Monday, January 10, 2011

The day to Courcheval and back ...

Our hopes for a decent snowfall have been realised, we had 9cm of snow as measured by Kirsten using a ruler on the snow that collected on the balcony handrail. The snow arrived just in time for Kim and Sage to see it before they left on the bus for the 24 hour journey home. It is quite amazing what the snow actually collects on, even the top edges of signs are not immune to catching a frosting of the white stuff. Megan got all creative with the snow that adorned the patio furniture.
Across the road from us someone made this snowman complete with ski's and a scarf which was awesome but it was destroyed soon after the photograph was taken by persons unknown. We think that there is a snowman assassin on the prowl in Les Menuires because no sooner has someone finished a beautiful snowman/woman than the creation is destroyed. The reason for destroying a snowman eludes me so I am going to chalk it up to creative envy.
Carl wasn't feeling so well but we had a big day planned to take the kids all the way over to Courcheval which is two valleys over from us so he literally sucked it up and gritted his teeth while ignoring the sinus headache. The photo below is taken just below our apartment and note the snow encrusted pine trees and the arrangement of the triangles in the composition. I read somewhere that this is a good composition technique but I'm not so sure.
The weather was quite unsettled today, one moment you are in bright sushine and the next one is in heavy cloud which makes for great photographic opportunities because the light is always changing. I had the video attached to my goggle straps which has been great for footage taken during the actual skiing although I find it quit difficult to keep my head pointed exactly down the slope, it is so instinctive to want to watch where one is going rather than some point far down the slope.

Going across the Col de la Loze we had great fun because we were able to do a little bit of off-piste skiing, it is quite disconcerting to look down at where there should be skiis and only seeing snow or small mounds generated by the ski's. There is something very satisfying which I can't explain in looking back at a patch of virgin snow and seeing only two ski tracks through it, yours!
The route for the day, for the record was:
  • up menuires lift and then down boyes
  • up sunny expess lift and then down an unknown slope
  • up roc de 3 marches 2 lift and then down grand lac pelozet
  • up st martin 2 lift and then down cretes, choucas and gelinotte
  • up saulire 1 lift and down an unknown piste to lunch (70 euro for five of us) at the bottom of loze
  • up the loze lift and then down lac bleu
  • up the biollay lift and then down pralong
  • up the pralong lift and down biollay
  • up the pralog lift and down biollay verdons
  • up coqs lift and then col del la loze lift and then down boulevard de la loze and marmottes followed by charon
  • up tougnettes 1 and then toughnettes 2 and then gros tougne and la violette all the way home.
I embarassed myself down the pralong slope by taking a really good spill while the video was going, all one could see was ski's and sky, a combination which should not by juxtaposed against each other. I had been trying to avoid a beginner and picked up too much speed and that along with moguls was the undoing of me. The skiing today was really hard on the knees because the snow from last night soon formed moguls which are tough to ski on if you are not used to them. Even Megan and Alistair were complaining of sore knees which made me feel somewhat better.
Even worse, I took yet another spill, this time while I was completely stationery and just overbalanced and the video captured an expletive that is going to have to be edited out of the footage.
The Courcheval valley is visually and from a skiing point of view just fantastic. I'm not sure if it is a true reflection of Meribel but it doesn't seem to be as great a skiing area. While the snow in Les Menuires and Courcheval was firm and good to ski on, the snow in Meribel was distinctly slushy. I'll try and get back to Meribel to try some of the routes that aren't just transit routes from Les Menuires/Val Thorens to Courcheval and back before we leave.

Alistair distinguished himself on the way back while descending into the Meribel valley by demolishing one of the piste marker poles even while handicapped by having his broken hand wrapped up in a cut-up glove and plastic bag.
It was quite a day, all in all, and I think Carl was particularly happy to get home so he could get into bed. He had been getting quieter and quieter all afternoon and his nose had been getting redder and redder. I think a much quieter day for all of us is in order for tomorrow.

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