Saturday, 24 February 2018

Cold!

We seem to be in a prolonged bubble of cold air at the moment, with -15 forecast for the next few days. No new snow on the horizon but there is still plenty of fresh to be found, you simply have to put in a bit of leg work to get to it now...

Yesterday was my last day with Nick, Rhian, Mike, Ben, James and Monica and we finished in style! See you in Lofoten next spring!



I have racked up a few days now on my new 'light' set-up of Whitedot Skis R.98 Carbonlites mounted with Salomon;s MTN pin binding - a great combination - full review to follow shortly...

Thursday, 22 February 2018

Courchevel snow report 22 Feb 2018

A few photos to sum up current conditions in Courchevel...

Despite rain to 2200m at the back end of last week the skiing has been fantastic this week:

offpisteskiing jr under the cables of the Saulire:

Courchevel - it's not all about Russians and money:





Last day tomorrow with Nick, Rhian, Mike, Monica, Ben and James - the weather looks set to stay cold so the snow should be great!

Thursday, 15 February 2018

Vanoise coaching, Maurienne Off Piste Improvers & half term 'hell'

Once again I am playing catch up on the blog front! Work and family have combined to keep me away from the keyboard the last couple of weeks...

Picking up where the last blog post left off the last couple of days with Phil, Katie, Steve, Ali, John and Roger were nothing short of spectacular!





A great week sampling some of the Vanoise's finest, and once again reinforcing my point of view that a valley base and a flexible approach pay dividends in terms of being able to seek out the very best conditions!

Last week I was back down in the Maurienne valley running an Off Piste Improvers coaching course. Again a valley base allowed a flexible approach to not only find the best snow but also experience the different ski areas within easy reach of our base in St Jean:

The team enjoying a great descent out behind Les Karellis:

Les Sybelles proved to be the highlight of the week, so much so we went back for the last 3 days, scoring fresh tracks right up to the last run on Friday afternoon!


Tim going 'full send':



Many thanks to Alex, Chas, Peter, Kate, Tim and Phil for a great week - see you next winter!

Right now the half-term rush has begun back here in the 3 Valleys, but with really cold weather and blue skies early in the week the stars aligned for my regular morning crew on Tuesday and Wednesday, with some classic Courchevel and Meribel lines in fantastic condition:







And finally yesterday I managed to sneak in a descent from the very summit of the Croix de Verdons - this has been on my list since I first came to work in Courchevel (19 years ago!) but somehow work has always got in the way when conditions have been good, and it takes a quite definite set of conditions to make it skiable, as the via ferrata rungs in the upper section need to be covered, the snow needs to be soft but not too unstable (50m cliffs below the top slope) which is not easy on an East facing summit... Nice to finally put turns down from the summit cross after a few turn-arounds due to bad conditions over the years!:

Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Maurienne and Vanoise off piste coaching

Last week I was back in one of my regular haunts of recent years, the Haute Maurienne, for 3 days of coaching/CPD for IFMGA Mountain Guides Andy Perkins and Jim Kerr and their friends Peter and Jim. This has been a regular coaching session over a few years now and the results are really starting to show with some high quality, adaptable and versatile skiing from all the gang!






This week I have had another regular group out from the Eagle Ski Club - despite the lack of recent snow and warm temperatures by playing with the sunny or shady aspects we have been able to ski good cold snow and great spring snow every day! All the team were looking really solid when we stepped things up a gear for a run down Couloir Canadiens on the Bellecote today.










The forecast is for 20 cms of snow for tonight/tomorrow morningm so that should freshen things up nicely for the next few days...

Monday, 22 January 2018

Mid-January round-up: snow, snow, snow...

It has been 3 weeks weeks since my last post and some planned posts have fallen by the wayside temporarily - work and family oblige...

As most people are probably aware we are experiencing a one-in-20 year at the moment snowfall-wise, with huge depths of snow up in the mountains - the Courchevel couloirs are more filled in and banked out than I have seen them in 19 winters working here, and more snow is falling today (though the rain/snow limit is quite high :-(

2018 kicked off in good style, with a couple of days coaching Mike and Sarah (back from a knee injury last winter!), then it was straight over to Chamonix for my regular week with Tim, John and Phil:








This week I have been back in Courchevel with one of my longest-standing groups of clients - the weather has been pretty wild but there are few better places to be when it is like this as there is lots of sheltered tree skiing and even some high quality 'bus runs' if the lifts aren't working...



A quick, high quality tree run on the way home:



More trees:



And powder:


More powder:




Ewan exploring the boundaries of balance: