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Skiing Powder in the Alps where there was no snow!

Powder Highlights and Random Days!

Here is powder for all the Nay Sayers and powder snobs who thought there was no snow in the Alps!  Once again,  No snow , No people and easy to get tracks under everyone’s nose!

Milking a 5 minute traverse to get fresh shots in Alp D’ Huez!  W skied into that cloud every run and had to fish our way through it in the lower elevations, but the sun was shining above the clouds, a pretty nice day to get out of bed.

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Cloudy day down low, but beautiful visibility above the valley.  Looking down the valley from Alp D’ Huez.01032011085

Milking the slope right under the chair in Mont Geneve.  Poor stability this day and this line stayed unskied the whole day.  I rebated it 4 times.  That is my first track on the lookers left, then I put in this next one and kept rebating the slope, it was too easy.

I’m a bit embarrassed by my turns, I know they look like the typical American ski guide track,  Pretty gay I know,  but My group needed that hand rail that day.  Still fun to wiggle once in awhile,  but if you ask me it’s a waste of a run.

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I know,  it looks like a pretty lame Weigle’s post card or something.  Pretty funny,  I know so many American Ski guides that aim to achieve this,  I thought it was pretty lame,  I told my group they could ski anywhere they wanted and they glued to my tracks.  Those of you who ski with me know you will get a bit more freedom to ski the way you want and were you want with in boundaries, but these guys loved spooning for whatever reason.  I think they have been skiing with too many guides in America!02032011103

There loving it,  for what it’s worth 🙂02032011104

One more lap,  3rd time and one more to go,  we chewed the whole slope from one chair, sometimes skiing in the Alps is too easy.  02032011107

More whooptie pie spooning,  but hey ,  it put smiles on there faces! Cracks me up that with all that room some people still ski on your track,  It’s an imbedded syndrome that needs to be dismantled. 🙂

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Delivering the goods I guess!  It’s all relative. 23022011015

Some cool ridge hiking to gain what would be considered Heli Terrain in most places.  So easy to get to the goods without one though.  In the next photos you can see the Northern flanks of the Quyeras and the Western reaches of Sestriere with all of the Sestriere Heli skiing in the back ground.  It is quite endless and easy to access relatively speaking. 26032011231

That’s all Italian Heli skiing behind these guys.

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Quick morning ski tour in a melt freeze cycle up on the Col Du Lauteret! Ridiculously easy access and so easy to find your own space and your own track.

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Super fun Spring skiing weeks after a storm on the pass.

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Sestriere Heli Skiing By Foot!

The next photos are at Sestriere in Italy and on our way to a long connection run to the back side to connect into Pregalato and use a car shuttle back for our last run.  We get to embrace the view of that monster across the way that we just skied.

What blows my mind, is this is the same terrain the Heli’s there can fly and we got it with about an hour of work.  Unbelievable snow about 35-40cm of the light cold smoke with good stability.  Let’s see 1 hour of hiking and a 30 Euro lift ticket or so and We got to ski something that you would pay close to 200$ for in Alaska with one bump of the Heli.  So the moral of the story is don’t waste your money on AK heli skiing,  come see me in the Alps instead.

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We skied right of the tip of that beauty in the sun shadow line on the exposed ridge.

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My job doesn’t suck,  taking in the view of our tracks on the way to our connecting lift that will give us equal vert off the backside to the next town.  Italy is pretty cool,  people don’t really go off piste the way the French do. bild

My Favorite days to ski La Grave!

So this happens so much in La Grave.  I wake up,  I don’t see the top of the mountain,  it’s all socked in, it’s raining in the village.  The worst is the negativety of the people in town, the guests, the tourists, and yes even local or visiting guides that don’t get it.   No one wants to ski, they think its gonna be terrible etc.  YOU NEVER KNOW TILL YOU GO!

The weather looked good, the isotherm was in a reasonable level the night before,  and it felt like valley clouds, that would either sink and stay or burn off.  So I talked my group into going, but My group would of gone anyway,  they are on the No Bad Snow Only Bad Skiers Program and I would ski with this group any day of the week.  They love snow and terrain as much as I do.  So it was only even better that they experienced a magical day like this in La Grave.

We had skied a few runs to feel it out, with hand rails since there was only about 10-15 Meters visibility in the morning,  but as 11:30 or so approached it started to burn out.  There were no tracks anywhere,  Stability was still questionable and I was still feeling a terrain progression without visibility.  No visibility day 30-40 cm fresh in places.  It was perfect because it also meant no People and I could open anything I chose this day.

With visiblity starting to show enough,  I ramped it up.

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Putting the traverse in from 0 Side entrance Trifide 1!

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Pretty happy guide because no one wanted to ski this day, and I get to open Trifide 1 with 40cm fresh and I am working.  I told you my job doesn’t suck.

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Best Job in the world in the best place in the world on the best skiis in the world!

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It was touch and go,  Making the appropriate cuts in the start zones, and hiding from the exposure.  1 at a time skiing and absolutely priceless!

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By the end of 1 and upon exiting into the Vallon,  this is what happened.  She showed herself for the first time of the day and gave the few folks, Maybe 30 or 40 people on the mountain total that day,  an amazing afternoon.  La Meije is special,  she has a way of hiding until she likes who is using her mountain.  At least that is what I believe. That morning was a weekend and the rumor was out it was snowing.  So the whores show up, but they don’t buy a ticket because of visiblity,  so after she scares them away she tends to expose herself for the few appreciate her for more then the snow she gives us.

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The Rateau looking nice an rimed like a scottish death climb.

Check out the west face as well,  Looking good!

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If you know what your looking at in this photo, then you know it’s go time! 🙂

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Showing her beautiful North Face after hiding all morning to the lucky few that decided to go up in a cloud.

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So after opening 1,  I went back to rebate it,  but with visibility more in favor, I decided to get a bit more aggressive,  also because of the cool people I was with and there attitude towards skiing and La Grave in general, They deserved it.

I had a look at the way the entrance snow was moving in the start zones and Knew we would have perfect Alaskan Sluff in 0.   I moved the top plaque with one slice and it sluffed a nice pooper slot all the way to ski on.

0 Is a bit steeper then 1, has more consequences and is a bit more exposed,  so this was an amazing day in the office with amazing people.

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Putting the Team in 1 at a time.  How often does the group get to go below the guide?

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I love this next picture,  I opened 1 with little to no visibility on the previous run, and now with visibility,  folks already on my tracks down below.  This is fun,  you can see an unskied 0 and an unskied 0.5 in the next photos, yet that group down below still chose to ski on tracks 🙂  Thanks for leaving the goods whoever you are.

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Ready to get some on my New s7’s  Thanks Rossignol for the best ski in the world and thanks G3 for dropping me so I can ski on better equipment. 🙂

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The Happy worker self portrait!

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A happy group after a day of first tracks, no visibility and an afternoon of sunshine.24022011052

PS,  this group actually played a mean game of Gnar,  so my hats off to them for a great day and a game well played
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