We’ve mentioned before about our instructor David Gladwin passing his UIAGM exams which means he is a fully qualified Mountain Guide who can take anyone anywhere in the world. We put David’s qualification to full effect last week when we sent him off along with three of our clients, Sophie, Peter and Sylvain to the Italian side of Mont Blanc for an epic day of off piste riding on the glacier de Toule.
An early start was needed for the drive to Chamonix to pass through the Mont Blanc tunnel into Italy and then onto Courmeyer in the Valle d’Aosta, where the very shiny new ‘SkyWay’ lift takes you up to the Punta Helbronner lift station at 3400mtrs.
Sophie, Peter and Sylvain are all experienced off piste snowboarders but none of them had ever climbed or abseiled before so it was down to our guide David to teach them everything the needed to know and to keep them safe in the mountains.
After a mountain safety brief from David the team stepped into climbing harnesses, strapped on their crampons, tied into the rope and made their way across the snow to the Col du Flambeau and then on towards the Col Oriental de Toule.
The team then hiked from the col Du Flambeau to the top of the Col de Toule. From this point a number of abseils, a bit of down climbing and some steep ladders were needed to access the top of the Glacier de Toule where the fun snowboarding could start.
Safely at the top of the glacier everyone could take off the mountaineering equipment and strap on their boards. With open views of Mont Blanc and the Grand jorasses and no one else to be seen on the mountain it was time to do what everyone came here for.
The snow conditions were perfect with plenty of bowls full of wind transported snow the team had a great afternoon of riding, with this epic glacier descent all to themselves.
As the team descended further down the glacier the snow softened up nicely and the group was riding well so we decided to spice things up and tackle some steeper descents. The team were briefed on safe travel techniques and snow and terrain analysis and everyone discussed the best line of descent and entry and exit points before they set off.
The steep terrain was definitely the highlight of the trip, everyone held their own, carving their way down the rest of the glacier to the Sky Way midpoint station at the Pavillon du Mont Fret
At the midway station with everyone pretty tired and having had an epic day out in the mountains the team made their way back down to the cars to head home for a well-deserved beer (or three).
BID FOR A 3 NIGHT STAY IN A LUXURY SKI CHALET IN MORZINE WORTH £4000
Snow Camp, a charity set up to support inner-city young people, has organised a charity auction allowing you to bid for a stay in a luxury ski chalet in Morzine.
3 night stay for 12 people at the beautiful, rustic Blue Bird Lodge chalet courtesy of The Worshipful Company of Leathersellers. The Alpine-Savoie style chalet boasts:
Outdoor hot tub
UK Freesat TV and Wifi
6 ensuite bedrooms
The Blue Bird Lodge chalet is located in Morzine, France. The chalet is a just five minute walk to the Pleney ski lifts and the main shopping and bar area.
Morzine is an ideal resort for a short break skiing. It is only a 90 minute drive from Geneva airport and situated at the centre of the famous Portes du Soleil ski area, which provides over 600km of skiing in France and Switzerland for all standards of skier.
Sunday 15th January to Wednesday 18th January 2017
If you time your flights right you could have 4 days out on the ski slopes!
3 nights accomodation for up to 12 people
Breakfast, tea and dinner
3 nights stay in this magnificent chalet is worth £4000! Bidding starts at £1000: That’s £83 per a person for a group of 12! If you are a smaller group, it’s still a wonderful opportunity to stay in a luxury chalet at a much lower price.
To register your bid send your name, email address, telephone number and the amount you would like to bid to: email@example.com. Bidding closes 9th November 2016 in the morning.
All money raised will be donated to Snow-Camp, to help us support inner-city young people in the UK. Snow-Camp is an innovative youth charity that uses a unique combination of skiing, snowboarding and life-skills programmes to support inner-city young people.
This summer Avoriaz is continuing the investment into modernising its ski lift system with another new chairlift being put in, this time to replace the old Brochaux chairlift. This follows on from two ski lift replacements last summer on the Super-Morzine sector, which had a very positive impact, cutting down the speed of crossing from Morzine to Avoriaz and vice versa via Super-Morzine.
SERMA, the lift company operating the Avoriaz ski lift infrastructure, will be replacing the Brochaux chairlift in time for winter 2015/16 (they say it will be open for December 2015). The rickety old 3 man chair will be replaced by a high speed 6 person chairlift, capable of carrying up to 3000 people per hour. The new lift will follow the line of the old chair, although the top station is being move 280m further up the ridge
The Brochaux chairlift is part of the Lindarets / Mossettes sector. As well as giving access to some awesome off piste routes & the Stash snowpark, the Brochaux lift is also an important means of return to Avoriaz for those having been to Mossettes (also known for some great off piste lines!) and over to Champery on the Swiss side of the Portes du Soleil. Hopefully this should bring an end to the bottleneck at the bottom of the Brochaux towards the end of the day when everyone is returning towards Avoriaz & Morzine.
See you on the new Brochaux chairlift this winter!
With ski pass prices continuing to be on the rise, an interesting report from RelaxNews shows that keen skiers & snowboarders get a much better deal on a 6 day ski pass from the larger resorts, which are significantly cheaper when comparing price per kilometre.
The Portes du Soleil, home to Mint Snowboarding, is the largest ski area in France and also the best value for money with a 6 day lift pass priced at just 0.34€ per km of piste. For 225€ winter sport enthusiasts have access to 650 km of pistes. The Three Valleys, with its 600 km of pistes, is also great value at 260€ and followed by Paradiski with a 6 day lift pass costing 262.50€ for 425 km of marked slopes.
It can also be argued that novice skiers & snowboarders can make savings on the cost of their lift pass by visiting smaller resorts. For example, a 6 day ski pass in Super Besse costs only 146,90€, but for only 43 km of pistes works out much more expensive, at 3,42€, per km.
|Ski Area / Resort||Department||Price of a 6 day ski pass||Skiable Area||Ski pass price/km|
|Super Besse||Puy-de-Dôme||146,90€||43 km||3,42€|
|Isola 2000||Alpes-Maritimes||145,50€||120 km||1,21€|
|Espace Diamant : Les Saisies, Crest Voland Cohennoz, Notre-Dame-de-Bellecombe, Praz sur Arly, Flumet, Hauteluce||Savoie||184,30€||185 km||0,99€|
|Serre Chevalier||Hautes-Alpes||214€||250 km||0,85€|
|Espace Killy : Tignes, Val d’Isère||Savoie||235€||300 km||0,78€|
|Neiges Catalanes : Cerdagne Puigmal 2900, Espace Cambre d’Aze, Font-Romeu, Pyrénées 2000, Formiguères, La Quillane, Les Angles, Porté Puymorens, Puyvalador||Pyrénées-Orientales||190€||278 km||0,68€|
|Paradiski : Les Arcs, La Plagne, Pesey-Vallandry||Savoie||262,50€||425 km||0,61€|
|Les Trois Vallées : Courchevel, La Tania, Méribel, Brides-les-Bains, les Menuires, Val Thorens, Orelle||Savoie||260€||600 km||0,43€|
|Les Portes du Soleil : Avoriaz, Chatel, Morgins, Montriond, la Chapelle, Saint-Jean d’Auls, les Gets, Champéry, Torgon, Val d’Illiez, Abondance, Morzine||Haute-Savoie||225€||650 km||0,34€|