Val-d'Isere off-piste blog by Wayne
The 2023/24 season kicked off today. It wasn't the easiest of opening days as the light was pretty flat for the most part, and there was some rain-crust lurking as well. Still, everyone was just happy to be in the mountains and skiing again.
Conditions should be easier tomorrow as sunshine is forecast all day long. Meteo France has the avalanche risk at 4/5 tomorrow so being able to see will be crucial to everyone's enjoyment.
Instead of skiing today I played nine holes of golf with Charles and Louie while Gill hunted for high-quality golf balls. I've cooked a beef casserole and have Gill's parents and her sister coming over for dinner. I'll definitely try to make the most of it here in England until I'm able to hopefully travel next Thursday.
I'm not sure if Chris is posting any photos or not tonight?, but stay tuned!
Karen And Andreas!!!
Don't forget Karen and Andreas will be playing tonight at the Danois. They will probably start in about 10 minutes, so don't be late!
Chris and Suzanne!!!
Chris and Suzanne are travelling to Val d'Isere today. Chris will be ready to ski on Saturday morning as the 2023/24 season kicks off.
They were in the Eurotunnel lounge today and Suzanne was waiting for Chris to come out of the loo. To her surprised Richard Foster came out instead, and they all had a good laugh, and contacted me on WhatsApp.
I'll keep the blog going every day now and Chris will add skiing news and photos so stay tuned!
PS If you're in town don't forget Karen and Andreas at the Danois tomorrow night, between 5 and 5:30!
Arrival in Val d'Isere Delayed!!!
Due to surgery on my eye I've had to delay my arrival for a week, and will unfortunately miss the opening of the season. I'll now be travelling December 7th and will start skiing on Friday the 8th.
I'll also miss Karen and Andreas' opening gig, which is almost as bad as missing the skiing! They'll kick off their gigging season at Le Petit Danois Friday afternoon, and I'm gutted to miss it!
In my absence there will also be a delay in the daily blog, although Chris may post some skiing news and photos?
I look forward to seeing you all soon. Stay tuned!
It's with great sadness that I'm reporting the passing of Dave Carr.
Dave was affectionately know as 'Old Dave'. He was a much loved character, and a legend in Val d'Isere.
Dave loved his skiing, his cycling and stayed active right to the end. Dave was also a fantastic golfer, who won competitions at St Andrews, and has his name up on the Honour's Board in the esteemed clubhouse. He once showed me his card from the day he shot a 64 on the Old Course! Bravo Dave!
Dave was a regular at Johnnie Alpine's football afternoons and curry evenings. Along with Richard Finlay we spent most Sunday afternoons on the sofa watching Premiership football followed by one of Johnnie's fabulous curries. Sunday afternoons with Dave were always one of my favourite few hours of the week.
I'm really going to miss him, as will all his friends. Rest in peace Dave!
The Rain Has Stopped!!!
After a few days of torrential rain, which caused flooding and landslides, the rain has fortunately stopped, and the temperatures have dropped.
The colder weather today, and a nice refreeze, more snow is forecast for tomorrow.
Val d'Isere's webcams are showing an excellent and promising early-season snow cover at altitude. And even better news is that there is still snow in the village after all that rain!
Fingers crossed and stay tuned as the 2023/24 season rapidly approaches!
Cut Off In Val d'Isere!!!
Due to torrential rain Val d'Isere is cut off. The tunnels leading into and out of town have flooded and there has been some serious landslides.
You can find some footage on-line and it is really quite impressive, and very concerning!
Heavy Rain in Val d'Isere!!!
It has been raining in Val d'Isere over the past 48-hours or so, which isn't a surprise really. The snow came early, but fortunately there has been enough snow to withstand the rain so far.
I've just checked the webcams and there is still snow in the village, which is fantastic news, and the snow cover at altitude is still very good. More snow is forecast over the next few days, and hopefully the temperatures will drop again soon.
Tignes has moved their opening date to this weekend, and will kick off the season November 18th.
PS News Update! Heavy rain has caused a huge mud slide and the road is closed around the Pigettes. Stay tuned!
My friend Charles accompanied me today to the Brookwood Military Cemetery for the annual Remembrance Day Service in the Canadian sector.
Brookwood is in the village of Pirbright , and it is a stunning Military Cemetery. There is a huge Canadian section, an American section, and sites for every country in the Commonwealth. There are also graves of the French, Czechs, Poles, Italians and a Muslim sector. The graves are immaculately kept, and Brookwood is a very moving and peaceful place that is well worth a visit. (see photos)
It was the tenth anniversary of my Dad's death today as he died of cancer November 11th 2013. When the girls were younger and my mum and dad used to visit regularly, we visited Brookwood every year around this time. My dad loved the place, as did Millie and Katie, and it was a fitting place to be today. Thanks for the company Charles!
PS There was also a service in the French sector today. It was lovely to hear French being spoken and the French Ceremonial Military Uniforms, complete with feathers, are pretty impressive.
Val d'Isere's Weather???
Sunny but remaining cold!
The weather is set to remain cold today and tomorrow with some more snow on forecast on Friday. So far so good! Stay tuned!
Remaining Cold In Val d'Isere!!!
Fortunately as the sun has come out in Val d'Isere the temperatures have remained cold. A bit more snow is forecast mid-week, and if the air temperature stays cold and we avoid a heatwave, we'll be looking at a fantastic start to the season.
Fingers crossed and stay tuned!
Val d'Isere Webcams!!!
If you haven't had a look at the Val d'Isere webcams lately do have a peek. Val d'Isere, Tignes and our entire domain are looking like the middle of winter after a storm. What a year for the powers-that-be to lose the faith, and move the season back from November 25th to December 2nd!
Fingers crossed that it stays cold and stay tuned!
More Snow In Val d'Isere!!!
It's starting to look like we could be in for a fantastic start to the season. The snow cover at altitude is building, and let's hope that this horrible weather in the UK will translate to more snow in Val d'Isere/Tignes over the coming days?
Don't forget that Henry is on tour in the UK with his avalanche presentation. He's in London for the next couple of days.
Snow In Val d'Isere!!!
The Val d'Isere webcams are showing a decent cover of snow at altitude for this time of year. It's still early and it could warm up and melt, but it is an encouraging sight to see a good depth of snow in Late-October. Fingers crossed that it stays cold and that this is the start of our base for the winter.
Unfortunately the powers-that-be in Val d'Isere decided way back in the summer to not open on the traditional last weekend in November. Instead of a November 25th opening the resort will open December 2nd. I think they've missed a marketing trick their as November to May sounds a lot better than a December to May season.
Alpine Experience will be up and running for the opening day and looking forward to seeing everyone who loves their early-season skiing. See you soon and stay tuned!
Photos From Canada!!!
I've added a few photos from Canada, which were taken from my brother's terrace, the nearby woods, or at my Mum's Nursing Home. They aren't my best, but you get the idea.
Stay tuned for more news as the winter rapidly approaches!
Henry Will Be On Tour!!!
I highly recommend going along to one of Henry's talks and to a transceiver training session. Even if you've done it before, we all can use a refresher on this stuff. Plus the more everyone knows the basic safety points, the more fun we can all have together!
Here's a here's a summary of places and dates:
- London (Covent Garden & City/Saint Pauls) 30 Oct-2 Nov
- Manchester Nov 13 & 14 Nov
- Kendal Mountain Festival (with ORTOVOX) 17-19 Nov
- Glasgow 20 & 21 Nov
See this link for booking and other details henrysavalanchetalk.
2 October 2023
Off To Canada!!!
I'm off to Canada to visit family and friends October 3rd. I'll be returning October 12th so I won't be dealing with any booking until I return.
Stay tuned and come on you Blue Jays!!!
27 September 2023
Brooks Robinson died last night at the age of 86. Brooks was a legendary Hall Of Fame third baseman, who played his entire 23-year career with the Baltimore Orioles. He was probably the best defensive third baseman to ever play in the Major Leagues, and Brooks was a clutch hitter as well.
I read an article about Brooks in the Star Weekly when I was about six years old. From that moment Brooks became my first 'baseball hero', and my favourite player. Because of him I grew up a Baltimore Oriole fan, and Brooks and the Orioles gave me some wonderful memories as I was growing into a hard-core baseball fanatic.
It was quite emotional this morning waking up to the news, and I had a few tears watching tribute clips to Brooks. If you'd like to check him out log onto the MLB site and you'll find some links. He was a fantastic player, a great man, and the perfect 'first hero' for a little boy!
22 September 2023
Alpine Experience's 2023/24 Season Bookings!!!
Our 2023/24 season is rapidly approaching and the bookings are now rolling in. If you know your dates don't hesitate to get in touch and avoid disappointment.
