Dateline Sunday December 15th. 4.30pm local time.
Feel a lot better now having just climbed out of a very hot bath, earned by some energetic ski-ing today. On Friday and Saturday (the day the resort officially opened) we suffered terrific snowstorms with high winds and torrential snow…. 2 days non-stop. A few brave souls hit the slopes on Saturday, I was not one of them, preferring a leisurely lunch in Monica’s watching the foolhardy struggling in the conditions out of the window. But today it was an entirely different story. Bright sunshine and the pistes in perfect condition…. and not too may other skiers to spoil it. Wore myself out, but thoroughly enjoyed it. While I was on the mountain, our first guests arrived and in Bon Coin we had regular Silver Skiers from a college in Tonbridge, three teachers and 21 pupils, so it will be a lively week! Mostly good weather ahead with some late snowfalls, so I’m hoping to get my proper “ski legs” by this time next week, just in time for the Christmas festivities (goodbye diet!!).
My first blog of the season and it comes at the end of 2 great days of skiing, the second of which came as a pleasant surprise. I arrived here at Chalet Bon Coin in the middle of November, carrying far too much weight and far from skiing fit! Hazal’s starvation diet had it’s inevitable effect and I started to shrink away. With La Plagne due to open on Saturday December 14th, my “Minder”, Rees and his girlfriend Annabel drove me over to Courchevel 1850 yesterday (Sat Dec 7) where the 3 of us had our first tentative uses of our skis on the Combe de Saulire. Great snow and without doing much that was demanding we enjoyed getting our “Legs” and a pleasant salad lunch at the mid station. Home by 5 having used up every ounce of energy. Enjoying one of the many “Test” meals being cooked by all staff members this week as they get ready for 15th. Then the bonus!! For the 1st time in my memory, the local lift company in La Plagne (SAP) decided to open some of the resort for Sunday! So all of the La Plagne staff, including me, had an absolute “Ball”. The Arpette, Roche De Mio and the favourite and my favourite, Inversens, all open and on perfect snow. Got home tired and with wobbly knees to ease out all the aches in a steaming bath…. bliss!! Can’t wait for next week and with heavy snow forecast every day from Monday onwards, the pistes will be superb for our 1st guests. Enjoy!
A great season over now and we are all back in the UK. Left with plenty of snow still on the pistes and a few staff members led by Chef Dan of the Bon Coin, remaining in La Plagne to enjoy it.
My Dynastar X84 Legends were such a pleasure to ski in all conditions and I am investing in what will be the equivalent ski for the 2019/20 season. A reminder that we can supply whichever Dynastar Ski you seek at a 25% discount for delivery in UK. I would expect the new season skis to be available around September. Early bookings look very good with a level higher than last year at this time. I may well spend some practice time at Chatham ski slope during the summer where I am told, Dendix has been re-installed.
After a week back in the UK to start my preparations for the new Speedway season, I was on the Silver Ski ‘plane from Gatwick early on Sunday morning together with all my family, daughter, Jackie, 3 grandchildren and now 4 great grandchildren. Twins Isla and Ellis (9 on Tuesday), Albie now just over 3 and latest recruit, Eden, a very smiley one year old.
After a heavy overnight snowfall, we hit the piste at 9.30 to find that perfect combination, light powder on the piste. For about an hour or so we revelled in the super conditions. But as the morning progressed all 4 generations together found the going getting tougher and tougher as the fresh snow began piling up into soft but sometimes sticky moguls. None the less, in spite of the harder work necessary, Inversens, was a delight from top to bottom and wore us out in time for lunch at Monica’s. Albie’s father, Tony, was working harder than the rest of us as he guided and sometimes carried young Albie who, even at 3 years old, already shows the right signs.
After lunch the twins pleaded and cajoled us into doing the “Fun Run” down the Arpette. The tight confines of the narrow and curvy piste as the sun disappeared, made it highly “interesting” for the adults but a “Gas” for the kids who straight lined it from the top to the bottom with a couple of crashes on the way for good measure.
All in all, a memorable and enjoyable day of Spring ski-ing.
Big mistake this morning when I checked the temperature outside the kitchen back door. It read 0C so I figured it would be a warm day and dressed accordingly. What I did not realise was that the back kitchen door had been open for some time and had raised the temperature by the thermometer. Once on the slopes it was about -5C, so chilly for me. None the less we decided to head for Montchavin and expected some slushy snow near the bottom at 1250m. Far from the truth. From the top of the Arpette, through Dos Rond on almost perfect snow into the trees below the Pierre Blanche restaurant, I was astonished at the quality, mostly on account of the cold temperatures. Then we descended to the bottom of the Pierre Blanche chair with big grins on our faces, we found another surprise. Because of the cold temperatures, they had been able to blast some snow from the cannons all the way down to give us a real and unexpected treat. Mixed with the genuine snow it gave a surface as good, or even better, than at any time during the season. Only an unexpected hold up on the Collosses chair on the way to lunch, where the gates were not functioning as they should, got us moaning as only Brits can! Long lunch at Monica’s followed by an hour in the sun on the terrace, made me very lazy, especially after a glass of their best red. Luke and Rachel then ski’d off to the Bergerie to enjoy their live music in the sun. I came home to enjoy a nice hot bath, well satisfied with my day.
