Sunday, 22 January 2017

Off Piste

Yesterday John, John Cox and Gordon and I skied from the top of Le Giettaz down to Praz Sur Arly.  There were surprisingly few tracks and no-one had gone the way we went so we had fresh snow.  Even through the trees the snow was light and fluffy.   At the top the snow had crystallised into large frozen flakes which glittered in the sun.  Skiing through them made a swishy sound, completely different from skiing through fresh powder.  It was huge fun.   Lower down as we came to the road the snow had got heavier and was more like breakable crust, which is not enjoyable.  We were aiming to catch the bus.   As we got nearer the bottom there was the continuous sound of a horn.   It was very loud like a foghorn.   The horn on the bus had got stuck and the driver didn't know how to fix it.  John Cox said he should have pulled the fuse out but didn't feel that he could offer to do it for him.  Eventually another bus turned up driven by a very jolly guy who had no facility to take money so we had a free ride.  He was in a tearing hurry to get passengers down to Sallanches station to catch a train so drove into the bus garage past the no entry sign and then illegally turned left onto the road.  I bet they caught the train!
In the afternoon John went off to ski with the staff but I stayed with John C and Gordon and we skied off the back of Jaillet down to Cordon.  Very few people had done that as you need a lift at the bottom.  Carol turned up to collect us, otherwise we would have had a very long wait for the bus.
Today was more overcast and we all felt tired so we had a rather lazy day.  I went round a few more restaurants on Rochebrune to update the mountain restaurant guide.  The prices stay fairly constant, but what I am interested is if the restaurant had changed hands or has got more expensive.  I still have to finish Jaillet and Mont D'Arbois.  
This is a photo of me at the top of Rochebrune, showing the brilliant blue sky and lovely piste.

Friday, 20 January 2017

Staff lunch

Today we had a staff lunch at the Dahu which was very jolly.   We had thought of going to the Gouet but Rory sadly broke his collar bone on Monday skiing with the Unthank Ski Club and it was impossible for him to get there.  He is still in a lot of pain so it took a lot of determination on his part to get there. I'm hoping someone will have some photos so I can post them later.  Afterwards we skied with some of the braver skiers and boarders and Mark (who has had about 10 days on real snow but was doing really well) off piste down to the bottom of the Princess lift.  That was a lot of fun but they left us to go the Folie Douce.  I think they were tempted by the idea of dancing on the tables.
John Cox is out for a few days until Monday.  We skied with him and Gordon and Neville the last couple of days, mainly on piste as most of the off piste is skied out.  We've found the odd bit to play around in.  He is starting a new job in a week's time running a youth hostel, so took the opportunity to  come out for a break.  He and Tracey are out later in the season as well.
Susie, who worked as a chalet host at the Sylvana last year, was also out for a few days.  It's lovely when staff come back to see us.

Wednesday, 18 January 2017


We have just come back from three days in Chatel, staying with friends in a chalet. It was out of Chatel so I have no idea what the town was like.  It has been bitterly cold, particularly yesterday when there was a howling gale and the link lifts to Avoriaz were closed.  I was wearing five layers under my ski jacket plus face mask, ear muffs, goggles.  We skied in Super Chatel which is a bit lower and more protected and found a bit of off piste.  Most of the off piste had been skied out.  Today was a little warmer to the extent that I took off my inner gloves. We only skied in the morning as it's about a two hour drive from Megeve.  It's nice to be home!

Sunday, 15 January 2017


Today was sunny most of the time, but the cloud drifted in.  It was very cold. _9 at the Mont Joux chair. Most of the off piste has been skied out by skiers from Chamonix.  There is a level4 avalanche warning and none of the top lifts in Chamonix were open.  It is very annoying for us as they come and trash our off piste and then Say Megeve is too low.  It wasn't this weekend!

Saturday, 14 January 2017

Gordon's Boot Camp

We woke up to about a metre of snow and it was still snowing.  It was up to my knees as we walked across the field to the Chamois lift.  We met Gordon at the top of Mont D'Arbois and skied down the Voltigeurs and Bridans.  Then we went over to the Epaule lift which had just opened and did several runs off that.  We bumped into Alex Perinnet (a mountain guide who is one of the best skiers I know) on that lift.  The sun almost came out but then the snow started again. so we skied down to St Nicholas.   Going through the trees was interesting as the shrubs had all grown up and were  a challenge.  We need another metre of snow to bury them.   We had a hot chocolate at the Porcherry as we were feeling chilly.  They have a lovely wood burning stove in there and you can hang your ski jacket up for it to dry.  Eventually we found ourselves at the Gouet again for lunch.  We had omelettes but we shared a table with three men from Geneva who had the most enormous steaks, followed by pudding and two glasses of genepy (local fire water). When we got to the top it was blowing a howling gale with the snow burning your face and nil visibility, so we skied home,
Gordon described the day as a training day.  It felt more like boot camp.  My legs were burning.  But what a thrill to be skiing fresh powder again.

Thursday, 12 January 2017

Crout de Gouet

This is the first Crout de Gouet of the season.   The Gouet drag lift opened yesterday afternoon so today was the first day that the Gouet restaurant opened.  Every table was occupied though some by only two or three people.  Anyway, it was lovely to see Guillaume and Violine again.  
It is exciting at the moment as they are opening the lifts one by one.  This morning they had a provisional light on the Communaille chair and we noticed that they were running the Epaule chair, though very slowly. Later they were both open.  The ridge run from the Epaule is not open  but we wen up anyway as I wanted to check the prices at the Chalet du Mont Joly.  Both John and Neville said the snow would be terrible, but apart from the track round which was narrow and tricky in the flat light, it was the best snow we skied on all day.  Snow is forecast for this evening so we aim to be on the first lift tomorrow.

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Mont Blanc

This is a photo of Mont Blanc with what looks like another mountain range behind.  It is in fact wind blown snow from the summit.  Our friend, Neville Porteous, who is out for the whole season,  took this photo from the Croix de Christ chair.  As you can see it was a lovely sunny morning, though cold.  It has now clouded over and more snow is forecast for this evening.  We attempted a little off piste.   Down Mont Joux was OK but we tried the off-piste in the Croix de Christ bowl - MISTAKE - we skied over rocks, frozen grass and even breakable crust, with the result that both Neville and I have gouges in our skis. We should know better.  The pistes however are in perfect condition with a good covering of fresh snow.  Perhaps the off-piste will be better tomorrow if the forecast snow arrives. 

Tuesday, 10 January 2017


It started snowing lightly this morning at about 10am.  Now at 4pm it is snowing properly, and I had to shake the snow off my jacket.  We shared the lift this morning with Katy Campbell, the ESF instructor, whose husband, Roger, is a pisteur and paramedic on Rochebrune.  He has been told that if it snows his day of on Thursday will be cancelled.  By the looks of it, he will be spending his day off putting up posts, netting etc.  Tomorrow evening Jonathan and Fiona Muirhead are coming round for supper.  They are spending some weeks here as they have rented an apartment.  We are looking forward to seeing them and catching up with their news.

Sunday, 8 January 2017


We had a little snow overnight.  It's supposed to be clear tomorrow and then snow for the rest of the week.  Both the Mon Rosset and Croix de Christ chairs opened today.  We were the first down the Clementines piste which was in excelllent condition.  But we still couldn't get to the Gouet today for lunch as the drag lift wasn't working.  Perhaps tomorrow will be the day for the crout de Gouet.

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Rainbows on Rochebrune

Apologies for not blogging sooner but it has been a hectic Christmas and New Year.   We had Christmas in Putney and all the family came out for New Year.  Sadly, they have now returned to school and work.
As you probably know, snow has been in short supply in the Chamonix valley.  There are some runs open on Rochebrune and Mont D'Arbois where they have been able to make snow so there is some skiing.  Last night we had a couple of centimetres of snow and when we woke up it was foggy.  However, that cleared and we had the most amazing lighting effects where the sun was burning through the fog and making rainbows galore.

This is a photo taken by Steve (our son in law) at the top of the Alpette lift.  You can't see the colours but the two arcs were rainbows, with one inverted above the other, the sun burning through in the middle and rays bursting out from the sides.  Other rainbows could be seen  on either side and above these.   Fantastic.