Monday, 26 February 2018

Arctic weather

Yesterday there was cloud in the valley but the webcams showed that it was clear on top so I headed out.  I soon realised that I needed to keep high so I skied over to Cote.   All of the top lift, apart from the last little bit, was out of the cloud and the snow was great.  There was no-one around and I virtually had the pistes to myself.  However, the cloud crept up higher so I came home.

Today it was -10C on our balcony.  I wore 5 layers under my ski jacket. woolly tights and  long johns.    With heated gloves and boots I felt relatively cosy.  I skied the runs which we don't usually do, Voltigeurs, Bridans, Le Schuss, Pylons.  On most of them I was the only person.   I decided to ski the Black Princess and got snarled up in a queue so thought that was a good time to come home.

Gordon went out on his bike and returned home after 10 minutes.   It was too cold.  We have had a sprinkling of snow but it's probably too cold for more. 

Friday, 23 February 2018

Gluttons for punishment

We didn't get out until about 9.45 today as it looked grey.  In fact. at the top of the mountain the sun was shining but it took a bit of time to burn through the cloud.  We met Gordon at the Lanchettes lift and skied off the back past the Pre-Rosset Restaurant.

Gordon pointed out a herd of chamois, though John thought they might have been goats, which were underneath the cliffs on Cote.  We skinned up to the ridge, Gordon being miles ahead of us.   He was skiing down to Haut Luce which is the back  of  Les Contamines, and then skinning up again.  We were going a different route, along the ridge and then climbing over the top of the ridge to ski  down to Praz-Sur-Arly.  The sun was out and it was beautiful, though rather crowded.  Eight people skinned up behind us but they were skiing down to Haut Luce.  They were with a guide.

After we had hit the piste in Praz, we then skied off and down a track which takes you to the road which passes our hotel Sylvana.   It is a long way up and we had to ski down to catch the bus at Chataz.  Sadly, the snow was quite tricky and we had to walk down the road in one or two places before we could get back into the fields.   If the snow had been better it would have been a lovely ski down.  As it was, it was interesting.  But a change from skiing on the piste.  

Thursday, 22 February 2018


Yesterday was a lovely day but I didn't feel well so stayed at home, and John skied with the Unthank Ski Club.  Today was grey fog/low cloud, but we thought it would clear like yesterday.  It did, but only briefly.    We were planning to try and find the right route down to La Giettaz but because of the cloud decided not to.   However, it cleared enough for John and I to think we would ski down to Praz.   The top field was good, through the trees was OK,  but the path out was horrendous.  Five times we had to take our skis off, slide down the bank of the stream, cross the stream (fortunately they were all shallow) and climb up the other side, then clear the ice from our boots so we could get our skis on!

At one point I realised I should have taken off my skis but it was too late, and I tumbled head first into a hole.   So then I took off my skis.  I was relieved to find it was a dry hole.  As a result we missed the bus.  John thought there was another in about 20 minutes, but when we checked the time table that one only runs on a Saturday.  So lovely Patryk came and picked us up in the minibus. But we lived to tell the tale!

Monday, 19 February 2018

Combatting Dementia

John read an article yesterday that said one way of combatting dementia is to be mentally positive and remain active at our age (over 70).  So today Gordon sends a WhatsApp saying that he was going to investigate spring snow on Rochebrune.  We therefore take our touring skis and skins and follow the crowd - Gordon, Neville and Neville's partner, Caroline.   They are all super fit, Gordon and Neville having spent a week ski touring in Italy recently and Caroline won two bronze medals last year at the Badminton Veterans' World Championships.  And then there's us.
Us skinning up with shadow of plane
The first bit was fine.  We skied off the back of Lanchettes just below the Pre-Rosset restaurant.   The snow was fantastic but it was over too soon.  Gordon had already set off and was a dot on the horizon.  The rest of us put our skins on and soon Neville and Caroline disappeared.  John and I trudged up, wondering at which stage we should turn round.
On the way a small plane flew over - this is Neville's pic of us trudging up and the shadow of the plane.

Skiing down - you can just see me in the distance
We thought that when we got to the top of the ridge we might have been able to ski down to the restaurants at the end of the road which passes the Sylvana, but on the ridge we were not sure that the way down was obvious, particularly as we knew there was a cliff in the way.

So we opted to follow the others (again) and ski down the way we had come up.  And that was fantastic.  See pic on right.

The walk up the other side was tough.  This is Gordon in the foreground with John & me behind, but if you look carefully you can see our tracks coming down from the ridge at the back.

But we survived the day and had a pint in the Dahu, together with lunch ( a cereal bar.)  We have now decided we need new (much lighter) skis!

By the way, this is the first week of the Paris Holidays, but thankfully the Parisians don't get up early..  Here is a pic of the Jardin Piste which we skied at about 10.15 before we started touring.

Friday, 16 February 2018

New summer adventure holidays in beautiful Megeve at our catered chalet Les Clochettes!

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New summer adventure holidays in beautiful Megeve at our catered chalet Les Clochettes!

Yes, it's two "news" for us next summer.  Firstly, we'll be offering our superior chalet Les Clochettes on a catered basis next summer.  Food will be simpler than in the winter but it'll also be significantly cheaper.  Prices will start at just £450/person for a week or £180/person for a 3 night short break!  So you can get to enjoy lovely accommodation at the best price, we've even just installed a sauna (more on that in our next winter bulletin!) so you can sooth your aches and pains away post adventures!

