Monday 2 December 2013

Courmayeur & Verbier

After a heavier than expected snowfall on Friday, we were confident that we'd be able to find good snow over the weekend without needing to do any touring. First up was Courmayeur, which started badly when we got through the tunnel only to find no fresh snow on the ground. Luckily enough, things looked white up high and we ended up getting some great fresh tracks despite there not being a huge amount of lifts open. It never ceases to amaze me how different conditions can be in Courmayeur and Chamonix and today was no exception - we went from shovelling the car to a dry Italian Valley (which is 300m higher than Cham) in one trip through the Mont Blanc Tunnel. I guess having Europe's highest mountain between the 2 towns probably has a lot to do with it but it still feels weird to me. Anyway, an excellent day despite first appearances.

Sharon deep in it.

Tristan with the Grandes Jorasses behind. The views from Courmayeur really are incredible.

When I was skiing down on the last run, I was blown away by the pink evening light but then I realised that I had my pink tint goggles on. Such is the brain power of your typical ski bum. Anyway, I made the most of my stupidity and took this shot through my lens. I quite like it.

On Sunday we made a last minute decision to head to Verbier and we ended up finding some great snow. The snow cover is getting better but is still very thin lower down, so Matt and I had 2 great runs off the top of Mont Fort but made the mistake of carrying on down to Tortin on the first one, resulting in numerous rock encounters. Still, a brilliant day and yet another reminder that I need to go to Verbier more.

Matt on Mont Fort.

Matt on one of the better covered sections above Tortin.

We ran into my mate Ian on the way up to Mont Fort and he had collected a rock pretty heavily on the run just before we saw him. Ouch!

The weather is now set to be sunny and very warm (freezing level above 3000m) all week so it's tough to know what good options there are. One good thing is that a freeze/thaw cycle might turn this powder snow into a decent base lower down so let's see what unfolds. Whatever happens, winter is off to a great start.