Sunday, March 28, 2010

Spring- French Style

The last couple of weeks have come and gone in a blur. Heidi left Sunday after a great 9 day trip that included pow and movie stars. Rogish's trip was a whirlwind of tele madness and RICHARD! Now they've both left me to fend for myself until the Dudley Brothers arrive on Thursday.

Rogish showed up for his trip without a ski bag, but the smile on his face was proof he was stoked to be in France. After a quick trip in Bourge Ste Maurice for some essentials at the Super U, we drove up to meet Nico at L'Annexe for a cold beer.
The next day we did some skiing and prepared for the annual Memorial Race. The Memorial is an event to recognize local patrollers who have passed away. The first event is a toboggan race through a course with multiple "up's and down's" and "switcharoo's". Rogish and I ran the course in fine fashion and were handsomely rewarded for our efforts. It's just skiing, right? Check out the link below for some exciting action of the race with Jeff and I making a couple of appearances.

After our fair share of RICHARD, vin chauld, vin rouge, vin blanc, beer, jambon, fromage, and du pain we somehow made it back the La Hilton in the dark. Not without casualities though. We lost a bottle of blanc on the way.
The La Tel'm was our next all-inclusive event for the week. This day included an unlimited amount of runs on the giant air-bag in the park, vin, telecross, vin, tartifilette, and oh yeah. WINE! We met a lot of really nice folks and it couldn't have had a more beautiful day to tele.
The next few days we did some exciting sking off the Roche De Mio and the Friolin. I think Jeff was enjoying the skiing and very quickly realized how big La Plagne is and what kind of skiing possibilities she has to offer.
It was great having "Brogish" here for a few days but I wish it could have been longer. I haven't laughed that hard in a while and it was great to have another patroller around to see the work side of this experience. I think Rogish got a good taste of France. A taste not soon forgotten. THANKS JR!!!!
Heidi's last trip here was looking to be a repeat of the last one. A major snow storm hit Colorado which made the chances of an on time arrival pretty grim. Flying out of Eagle wasn't happening. Heidi made the right choice to hi-tail it to Denver. After a quick 4.5 hour drive to Denver she made her flight to Germany and was on time into Lyon on Saturday.
We hung out with Mikey and Gretchen for the first couple nights before they had to leave for Vail. Two weeks ago Mikey broke this Tibia and Fibula after hucking his meat off what is now referred to as "the hovey line". A rod, 12 screws, and 38 staples later Mikey was headed home to recover.

Heidi and I had a great time skiing with Mikey and Gretchen this season and are looking forward to hanging out in Vail this summer. Mikey showed me lines that I'd never have skied if we hadn't met. I hope he has a speedy recovery and I can't wait to ski with him again next year.
After a couple decompression days for Heidi we had good weather forecasted and decided to head to Chamonix. Good Choice. There aren't many words to describe a place like Chamonix.

"Big" comes to mind first. Then maybe "Breathless".
When your standing on top of the Aiguille du Midi breathing is the last thing on your mind. Just walking around and taking in where you are is hard enough. Every now and then you remember to suck in what oxygen there is.

We bought passes for the day and headed for the closest cafe of a shot of expresso. After deciding we'd take skis to the top and see what kind of options we had, Heidi spotted Glenn Plake. He was talking with another person so we didn't get a chance to say hi. Heidi was pretty star struck and thought it was a good sign for the day. Mikey Hovey's brother Brock met him on one of their trips to Chamonix and said Glenn was a super nice guy who didn't mind talking to other American's visiting France. Next time maybe.
I lost my pass between the first turnstile to get on the damn tram and the mid-station. Luckily the operator let me up to the top. When we reached the top I don't think Heidi and I spoke more than a few words to each other. We were both in complete awe and just gapped at everything there was to see.
We didn't have our trusty guide Mikey Hovey so skiing was going to have to be very straight forward and the visibility would have to be clear to pull this one off. We didn't get up the top until noon and the weather was moving in quickly making the vis quite low. We decided that it was a good idea to call it good and live for another trip. My magic pass reappeared just in time to get me back down the tram too. If you ever have the chance to see Chamonix, do not pass it up!

After Chamonix the weather turned to shit and the snow started to fall. For Heidi's last few days in France the weather was a bit white to say the least. But we had a great time skiing new snow and eating great food in our favorite spots.
Having Heidi be able to visit me three times this winter has been incredible. She brought me a sense of normalcy each trip and I can't even begin to explain how influential she was in making this a perfect winter. Ok...I love her.
Heidi's last day in France for the season was a good one to remember. The snow was falling pretty heavy down low and the Glacier had been closed for three days. At the end of the day Vins came over for a beer and said there was already 30+ cm's on the Glacier. It was still snowing hard and Sunday was going to be great.
When Heidi and I got up early to make sure she made her 10 am flight, Nico's cars was already buried under a good 15 cm's. This is at 1800 meters, the Glacier sits at 3000 meters. Needless to say the Glacier wasn't open Sunday either.
Sunday the guys working went in early to get started on the PIDA work that needed to be done. There was 60-70 cm's at the Glacier and we needed to get a head start because it was still snowing. They had some pretty big results with and without explosives. Cowboys. Is there a word for a French Cowboy?
Yesterday. Monday. We went in early for more PIDA work and another trip up the hill in the bird. Sunday had turned pretty warm and the wind also picked up a bit. So the wet French snow had settled quite a bit. We didn't have huge results. Mostly new snow on south facing aspects. I worked on a route with north facing aspects that had minimal results but great skiing. We skied a few runs before the masses came and it was fantastic. The sun also came out making it a perfect bluebird day.
Today. Tuesday. Not so much sun. 10cm's thought. The wind was ripping again and the Glacier was closed. About 1pm the snow started nuking again for the fourth day in a row. Tomorrow will be another PIDA day. Fo show!
I think the skiing for the Dudley's shoud be great. Right now the avy conditions and weather are dictating where we can ski, if at all. If and when we get a clear morning, it's on! STILL SNOWING!!!!!

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