More snow in Chamonix – powder abounds

It does not really seem possible but more snow has fallen overnight, on top of that which fell all day yesterday. It is not only here that the snowfall has been exceptional. I have heard of big avalanches in Val d’Isere, and that Zermatt has been cut off by an avalanche.

In the Chamonix valley there is disruption to the train service; today the trains were only going as far as Chamonix from Le Fayet. Also the road was closed between Argentiere and Le Tour. Ski resorts are either closed or just open with a few lifts. For example, Brevent has been closed all day and Flegere just has the cable car and the Evettes chairlift open. But as often happens, Les Houches is the star and is fully operational.

I took the train to Les Houches for a ski this morning, walking to the station in pouring snow (does snow pour? dunno!). As I often say, the most unpromising mornings often lead to the best ski days and today was evidence of this. There was cloud, wind and snow at the top of Prarion but there was also loads of powder. The visibility slowly improved, we even had some glimpses of sun later on, and the snow abated somewhat.

Some of the pistes were unpisted, like the Cha, and with knee deep snow it was actually difficult to ski down them without lots of poling. It was rather crazy but people were skiing down narrow tracks in a single file when the piste was wide and covered with powder. I found the meadow at the top of the Plan du Cret run, just where it leaves the Abbaye blue piste, to be fabulous. And on the Bellevue side the off -piste between the Bellevue and Grand-Bois pistes was excellent, though I took a tumble there. I don’t know what happened exactly, but I think a somersault was involved and both skis came off in very deep snow. One ski was just below me and, for a moment, I thought I was in for a lot of time digging around to locate the other. But when I looked uphill there it was, tip down, standing up in the snow. A few snowboarders swished past me as I recovered myself. So I was smiling to myself quietly as I was going up the Grand Bois button lift and passing some snowboarders who had fallen off the lift and were sulkily walking up the slope; very hard work.

As I was writing this I wondered why I had used the word tumble to describe my fall. I guess it is just seems less incompetent to say “I had a tumble” than to say “I fell”.

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