Well, given the conditions we’ve had here these last few weeks – with the exception of one brief (but welcome) snowfall two and a half weeks ago followed by rain in resort (so snow up top) two days ago – there has been no choice but to slap on the suncream, dig out all your lightweight gear, skins in your backpack and head off for some ski touring. As a result, we’ve ended up doing stuff that I certainly haven’t done for years. The list is impressive for a week – Couloir 3500 in Tignes (whilst Fabrice did the Col de Premou, definitely “chaud les marrons” as he put it! Translate – a bit hairy-scary!); Glacier Pers followed by Gros Caval and out along the summer path; Col des Montets and summer path; Col de la Calabourdane followed by a Col des Fours plus an extra bit and finished off by Danaides and a Lavanchet couloir (certainly finished me off, anyway!) and let’s not forget the epic walk up to the Barmes de l’Ours. Basically, we’ve been scurrying all over the mountain like mountain goats – and have managed to see quite a few on our travels, although I’ve yet to see a marmot! This year, for the first time in several years, the summer path out of the Gorges de Malpasset has been practicable without causing heart failure (always a good thing in my book!) and it’s just as well – otherwise it’s a long haul out of there on skins up to the Torsai as it’s impossible to ski through the Gorge itself this year as we’ve just not had enough snow. This week has been a little gentler with some of the classics like today’s Cretes de Genepy followed by Mont Roup and yesterday with a Glacier Pers and out along the summer path.
Meanwhile our piste boys, Max and Ludo, have been enjoying the wonderful sunshine and generally pretty good conditions on the pistes with the proviso that you don’t start too early before they have softened up a little, or finish too late by which time it’s turned into soup!
It’s been a long time since spring has come upon us so early in the season and that we’ve enjoyed such a long run of hot, spring weather. If you’re mainly a “winter conditions” skier, it comes as a bit of a shock to the system, but if you’ve not tried ski touring, or are still relatively new to it, the conditions now are excellent. It’s a wonderful way of getting out into the mountains and enjoying views that you wouldn’t get to see via any other means. The skiing is easy, and personally, once I’m out there, I love it. It’s a completely different mindset to winter skiing – much less about the skiing per se and all about the mountain experience as a whole. We’re set for this kind of weather for at least the next week, so come and make the most of it!