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february 2015 articles

saturday 28th february
Dom, backside invert jib at La Flegere, Chamonix

Back with an almost exclusively snowboard-oriented edition this month, so try to keep up at the back ;)

Tignes snowboard weekender with Rosco

Rosco and I had planned an Tignes long-weekender in November, so headed out to Chalet Melezes in Tignes Les Boisses (just above the dam) for the annual 3-day weekender just as a snow front arrived.

Chalet Melezes - our home for the next 3 nights... ...with 5 star accommodation like this The view down to the construction at Tignes 1800

The weather was poor the first 2 days, bad vis with flat light, but snowing hard the whole time.

With few people venturing far from the cable car, the run down to the MM piste was covered in powder, often knee deep. As long as you didn't hit anything you were laughing!

The Grande Mott funicular arrvives Dogges by bad vis for the first 2 days Rosco cutting lines

Powder heaven...

But them on day 3 the sun came out, and we could see fields of untouched powder - there was off-piste everywhere you looked, and Rosco the powder hound was searching for deep pow stashes to throw up big rooster tails.

We got so much good snow we were spoilt for choice, riding the "Double M" down through fields of uncut powder where the crowds had not gone due to the poor vis - we spent the day on the funicular riding the mountain from the top to Val Claret on the valley floor, seeking new powder lines in the falling snow.

We met Rosco's friend Jo for lunch in the Aspen bar in Val Claret, and after a hard day riding, we rounded the day off with a hot tubat Le Melezes :)

Rosco powder dog Rosco (bottom-left) throwing up a rooster tail Yo'ing it up in the funicular
Meeting Jo for lunch Powder trails down the Double M Relaxing in the hottub after a hard day on the hill ;)

But all good things and all that, and we had to return home, glowing in the satisfaction of a fulfilling trip with some epic pow - in November! :D

Violet goes to see her relatives at MonkeyWorld

CJ & Violet at the chimp enclosureCJ and I took little Violet to MonkeyWorld over near Wool, to see all her relatives ;)

We had a great time walking round all the different enclosures, lots going on even though it was cold and wintry. So much to see there with hundreds of different types of monkeys - Orangutans were the highlight, the little ones were so cute!

Snowboard roadtrip: destination Chamonix

Having spent Christmas and New Years Eve visiting relatives in sequence, the New Year was on us, and that meant only one thing - Chamonix!

The season had got off to an awful start with green valleys prevalent across the Alps - but there was snow in the Chamonix valley, and it snowed for a couple of days just before we arrived :)

We were there for 9 days; first Rosco joined me for the first 6 days and George joined me for the last 3 - so unfortunately they never rode together.

Rosco at Flegere Rosco - all smiles at Le Tours Silhouette melon grab as the night falls at Les Grands Montets
Panorama at the top of the Index lift at Flegere

Riding Flegere with Rosco

Rosco and I tried each area of the upper valley in turn - Flegere, Les Grands Montets and La Balme, of which Flegere was the best snow conditions by far as both Grands Montets and La Balme were cold and icy.

There was fresh snow in the gulleys above the Chavanne chairlift, and minimal avalanche risk there so we rode there for a couple of days. The very shallow snow depth meant there was no chance of backcountry freestyle, so we spent our time cutting lines in the gulleys and jibbing about on the pistes.

I saw a natural hip up the side of a powder face and managed to land a backside rodeo back onto the piste, benhind the hip was a rock face, so I had to flick backwards to change direction and avoid the rock. Although the landing was rough as sin, there was enough powder around the lip to engender the confidence to try...

George Moy joins the fray

Eventually it was time for Rosco to leave, but on the plus-side George joined me eager to try his new skis...

Snow cover was bare in some places, but this proved not to be a problem George blasting down the gulley face Going out in Chamonix town

Almost immediately, it turned out that though George's new skis were awesome, his new skiboots were too tight, hurting his feet if he skied for too long. So we hooned around in short bursts sticking mainly to the pistes for the last couple of days - the snow in the gulleys having been skied out by this point.

Its was then that I spied a chute formed in the lee of a much larger rock, formed by the melting snow cover exposing some of the rock either side of a narrow strip just wide enough to ride down...

Patchy snow made for interetsing lines. Dom, chute. George, tight carve off the index run Rocking the Iron Maiden skis

George only had 2 days on the snow, but it highlighted a need to address the fit of his new boots and he was in agony by the end.

We had a final night out at the Nationale, eating the traditional epic 3-course gourmet meal, and packed for home.

We bid Chamonix farewell, both already planning our next mission to get back out onto the snow.

So we'll be back with more snow adventures new article...