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Suprise sunshine in Val d'Isere

Unexpectedly clear weather makes for amazing skiing

Featured in:

Wayne Watson | Val d'Isere Reporter | Published: 23rd February 2018


Check out this Suprise sunshine in Val d'Isere

Cloudy skies were forecast for some of the week but when these didn't materialise we managed to get another great week of skiing in. This week included old friends and Val d'Isere first-timers, fabulous fun.

It has been a stunning week of skiing although there was a lot of emotion in town after the tragic death of the little girl and her father. The next day the piste had been groomed and was open for business and many people would have been oblivious to what had happened the day before.

On Monday we ‘skinned’ out into the Pays Desert and had some wonderful powder snow followed by a trip down the Grand Torsai, which was also fantastic. The Grand Torsai is the route we normally take when the Gorge du Malpasset isn’t passable and is living up to its name, and at the moment it’s a nice option as very few people are skiing it.

Tuesday was forecast to be grey and overcast but the skies cleared around 09:30 and we were left with beautiful sunshine. When the sun shines unexpectedly it always makes for good moods and smiley faces. We profited with a climb up through the rocks to the Borsat West, which was brilliant. We spent the morning in Tignes and the condition of the pistes was first-class and the piste skiing was fantastic as well.

Unfortunately, a young German skier who was skiing alone was killed on the Grande Motte late Tuesday afternoon. Apparently, he fell on the North Face of the Motte, which is steep and glacial, and he slid at high-speed into something. I’m not sure if he slid into a crevasse or into an obstacle but he didn’t survive.

On Wednesday it was -17ºC on Bellevarde at 07:00 but, with the sun shining, it didn’t seem too bitter. I took my team up to the majestic Col du Monet and we were rewarded with fabulous views, outstanding snow top-to-bottom and lovely ambience as we were the only ones there! It was a cracking day and I had three Norwegians’ who had never been to Val d’Isere before and my other three clients had never skied the Col du Montet before so it was a special outing.

Thursday was another absolute ‘bonus’ day as again we were expecting grey skies and flat-light but we enough light made it through high cloud cover to give us great visibility and stunning skiing. I did a double-‘skin’ on the Crete du Genepy and Mont Roup and the snow quality was fantastic.

On Thursday afternoon I skied with Nigel Recordon’s grandchildren, Nigel was my first-ever client in Val d’Isere about 36 years ago. I’ve skied with Nigel’s four children over the years and now I’ve skied with the third generation of Recordon’s and we had a wonderful afternoon. The state of the pistes for a busy week was first-class, the slopes were perfectly groomed and had a lovely grippy texture to them. Normally, during busy weeks, the snow can be hard and icy but I was very impressed with the quality of snow.

I must say that this week has been one of the best weeks of the season off-piste, and considering that it’s the French holidays the pistes haven’t been too crowded either. It is forecast to snow all weekend so don’t forget your goggles! 

Follow more from Wayne on his Daily Diary.

Ski safely off-piste

Exploring beyond the ski resort boundaries is an amazing experience for anyone who's physically fit and has mastered the pistes well enough. There are, however, risks associated with venturing outside the safety of the marked/patrolled ski area, including awareness of your actions on those below you on the slopes. Mountain guides are professionally qualified and have extensive knowledge of the local terrain, to provide you with the safest and most enjoyable possible experience in the mountains; as a visitor here we highly recommend you hiring one. Many ski schools and also mountain guides provide instruction in off-piste skiing, avalanche safety and mountaineering techniques. Make your time in the mountains unforgettable for the right reasons, ski safe!