The sun continues to beat down and the beautiful clear blue skies have helped make three-straight World Cup weekends of the highest quality.
There have been a total of 8 races, which is the most races hosted by one resort in a season ever! This weekend it has been the ladies turn and the star of the show has been IIka Stuhec from Slovenia. After winning two downhills at my home resort of Lake Louise she claimed her third straight win here this weekend. She was World Junior Champion in 2007 but has been quiet since until bursting back onto the scene this winter.
And on Saturday, if a high-class ladies downhill wasn’t enough entertainment, Eric Barone followed the women and raced down the course on his mountain bike. Eric is a bit of a nutter to put it mildly and holds the World Speed Record on a mountain bike at 223.30 km/h! Can you believe that! I’ve watched him over the past few years in the spring catching the first lift up the Face du Bellevarde and then hurtling down at incredible speeds with nails in his tyres for grip. I was impressed then but to go on and become a World Record holder at 223.30km/h is quite unbelievable!
As for the skiing, not much has really change since the last update on Friday. The piste skiing is fantastic but the pistes will firm up next week as more people are arriving for the holidays. If you’re in the resort I’d suggest getting out early to make the most of the conditions and the snow gets better and better the higher up the mountain you go. Beware of the lower slopes leading to the bottom as they are hard and become icy by the end of the day.
The off-piste is getting tougher and tougher but we’re still finding some nice snow to ski. I must admit that up until a couple of days ago there was still quite a bit to do but over the past few days I’m starting to run out of tricks. But the good news is that some snow is forecast for Tuesday and Wednesday* but unfortunately the snow will be accompanied by 105km/h wind from the ESE, and that will shut down certain lifts and cause a slow opening, or maybe shut down the resort altogether.
The avalanche risk has been rated at 1/5 for the past week but with three weeks of cold nights goblet has formed and when the snow does come we’ll be going from stable conditions to a period of high risk. Goblets are big-grained crystals that have no cohesion and won’t support the weight of a big snowfall or snow transported by heavy winds, and the added weight of a skier or two can be all it takes to trigger an avalanche. We aren’t there yet but I’ll keep you informed as so far this season we’ve enjoyed unseasonably stable conditions that have allowed us to tackle steep slopes and it has been a lot of fun, but conditions will change drastically as soon as it snows and blows!
Have a great week and a very Merry Christmas!
*update 19th December It snowed a few centimetres overnight...
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NB. The areas Wayne has been skiing this week are off piste and not suitable to all skiers. Wayne has 35 years experience in these mountains. If you're considering going off piste you should always take a guide with you.
Location: Val d'Isere - Centre