Our second "new thing" is that we'll be offering
adventure holidays for those staying at the Clochettes, so you can make the most of your alpine experience.  Choose from hiking, mountain biking or road biking where you can discover the mountains under your own steam, we'll provide maps and show you to the nearest bike hire shops.  We'll even transport you to start and end points of hikes/bike rides for free (one return trip/group/day) should you like to venture further afield.  For those who would like more adventure, our partners at Evo 2 offer canyoning, white water rafting, guided mountain biking, glacier walking and much more.  Have a look at our full list of activities here.  Again, we'll transport you there and back for all local activities so you don't even need a car!
Have a look at our adventure holidays here!

What's Megeve like in the summer?

Megeve is a beautiful, picturesque village summer and winter alike but I have to admit, I have a special fondness for the summer.  It's just so relaxed.  Up on the mountains the air smells of pine and you can get away from it all, swimming in mountain lakes and watching the cows munch at their pasture.  The village is beautiful at any time of year but in the summer there are lots of special events from the jazz festival and show jumping events in July to bands playing and orchestra's playing in the central square in August.  You can visit farms and see the cheese being made or enjoy the new swimming pool and leisure facilities with great slides to keep the kids occupied, not to mention the luge which is fun for all the family.  The best things are simple, sitting in the square sipping "un verre" & watching the world go by.  What could be better!
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We look forward to welcoming you to Megeve this summer.

Best wishes, Debbie, Sarah, Rachel, Elizabeth & John

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Long treks in the forest

What an exhausting two days it has been.  Both days have been sunny and cold, though today started off a little grey.  Yesterday Gordon, John and I did a run through the trees which brought us out near the Fingers Restaurant.  It was about a 10-15 minute walk out, carrying skis.  Then we went up Christomet and walked up the knoll, probably about 15-20 minutes this time, and skied down to La Giettaz.  However, the path along the stream was slightly different, so there was more poling along it than usual.  The ski down was in perfect snow.

John on the way to Cordon
After that we thought we would ski to the bus at Praz Sur Arly, but as we were on the ridge, Gordon pointed out where he had reconnoitred in the summer, walking up from the village of La Giettas, about three miles from the ski area.  So we decided to give that a go.  However, we got a little lost in the forest so ended up walking along a track for a considerable distance, which was very hard work in the deep snow.  We also had to take our skis off about three times to cross streams.  Eventually we got down and caught the ski bus to the ski area and came home.

Gordon - the perils of tree skiing
Today was more skiing than walking, thank goodness.   We stayed on the Jaillet side and had three lovely runs down, twice to around Cordon where Carol picked us up, and the last time down to  Gordon and Carol's chalet.  We were skiing untracked perfect powder, with no-one in sight.

In the afternoon we parked our car at Magland and caught the bus back to Jaillet.  We then skied back to the car, through the trees and the meadows.   The snow was not as nice as this morning as the slopes are south facing, but we found some reasonable snow.  So in spite of it being the first week of the French holidays we managed to avoid the crowds.  When we did get on the pistes we were pleasantly surprised how uncrowded they were.

Monday, 12 February 2018


We woke up this morning to about 6 inches of fresh snow.  Yesterday we had had snow showers but not enough for the off piste.  But today was different.  We were on the first Rocharbois, the first bubble on the Mont D'Arbois lift with the pisteurs.    Gordon was coming up the Princess lift, or trying to, as they were having problems in getting it going.  So John and I were first down Voltigeurs and Bridans before Gordon made it to the top.   The pisteurs told us that the lifties had had some problems this winter in starting the Princess lift but it was OK once it got going.  Gordon was not impressed.

Me in powder on way to Les Comunailles
After we had met Gordon we went over to Mont Joux and skied off the back behind the Folies Douce  all the way down to Comunailles.   There was about 30cm deep snow. That was lovely so we came back up and skied back down again.   Then we went over to Epaule.   By that time, although the snow had stopped and the weak sunshine had retreated behind the cloud so we decided not to ski off the back as we couldn't see.  We skied down the ridge which was unpleasant, partly because we couldn't see but also because of moguls and skiers who shouldn't have been there.  However, we got to our favourite hot chocolate stop, which is becoming rather popular.   We couldn't sit at our usual table!

Our goal was to ski down to the St Nicholas bus so we swallowed our hot chocolate rather fast as we were worried that we would miss the bus.  There is only one a day and, as John Cox knows, it's a long walk to the lift.  We got down with about 5 minutes to spare.  Only one other person had been down which was quite useful as he had made a track as there is a little bit of polling near the bottom.  The snow was lovely and we enjoyed it.  It's the first time we've skied it this winter.

After that we went up the Etudiant lift and skied all the way to our front door.   Gordon came with us as he wanted to buy Carol a Valentine Day's card, so we ended up having a beer in the St Paul bar.   What a splendid day's skiing.

Friday, 9 February 2018

Staff Day Off

We got back to Megeve on Tuesday, and were told that it had been a glorious day.  Wednesday was horrible, freezing fog.  We came back early.   On Thursday, Chris Gill, co-editor of Where to Ski and Snowboard, contacted us to arrange to ski with us in Megève.  He had been staying at Les Carroz but was flying back that evening.  He has a project to check that blue runs are properly blue, not something where you are faced with a steep, unexpected slope or other nasty.  So we skied blues all morning and had a very nice time.

Today was bright, sunny and cold.  We were on the first bus to Jaillet, with Patryk, Matt and Ben.  We decided to try and find some off piste, though most was skied out.  However, we took the boys through the trees and down to catch the Chattaz bus.  It was a bit icy through the trees in places and the snow was variable, some lovely stuff, some nearly spring snow and some rather crusty.  But it was good fun and the boys survived.  Then we came back to Jaillet and skied down to the Princess lift.   I think ski school must have been down it because the start was heavily skied, but we found some nice patches.  To finish off, the boys went through the trees and down to Planalet.    My ankle was hurting by then so I gave that a miss, but it sounded very similar to what we had been skiing earlier.

Snow is forecast but we're not sure exactly when - the forecast keeps changing.