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Wayne and Gill Watson.
Alpine Experience
Alpine Experience

Off Piste & Back Country Skiing Specialists

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Wayne's Photos of the Day >

Totally Ambushed!!!

I must admit to having pretty high expectations this morning. The sun was forecast to shine for most of the morning. Plenty long enough to allow us to ski our chosen itineraries. But, it wasn’t to be and we were totally ambushed! We ended up dealing with the second most difficult morning of the season. (Second only to the day after the frozen rain, which was the worst conditions of my entire 58-years of skiing!)

My plan was to retrace my steps from yesterday because there was still some lovely powder waiting. Chris and Thomas were thinking of coming as well although the Col des Ves was mentioned. We started out in beautiful sunshine with light winds and it was all looking rather promising. But once on Tommeuses we noticed cloud rising from down the valley and immediately changed our minds. We thought we’d head up the Grande Motte to stay above the rising bank of cloud. With the wind we also thought we’d find some soft snow blown onto the lee slopes. But we exited the funicular into a white-out. The cloud cover had followed us up to the summit and the soft blown in snow hadn’t materialised either!

The only real option in the flat-light was to stay on the piste. Once we were half-way down I looked across towards the ‘Plan A’ and it was bathed in sunshine. I thought ‘bloody hell’ but felt better when we realised the accessing chair was closed. By this time the wind was really starting to pick up and become a serious factor. Chris, Thomas and I decided we’d better head back to our side of the mountain before the lifts closed.

The next plan was to ski the meadows off the Borsat. But by this time the constantly strengthening wind had shut the Borsat down. So we all headed into the Familial, which to be totally honest wasn’t great! And then we arrived in a fog! Thomas took out his phone and led the way with his GPS. I was totally happy following Thomas and Chris and after three weeks of sunshine it was disorientating. Bravo Thomas!

By this time we really were running out of ideas. So, we headed up the train for a hot chocolate in the Marmattons before calling it a day! By this time the wind was ferocious and getting stronger.

I feel sorry for those who haven’t skied in two years. If this wind doesn’t die down we’ll be in for a couple of tough days. The conditions outside at the moment makes the two hours of ‘skinning’ in sunshine of late a thoroughly preferably option. Still, we are getting some snow at the moment and things will improve!

Stay tuned!