Chris and Suzanne have been doing some fabulous walking, and Chris has posted some lovely photos. Do have a look as Val d'Isere and the surrounding area are absolutely stunning at this time of year. And you will notice that Louise has been doing some hiking with Chris and Suzanne as well.
The girls are both settling in at Uni, and I'm pleased to say that Katie is having a fantastic time. It's her first year so how she gets on is a little more nerve-wracking than Millie, who is a bit of a pro by now. Go girls, and I'm including Ness up in Sweden who is leaving home for the first time as well!
PS Having my 5th Covid jab this afternoon.
16 September 2023
Off To Uni!!!
It was a big day yesterday as we took Katie to Birmingham to start her university life. You know time is moving on when your youngest child leaves home, and it was emotional, but everyone managed to keep themselves under control, and not blub in front of Katie's new flat mates! Good luck Katie!
Andreas, Tansy and Victor took Ness to Gothenburg early-August as she has also left the Nid (Swedish for nest?) It was emotional for them as well, but Ness has settled in well, is making new friends, and is really happy in her new city.
It's Millie's turn next as I'll be dropping her off back at Exeter for her final year on Wednesday. It's going to be awfully quiet in the Watson household next week!
28 August 2023
Surrounding Peaks Of Val d'Isere And Tignes!!!
Chris has had the mountain guide Mimi label the peaks on his photo of Val d'Isere and Tignes taken from 35,000 feet. It's fantastic and thank you very much Mimi! make sure you check it out!
25 August 2023
Scenes From Val d'Isere!!!
Chris has been posting some fabulous photos taken on his walks with Suzanne. And I notice that Richard and Deborah are in town and have joined them on a couple of outings. Do check out the photos, and if they don't inspire you to visit Val d'Isere during the off season nothing will!
Winter is starting to close in now so don't hesitate to get in touch with your bookings.
21 August 2023
Happy 18th Katie!!!
We've had a great couple of days celebrating Katie's 18th birthday. I can't believe how quickly time flies and all of a sudden she'll be at university in September!
Yesterday we had a fantastic family BBQ at her grandparents. As usual Fred and Liz put on a wonderful spread with chicken, minty lamb kababs, sausages, and burgers, while the rest of us brought salads and desserts. Thanks very much Fred and Liz.
Today on Katie's birthday we took a day trip to Brighton and had a brilliant day out. We parked at Jonathan's, who is a real character and skied with us regularly in Alpine's early days, and it was great to see him again. (see photos) Brighton has a real buzz about it and has to be one of the best places going for 'people' watching'. There's loads of funky shops as well and we always finish off with a trip to the fantastic Taj Supermarket.
Katie has now gone out to Godalming to have a drink with a friend and use her ID for the first time. Go Katie!
And I don't need to tell you how happy I am with the Hammers 3-1 victory against Chelsea yesterday! This season has a totally different vibe to last season already and although we've lost Declan Rice James Ward-Prowse is an outstanding addition to the squad. With some smart shopping with the Rice money we should be able to get in several quality players. Fingers crossed and stay tuned!
PS Chris has been posting some fabulous photos of the stunning walking in-and-around Val d'Isere.
19 August 2023
Val d'Isere From The Air (again)!!!
Chris' photo of Val d'Isere taken from 35,000 feet is now up on the 'Photos of the Day'. Last week's version was cropped to a banner size and missed out a lot of terrain. It's amazing what you can see and recognise.
Chris had posters made about 35 years ago and may have some left if anyone is interested in purchasing a copy? I'll have Chris bring them along and leave some in Jean Sports for those who might like one.
Katie had her results day on Monday and received the results that she was hoping for. Her grades confirm her entrance to her first-choice university, which is Birmingham. Bravo Katie!
PS Chris has also posted some lovely shots taken while hiking with Suzanne.
PPS And I'm really looking forward to the Women's World Cup Final tomorrow. Come on England!!!
14 August 2023
I've been spending quite a bit of time at the golf course lately, either playing with Millie or accompanying Gill on one of her foraging missions. We go out after supper and while I practice on the course she collects blackberries, wild plums, and collects golf balls. (See photo)
Millie and I haven't paid for a golf ball in years, because thanks to Gill we have a garage full of Pro V 1's, Chrome Soft's, Taylormade XP5's, and various other high quality balls. My pals don't pay for balls either as there are plenty to go around. Thanks Gill!
I've posted a few photos of Millie, Katie, my pal Neil and me at the club.
10 August 2023
Val d'Isere From The Air!!!
As you know we've been working on updating our website this summer. We've reworked the written material and have been adding and changing photos. One photo that really stands out is one Chris took about 35 years ago. It was taken out of the window of a 747 while Chris was returning from Australia. He looked out his window and knew exactly what lay below him from 35,00 feet. He grabbed his camera and took the photo. It's a stunning shot, and you can recognise so many peaks and runs. It's on the Ski Touring page as part of the slide show. Have a look and see how many peaks or sectors you can name?
Millie, Katie and I went to the AIG Women's Open practice day on Wednesday and had a great day out. We followed fellow-Canadian Brooke Henderson around and she played brilliantly and it was nice to see her so up-front-and-personal. Unfortunately she's not having a good tournament and has some work to do to make the cut. Go Brooke! (I've posted a few pics)
So back to Chris's photo. Can you see the Sana, La Grande Motte, Mont Roup, Le Charvet, and the Sache, just to name a few? I'm counting on you Simon! Have a go and stay tuned!
31 July 2023
Thank you to Michael R for a fantastic lunch in Oxford yesterday. Lunch guests included his lovely daughter Leah, Eugene, Tim, Stocky, Richard, Penny and Gill and I. The food was fantastic, as was the company, and we all raised a glass or two to Richard H and Clive. Cheers for a wonderful afternoon Michael!
Meanwhile, Derek met up with Johnnie Alpine in Manchester. The thought of Johnnie showing Derek around Manchester is a bit scary to be honest, but the boys managed to stay out of trouble and had a great time together.
The Alpine Experience planning for the 2023/24 winter season is now up and running. Don't hesitate to get in touch once you know your dates.
PS And Katie had a fabulous time in Paris!
21 July 2023!!!
Andreas messaged to say that Tansy's father Robin has died from a sudden heart attack.
Robin and Tansy's mum Lorna moved down to Albertville from Scotland years ago to be closer to Tansy and their grandchildren. They ran a very successful bed-and-breakfast for many years, and were always close at hand to help out with Ness and Victor.
Robin was a wonderful man. He was a loving husband, and a great father, grandfather, and father-in-law to Andreas.
He will be sadly missed and our thoughts go out to Tansy and her family.
19 July 2023
Ski School Planning!!!
I'm ready to take your bookings for Val d'Isere's upcoming 2023/24 season. The planning is printed and awaiting your reservations. First in the books for the new season are James D and Richard, and Sandy.
Val d'Isere's opening date is December 2nd, which I find a little disappointing. I guess they didn't want to risk the confusion of needing to postphone the opening, like they did last year as it caused some serious issues around the resort with staffing contracts. In the end it turned out to be a premature decision as there was enough snow to open the last weekend in November, which has beeen the traditional opening date. This year the traditional opening would have been November 25th, but unfortunately we'll have to settl for a December 2nd date.
Val d'Isere's lifts will be closing May 5th, and with it being a leap-year, we'll have a long season in the end.
Katie returned from Romania last night and had a fantastic time. As most of Europe suffers with extreme heat she enjoyed a tolerable 35C, and had a pool to take the edge off. Her next trip is to Paris to visit a friend, and she's enjoying the freedom of travelling by herself. Go Kato!
Meanwhile, Tchenko has been touring around eastern Europe in 40 to 45 degrees C of heat on his Vespa. He's been sending photos which consist of countryside, architecture, and his nightly gastronomical meal, complete with local wine. Go Tchenko!
And the Open starts this Thursday. Besides Wimbledon and the Major League Baseball playoffs, the Open is my next favourite sporting event of the year. Mind you, I'm looking forward to the Women's World Cup and I do love the Ashes. Man, it's all happening!
12 July 2023
I've added a few photos from our evening with Bruce Springsteen, one from Millie's golf champs, a few from her birthday dinner at the Ivy last night, and one of Gill and Millie walking in the rain.
Thanks for a fantastic evening last night Liz!
Katie is now in Romania for a week visiting her Romanian friend Venice. Have a brilliant time Kato!
11 July 2023
Happy 20th Millie!!!
I can't believe that Millie is 20-years-old now! It's more than a little scary how quickly time flies. Have a fantastic day Millie, and good luck this afternoon with your Taylor Swift tickets!
Millie and Katie were glued to their computers yesterday as the pre-sale for Taylor's 2024 UK tour went on sale. Demand for her 'Eras' tour tickets is phenomenal, and they luckily secured tickets for two shows. Me, being the biggest 'Swiftie' in the world over the age of 50, am extremely happy to be included in their purchases. Thanks girls! Today at 1 pm they'll be back at 'mission control' as they try to get coveted tickets for more shows.
