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Wayne and Gill Watson.
Alpine Experience
Alpine Experience

Off Piste & Back Country Skiing Specialists

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Fornet For A ‘Sniff’!!!

I haven’t been to the Fornet for nearly two weeks so I headed up there to see what was going on in that sector. Chris accompanied me and we had a pretty funky morning making the best of what was on offer. We had nice creamy snow in the Pays Desert and the snow was much better than it looked as the northern winds have done some damage. With the rain-crust at lower altitudes we weren’t going to risk going over the Col Pers so we tried the Manchet where we knew we could cut back to the piste if necessary. The top section was nice powder before a short distance in transition which was ‘skiers’ snow followed by good and welcomed supporting spring-like snow with a few centimetres on top all the way to the bottom. I really enjoyed it and the outing told us a lot about what’s doable and what isn’t over the next few days as we are in for another five days or more of sunshine. Andreas and Thomas headed back to Tignes to ski the Chardonnet and Sache, Olivier went for a ‘skin’, JM is still here skiing with some French clients and Henry was back in action today.

After 23 or 24 years Olivier has decided to leave Alpine Experience due to personal reasons involving the environment. He doesn’t want to ski in ski resorts anymore or tour world-wide where air travel is necessary and Oli hasn’t used a helicopter for 15-years or so. Below is Olivier’s letter which was kindly translated by Jo Moss.

24th December 2018

It’s Christmas and it’s pouring here in Val d’Isere!  The rain is fine and steady and soaking one of the most beautiful ski resorts in the world!  Some will say that this is not the first time it is happening and it is part of a cycle.   For me, it is yet another sign that the planet is warming up. 

Along with most scientists in the world  today, I am convinced that this warming of the climate is directly linked to the way we live: a way of life based on unbridled growth and consumption of resources that is out of control and yet our resources of energy and life are running out. This way of life is jeopardising all living beings be they animal, vegetable and indeed human.   Whether we like it or not, either willingly or not, we are being called to change and time is running out…

My individual awareness of this, both in my heart and in my body, is no longer enough and it needs to become real. I need to take action and change the way I live my life, radically changing my habits and my beliefs and that includes the way I work. This is the reason for my decision  to leave Alpine Experience and to cease being a “ski guide-world traveller” to far flung corners around the world.

This commitment is personal and in no way a judgement on any one else. Nor is it a difficult choice to make as it is totally aligned  with who I am today. The choice gives meaning to my life and offers me a deep sense of freedom and love; it provides me with enormous energy that I am keen to channel into this new world and everything is still to be reinvented!

The outlook for the human race is chaotic and very uncertain and this doesn’t mean I am buckling or wallowing in a pessimistic desert without hope. On the contrary!! There are some amazing things out there still to be lived!  In order to do this, i invite you to become aware of the stakes involved, move our intelligence from the head to the heart, be empathetic and be generous towards others as cooperation and helping others are the  cornerstones of the world we live in and we are part of this world. 

The purpose of my letter is to open a tiny window into your heart and humbly and gently sow a seed. Perhaps one day this seed will grow (and maybe it has already germinated?) and then it will be my absolute pleasure to meet again on our path. 

I wish you fair winds and good snow and all the best for a happy new year 2019

See you all soon


Good luck Olivier and you’ll be sadly missed. We spent some wonderful times together and you played a huge part in the development of Alpine Experience. Thanks for so many great the memories!

Stay tuned!

PS And being Boxing Day my thoughts are always with David and his family and friends.

PPS Millie had a great time taking care of Philip and Tash’s children over the lunch hour today.