Everything That The Light Touches is Our Powder Kingdom
With the Vallons chairlift going nowhere we ski toured up beside it and had the acres of off piste and untracked powder all to ourselves
We had Plan A, B and C for ski touring, yesterday. Plans A and B involved the Col du Lautaret BUT as it was the first sunny day for a few days and a Saturday, chances were that everyone would be heading that way.
Plan C was Cucumelle and, as the snow had melted in the valley, the idea was for Gav, Ken and I to drive up the Frejus track to see how far we could get and lessen the hike. We got to just beyond the first snow canon, which saved around 100m.
It was then around 5km and 975m to the top of the Vallons chairlift where I was happy to transition. But I was not allowed. Nope we had to do another 25m to tick off 1000m, which I think is the most I've ever ski toured in one hit. This took us up the Cucumelle ridge, the prospect giving me vertigo as I am not fond of exposed ridges. As it happened, though, it was as wide as a main road. Gav would have liked to go higher but there was a lot of snow and a much steeper pitch so avalanche risk was considerable.
The descent was insanely good. All that off piste (though obvs there was no actual piste) and not one track. We marked the pristine whiteness with three sets of our turns down to the stream under the chairlift.
Then we put the skins back on for a small hike (so, yes, now I've done 1025m climbing) before sking down through the trees. The snow was surpisingly deep, with pillows of powder covering the stumps.
But with such dense forest, my legs were screaming with the tight turns and absorbing the lumps and bumps by the time we emerged onto the Frejus track.
We skied down the track and then what is normally the piste. Here the artifical snow was piled up with breaking crust and it was like skiing polystyrene, the hardest turns of the day. We arrived back at the van having not seen one other person all day, compared to the mobs up the Lautaret.
Where were the Rando Chiens, the ski touring Jack Russells? We decided it was too much powder for them to cope so they had a duvet day.
And now it's snowing all day, I feel like I've run a marathon, so it's a duvet for me, too.
PS. That's 7 ski tours for me here in Serre Chevalier in Snovember, 11 for Gavin (a total of 8450m, which is 500m more than last year that included ski touring in Siberia for a week).
Search the Site
MOUNTAIN VIEWS: Weather Reports & Webcam
Views from the mountain WebCam along with weather reports and conditions...more
Another day, another great ski tour in Japan. It's so easy to fall into a rhythm every day of skinning up, skiing down, soaking in an onsen, having a beer, eating traditional Japanese food. And, then, waking up to repeat it all over again...more
Those whopping lift queue images from Vail that went viral in February seem to have been a wake up call for American ski resorts, realising it's time to dial down the crowds, reduce car travel and even create a resort without lifts, for more chilled and environmentally-conscious skiing experiences in the future...more
SKIERS KNEES: FROM ACL REPAIR TO KNEE REPLACEMENT. 'Bend zee knees'. Oh you can't? Either through injury or pain do you feel your days are numbered for skiing or snowboarding? But with great leaps in knee treatments and surgery you could be riding into your twilight - make that midnight - years. Check out the latest knee treatments and surgery plus the price of a new knee...more
It's an uphill struggle and we don't mean for those continuing ski touring. No we're talking about the fight against coronavirus as ski goggles and ski gloves are being given to healthcare front liners...more