Millie didn't have a great final round in her club champs on the weekend and ended up in second place, 2 shots back. She took it well and said, " I didn't play well enough to win."
I have some tragic news to report as Andreas's good friend and client Jamie Taylor has just succumbed to an aggressive brain tumor. Jamie was a wonderful man, who was an airline pilot and a fantastic skier. Jamie will be sadly missed by everyone who knew him.
8 July 2023
The girls and I went to Hyde Park last night to witness a legendary performance from the 'Boss'! It was my first time to a Springsteen concert and I was blown away by the man's commitment, passion and energy. I was so pleased that the girls were with me to experience such a 'legend' in action.
The E Street Band walked on 2 minutes early and immediately broke into a pace-setting number to open the show. For the first hour Bruce never paused and went straight from one song to the next. He slowed it down in the middle of a three-hour set to catch his breath and then kicked out the show the same way he started, at full speed ahead!
At 73 years of age his energy levels were incredible and I can hardly imagine how he must have been 40 or 50 years ago? And the same can be said for the older members of his band. Wow, what a performance, and what a night shared with Millie and Katie. And who said rock n' roll wasn't good for you?
Thanks to Charles for organising the tickets. Charles has seen Springsteen close to fifty times now over the years, and I now know why!
It's the final round for Millie's golf club Championships today. She goes into the final round one shot back. Go Millie!
27 June 2023
Having Fun In Cornwall!
We are having a great time in Cornwall. My friend Charles has lent us his lovely home, and we're exploring the area in which he spent his youth. Millie and I are playing golf today while Gill and Katie go the the Eden Center. Photos so far are up, and stay tuned!
21 June 2023
Off On Holiday!
We are off to Cornwall on Friday for a week's holiday. My friend Charles has kindly lent us his home, and we are thoroughly looking forward to it. Thanks Charles!
Because we'll be away I'll miss both Richard's and Clive's funerals, but I'll be thinking of both of those Val d'Isere legends, and their families.
Millie and I played in a team golf comp for Pro's Day at our golf club last week. We played really well, and just missed out on some serious prizes by one stroke. (see scorecard) It was a pair's scramble, which is a fantastic format and a lot of fun. Both players tee off and then you chose the best ball. Both players play again from the same spot and this continues until the ball is in the hole. Each player must contribute at least 7 tee shots so that also needs to be factored into the team tactics. Anyway, it was wonderful daddy-daughter time!
Katie took me to lunch in London on Father's Day, and that was a great day out. Thanks Katie and your Flat Iron restaurant was a great choice!
Chris came over yesterday and we worked on the website together. We are getting some new photos together, and making a photo library. Once Chris is trained on how to update we'll then be able to move photos to their appropriate place, and change them around from time-to-time to keep it looking fresh. We are slowly getting the text together working on key 'google-eye' catching phrases. It will be a little repetitious in places and we'll use the terms Alpine Experience Ski School Val d'Isere ski instructors/off-piste guides, where it all could be shortened quite easily.
We'll sadly miss our summer holiday in Val d'Isere this year. The girls are busy doing other things, but you never know, we may arrive spontaneously?
15 June 2023
Clive's funeral service will be held June 29th, at 2:30 pm, followed by a wake the Leewood Hotel, Park Road, Buxton. The family wish for family flowers only, and any donations in memory of Clive for The Buxton Opera House. Donations can be sent to RW Percival, Belfied House, Heath Street, Buxton, SK17 6LT.
I won't be able to attend as we'll be away on a family holiday.
Rest In Peace Clive!
12 June 2023
Le Petit Danois
I had a fun round of golf with Millie, Charles and Neil this morning. Charles's was advertising Val d'Isere's Le Petit Danois as he was sporting one of their hats. (see photo) It was a lovely day for it as the weather has been sunny and hot for quite a few days now, and the course is in great condition.
Work is progressing on the website, and you may notice that we've added phrases with ski instructors, and ski school. They both score more points than just saying Alpine Experience or using off-piste guides. Anyway, fingers crossed for more hits once we are up and running properly.
09 June 2023
Summer Skiing in Val d'Isere
The Col d'Iseran opens today a noon, paving the way for the start of the summer ski season. Val d 'Isere's summer season kicks off tomorrow, June 10th, on the Pisaillas Glacier.
The opening of the Col d'Iseran is also welcomed by cyclists, motor-bikers, and sight-seers in general. And for those locals who become slightly claustrophobic during the long winter months, suddenly there is some relief as there will be two ways in-and-out of town.
If you'll be in Val d'Isere soon take a trip over the Col d 'Iseran, because it's really quite stunning. The views of the Maurienne Valley are fabulous, and the massive snowplows will have left spectacular walls of snow in their wake. It's picture postcard material, and Bonneval itself is always worth a visit.
Have fun and stay tuned!
08 June 2023
A Glorious Night For The Hammers!!!
What a glorious night is was in Prague for the Hammers!
It was nervy, and disjointed, but all that mattered in the end was the result. I felt that we never really got going, and the ball never seemed to fall for us. But, we defended really well, and dug in, and gutted it out. And took our only real chances when they came!
Last night wasn't our best performance, but West Ham won 14 games and drew one during the competition, and that on it's own makes it incredibly well deserved. And legendary!
Six weeks ago our Premiership status was under threat, but we ended up in 14th place (not too far behind Chelsea) and won our first European Trophy since 1965, and first Cup since 1980's FA Cup victory. In the end it wasn't too bad for a poor season!
Thanks for all the messages everyone, Hammer fans everywhere are rejoicing!
07 June 2023
Val d Isere and the Off-Piste Blog!!!
We are in the middle of revamping our website. The goal is to up our Google rating so that we pop up on top of the Google Rankings for Val d'Isere. And Tignes for that matter! At the moment our rating is terrible, and Alpine Experience comes up near the bottom of the list. We rank behind schools who we never see off-piste, and that is not only really annoying, but insulting as well.
So, the blog will read differently from now on. 'Code-Mode' will be used less often as I'll need to mention Val d'Isere, Charvet, Pisaillas Glacier, Grande Motte and others instead of trying to keep our skiing stashes secret. (sorry Simon!) Naming where we ski on a regular basis, and you may find it a little repetitive from time to time, is crucial for the all important Google Rating.
The website itself will be a little repetitive as well with the use of certain 'key' words and phrases designed to catch Google's 'eye'. Anyone who would like to help out can by posting a 5* Google Review. Thanks very much in advance, and thanks to Guillaume for all his help on the site. Some of the 'new-look', although still a work in progress, is now up if you'd like to have a look?
It will take us a while to sort out the photos, and place them where they belong. For example, there is an excellent shot in the Sache, but it's placed with a Val d'Isere heading. We need to go through our photos, and come up with images that go with various itineraries.
Richard Humphreys funeral will take place June 22nd at the Worcester Crematorium at 3:15. Everyone is then invited to the Cotford Hotel in Malvern to share memories and raise a glass to Richard.
And what a big night in West Ham's history. Come on boys!
02 June 2023
Unfortunately I have more sad news to report as Clive Beattie died last night.
Clive was an 'Alpine' regular, especially in our early years. Clive spent almost the entire season in Val d'Isere during those days, and skied with us almost daily. He was a strong and adventurous skier, always ready for the Point Pers, or a trip to the Foglietta. Clive was seated at the 'Alpine' table at Les Tufs every lunchtime, and was often seated across from Richard H.
Besides loving his skiing Clive had a huge appetite for all the good things in life. He loved good food, good alcohol, and good music, and he had a fabulous social life. (Being a diabetic in his adult life Clive had to balance is medication and his passions, which wasn't always easy) Clive was an extremely popular man. He always had a big smile on his face, laughed easily, and was always fun to be with. You could always count on Clive to be at the designated evening drinks venue, and then be ready to ski the next day!
He loved his children Georgina, Mark and Adam, and was a proud grandparent. Clive will be sadly missed by his family, and everyone who knew him. Clive Beattie was a legend!
PS The funeral for Richard Humphreys will take place at the Worcester Crematorium at 15:15 hrs on Thursday, the 22nd of June. After service arrangements have yet to be finalised.
24 May 2023
Snow on the Pisaillas Glacier!!!
The weather in Val d'Isere hasn't been the best since the end of the season. In general the locals have endured some pretty uninspiring conditions, which makes inter-season living much more difficult .
Last night 50 centimeters of fresh snow fell on the Fornet's Pisaillas Glacier due to a retour de l'est. The sun is shining today, and all that's missing is a couple of lifts! But, I'm sure there will be a couple of hard-core characters who manage to find their way to the top somehow.
