The weekend started off with an easterly wind blowing that unfortunately had worked over the snow and damaged some great slopes, which cut down some of our off-piste options. Fortunately Friday started off quite brightly and with good visibility on our side we managed a great morning skiing in Tignes.
What makes the Espace Killy so great (apparently the Tourist Office in Tignes doesn't like ' L' Espace Killy' anymore but I'm not too sure what they call it?) is that there are so many options depending on what the weather is doing.
A couple of weeks ago I skied at the Fornet at the far end of Val d' Isere for seven straight days, and this past week I've spent almost my entire time in Tignes! There is a time and a place for every sector of this vast resort and that is part of what makes the Espace Killy (for lack of a better description) the greatest resort in the world! Anyway, we managed to sniff out some excellent skiing again on Friday.
On Saturday the sun came out in all its glory and as it was my groups last day we headed to the Fornet for the first time all week and for many it was their first trip through the gorge. The skiing was excellent, the scenery was stunning and we had fantastic ambience going through the translate complete with chamois and bouquetin sightings. Although the gorge has been pretty safe and easy all season a new hole is appearing right near the exit when you just start to think you're home and dry. There is a fragile looking snow-bridge at the moment but cracks are appearing and what is a little hole for the moment could become a serious problem. It's amazing how quickly conditions change in the mountains and they don't call it the Gorge du Malpasset for nothing! Sunday was looking like a tough end to the weekend when I looked out my window at 7AM. The wind was howling and I could hear it humming in my chimney, and the skies were overcast. Radio Val was reporting to be aware of gusts up to 100km/h but once up the mountain is was much calmer than forecast and with a high thin cloud cover the visibility was very good, and forecast to improve during the morning. My team did a double 'skin' and were rewarded with some outstanding skiing, which was a wonderful result after looking out the window at breakfast to some pretty uninspiring conditions!
My big news is that my wife Gill and daughters Millie and Katie arrive on Sunday night and I'm really looking forward to seeing them all. Millie is bringing a friend who has never been to Val d' Ísere before, and has never seen snow like we have here at the moment so it should be a great week. Millie will ski in my group a few mornings so I'm sure I'll be a proud dad and be posting some photos of her next Friday.
It looks like an on-and-off week weather-wise with some sun, some cloud, maybe a little snow and who knows what else. At least the wind isn't forecast howl and that always makes life easier around here. With brighter skies and less fresh snow falling the pistes are in fantastic condition again and should remain in great shape during the week to come.
It's going to be one of the busiest weeks of the season so do get out early and keep a step ahead of the crowds, and between 12:30 and 2 o' clock is also a good time to avoid the masses as people are having lunch. The pistes will also be much softer earlier on and will become hard and icy as the day wears on, and if you're tired don't be afraid to take the lifts down at the end of the day and avoid the loonies who are flying about like lunatics. Those last few runs of the day can be pretty ugly as everyone is filtering down the mountain after a long day on the slopes.
Have a brilliant week and log-on for anther update on Friday!
Follow more from Wayne in his Daily Diary.
NB. Some of 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