February 01, 2005

10-20cm fresh snow
The temperature rose up towards 0'C this morning and we woke to gentle snow fall. We skied in below the clouds in 10-20cm of fresh snow on quiet pistes and gave Maria and Milky some pointers for skiing in powder; they did pretty well.

Fresh Tracks!
As Len said in the previous post, we were skiing a run called Tour today. It was great because there was plenty of opportunity to make fresh tracks in what was pretty much "ego snow" (ie lovely light powder on a firm base - easy to ski!). We skied that run 4 or 5 times, since no once else was on it and so we had the run and the drag lift pretty much to ourselves. I've decided that my news skis are powder gods!! Having had a great day on a demo pair of the Dynastar Exclusive Legends in the knee deep powder a week or so ago, I decided I had to buy them. This was the first opportunity since then to ski fresh tracks in the powder, so I was hoping I was going to be able to repeat my performance and last time hadn't just been a fluke. Anyway, I am pleased to report that I had another excellent day's skiing, putting in both long carve turns and short turns in the powder without any problems at all.

February 02, 2005

Maria and Milky's last day skiing
It was warm in the sun today, around -3'C when we got up and chilly in the shade. Today was Maria and Milky's last day skiing and they had a lesson first thing. I drove them over to Mont d'Arbois for their 9 o'clock and then went home for breakfast. We met up with them at 11, after the lesson and then skied where they wanted to; down to the Monts Rossets lift.

February 03, 2005

Day off
I dropped Maria and Milky at the bus station this morning and then came back to the apartment. We're having a day off today; the deal was, if there wasn't new powder we'd stay home. My body could do with a rest and one of Miche's knees is aching a little... Our current plan for the day is to tidy up a bit then collect our skis from Duvillard's where they're being serviced, do a little shopping, check out the tourist office wifi and then collect Miche's brother, Chris, from Geneva; he's here for a long weekend. Tomorrow I expect we'll be out for first lifts and skiing until last lifts and then next week we hope to have some more lessons with Lucy.

Free WIFI in Megeve
We popped into the Tourist office again this afternoon and asked about the WIFI access. It seems that you can just come in, sit down and connect to their WIFI if you have your own hardware and it's free. They don't serve beer though :(

February 04, 2005

Skis that make sure you're working
We skied Mont d'Arbois with Chris today. I thought it might be nice to ski off the back of Mont Joux and down Epaule towards St Nicholas as the views over there are wonderful. It was clear enough to see the bridge at the top of Aiguile du Midi and I could just make out the cable car. The snow wasn't that good (we're being fussy now, I think), some of the runs are quite exposed and well travelled and there are some rocks showing. After some time over there we headed over to the front of Mont Joux for a while where we saw a parapent take off and then down to Etudiants for a couple of runs down by the drag lift before going to Les Mandarines for lunch.

Week 5
We had guests all week, so it's been another "ski holiday" week where we ski a lot, eat out a lot and drink a lot - it's a hard life. Maria and Milky had a good time and improved their skiing quite a bit. I worked through the problems with my technique and I finally think I understand what the skis, my boots and my feet are telling me. When I get it right the feeling is good and I understand what Warren and his guys and Lucy have been telling me... Now I just need to make this new way the only way...

Megève, where the women wear fur and the dogs wear PVC
Image deliberately distorted to protect the poor dog's identity...

Photos from Maria and Milky's visit
Maria, smiling on a ski holiday, whatever next!

Views from Les Mandarines
These pictures were taken from the terrace at Les Mandarines at 13.30, looks like everyone is at lunch as the pistes are empty... They're shown in order moving from left to right across the skyline.

February 05, 2005

Jaillet, La Giettaz and Combloux
We figured that Mont d'Arbois would be busy this weekend, and Chris had skied there quite a bit. We decided to save Rochebrune until tomorrow, as we need to have an early day to drive to Geneva. So that left Jaillet. Chris has never skied that side and we've only skied it once, with Jonathan on day 3.

February 06, 2005

Avoiding the crowds on a Sunday in February
It was Chris' last day skiing today and we needed to stop around 3ish so that we could drop him off at Geneva for his flight. Since Sunday tends to be the busiest day and February the busiest month due to French half-term holidays, we were a little concerned that we'd end up stuck in lift queues all day; so we made a plan...

Good gadget, bad gadget
We bought a lot of bits and pieces for the trip, so far one has proved to be especially good and one especially bad...

February 07, 2005

Make your own Saturday
Monday morning? I think I'll stay in bed......

February 08, 2005

Drills and bumps on Mt Joux
We caught the first lift up and made our way over to Mt Joux. Miche fancied skiing some of the bumps and Lucy had recommended we try the ones directly under the Mont Joly lift as the snow was still good there and the bumps under the lift were less skied and friendlier than the easier to get to bumps on Mont Joly. The only problem with that idea is that the bump run is very long and once you're on it there's no easy out.

February 09, 2005

More of the same
Today was similar to yesterday. Practice in the bumps. Miche was getting better, though I did get a "refusal" from one particular part of the slope which turned out to be too steep for her... It wouldn't normally have been to steep, but the combination of small shrubs and large bumps made it difficult to decide where to turn and, well... Once past that things were good and she skied more consecutive bumps than yesterday, and had a better body position whilst doing it. I increased my speed a little bit today and my style suffered, but I stayed on my feet and stayed in control so we can worry about what I look like later on ;)

The yellow snow of Mont d'Arbois
The Mont d'Arbois area has a bit of a problem at present. It seems that most of the mountain restaurants get their water from a natural source and that has dried up a bit. The result is that most of the public toilets on the mountain are closed. There are toilets at the bottom but that doesn't really help when you're at the top and don't want to face the queue to come back up in the bubble... They had this problem earlier in the season and it only lasted for a couple of days and, to be honest, the toilets weren't actually closed last time they only had signs up saying that they were... Today they were closed and whilst I could find an out of the way tree Miche declared that the whole situation was piss poor!

February 10, 2005

Dig it
We spent this afternoon running around in knee deep snow between La Rare and the Etudiants drag lift looking for buried rucksacks...

February 11, 2005

Get up!
I turned the alarm off at 7.46 after snoozing it since 7.30... Too tired to get up all that running around yesterday has taken its toll and I ache. The plan had been to get out early again today and use the "ski early, lunch early, ski whilst everyone else eats and head home" pattern. Sod that. The weather report said it's going to snow today so hopefully the rest of Megève will stay home ;) The revised plan is to head back over to the bumps and do some more practice on them first thing, before the snow, and then do whatever comes to mind. We'll eat in a restaurant today as the weather doesn't look like it's going to be good enough to sit outside with sandwiches.

Snow's back
We got onto the slopes at about 10.30 and after the first run Miche decided that her legs were suffering a bit from yesterday's running around so we decided to cancel the bump run plan and have a slightly easier...

Week 6
My skiing has been good this week and I'm well on the way to making my new way of skiing the only way - until I find a new new way... We've ventured into the bumps a couple of times and Miche is liking them a little more. After a week of sunny weather the snow is back, lets hope it stays a few days (or, better still, stays for a lot of nights and clears up for nice sunny powder days during daylight...). When Chris left on Sunday we decided to try and avoid restaurant food until our next guest, Catherine, arrives, next Tuesday. We're doing pretty well (apart from lunch today) and have eaten some very non-Savoyard meals at home this week, including a lovely veal curry (it should have been a lamb curry and Miche thought it was lamb when she bought it, it was in the lamb section of the supermarket after all...). Tonight is chinese night, we're cooking a prawn noodle thing, which will be good. I wonder if we can hold off the need for a pizza until Tuesday... And, of course, we found free WIFI in Megeve at the Tourist Office.

February 12, 2005

Rain
It stayed above freezing all last night and this morning we woke to 2'C and rain at apartment level. The weather forecast says that the freeze point is at 1700m or so which is way up the mountain so we've decided to take a rest day today. The longer term view of the weather is that the freeze level will drop to 600m tonight and that we'll have snow for three days or so. We're not too bothered about missing a few inches of fresh stuff up at 1800m today; we'd have to be dipping in and out of the rain to ski it. We had been planning to ski over at Praz sur Arly, another nearby micro resort, and the other small resorts near to it; Lucy was going to take us on a bit of a tour of the quieter places to ski during French half-term. The thought of drag lifts in the rain was enough for us to cancel that plan and stay in bed.

Restaurants - Le Prieure
Le Prieure is one of our favourite restuarants in Megève. It is located in Megève town centre, next door to the church. It was first recommended to us when we visited Megève in March 2004, and we had an excellent meal on that visit. This season, we have been 3 times already, and have enjoyed consistently excellent food, good service and a warm welcome every time.

Milk Train Coming
As promised here's the edit of all Milky's scarey stopping moments...

It rained all day
It's still raining now. It was raining at 7.30am and hasn't stopped once all day. It's not just drizzle either, it's proper, heavy, soak you through and flood things rain. If it had been a little colder a little lower down it would have been lovely snow but...

February 13, 2005

Snow
No rain this morning, the stuff falling from the sky is nice and white and fluffy!

Thaw, Freeze, Powder, Hmm
The temperature obviously didn't drop until after the piste bashers had been up. The rain and warm temperatures had caused the snow to go soggy, then it was bashed and then it froze... A typical spring situation only it isn't spring. Now take this rock solid frozen surface and add a couple of inches of fresh snow and that's pretty much today...

February 14, 2005

Weatherman speak with forked tongue
We drove to Praz sur Arly today. It's only 10 mins away from where we are and it's probably quicker to get to the Praz car park than it is to get to the Jaillet car park... The 30-40cms of snow that was forecast didn't show, but the bitter wind did. A short day due to a late start, cold winds, no visibility, an unknown resort where it was too cold and windy to get the map out and our inability to locate a decent restaurant for lunch.

Edges
The ice that the slopes are currently suffering from has made us realise that our skis needed a bit of a service. Due to the good snow cover recently the skis haven't picked up any gouges in the bases so I've just been using spray wax on them every so often; I've ignored the edges as the quality of the snow has meant that we could get away with slightly dulled edges without problem... I got my books and files and file guides out and set about sharpening the edges. It seems to be a relatively straight forward job. I guess we'll know tomorrow if I've done it correctly or not...

February 15, 2005

The snow was late
We woke to the sound of the snow clearing equipment cleaning up the car park. We'd had about 20-30cms overnight at apartment level. This would have been great had we not been driving to Geneva this morning to collect Catherine. The drive down to Combloux was slightly slower than normal due to the snow but the roads were pretty clear and the snow wasn't falling fast enough to make things difficult.

February 16, 2005

Jaillet and Combloux
Based on Catherine's performance at the tail end of yesterday I decided that we'd ski the reds over on Combloux. This wasn't the best idea as her legs hurt (day 2 blues) and the runs were a little challenging for her. The day went well but it was probably a little harder than Catherine would have liked. The snow over on at Combloux was good and it wasn't as busy as Mont d'Arbois or Rochebrune but the slower, older lifts mean that you tend to end up spending more time in queues or on lifts than you do on snow...

February 17, 2005

Back in Praz
We went to Praz sur Arly again today. Catherine's shins were hurting so we installed her on a nice blue run with a drag lift and a restaurant and we went off to explore a little more of the area.

February 18, 2005

A short day (ha!) on Rochebrune
Catherine had to catch the bus to Geneva at 17.00 tonight so we stayed local and skied Rochebrune. Looks like we made the right decision; it was SO quiet on the slopes that I'd like to personally thank everyone who either went home today or decided to ski Mont d'Arbois instead; it was almost like January again. When the clouds allowed we could see that the Mont d'Arbois slopes were as busy as expected and the usual choke points were choking, as usual... We hit one queue today and that was due to a bunch of racers having started using Tour as a slalom course.