I hope it cheers up for those living in Val d'Isere during the off-season as it can be a pretty lonely place, especially if you're stuck indoors due to horrible weather. Stay tuned!
21 May 2023
Happy Birthday Andreas!!!
Happy 50th Andreas! You might think you're old but believe me, you're not! Have a fantastic day, and many more wonderful years ahead of you. All the best from all of us! Skoal!
20 May 2023
Tilly And Terry!!!
After yesterday's sad news about Richard I have happier news to report. It's a big occasion for Tilly and Terry as they're getting married today! They are a fantastic couple, and we wish them all the best. Have a great day and a wonderful Honeymoon, and we all look forward to seeing you both back in Val d'Isere next winter!
19 May 2023
Dave Stockill contacted me this morning with the sad news that Richard Humphreys has passed away. Richard was a long-time friend and client of Alpine, dating all the way back to our Top Ski days.
One morning with Richard that I'll never forget happened about twenty-five years ago, back when we all had 'skinny' skis. We opened the Face du Charvet in mid-December or the first time of the season, with about 30 to 40 centimeters of fresh powder. The sun was shining and we were the first in, with no one following us. Our hearts were pounding and the adrenaline was flowing, because it was a rare opportunity. We were absolutely pumped, and the team performed admirably, leaving the most wonderful 'Alpine' tracks in their wake. It was perhaps the finest Face du Charvet of my life, and I'll always associate that stunning experience with Richard.
Richard was an excellent skier in his prime. You could take him anywhere. It didn't matter how steep, or how deep, he wouldn't let you down. You don't open the Face du Charvet early-season with just anyone, especially on 'skinny' skis, and Richard always handled himself well.
I also remember the time when someone in the group's binding broke. Between John Ellis and Richard they saved the day with an amazing use of cable ties as they pieced the binding back to a workable order. We were really stuck, way out in the middle of nowhere, and their ingenuity was extremely impressive.
Richard loved his skiing, as well as the social side of Val d'Isere. He had a regular seat at our 'Alpine' table during our 'Les Tufs' era, and never missed an aperitif session. Richard will be sadly missed by everyone who knew him.
PS I've posted a photo of Richard taken at one of Michael Rosen's summer gatherings.
19 May 2023
Back From Canada!!!
I've just returned from a great visit with my family in Canada. I was only there a week but packed in as much as possible. I stayed with my brother Denny and his wife Marilyn, and visited my Mum and sister Wendy daily. As usual we had our annual get-together at the Wild Rose Saloon with Tom, George, Patty, Mike, Webby, Gig, Rob, Denny and a few others. We would have had more but some had Mother's Day commitments! It was also great to see my good friend Penny, and the week passed very quickly.
We are in the middle of updating our website. A lot of work has already been completed on the French side of the site, and the English changes will follow shortly. One change will be the blog, which will be on a monthly page instead of individual pages, which clogged things up in the end.
Anyone who would like to write some Google Reviews about Alpine please go ahead. Steve White wrote a cracking review, and it was very much appreciated Steve!
Ghiselle Green, the daughter of Giles Green who was a founding member of Alpine, was married last week. Congratulations Ghiselle, and Chris has posted a few photos of the happy day!
And what about that devastating display form Man City last night? Wow, they were simply awesome, and are a wonderful advert for the Premier League. Hopefully the Hammers can finish the job, and qualify for the Europa Conference Final. Surviving, and winning a trophy, would equate to a fantastic season in the end. Come on boys!
PS I've posted a few photos taken from my brother's terrace plus a couple of shots of a huge owl guarding its nest.
8 may 2023
Off To Canada!!!
I'm off to Canada this morning for a quick visit with family and friends. The girls aren't coming this year so I thought I'd go now before my summer gains momentum. I'll probably go again in November before the season starts as well.
Suzanne's Mum Heidi is having a great time visiting in Val d'Isere. She's thoroughly enjoying herself, and it's her first trip since pre-Covid.
Speaking of enjoying myself, I thoroughly enjoyed the Hammers massive, season-saving victory against United yesterday. We aren't mathematically safe yet, but yesterday's win was a huge step towards survival.
Dan Egan was at the London Stadium for the match. He's been making a film about Clyde Best, who was the first black player to play in the first division. Dan sent me a couple of photos from his time in London with Clyde, Harry Rednapp and Geoff Hurst. As Johnnie Alpine said, "West Ham Royalty!" I'd have posted the photos if I wasn't such a dinosaur! I'm so glad Dan was there to witness such a monumental occasion in West Ham's history.
And the Blue Jays are in full flow as well. Stay tuned!
6 may 2023
Chris's Last Day!!!
Good luck Chris! Chris finishes a long Val-d'Isere season today skiing with Tejina and Dawn. We hope it all goes well, that weather and conditions are kind, and we look forward to seeing the photos later.
I'm off to Canada for a quick 8-day visit on Monday. Stay tuned!
5 may 2023
Back In The UK!!!
I had a cracking drive back to the UK with Paul, and we made it back safely without any issues on the road. It was a beautiful day without a cloud in sight, so we had wonderful views and, no need for the dreaded windscreen wipers! (Mind you the windscreen was plastered with dead bugs by then end)
From the photos it looks like Chris, Tejina, Dawn, and Suzanne have had some great skiing as things wind down. Well done to you all, and I look forward to the daily photos.
I'm off to Canada on Monday for a week and return May 16th. Stay tuned!
PS Suzanne's Mum Heidi has arrived in Val-d'Isere for a few days. Have a wonderful visit Heidi!
2 may 2023
What A Photo!!!
I was checking Chris's photos from yesterday and the shot of Suzanne has to be the 'photo of the year'. It's absolutely brilliant. The snow wasn't easy and Suzanne is in a superb skiing position. And she's skiing with just 86 underfoot. Bravo Suzanne!
I'm busy packing and tidying in preparation for a 4:30 am departure tomorrow morning. Paul G is riding shotgun for me, and I'll be flicking a switch and going from my French skiing winter life to my UK golfing summer life. It's wonderful to always have something to look forward to!
Tonight I'm having an early dinner at the 1789 with Paul G, Derek and Penny, and early to bed. And thanks to Karen and Uffe for a lovely evening at their place last night.
Stay tuned for Chris's updates and photos, and have a great summer!
PS If anyone fancies writing us a google report to up our website hits please feel free. Steve White wrote one, which was brilliant! Thanks very much Steve!
PPS Dawn's photo isn't too shabby either!
1 may 2023
I'm done, but my season came to an abrupt end. It snowed 30 cm's or more at the Fornet overnight, and I was expecting a great morning up on the Glacier. But, unfortunately the Glacier remained closed and only the Pyramid Chair was running, leaving us very few options.
The snow was deep and heavy, but very skiable. But, the problem was that once we'd tracked out the piste the pistes were uncomfortable, and there was no where to go. In flat-light our risk factor skiing first goes up enormously, and today I wasn't going to risk hurting myself. There are far too many dips and hollows,and battling heavy snow with no vis knowing there are 'haggis-traps' everywhere wasn't very appealing. Not with the summer looming, and another winter to look forward next season. Sorry to the team but I'm home safely in one piece!
It is a winter wonderland here today, and incredibly beautiful. (see photos) Val d'Isere never lets you down and I thought it was a fantastic season. But, aren't they all?
Stay tuned for more news and an end-of-season report soon! Have a brilliant summer!
PS Andreas is back from a great trip to Norway and Chris is skiing until next Saturday with Tejina and Suzanne. Chris will post some updates and photos over the coming days.
PPS And a big thanks to Louise for another season running our Alpine office. She's a key member of our Alpine team and we look forward to her returning again next season!
30 april 2023
Great Val-d'Isere Piste Skiing!!!
It was slightly colder overnight, but not enough to firm up the surface enough to support. In places where we did find fragile support the surface wasn't smooth enough for comfortable skiing. And, when we were high enough on the Motte for winter snow we were in a fog, and couldn't see enough to venture off-piste.
Without any real options we spent the morning on-piste and covered a lot of ground. The pistes were excellent, and felt like good spring snow most of the time.We skied long stretches at a time, and I must say that my legs were shot by the end of the morning.
It's forecast to get colder and we could see between 10 and 20 cm's of fresh snow for tomorrow, which is my last day. I'm hoping to finish off a fantastic season with nice morning tomorrow, and some fresh winter snow will help enormously. Chris is continuing on with Tejina until the 6th, and the forecast next week is fortunately much better for them.
I had a lovely meal a few nights ago at Derek's with Paul and the Campbell's. After dinner we listened to Derek's Radio 6 interview with Lauren Laverne. Derek hosts a Radio Show in Glasgow on Wednesday nights and has caught the attention of the Radio 6 interviewer. Derek acquitted himself brilliantly and more than held his own with a very experienced Laverne. Bravo Derek and a belated thanks for a great evening! (I'll get some details in case you might like to have a listen?)
Well , one more day to go. One more day to concentrate until coming to a full stop on the last run. As my friend Larry would say, 'never congratulate yourself while you're still in motion'!
29 april 2023
Our friend Al Scott will be curling for a Gold Medal in Korea today against the mighty Canadians. For once in my life I won't be waving my Canadian flag. Good luck Al and Oh Scotland!
And the Hammers have another huge 6-pointer today away to Crystal Palace. Come on boys!
Today's sports may be more interesting than our skiing this morning. The forecast is for rain to 2700 meters, but it doesn't seem too bad out there at the moment.
Stay tuned for blog and photos, plus an update on the sporting events later. Go Al!!!!
Breaking News: Al's team Scotland lost the Gold Medal game to the Canadians. Al said it was the experience of a lifetime. He loved the Korean people and culture, the competition, and said "second in the world isn't too shabby!" Congratulations Al, we're all proud of you!
I never did ski today, but ending up getting a lot done in preparation for departing next Wednesday. That just might free me up to ski a few runs on Tuesday as it's forecast to be sunny.
Chris skied with Tejina and Suzanne this morning but I haven't heard how they fared?
I'm just waiting for the Hammers game is kick-off as there has been a delay.
28 april 2023
A Rare Morning!!!
It was one of those rare morning today where the piste skiing was better than the off-piste. We tried our best, but there just wasn't much out there. It was extremely warm with absolutely no freeze overnight, plus it was overcast, and the vis wasn't the best.
We did tests off the Verte, Borsat, Super Santons, and the Pyramid and everything pointed to going as high as possible. Eventually we ended up out wide in the Pays Desert, where it came a 'travelling safely in the mountains' experience. It was a matter of picking the best way down through some tricky terrain before 'skiing' for ten minutes to access the big slopes back down to the poma.
I've my copro meeting tonight, which is always fatiguing as well as stressful. There is a lot going on in our building, and it promises to be a heated evening.
And a big Happy Birthday to Paul W. He's looking ridiculously good on it!
Al Scott is playing for a place in the final of the Senior World Curling Championships as I write. Come on Al!!!!
PS Tomorrow's forecast is absolutely dreadful with rain to between 2800 and 3000 metres. Let's hope they've got that one wrong!
PPS Al's Team Scotland beat Switzerland 6-2 for a place in tomorrow's Final. Bravo Al !!!!!
27 april 2023
Thomas and I had a cracking morning in Tignes as we looked for a change of scenery. We skied excellent spring snow with some nice winter snow in the upper Sachette mixed in.
I set off and good plaque/surface sluff in the Sachette Couloir, which added to the ambiance. Then a dropped my camera, which tumbled down with me chasing it closely behind. It got a bit wet and some of my shots had water spots on them until it dried out.
We've a team meeting with a web-person down at Thomas's place in Seez this afternoon. I don't have much time so I'll keep the blog short today.
Arsenal got what they deserved last night while the Hammers acquitted themselves really well in their 2-1 loss to Liverpool. I thought they were a little unlucky, and they looked like a team heading in the right direction as compared to one sinking away. They been really good lately and look ready for the fight.
26 april 2023
What A Morning!!!
I wasn't too sure what to expect this morning when leaving home. Winter? Spring? Is it still in between? I had a couple of plans in my head but as is so often the case, the instant my feet tested the snow the options became clear.
It turned out to be a 'maximum-turn' morning in various good snow conditions. After a liberating test off the Verte, which set-up the rest of the morning it was game on. After our test run we skied 3 off Wayne's Shoulder, one off the Cairn, a Col des Ves, a funky Familial and then a repeat of our morning 'test' run.
Chris, Thomas and Jerome were all in the neighbourhood while Henry was skiing with his kids. Chris was taking photos today so hopefully he'll post a few featuring Tejina and Suzanne.
They are planning on tearing down the Garage this summer to build either a new hotel or apartments. It's a shame that some of our favourite places with a 'lived in' feel to them are going by the wayside.
Andreas is having a fantastic time in Norway. The scenery is stunning, and so far they've had good weather and snow conditions.
It's a massive night in the Premiership with Man City taking on Arsenal in the biggest game of the season. And of course my Hammers are playing Liverpool as they battle to avoid the drop. Come on boys!
PS Team Scotland with Al are 3-3 at the Senior World Curling Championships in Korea. A win tomorrow should see them through to the playoffs. Go Al!
25 april 2023
Where's The Sun!!!
It was another tricky day today as it remained fairly cold, and the sun never really made much of an appearance. Plus with Fornet Glacier out of play again today due to a combination of wind and technical problems, that added to Chris and my lack of options.
We decided there was enough warmth yesterday afternoon followed by a cold enough night to try for spring slopes. (We'd tracked out the Grand Vallon and Combe du Signal yesterday, and without the Glacier we didn't have many powder options) With the falling snow we'd have some texture to help soften the surface without the sun, and we were sure that we'd have support to make it to the bottom. Also with the falling snow we weren't going to make a mess and ruin any spring slopes.
After digesting all that we skied the Tour du Charvet for starters. The snow wasn't quite as easy as we were hoping for, but it worked, and we made it to the bottom. It was very atmospheric, and quite beautiful being all alone in the falling snow. (see photos) There has been more slides at the bottom so getting out is interesting, and it's not a freebie!
Next up was the Marmattons on the Arcelle side. We had a bit better light, and I thought it was excellent. It supported Amelia, Phillipe and I the entire descent, but the last couple of hundred metres were becoming pretty fragile. Our heavier skiers found the bottom section more difficult, but everyone managed to the bottom.
We then skied another, but not so far out so that we could escape back to the piste when the freeze started to give out. In the space of 30 minutes or so we needed to cut out significantly earlier, so we were pretty much done in that sector. Chris returned for another and cut out early while I made my way back to Bellevarde for a little play off the Borsat.
It wasn't the easiest of days, but we did our best and our decision making was good. Sometimes you can't do anymore than that.
Doug emailed to say that they have decided to finally repelace the Vallon bubbles up to the Col this summer. That's fantastic news and a long time in coming. The bad news is that they will be taking out the Col Poma! The only way to access the Glacier will be from the new lift departing from the top of the Fornet cable car. No more Combe du Signal's en route to the poma. Bummer!
PS I had a fantastic catch-up with Boo last night. It turns out that I haven't seen her in 27 years! Boo was the first female pisteur here and Val d'Isere, and a much loved character. We had a lovely evening including Chris and Suzanne, the one-and-only Dick, Dawn, Stocky, Paul and I, and Boo's son Hamish joined us after his trip in the rat-track. It was great to see you Boo!
24 april 2023
Another Morning Of Winter Snow!!!
It rained in town yesterday afternoon and Stocky, Jukka, Paul and I got soaked at the Foustock Concert. But, we all know that rain in town means snow upstairs and we enjoyed a cracking morning of winter snow.
We were heading upstairs to the Glacier but unfortunately it was closed due to wind and then technical difficulties. The closure forced us down and we ended up with a fantastic morning off the Signal Poma. We skied three Grand Vallon's, a Combe du Signal, and a couple on the meadows under the up-and-over chair. (Leissieres)
The snow at times was 'skiers snow', meaning it needed a round turn, good pole plant and some technique, but it skied really well and was very rewarding. Both Chris and my team's skied really well and showed the snow who was boss, and did a great job. Decent visibility helped enormously because it would have been a tough morning otherwise.
Thomas was out skiing with Muriel and after a great ski they heded down to Le Monal for lunch. Nice one Thomas!
It stayed dry until the last 20 minutes or so at last night's concert at the Salon. Karen and Mike opened up the show and were fantastic as usual. Then Ritchie played with a French band called Doc Martens. I'm not sure if they were named after the boots or Martin Clunes, but they were outstanding. Ritchie jamming back and forth with the lead guitarist was a lot of fun, and it was worth getting soaked to hang on until the end.
I'd better get going as I have a tax meeting in Bourg soon. Stay tuned!
PS And what about those Hammers!!!!!
PPS Chris has been posting some fabulous photos. Thanks Chris!
PPPS Andreas had a great first day in Norway!
PPPPS When I said fabulous photos I meant those of wildlife and artistic shots, not me skiing!
23 april 2023
Still In Transition!!!
We had a very minimum refreeze last night and not a huge amount of options. Although once we tested the snow Chris, Jerome and I headed to the Tour via TJ's Shoulder. It was absolutely magnificent until the freeze dropped, and then we needed to walk down the grass until we could put our skis back on towards the bottom. We also spooked a huge herd of chamois who weren't expecting any skiers today!
Once out of the Charvet Chris and I skied the top of the Marmottes before cutting back to the Solaise piste while Jerome headed towards the Arcelle. I then worked my way to the Motte and back mixing in off-piste shots with good piste skiing. I thought it was a fun and interesting morning as the mountain is still in transition but is still giving us some excellent skiing.
