday so we got VIP treatment, such as some cured meats including chamois, which tasted very gamey.  Alex also bought a bottle of wine and though I don't usually drink at lunchtime and particularly not when skiing, rules are made to be broken.  
So it was a challenging day but great fun.  And none of us hurt ourselves as the last time I skied the Toula glacier I ruptured my anterior cruciate ligament.  But that's another story.

Sunday, 7 February 2016

Fresh air and exercise

It was not a very exciting morning but we decided to get out early only to discover that most of the lifts up the mountain were closed.  We went across to Mont D'Arbois and up the two drag lifts, which gave us access to the Princess lift, which was running.  We skied down to the Montrosset chair and met a five minute queue (unheard of!) because the Bettex lift wasn't running.  They were saying that there were gusts of 100km winds so the high lifts were all closed.  I suspect that we made the wrong choice and should have gone to Jaillet, as that is more sheltered and we could see the main lift was going.  I am sure that Chamonix and Argentiere would have been closed today.  Anyway, we called it a day and came home.  A day for cleaning the apartment and waxing the skis.  It is now snowing hard  with big, serious flakes.  Could well be a good week to be here. 

Saturday, 6 February 2016


We decided to ski the Rochebrune ridge today as we have not been there for a week or so.  The sun was shining and the snow was perfect.   We did the Petit Fontaine twice because it was so nice and then got to the Lanchettes lift and no further.  We found some untracked snow off the sides of the lift and did that six times.  It was huge fun.  Then we went to the Radaz for lunch.   What could be better: sunshine, snow and lunch at the Radaz.  

Friday, 5 February 2016

Staff day off

We invited the staff to ski with us, or those who were able to get up for the early bus.   So we had Amy,  Gary and Chris and Ricky, who were worked for us about 10-12  years ago.  We went over to Jaillet.  We skied down the front face and caught the bus back to the cable car.  We had some lovely new snow to play around in.   After that we took a different route and went slightly wrong, so ended up walking back a short way up the road.  It's all part of the fun of skiing off piste. This is a picture of Gary skiing through the trees.  
More snow is forecast so should be a good week next week.


We are back in Megeve and last night it was snowing heavily at midnight so looks like a powder day today.  We found some powder yesterday but on the lower slopes it was very thin and when we skied off piste to Chatterix we were virtually skiing on grass.  Makes a challenge.
Of my 8 games of tennis scheduled last week whilst we were home on grandparent duties the results were: 
1- rained off
1- Draw, one set each
2- lost
2- won
2- we probably would have won as we were in the lead in the final set.
Of those games, 2 were ladies doubles and the others mixed.   It is much easier to organise men as on the whole they don't get round to organising a game until the day before. 
I'll report back on today later.