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Alpine Climbing & Skiing: Frost Guiding Blog

Arolla Ski Conditions

~ Monday 26th December 2011

 Not too bad in fact...as long as untracked powder and no crowds is what you like! The pistes are in great condition too, both here and in Evolene, so skiing is great at the moment. It's forecast blue skies tomorrow and Wednesday then more snow before the weekend, hooray!

Some pics here from Arolla by Andy Teasdale...

Verbier Nocturne

~ Saturday 24th December 2011

 Relaxing with (too much?) coffee after a pleasant morning skiing powder in Arolla it suddenly seemed a good idea to accompany Mrs Frostguiding to the Trophée Verbier Nocturne race. This turned out to be a very fine event, with a "populaire" class for mortals and an "elite" class for the others. There's an infectious atmosphere to these things though, and even the populaire class seemed pretty competitive with plenty of lycra and skinny skis. All put into perspective by the arrival of the elites, sprinting the finish with the winner completing the 965m climb from Carrefour to Attelas in just 41 minutes...

The next local race is the Barlouka in Veysonnaz, 30th December.

Headtorches racing up to Attelas.

 

Christmas Skiing

~ Saturday 24th December 2011

 It looks like great conditions for the Christmas holidays. Perfect pistes and some more fresh snow today means there's good off piste too. Evolene is open, and Arolla yesterday was excellent. Expecting crust after Thursday's rain we set off for some skinning exercise only to find more excellent powder - Arolla is high enough to have been above the rain level. There's still plenty of unstable snow, so lots of care needed off piste. This huge full-depth avalanche is just one of many...

Excellent powder skiing above Arolla village.

And more, with the Pigne d'Arolla in the background.

Evolene Skiing

~ Thursday 22nd December 2011

Best day of the season (so far !) 

It snowed again yesterday in Evolene, frustrating the ski area team who've been putting huge efforts into preparing and stabilising the snow, but making for some brilliant skiing! After the long haul up, skinning through yet more fresh snow (we've been breaking trail every day for 5 days) the descent was fantastic. 

Sadly today was awful. Hmm. Rain to 1900m has turned the lower slopes to awful heavy slush, but it does mean still more fresh snow above there. With good weather forecast it looks like being a great skiing Christmas. Evolene lift area should open on Saturday, with good piste right down to the car park. 

The Evolene cross country tracks are open too.

Thanks to British Guide Andy Teasdale for the pictures:

Powder in Evolene

~ Monday 19th December 2011

 More excellent skiing today in Evolene. There was a lot of piste preparation going on and it looks like opening soon. Great news for Christmas skiers, but a shame for the tourers who've had acres of untouched powder for days...

Arolla ski lifts are open now - and the road is open too. 

 

Powder in Evolene

~ Sunday 18th December 2011

 Well powder every where really, and plenty of it. Snow is like London buses, always too much or too little...

There's been a good 70-80cm of fresh snow at 1400m. Higher up there's been more fresh snow and plenty of wind creating some huge drifts. All this is lying on wet, unconsolidated old snow...

Both Arolla and Evolene were supposed to open today, but the Arolla road has been closed since Friday. In Evolene the road is open and the parking is neatly ploughed but there's no sign of the lifts opening, everyone who can drive a snowplough being busy elsewhere I guess. Still that's good news for tourers. The sky cleared enough to allow helicopter flying and furious blasting on both sides of the valley, which added an interesting dimension to the trailbreaking. All well worth it though, with a(nother) great ski below the mid-station. 

Great Ski Conditions

~ Wednesday 14th December 2011

 Huge snowfall in the Alps! It's been snowing all day and is forecast to continue, with heavy snow on Friday. Colder after that, with more snow, so it looks like great conditions for Christmas ski trips, and a great start to the ski season. Phew. 

Here are a couple of pictures from the excellent Leukerbad Night Race which was held last weekend. Uphill is the new downhill...

Mrs Frostguiding pre-start with Kate Brown from Peakfitness

Pre-start with Kate Brown from PeakFitness

The start!

And the start! Only 777m vertical to climb before dinner.

If you're still into going downhill here's a stunning video 

 

Powder in Arolla!

~ Thursday 8th December 2011

 First ski of the season in Arolla today. After yesterday's bad weather it was a surprise to see blue skies this morning. With reports of 40cm of new snow - looks like good pistes for Christmas now - it seemed worth the long slog to the top of Arolla. There are no lifts open yet, so you have to "earn turns". Luckily I set off second, following a trail through deep snow - there's at least 40cm at the bottom of Arolla. Unluckily I soon caught the guy ploughing the trail, and ended up in front.

By 2600m we were calf-deep on skis, but with another 300m to go we were overtaken by the piste machine. Phew. 

The ski down was well worth it, great snow (70cm at 2900m), no rocks, fresh tracks. Great start to the winter. 

Skiing!

~ Tuesday 6th December 2011

 Today we went skiing...there's been some snowfall - at last - in the alps and a lot of hard work making snow means there are now runs open. Today we went to the Veysonnaz "Piste de L'Ours" which is open down to the mid-station, but skiable quite a lot lower. Good skiing too, with well made piste. Grands Montets in Argentiere should open  this weekend and Zinal is apparently good. And it's forecast to snow all week...

Avalanche Academy

~ Thursday 1st December 2011

 Avalanche Academy Ltd Home Page

 

 

 

 

As we all wait for the snow to arrive it's worth mentioning the Avalanche Academy, a new organisation based in Chamonix and run by 3 British Mountain Guides. Their aim is to provide 1 and 2 day "on-the-hill" training courses in all aspects of avalanche safety for skiers, boarders and mountaineers. The late snow this year could well mean an odd snowpack and some tricky conditions, so getting some training or a refresher makes sense. 

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