Yesterday I said Karen will be playing at the Salon des Fous at 4:30 this afternoon, but that has been changed to nearer 5:30. That works out well for me as I've a six-point relegation battle with Bournemouth this afternoon, which will finish at around 4:55. Fingers crossed and stay tuned!
PS Thanks for a fantastic meal last night Dave!
PPS Jean Marc has just finished a great tour in Japan while Andreas is just getting started in Norway.
22 april 2023
My good friend and long time 'Alpine' skier Al Scott, is representing Scotland in the World Senior Curling Championships in South Korea. The tournament runs from April 21st to the 29th. Good luck Al, we'll be following you closely!
This afternoon Chris, Suzanne, Stocky and I are heading down to La Daille for Paul Gains's Gold Medal presentation for 40 years of fidelity.
Skiing news and photos will follow.
What a footie match again last night. Like Val-d'Isere, the Premiership never fails to deliver! Stay tuned.
Photos are up. Al lost his first game 6-5 to the USA and blog will follow later after Paul's ceremony. Stay tuned!
Just returned after Paul's medal ceremony down at La Daille. It went well and we enjoyed a class of champagne and a lovely tart from Chevallot.
Last night's gig at the Salon des Fous was excellent and it's always great to see Karen and Ritchie. Karen sang quite a few songs that I haven't heard her sing before, and that was an added bonus. I missed tonight due to Paul's ceremony but will be back tomorrow afternoon. Karen and Ritchie will be playing at 4:30 tomorrow, so if you show up at 5 you'll have missed it!
As for today's skiing, talk about a transition day! The powder (except super steep and high) had crusted up and with the warmth the spring slopes down low wouldn't have supported, so we had to make it up as we went along. After a test on the sunny-side in the 3300 we skied some nice spring snow out in the Pays Desert, although we needed to play carefully with the expositions. Flat light didn't help but it was a good morning anyway. (see photos)
Hopefully we'll get a refreeze and some sun tomorrow. Otherwise it's going to be tough out there! Fingers crossed!
21 april 2023
Back To Powder on Val-d'Isere!!!
After a few days of wonderful spring skiing it was back to powder this morning on Val-d'Isere. And with some decent visibility we made the most of it.
There was enough light to really ski comfortably, and at times the sun popped as an added bonus. With the overcast skies the snow remained pretty cold, especially at altitude, but at this time of year the instant the sun shows itself the snow heats up immediately.
Chris, Jerome and I were all in action this morning and we headed to the Fornet. We skied as north as possible to ski winter snow and to protect the spring slopes. Hopefully others will have stayed off the spring slopes as well, so that they have a chance to transform into perfectly smooth surfaces.
I've had the pleasure of skiing with Michelle L this past week. I first skied with Michelle 35 years ago back in my Top Ski days. When we left Top Ski to create 'Alpine' she remained faithful to the Zimmer's and the French skiing community, so I've only skied a few mornings with since. Anyway, to cut a long story short, it was great to ski with her again!
Don't forget the Karen is playing with Ritchie at the Salon des Fous this afternoon, starting at 5 o'clock. She's only singing about 5 songs or so, so don't be late.
What a great win for the Hammers last night. If we can avoid relegation we might be able to look back at a pretty successful season. (The Hammers are 11 or 12 wins and a draw in Europe)
20 april 2023
Not A Bad Follow Up!!!
How do you follow up the best day of spring skiing in 20 years? Well, you don't really! Especially when the weather isn't fully cooperating. But, I thought Chris and I dealt with what was thrown at us pretty well today, and we couldn't have done any better.
There was a decent overnight freeze but it was warmer and the warming process was well in advance of yesterday, and it was forecast to close in and start snowing by mid-morning.
We opened up with an excellent Epaule du Charvet in the only sunshine of the morning. There was more avalanche rubble to traverse as another slide came down yesterday afternoon. (see photos) It was a little tricky to traverse and needed some care and attention, but the snow on the other side was brilliant.
Next up was a very good Cabane des Gardes. By this time the sky was clouding over, and we were losing our vis, but we knew that the snow in front of us was 'clean'. It was great skiing but by the time we arrived on the Arcelle-side of the mountain it was starting to snow. There was already a slight overnight texture to the snow, which helped to soften the surface without the sun. But' the little bit of falling snow helped to eat into the surface, and after a short 'skin' we were treated to a fantastic run down the steeps in the Super Arcelle.
It was starting to show signs of fragility at the bottom so we gave the Marmattons/Marmottes a miss and skied home via the 'L' to finish off a really good morning in potentially tough conditions.
The snow has fallen off-and-on all afternoon so chances are we'll be looking for fresh snow on northern slopes in the morning. Fingers crossed for some vis!
PS Gill has corrected me as I've been calling Snowdrone Snowdrome for the past few years!
19 april 2023
One Of The Best spring skiing Val-d'Isere!!!
That had to be one of the best days of spring skiing that I've ever had! Jerome said it was the best he's had since 2003! It was clean with perfect texture everywhere we skied, all morning long, and believe me that is a rarity. Wow!
I can't remember skiing so many longs runs in a four-hour morning ever! We skied two Epaule's, a Jardin du Borsat, a Tour du Charvet (non tourists route), a sunny-side into the L, three Marmattons cutting back to the Manchet chair at the last second, and a fourth Marmattons straight down to finish at 1:20.
Thomas and Jerome were off and skiing together this morning. They were on their way to ski the Face Nord du Grande Motte, but when they realised what was on offer they quickly changed their minds. We ran into the two of them on our last run, and Jerome had a sneaky route through the shrubs and rocks that he'd discovered last week while skiing with Sarah, which was fun.
I'm so glad Millie could ski the first three runs with us before her taxi. She loves spring snow and it was a wonderful finish to her holiday. But, I was gutted she couldn't stay all morning, and I hope we don't have to wait another 20 years for our next 'perfect' spring morning. Wow!
PS Karen is playing with Ritchie Friday afternoon at the Salon. I'll keep you posted on the time.
PPS Besides being perfectly 'clean', the other factor that made today so special was a little bit of texture on the surface. Normally there is quite a delay when moving from the sunny Charvet-side of the mountain to the Arcelle/Cugnai-side. Usually we need to wait for the snow to soften, and often ski our first run on that side on pretty firm no-fall-snow. But, the texture today gave the snow some grip and a softer, safer feel almost immediately, and we didn't need to rely on the sun.
18 april 2023
Another Transition Day!!!
It was another transition day where the powder is crusting up, and the spring snow isn't ready. Transition days are always potentially tricky, and today was no exception.
Chris, Andreas and I all skied in the same neighbourhood, and we all made the most of the morning. We were hoping for some spring support lower down, but not unexpectantly the spring slopes weren't quite ready. But, the upper slopes were still good winter powder, and we enjoyed some outstanding skiing. (see photos)
It was Millie's last full morning as she has a Snowdrome taxi at 12:25 tomorrow. I was hoping for some spring options in the morning so that she could ski until 11-ish before heading home, but I'm afraid tomorrow will be another transition day. I'll try to come up with something so that she can join in before she needs to leave. (I'm really going to miss her!)
I forgot to mention that yesterday I had an age difference between 12 and 75 in the group. It's pretty cool to have a 12-year-old boy with his dad skiing with a 75-year-old, and everyone getting on and doing the business.
It's Ian and Andreas's last day of their season's tomorrow. Andreas will be leaving for Norway on Thursday and probably won't ski again in Val d'Isere until next winter. Have a good one boys!
17 april 2023
Skiing With Family!!!
Andreas had a pleasure of having Tansy, Ness and Victor joining in with Ian this morning. It's always a pleasure and privilege to share what we do on a daily basis, something we all love, with our families, and especially our children.
Adam has been stoked having his 12-year-old son Leo skiing with us and I've had such a brilliant time having Millie along. I've been lucky to have Gill, Millie and Katie ski with me quite often, and I know Andreas thoroughly enjoyed having his family along this morning, and he was a proud papa! (It won't be long now until Thomas and Henry have their children joining in.) (See photos)
As for this morning's skiing, we had a brilliant ski. It wasn't good everywhere as some places had a surface tension caused by the heat within the cloud and fog yesterday. It was surprising that our best snow was mid-altitude and not up high on the Pisaillas Glacier, but we did milk the good snow for all it was worth.
It's transition time again and tomorrow should be interesting. Stay tuned!
PS It was a 'maximum-turn' type morning with 3 Grand Vallon's, a Combe du Signal, a Col Pers and a 12:35 finish!
16 april 2023
Come On You Hammers!!!
Photos are up and blog will follow at half-time. My camera doesn't like flat-light so the blurry ones have been given some funky editing.
Sorry for the late blog but it was an intense afternoon of Premiership Football!