Week 7
The week started with rain, lots of rain. This gave us our first real ice of the season. Lots of the pistes had icy patches early in the week and though the snow during the week has helped a lot there are still some scrapey patches to be wary off. The snow's good though; this week has refreshed pistes and the off-piste and due to the continuing cold the powder off-piste is still pretty light and fluffy. We had another visitor for part of this week and so we did a bit of the "tour people around" thing, which was good fun and shows that I can now navigate the area pretty well and adjust for unforseen problems and still get us to lunch on time; mostly. We explored Praz a little more and found some very nice runs down from the Ban Rouge lift. We will do the whole Praz->Flumet->ND circuit once the weather gets nicer. The freezing wind seemed to have eased off a little today, which was a relief. I still have a nose, which is a surprise... I've had some good and relaxed skiing this week, the conditions were a bit more varied but that just makes skiing them without problem that much more rewarding.

February 19, 2005

Ski Tech
We were originally planning to ski today and rest tomorrow, it's probably quieter out there today as it's change-over day... However, a week of getting up at 7.30 (ish) made us decide to stay in bed today and take our rest day today. The latest plan is to ski early and short tomorrow and Monday and attempt to avoid the worst of the crowds... So today I did all the little ski tech jobs that I'd been meaning to do for a while now, and I actually used my wax iron...

February 20, 2005

Mostly off piste
So much for our easy, early Sunday. We had a call last night from Lucy so we skied with her today. She asked what we wanted to do and, since we've had a pretty easy time for the last few days, I said I'd like something challenging. I expect that next time I say something like that Miche will add some provisos...

February 21, 2005

And rest
No skiing today, I think we did enough yesterday. Our bodies are rebelling after the challenges of yesterday. Miche's neck has stiffened up from here tumble and my back and neck ache from mine. Time for an easy day I...

February 22, 2005

SnowBlogs
We're syndicated on SnowBlogs, a ski and snowboard blog portal... Would have been nice if they had asked first, or told us that they were doing it, but I guess it doesn't matter really :)

February 23, 2005

Making Tracks
I've just found Ian Spare's blog via SnowBlogs. We skied with Ian on the Warren Smith Ski Academy course in Saas Fee in September. Ian used to live just around the corner (give or take a mountain) from where we are in Megève and knows the area pretty well and now he's based in Switzerland and posting about his various ski trips.

February 24, 2005

Ski holiday
We're having a bit of a ski holiday, that is a holiday from skiing... We flew to the UK on tuesday and then on to Ireland today. We're attending a family wedding tomorrow and then heading back to Megève on Sunday. By the time we ski again we'll have had a whole 7 days out of ski boots...

February 25, 2005

Happy birthday to me...
Miche bought me a Suunto S6 "watch" for my birthday. This has all manner of ski related functionality and tells the time too. It has an altimeter, barometer, compass, inclometer (to measure slope angle) and logging functions that allow it to record the number of ascents/descents and the distance covered, and much more... You can link it up to a PC to transfer the data and do "other stuff" with it. Should be fun to play with once we get back to Megève

February 26, 2005

Beer of the week...
Well, we're in Ireland, so I guess the beer of the week for this week is Guiness, best get back to the bar......

Week 8 - the week we mostly weren't here
We only skied one day this week as we flew back home and then on to Ireland for a wedding. However the one day we did do was a lot of fun and quite hard work... Normal skiing will resume on Monday.

February 27, 2005

Bad Snow
We flew back to Geneva from Dublin via Gatwick today. Reasonably painless journey (if you ignore the stupid Ryan Air people and the rather dodgy scales at Dublin that weighed our luggage as 10kg more than the Virgin scales we later used at Gatwick...). One small piece of badness was the announcement from the pilot as we circled Geneva. Geneva airport was closed due to snow and we might be diverted to Lyon... We hung in the air for 30 mins and, thankfully, the snow stopped and they opened the runways.

February 28, 2005

Back on skis after 7 days off
We have Michelle's cousin Helena and her husband Brian visiting us for the week. They flew to Ireland from Florida for the wedding and then came back to Geneva with us. Helena had a lesson with Lucy this morning and Brian skied with Miche and me.