Winter 2011-12

A powder start to the Haute Route – 25th March 2012

Poor visibility and loads of fresh snow; not so good for the Haute Route’s first day, but great for whiteout powder skiing!

The great snow continued at Verbier the following day….

…this time with greatly improved visibility

Finally we set off for the Haute Route tour early the next morning

The Long Road to Verbier – 12th March 2012

Setting off on a short touring section above the Evolene ski area

A ski safari journey, a tour-on-skis that makes the most of using ski lifts to reach the best off-piste skiing between Zinal and Verbier.

On the first day, the fine ski descent down to the Moiry dam, and then on to Grimentz

Great snow conditions skiing down the back from Grimentz

A busy 2nd day, to arrive in a new valley, the Val d’Hérens

The journey continues…traversing valleys and crossing cols, before reaching Verbier

A traverse of ‘la Golette’ from Les Marécottes into the Vallon de Van – 8th Feb 2012

To cross la Golette from Les Marécottes requires just a short skin and then a boot up to the col

Down the other side from the col, great views of the Tour Salière…

…and of the Dents du Midi

along ski descent down into the Vallon de Van before the snow track neatly returns you to…

…a bus stop in Salvan, and a train back to where we started

Lots of snow in the Dolonne, Courmayeur – 2nd February 2012

The first sunny day after the weather… – 26th January 2012

Skiing in all directions at le Tour, fresh track all day. 6 descents, a short lunch on the summit of the Tete de Balme and then we were off again.

Skiing the Posettes back to le Tour

Skiing into the Vormaine bowls a couple of times, no-one else there!

The back bowls still had potential for fresh tracks…

…before finishing with ski descent down to Trient

Backcountry training, white conditions at Vichères! – 20th January 2012

On the second day of a 2-day backcountry skiing and snowboarding course around Verbier, the weather really closed in with much new snow forecasted. We headed to ski area of Vichères, which is half way along the Verbier valley in the direction of the Grand St Bernard pass.

Only the chairlift was working yet this allowed us to reach the back ridge of the ski area by skinning/snowshoeing to have a bit of an adventure in the wild weather. It was perfect!

On reaching the top of the ski area and its welcome hut for a bit of shelter, it seemed like the best place to turn back. White-out skiing for a bit…

…before the chairlift gave some helpful definition to our surroundings!

Soon, however the larches further down the slope made for some amazing skiing/boarding through the spaces! Smile

Aiguille de Van, Trient Valley: central couloir – 11th January 2012

Good skiing amongst rocks and trees, this couloir was filled with soft compacted snow – it was perfect!

The couloir’s striking looking location gave a view over the Col de la Forclaz and on into the Rhone valley and beyond.

Sunshine! after all the snow and storms… – 9th January 2012

Skiing at la Flégère, Chamonix Mont Blanc

Merry Christmas!

Loads of amazing snow now, yippee!! Can have some visibility of the time but that’s where the trees are good…

The first time the Aiguille de Midi has been seen in days – 19th December 2011

The clouds and continual snow fall of the past few days cleared for an afternoon, it was great to see the mountains again!

A late start to winter in the Chamonix Valley, but a lovely autumn! – 14th December 2012

 Good snow early season is perhaps a bonus. You can’t really complain when there is wall to wall sunshine for week after week. The rock-climbing was still great, there had been some snow in other areas of the Alps for a bit of skiing.

After the bizarre winter of the previous season, to see snow arrive in good qualtiies was a big relief however! By early december, at last winter began for sure. Occasionally it looked like this, as in this picture at Verbier…

But mostly this has generally been the view…. and it’s set to continue at least until Christmas. Not so good for photos but definately great for skiing!!