After being 2-nil down inside 10 minutes I wasn't expecting a stunning fight back and a brilliant 2-2 draw. And Forrest losing was a big bonus as well.
As for today's skiing, we all had some nasty fog to deal with at times. When in the fog even skiing on the piste was difficult, and the thought of being out in the middle of nowhere wasn't a sane man's option.
I dove off-piste at every opportunity, but returned to the safety of the piste when necessary. We were all expecting better light today, and usually we've benefited from better-than-expected-light for most of the season. But, today it went the other way, and we're all hoping for better vis tomorrow. Fingers crossed!
15 april 2023
What A Finale!!!
Karen and Andreas's finale last night at the Danois was brilliant. Everyone had a great time and they both signed off for the season in style. I'm going to seriously miss my Friday night's in the Danois!
After a stunning day yesterday of the highest quality with sunshine it was back to flat-light again this morning. It snowed most of the morning, and the wind was howling at altitude. After a couple of flat-light adventures in the past week or so I wasn't in the mood for doing anything weird.
After a good warm-up run down the L Chris, Andreas and I all skied up on the Pisaillas Glacier. I was tempted a couple of times to dive into the Combe du 3300 but I'm glad we didn't. The teasing light disappeared just as quickly as it arrived so we skied some lovely pistes, then off the edge, and then some really good runs towards the Combe du Geante.
They started to shut things down due with wind and snow so we headed back down just after noon and it was a pretty good morning considering.
Thomas, Jerome and Dan were all out there somewhere and knowing the boys they will have come up with something.
I'm a little bummed as my Canal Plus isn't working so I'm missing my Saturday afternoon on the sofa watching Match of ze Day. Hopefully it will be fixed for the last game this evening.
A little sun is forecast for the morning and I definitely have my fingers crossed for that!
14 april 2023
For a combination of reasons 'Wayne's Shoulder' was at it's best today, and we absolutely 'milked it'. (see photos) It was great to have Millie along as she gets another week, and she thoroughly enjoyed herself. (As did everyone else) I also had Mark Jones's wife Lizzy, French Phillipe, Jules, Barnaby and Adam G along for the ride. It was quite a spectacular morning of cold winter snow in the middle of April. Wow!
We started off with an excellent Borsat Nord and meadows into Tignes followed by four rotations off my shoulder, one off the Lanches chair and a Familial to finish. It was a 'maximum-turn' morning of the highest quality, and with unexpected sunshine!
Chris was also 'milking', Thomas was skiing couloirs, Andreas and Ian were having a great time, Jerome was in action, and Dan Egan was about as well, and everyone had a fabulous morning.
I'm really looking forward to Karen and Andreas tonight at the Danois, kicking off around 5:30. It's their last gig of the season as Andreas is off to Norway next week, and it promises to be a great night! If you're in town don't miss it!
And a big Happy Birthday to Uffe today! See you tonight Uffe.
PS Chris adds some photos from time to time. He posted a few yesterday and will probably post some today. Thanks Chris!
13 april 2023
Bye To Katie And Gill !!!
Unfortunately Gill and Katie missed their skiing today due to the French Strikes about the age of retirement. Because the strikers block the roads they had to leave early with Snowdrome to avoid being stuck and missing their plane. I really feel sorry for them as they now have a long wait at the airport after missing a great morning on the mountain.
I was travelling light today with just Phillipe and Millie and we had a great morning up at the Fornet. (see photos) Chris, Andreas, Thomas, Jerome and Dan Egan were all in the neighbourhood and everyone enjoyed a fantastic morning.
I'm off to Bourg shopping this afternoon with Millie as she's here for another week.
Don't forget that Karen and Andreas's gig at the Danois tomorrow night will be the last of the season. If you're in town don't miss it!
12 april 2023
Happy Birthday Gill!
We had a lovely 'birthday' ski for Gill's birthday. Gill and the girls came along with Barnaby, Phillipe, James and Jules and we had a cracking morning up at the Fornet.
Yesterday's drizzle in town left us a really nice cushion of fresh snow at altitude this morning. It's always amusing when you hear people complaining about a little rain in the village. For anyone skiing off-piste day-in-and-day-out any precipitation is seriously good news, especially at this time of year. And we had just enough visibility to make the most of it. As soon as the sun popped out it killed the snow off quite quickly and we were better off without too much sun.
All the teams skied up at the Fornet this morning. The Gladman family were skiing with Henry today and it was their last ski of their season. Thomas was skiing with the Parker family and friends, and they left an outstanding set of tracks in the Pays Desert under the rocks. Bravo team Parker! Chris and Jerome also had family groups with friends and it was a nice 'Alpine' morning. And of course Andreas and Ian were in the neighbourhood working up an appetite!
We'll continue Gill's birthday celebrations this afternoon and into the evening. Stay tuned!
11 april 2023
It was a potentially tricky day with limited options but we chose well and had fantastic snow with wonderful ambiance. Unfortunately Chris and I had a few hiccups, which could have had serious consequences. Fortunately things worked out and we managed to extract ourselves and our teams from a sticky situation.
First off James had serious trouble getting into his pins and every time we stopped and needed to get his skis back on it took a team effort. Then poor James had the toe piece of his binding move while skiing and his ski came off and hurtled 200 meters down the mountain. Fortunately it followed the fall-line and came straight to me. James then needed to walk down to me where we had another eventful time sorting out his bindings and getting them back on.
Just when we thought we were ready to go Chris had a client who's heel piece broke and we couldn't get her into her skis. Eventually I remembered cable ties, which have laid dormant in my first-aid kit for about twenty years! Bruce did a brilliant job of working out what and how to solve the problem. After some impressive engineering we finally got Izzy into her skis and we ready to go. (see photos)
By this time the weather had moved in and we had pretty flat-light to navigate in. We were in the middle of the Glacier Pers, a long way from civilization, with two skiers who couldn't take their skis off. The mission then became following the contours and staying high enough to access the Grand Torsai without taking off our skis. It was white but nothing compared to a few days ago in the Sache and we made it quite comfortably.
I finally returned home at 2 o'clock after another Watson/Soulliac adventure. But two in a week is a little much!
10 april 2023
The skiing has been absolutely wonderful of late. We've had the choice of skiing powder, or skiing spring, and some days a combination of the two. It hasn't been too hard to take and I for one have been thoroughly enjoying myself. All the boys have been delivering great skiing on a daily basis and anyone who thinks that we've had a poor season is nuts!
At this time of year it's so important that after a snowfall everyone concentrates on skiing northern slopes only. Unfortunately this doesn't happen and many of the wonderful 'classic' spring slopes are scarred beyond repair and never get the chance to transform into 'clean' perfect spring snow. It's effing annoying and the wonderful skiing we've been enjoying could easily be even better.
I had the girls skiing in my group this morning, which was fantastic. I think it was only the second time all season that we've all had an off-piste morning together. (see photos)
Yesterday's Liverpool v Arsenal match had to be one of the best games of the season, and with so much at stake. The Gunners will be kicking themselves because at 2-nil up they really should have been able to see it out. Now they have put themselves under enormous pressure with City breathing down their necks. And it was a little reminder that Liverpool still have some life and quality about them.
There is a change of weather coming but I'll wait and see what the morning brings. I've learnt that in this business there is absolutely no point in worrying about tomorrow. Stay tuned!
9 april 2023
I was so relieved yesterday with the Hammers 1-nil win away to Fulham. A few of the other results went our way as well so it was a good day in Hammerland. I habitually hope the the 'underdogs' in any match, but when you're in a relegation battle you pray that the 'underdogs' get absolutely clobbered!
As for today's skiing, the sun was shining and we had another absolutely brilliant morning. Some of us went for powder, some for spring, and in some cases a nice mix of the two. (see photos)
I had French Phillipe joining my French family today and as I went to introduce them it became evident that they knew each other. It turns out that Phillipe is their family doctor! (I also had Scottish Andy and English Ed joining Gill and I this morning)
The girls are out on the terrace sunning themselves while doing school work. Hopefully we'll get another nice day tomorrow before the clouds roll back in.
I'm looking forward to Liverpool v Arsenal in one of the biggest matches of the season this afternoon. Arsenal can't afford any slip-ups as City look quite unbeatable at the moment.
8 april 2023
A Return Of The Sun!!!
After a tough but good day yesterday in a white-out we were grateful to some full on sunshine today!
My first thought getting out of bed was the Fornet, but I quickly changed my mind. Saturday is always a good day to go to Tignes as it's 'change-over' day, which means it's quiet. Secondly, we thought that maybe it had snowed a little more towards Tignes. But the main reason was that Chris and I wanted to see where we were yesterday in the 'white-out'.