Next snow forecast on 31st March and for several days to follow, but judging by today, we don’t even need it. Len
After yesterday’s warm weather and the delightfully soft snow, when I looked at the outside thermometer first thing this morning and saw -5C, I knew that we would be facing hard frozen pistes for the opening runs of the day. But I reckoned without the excellent work overnight by the “pistenbullies” who had made every piste as smooth as a billiard table (well almost!). With 2 to 3 inches of fresh powder on top, I was gobsmacked by the excellence of the pistes (even though it was very very cold) and our morning saw us covering Verdon North and South plus the drop from the top of Becoin down to the bottom of Envers with ease. Luke having a grin like a Cheshire Cat because he felt no ill effects from his dodgy knee. He put it under even more pressure in the afternoon as we flew down Inversens and the Levasset and it stood up to it. Even bigger grins…. I was feeling the need for a hot bath so headed for Collosses and home while Luke and Rachel went off to ski for a while with our French friend, Noemie. Sunny for the rest of the week I’m told… I can see exhaustion setting in….
My good friend, Speedway rider, Luke Bowen and his wife Rachel arrived today. Big surprise really because he sustained a serious injury to his knee in mid-summer and no one expected him to be able to ski so soon. After a hot bowl of soup to follow his long and early journey, we set off together in a very apprehensive mood. It was well above freezing, so the snow turned out to be soft and smooth. Not many people on the slopes and we both found the going nice and easy. In bright sunshine, no vision problems and Luke reported no ill effects from his knee. As I pushed the pace a bit, I was amazed at how well he coped, but in the near perfect conditions I should not have been surprised. We tested his knee for just over a couple of hours with no ill effects and, as it cooled in the late afternoon it started to snow as we returned to the Bon Coin. Still snowing as I am writing and conditions are holding up very well. Looks good for the final weeks and my family are due out just before Easter. Reckon it will be a great week with soft and forgiving snow to flatter us all….
The busiest week of the season, when schools all over Europe are on holiday, ended yesterday. While, admittedly, there were bigger queues and more skiers on the pistes, it did not interfere with our pleasurable ski-ing time. Bon Coin was full of office staff and families all having a wonderful time in the sunny weather. Snow was in great condition with some of the best piste conditions of the season and I got a lot of pleasure watching the youngsters improve as the week went by. Biggest laugh came when Rees (my minder) came to grief on the easy Dos Rond and he won the week’s award for “Most spectacular crash”. He’ll never live it down! Weather is to be a bit warmer this week, but fresh snow is due on Thursday followed by about half a metre in the early part of next week. For me, the sunshine is great with good visibility, so important for my old eyes! Must get back on the diet too!! Len
Dateline Tuesday February 12th – 4pm French time.
Just arrived back in Bon Coin quite exhausted from a tough afternoon’s skiing. With heavy snowfalls on Sunday and Monday, being out on the mountain didn’t appeal much, so I gave it a miss. But made up for it today in wonderful sunshine, almost half a metre of fresh snow and very cold temperatures to keep it light. Rees, Annabel and myself, avoiding the extra skiers now in resort, school holidays in France and other places in Europe allowing Ski Schools full of youngsters to invade our slopes, none the less were able to negotiate our way, on the soft new snow via Blanchets chair and into Levasett where we flew down to Borselier feeling great. A glance at the lift queue and the decision to carry on down to Champagny via the tricky red Les Bois was easy to make. A delightful descent through the trees, stopping here and there to admire the unbelievable scenery and we arrived at the bottom of the new telecabine (10 men in a bubble) to find an astonishing mass of skiers shuffling along to get lifted back up! Our immediate dismay was unfounded, but it did take over 10 minutes to get into a bubble. But at least the seats were very comfortable and we were glad of the rest after the energy we’d used on the way down.
Couldn’t top that, so off to Monica’s for a smoked salmon and lettuce lunch (kidding myself I’d lose some weight!) and an hours recovery time. Decided to look at the black Malatray, below Crozats, and found it in it’s wildest state but very rewarding to ski. Soft and forgiving moguls tested us to the limit before we headed up the New-ish 6 man Crozats lift and across to the bottom of Inversens. Nobody waiting and we were at the top of the new chair before we knew it. Had to then ski back down my favourite run, but we didn’t realise that the new soft snow had developed as severe moguls by the time we hit it. After puffing and panting quite a bit, and enjoying the tricky challenge from top to bottom we’d burnt up a few calories by the time we’d arrived at the chair. So, having ridden back up to Roche De Mio, we headed for home via Les Sources only to find even more moguls on the way down. My Dynastar Legends are, thankfully, superb in bumps and ride them better than I do! Now for a VERY hot bath!
After several days of heavy snow and very cold weather (restricting my ski activities) it was such a pleasure this morning (Monday Feb 4) to wake up to sunshine. Rees, Annabel and myself met up with a 25 years continuous client of Silver Ski, Ian, and we all enjoyed the most fabulous snow conditions. By mid-morning we were feeling brave so decided to ski the black “Malatray” below the Crozats chairlift. A gentle run in at the start was very pleasant and as we rounded the two old farm buildings to get to the steep bit, what a wonderful surprise to find that the piste machine had turned the difficult moguls into sweet music. We were all on a high after that and thought that it was to be the most memorable route of the day. How wrong was that? After lunch at Monica’s we set off over Blanchets and into Levasset on the Champagny side where we dropped into the valley running alongside the piste. Wow! Soft and deep snow made hard work but such exhileration that we were all out of breath from doing so many short turns… one of my personal favourites was at its best today…. and the smile on my face tells the whole story!!!