Saturday, 29 March 2014

Back to snow!

The view from our apartment

It’s been a while since our last entry and that’s mainly as we haven’t had the time, Roger has kept us busy! He arrived late on Sunday night at Simon and Cassie’s and we were there to greet him as we’d been invited round to dinner (and very nice it was too!). In the interim between our last entry on Saturday afternoon and Roger arriving on Sunday night we had ‘weather’ and lots of it. The cold front that came in started as rain but turned to snow by Saturday night, snowing heavily until Monday lunchtime, depositing at least half a meter at the tops and about 200mm at our resort level, so the difference between last week and this week was quite unbelievable, green grass and rocks were covered by a new fresh layer of powder snow which transformed the resort and dramatically improved the quality of skiing. 
This was last week......
By Monday lunchtime onwards the snow stopped and the clouds lifted to give fantastic snow and good visibility, perfect conditions! How lucky was Roger, but he reckoned he is a member of a secret brotherhood of snow dancers and had ordered it specially!

And this was the same place this week
Roger and Jackie in the falling snow
Roger is a person who is very modest and reckons he’s not a very good skier and doesn’t much like moguls or off piste, but he’s actually very good, keeps going all day, did moguls to a pretty good standard and thoroughly enjoyed the off piste we took him on. He had his GPS with him and recorded that we had covered 80km one day, including lifts, which probably meant we’d skied something like 50km. On other days he recorded 50km and 65km distances, so we certainly covered huge distances, covered most of the Portes du Soleil ski area and made the best of the time. We had a great time and he said he did too, he’s such and easy guy to get on with, so it was really good fun.

This morning, after 5 days of skiing 136 separate pistes we took him back to Simon and Cassie’s chalet to meet his lift back to Geneva airport and to collect James, arriving today for a long weekend. We collected the key to their chalet last night, as they were out skiing with their friends today who were over for a week, so met the four of them in the Bar National in town, had a beer with them and heard their tale of their day of doing the 300m via ferrata on Elephant Rock in St Jean, which sounds fantastic. They were adrenalin fuelled still, having finished less than 2 hours earlier, so they were all on an absolute high, can’t wait to do it now Roger has bought our lanyards out to us.

Jackie in fresh powder snow
Jackie, Brian and Roger

This week it's 'Rock The Pistes' with bands playing on stages erected in different resorts on different days. This one was The Klaxons playing halfway up a piste in Avoriaz in the falling snow

Brian and Roger chilling out (and the mad woman in the background taking a 'selfie')

Roger checking out the Via Ferrata
This morning we were able to show Roger the local climbing area (92 bolted climbs) and two easier via ferratas as we were a little early, so Roger just had to try a bit of one of the VF’s out, soloing up without any gear! I hope Jan, his wife, doesn’t read this! Anyway, James arrived just before Roger left, so the four of us were able to have a chat, swap the gear around, wave Roger off and return to our apartment, dropped his gear off, got our ski gear on and headed off for an afternoons skiing in our local resort of St Jean. James is a keen skier, very fit and likes off piste, so we were off in a flash, so no rest for us! We’ve got tomorrow and Monday with him, so expect to be pretty tired by the time he goes home on Monday night, as he’s a ‘first lift to last lift’ man, with plenty of skiing in between. However, since the heavy snow last week it’s got very warm and sunny again and the snow is melting again. 

The brief moment when we were all together, Jackie, Roger, James and Brian
James and Jackie
There will be plenty for James this weekend, but if the warm weather keeps up we will be back to where we were before. We think there will be enough piste skiing for the rest of the season (another 4 weeks), but it will gradually get poorer and poorer, unless it snows again. We don’t mind too much though, we’ve had a fantastic time and, at todays date have skied 1250 pistes since we’ve been here (no wonder our knees are complaining!)

Those 'S' curves in that fresh snow on the left are mine, those just to the right of that line are Jackies

We found out James plays the piano and said 'that's interesting'. He looked round our apartment with a wry smile saying 'but I don't see a piano in here!'. Little did he know we had brought my roll up piano with us! He is actually pretty good, but was struggling with the strange flat keys that don't move

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