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  • Len’s Thoughts – 4.10.18

    Colder weather on the way and the first snows of the winter starting to drop.  Time to get prepared with some leg exercises (ouch!) and think about our favourite runs of last season.  Most days, on my way to lunch, I chose the route to Plagne Soleil and Monica’s Restaurant via the Becoin lift out of Plagne Centre.  Turning right off the top of the lift and along the ridge a short schuss to the beginning of the steep red running directly towards Plagne Centre and parallel with the “Stade” where all the slalom training goes on.  Always good snow and an exhilerating fast drop where great carved turns are a “must”.  Never many people, so you pick your own route easily.  By the time you reach the wider and flatter lower section take some care because you can be going faster than your energy can deal with!  Bear left and then right where the slightly narrower section begins with maybe a few bumps to negotiate… but go slowly to make sure you do not shoot past the track going off to the left and heading for Plagne 1800.  A short schuss to the tiny wooden bridge leading to the Jean Marie piste.  Watch out for possible icy patches but you are quickly past and into the piste proper where wide carved turns make you feel good.  A good drop towards the bottom of the Meleze chair taking care on the steeper bottom section where a few skiers can be standing at the chair entrance.  Up the chair and off left at the top to then grab the Bergerie lift.  Braver skiers can then almost schuss the whole way down Ecarte (not me!) and right to the door of Monica’s… ready for a hot wine and a Spag’ Bol’…. great.

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  • Time to dream again of the runs I enjoyed last winter

    Join me as we complete one of the longest drops in La Plagne, from Roche De Mio at 2700m via Levasset all the way to Champagny at 1250m. 

    Set off down what we have nick-named the “M25” from the top of the Bubble to Inversens Restaurant.  Varies according to how busy, but always advised to ski at a moderate pace to handle the often awkwardly shaped bumps and the even more awkwardly ski-ing skiers!  Safely at the crossroads opposite the restaurant and pause to admire the scenery.  Here’s where brave skiers can let it all hang out as we go left to follow the line of the Carella chair…. the long schuss winding down to the rope tow which helps if, like me, you’re not going quite quick enough to make it up the short uphill bit at the end.  Now a bit steeper and needing better technique to negotiate the right turn down to the Quillis restaurant, the signs to slow down warn you of skiers coming in at different angles, so very necessary.  Always a pause just past the restaurant where it drops sharply and lots of people, all deciding when and where to go.  Be bold and head more or less straight down, killing speed with some short sliding turns and hitting the fast schuss at the bottom in full control.  Keep over the front of your ski’s to maintain speed, veering to the right before having a pause before it steepens off again.  Here is where I enter one of my favourite parts of the mountain, dropping off the piste to the left into the valley which runs parallel to the Levasset piste.  Almost always soft snow and good shaped bumps, keeping well forward and picking your way down, using your poles to mark each short turn.  Very hard work, but exhilerating.

    Half way down and the bravest always zoom up the steep jump to the left (not always landing on their feet!).  I never do it and go slightly right and stay in the valley, short sharp turns all the way to where the valley ends and re-joins the piste, thoroughly exhausted and skin leaking!

    Keeping left onto the track heading for the Borselier restaurant (whose giant hot chocolate is well worth stopping for).  Now we leave the end of Levasset, heading behind the bottom of the chair and into Les Bois red.

    Like many of the trickier runs, Les Bois (trans. The Woods) starts with a wide and gentle beginning, always good snow into the forest area.  After about 500 metres or so the serious skiing begins and you need to be on top of your game as the track becomes much more narrow and steep with some very sharp turns.  Not a place to be careless.  Turning on your big toes and using your poles to pick the route.  I always have a very short pause on each of the sharp turns to make sure that there isn’t a skier prostrate in the snow out of sight.  The skiing here is brilliant, when, like most of the time, it’s soft and fresh, but hard graft if it’s hard pack and icy.  Just as you’re getting exhausted you arrive at the gentler run to the bottom, wider and easy, but often so fast it takes you by surprise.

    At last you arrive at the bottom of the bubble car where there is a snack hut serving delicious home made cakes to be eaten on the way back up.  Time for lunch?

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  • Midsummer Thoughts of Snow

    Been dreaming of last winter and the many runs I enjoyed in fabulous snow.  I’ll be re-living some of these with you during these midsummer days.

    Malatray Black below Crozats in La Plagne.  One of my favourite black runs which starts next to the restaurant at the top of the chair from Les Bauches.  An easy lead-in to fool the inexperienced with a shallow track at the bottom of the Crozats area.  Then, just above two derelict old farm buildings, a steeper bit that leads around them.  Need to control the speed, maybe side-slipping it off a bit so that on the rear side of the buildings you can stop at the edge of what initially looks like a cliff edge!  Much much steeper with some nicely rounded moguls, so really get over the front of your ski’s, steering on your big toes using the shape of the moguls to control, turning on some of the tops an using the sides to slide and slow while also, if you’re sharp enough switching quickly from ski to ski to keep in the “valleys” between the bumps.  Great feeling that, but lots of energy required.  The middle section gets tricky as it narrows up and here the use of your poles becomes very important, reaching down as low as possible on each turn and almost lifting the backs of your ski’s out of the snow and making sure your head and shoulders stay well forward.  Into the lower section which is always less bumpy.  By this time your body is telling you to stop and have a long rest… instead let the ski’s slide downwards as well as sideways to kill the height with the least amount of effort and suddenly you are on the track leading to the Les Bauches chairlift, feeling good.  Great run.

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  • Len – 11th May 2018

    Been home from the Alps since Easter and just getting used to the better weather.  Been dealing with Kent Speedway (my Summer activity) and also spending some time in the Silver Ski office where I have been astonished at the amount of business being early booked for next season.  Normally, May is a quiet month for reservations, yet, here we are, selling on a daily basis what we would expect to do in October or November and spread across all dates, not just the Half Term and New Year stuff (although these are now very heavily booked).  Very good for my peace of mind and entirely thanks to the loyalty of Silver Skiers…. Len

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  • Len’s Last Post from La Plagne

    Dateline Saturday March 19… A warm morning at about +3C with fairly heavy snow falling outside Bon Coin.  Met Paul and Mel from Chalet Chanousia for my final ski of the season (I go back to UK on Mothers’ Day).  As the snow was wet and heavy we decided on an early lunch which turned out to be the right decision.  By 1pm the sun was poking its head through the clouds and we were on the bubble up to Roche De Mio for my final run down Inversens this year.  Absolutely superb snow and no people except ourselves.  With big grins on our faces we took the slow chair back to the top and then descended via La Source, the interesting “Red” with the steep bit in the middle.  Exhilerating is the word to describe our 2500 feet of vertical and we found the snow in Bellecote a bit sticky with the high temperature.  Back up Collosses chair and home to Bon Coin still in one piece after a Winter of amazing snow.  Will try to get in one more week before we close, but that’s a wish rather than a certainty.

    Len

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