It turned out to be a fantastic morning and along with Gill and Barnaby we had a lovely French family with us. Philippe, Francoise and their daughter Alexandra, all of whom are very good skiers and long-time Val d' Isere apartment owners.
Both Chris and Andreas were in the same sector while Jerome was off 'skinning' with a team of 'split-boarders'. Thomas was out of the station with the Parker's and Henry was having a family day.
Last night's gig was brilliant as usual, but unfortunately next Friday will be Karen and Andreas's last gig of the season at the Danois.
It's another afternoon of relegation battles with the Hammers playing away to a very tough Fulham side. Fortunately their best player is deservedly banned for the match. We are up 1-nil at half-time against the run of play so fingers cross that the Hammers can hold on! And hopefully most of the other scores will go their way.
7 april 2023
Like an idiot I was totally ambushed this morning. I left the house without my goggles thinking I wouldn't need them this morning. Both my French and UK phones packed up together so I had no communication other than my radio. So when the weather moved in and it started snowing heavily I was feeling a little vulnerable.
Chris and I skied the Sachette Couloir as the rock walls gave us great visibility and the snow was wonderful. The big pitch below was fantastic as well and then the world turned white! We couldn't see a thing and by this time my sunglasses were not helping the cause.
Cheeky took the lead while I surveyed the situation with compass in hand. The problem in a white-out is that as soon as you feel a slope in front of you that you're not expecting it starts to put doubts in your mind. When you find yourself stepping up when to feel you should be sliding forward following the contours is very off putting. Anyway, we finally made it to where we could make out some rocks in the distance, which was a great relief, and we could start to try to ski and navigate comfortably again.
We finished off the morning with an excellent Altiport and both Chris and I arrived home exhausted. Thanks for your help Chris in another Watson/Soulliac adventure! There's been more than a few over the years!
Thomas had a similar situation around the back of the Lechoir, and needed to feel his way back on 'skins' to the Grand Torsai. Well done Thomas! Bravo to Andreas and Jerome as well as I'm sure everyone had their moments this morning!
Being ambushed I didn't have my wet-weather camera today so there are no photos. The couloir shots would have been fantastic but.....
Don't forget the gig tonight with Karen and Andreas. See you there!
5 april 2023
Sunny But Unseasonably Cool!!!
We enjoyed another stunningly beautiful day, but it was unseasonably cool. That meant that skiing spring snow was going to need some patience and adjustments timing-wise.
I decided to ski spring slopes (with a few powder turns during delaying tactics), and I must say that it was exceptionally good. (See photos) We skied one itinerary an hour later than normal, and it was clean, steep in places, atmospheric, and jolly good fun.
Meanwhile Thomas had new people so he skied exactly what we skied yesterday because it was so good, and Henry went along as well. Chris started out with me then peeled off as he wanted to do a little 'skin'. (Andreas had the day off today)
I'm not too sure what Jerome skied today but I rate him highly and know he'll have come up with something fantastic. He's been a brilliant addition to our 'Alpine' team, and has slotted in seamlessly with not only us, but our clientele as well. Bravo Jerome!
I've had the pleasure of skiing with David's daughter Sacha the past tow days. She's not only an exceptionally keen skier, but a seriously strong skier as well, and it's been fun skiing with her again!
It's time to 'peak' on my house preparations as I'm off around 6 o'clock to pick the girls up in Geneva. It's going to be fun!
PS And come on you Hammers!
PPS Suzanne had a fantastic parapente flight yesterday with EV2. She's working for them and was given the flight as a perk and to have a better understanding of their products. She absolutely loved it and I believe Richard Finlay is thinking of having a go?
PPPS Penny brought her nephew Charlie along this morning for his first go with Alpine. Charlie had a brilliant morning is in the yellow ski trousers.
4 april 2023
What A Transition Day!!!
The proper big spring slopes are a day away from transforming into proper spring snow, so we milked some lovely powder high-and-north before turning to spring low-and-south. For a 'transition' day it was skiing of the highest quality! (see photos)
I'm heading down to Bourg for a big shop ahead of the girls arrival tomorrow to today's blog was short and sweet.
There is a band playing in the Salon des Fous tonight between 6 and 7:30 and I'm planning on checking it out. Maybe see you there?
3 april 2023
A Stunning Day!!!
After several days of skiing in flat-light we were treated to a stunning day of sunshine. Having the sun back was wonderful and a welcome relief as skiing first in 'white' conditions is really fatiguing, and when we are most at risk of injury.
It was a transition day today where there was still some powder snow at altitude on northern slopes, while the sunny expositions were busy trying to transform into proper spring snow. Proper spring may still be another day away so today we skied some fantastic winter snow. (see photos) It was a fabulous morning and the mountains looked so much better without a single track. Wow, what a stunning day!
I was incredibly relieved with the Hammers hard fought 1-nil victory over Southampton yesterday. We jumped from 19th to 14th place, but every team from 12th on down is in serious peril of relegation. There will be many more nervy afternoons to come!
I need to gt back to my housekeeping as Gill and the girls arrive on Wednesday. Stay tuned!
2 april 2023
I've a nervy afternoon coming up as the Hammers host the Saints in a relegation battle 'six-pointer'. The winner is out of the drop zone with a bit of momentum, a draw leaves them both in the bottom three, and a loss doesn't bare thinking about. Come on boys!
As for today's skiing we enjoyed another fantastic morning. After a lovely warm-up off the Verte I headed into the Tour via TJ's Shoulder, and most of it was excellent, except the bottom section. It had taken yesterday's heat and every exposure at that altitude was similar, so that set us up tactically for the rest of the morning. The team dealt with the tricky section really well, especially Mags, and I've a photo of Jerry making it look easy. Bravo team!
Afterwards we skied one above the Mattis, a good run off the Laisinant, and then with a limited opening and the people-factor we headed over the Col Pers. I was counting on get most of the way down before running into potentially tricky snow, and we were rewarded with brilliant skiing until the final hundred metres, where it was a bit more 'educational', but it still skied well.
Thomas started around Bellevarde and skied an excellent Kern before making his way to the Fornet, while Jerome headed straight up to altitude at the Fornet. Andreas had a quick ski with Thierry before meeting his family and they headed to Tignes via the Borsat en route to the Chardonnet.
Gill, Millie and Katie arrive next Wednesday so I've so tidying up to do over the next few days. And the golden rule in preparing for the family? Don't peak too early! Timing is everything. I am so looking forward to seeing them all and we are going to have a brilliant time!
The girls are off to London for the Abba show, which should be fantastic. Have fun girls!
All I need now is three points and I can go to bed happy tonight. Stay tuned!
PS After the Mattis I almost back-tracked towards my Shoulder in Tignes but decided to head to the Pisaillas just as the bus was arriving. I would have hated to miss the Col Pers!
PPS That was one of the most stressful afternoons of my life!!!
1 april 2023
What A Night!!! What A Morning!!!
It was another terrific Friday night in the Danois again last night. Mike filled in for Andreas who was busy with a concert at Ness and Victor's school, and he did a great job. Thanks Mike for playing Sultans of Swing. It was fantastic and a real crowd 'pleaser'. If Mark himself was there in the crowd he would have stood up and said, "well done young man"! And Karen was her usual brilliant self and always a pleasure to watch perform! I love my Friday nights in the Danois!
(Andreas played Mama Mia with Ness on vocals and Victor on drums.)
Happy Belated Birthday to Tash who was bogeying away after a stunning morning of skiing. And it was nice to see Matt and Ellie, Jesse and Lara, and all their friends who were here for Matt's 60th celebrations. (That includes you of course Kev and your lovely wife Bridgette).
The ski blog will be a little late today as I have a full afternoon of Premiership football to look forward to on my sofa this afternoon. First up is City v Liverpool, which is mouthwatering. Come on you Reds!
City just trashed Liverpool in the first game of the day. And on to today's skiing, which was outstanding. It was another 'maximum-turn' affair of the highest quality. Jerome and I opened with powder-on-the-piste on the Face du Bellevarde. Then we were first down the Fontaine Froide and onto the Epaule du Charvet, which was so good we did it twice! Then I headed over to ski one run down the Manchet, arriving just in time for a lift back out. Then we had a fantastic Super L, followed by a great run off the Laisinant en-route to an atmospheric Lower Combe du Signal and then some bonus turns all the way to the valley floor.
Jerome, Thomas, Henry and Chris were all in action and we all had top-ten-of-the season type mornings. Chris would like to give a special mention to Tim and Gill, who did brilliantly this morning on the Face and the Epaule! Bravo!
I'd like to give Gareth's 6-year-old daughter a mention. Zadie was at the gig last night and had a great time, and it was lovely to meet you! (Gareth's dad Rob has played tennis with my wife Gill for years!)
Today's photos are now up. Stay tuned!
PS There was a good sized slide in the Combe du Signal this morning. It made for some great ambiance as we skied beside it.