The Thaw…

This one is for you Lucie 🙂

This is the view from our chalet kitchen window. The snow is pretty much gone due to heavy rainfall, but should apparently make the snow better for riding as it will for a harder more compact base for fresh snow to sit on. These are the wise words from my boss Olly and so far he hasn’t been wrong!

3rd day on the hill

Technically our 3rd day on the hill, but only the second while the lifts have been running. We decided to go back up…just because we could, and it was worth it. We hit a load more off piste today and it was well amusing! See the following video of Ems on her off piste antics:

So yeh…I laughed…fortunatly she saw the funny side of it too, as I know how frustrating it can get…as 2 minutes later I did the same thing! My body is still suffering and it didn’t like the extra effort required to recompose after a deep snow bail, even if it prefers the falling into it rather than onto an icy piste! Me, Wife and Glenda rode a few runs in the morning, then meeting up with a few more of the MM crew, Dom and Mel. We all had another great session on the limited lifts available until the wind and fog drew in and brought our day to a close.

I got in a couple of grabs and a few frontside (anticlockwise with left foot forward) 180s along with a substantial amount of clown falls, and basic idiot bails!

The lift we were on went over the Burton Stash, and in all honesty…it looks insane, I am really looking forward to attempting the smaller stuff and possible some of the bigger stuff when I find some ability and manliness! Here are a few photos to show you what it looks like before they build it all properly:

Avoriaz opens it’s lifts!

After 10 days of being here, we finally got to go out and hit the piste! It cost us 15 euros each though as the season doesn’t officially start till next weekend and only a select few lifts were open. We were happy enough to just get our riding legs back on the blues and reds that were open, with the occasionaly wandering off into the soft fluffly snow!
Ems’ bindings were set up slightly wrong to start with so we just needed to get that sorted as she was struggling to get back into the slide of things and we could’t initially figure out why. Once we sorted that, she was on her way back to her old self, just remembering the basics of keeping your weight over the centre of your board to make the turns easier, and then leaning to turn instead of kicking the board out. 2nd to last run, she had it, and then the last run…too icy for any of us to have fun so yeah, we all struggled a little bit.

My legs are currently not talking to me, I forgot to warm up and cool down so they are refusing to do what I tell them to do. School boy error but I was just too eager to get on the hill that the 10 minutes of simple stretches etc were not in any part of my mind. It was nice to be back on the board and back up the lifts as opposed to walking, 15 euros well spent I feel!
I was riding the Dominant 159cm today, as the other Burton Dominant 154 of mine is currently on it’s death bed waiting for a specialist to diagnose the probable outcomes of surgery (a deep scrape down the edge through to the core about 10cm long and 1cm wide, meaning peetex won’t stay in and the patch that had fixed it, fell out). The 159 is a hard board for me to get used to as it just doesn’t flick round like the shorter board when I mess up and need a little security, thus the reason I fell so much. I eventually got used to the board and soon realised the reasons for having longer boards, the stopping power! You have more effective edge meaning that there is more resistance when you need it, which in turn means you can go faster! Woo!
All in all, a great warm up to the season with the Mountain Mavericks team, Dom, Mel, Glenda, Ems and me on a beautiful blue sky day with plenty of snow to go round!
Random stats if you are interested:
Date: Sat Dec 04 10:35:39 GMT+01:00 2010
Resort: Portes de Soleil
Distance Skied: 17172 m
Total Distance : 33728 m
Average Ski Speed: 21.6 km/h
Average Speed: 5.7 km/h
Top Speed: 68.4 km/h
Altitude Gained: 3019 m
Altitude Descended: 2839 m
Data provided by Satski.

The Slopes are open in Avoriaz!

The view from our bedroom window for the next 5 months

Well it’s been 10 days and 22 hours since we set off…and today is the first day the lifts are open! So the Mountain Maverick crew are heading out! I have just been on the old video chat with Lyle (used to work in Scotby bikes in Carlisle) so we now know what jacket etc to look out for on the slope.
Right, I need to make a cup of tea!

Ice Hockey Rocks!

So Ems, me, Dom and Mel headed to the ice hockey to support the local Morzine team against the Mont-Blanc team. We met up with another couple Rick and Helen who are friends of Dom and Mel’s, both seemed like lovely people and we will no doubt be riding with them at some point.

The ice hockey was a total new experience for both me and the wife, but we both loved it and I would definitely go back again. There was an incredible atmosphere even though there were not many people, and also the home team won!

I still don’t fully understand the rules though but there was a lot of carnage going down… see the video below for a quick montage of video clips I got throughout the game.

First snowboard ride

A full day off, and a lot of snow? Lets go ride!

Well, we did, hoping that the rumours of a couple of lifts opening early were true, only to arrive and have our high hopes crushed when the lifts were all locked up 🙁
So we decided to head to Ardent and do a wee hike up the home run and at least get one fix of the day. We got pretty far but realised the true value of lift passes, as we were all completely knackered by the time we got about a quarter mile up the hill…shocking. Anyway we decided to head down from here, in the fluffy white stuff! 

It took a fair few turns for it to all start coming back to me, and I also remembered how much I suck at riding powder, but it was awesome fun none the less. Laughs and smiles all round from Ems, Mel, Glenda, Dom and me, then to Dixies for a quick drink before returning home.
Mel noticed a poster advertising the local ice hockey team playing tonight….so guess where we are heading tonight?! I am well excited! I will report back after the match!

WOW….it snowed!

Well that was a suprise, woke up to see…a lot of snow fall…the previous photo was only 8 hours ago! WOOOOOO!

Itching to get out…

the view to the bus stop from our living room…notice the snow 🙂

Well we have been chilling out in Chalet Chambertin with the Mountain Mavericks team for a day now, and I just can’t wait to get started. The snow has just started falling heavily and we went to take a look at Chalet L’Aterlier (the place we shall be hosting in a week or so) today and it looks amazing. Our apartment where we will be staying is right next door and looks extremely nice also…me and Ems just want to get stuck in and start!
I am still impressed with the ease of getting over here by car, and I will certainly consider it in future travels! We went for a walk around the Morzine town today and it was desolate, so many road works going on to get finished before the snow comes (oops, too late!) but probably only about 3 or 4 non workers wandering around. Almost every shop was shut, with displays being stripped of mountain bike components and redeployed with snowboard kit. I would love to experience the summer atmosphere here…well…I would prefer to see the winter one in a couple of weeks.
The town is a really picturesque place and the views are pretty breath taking, I can understand why this is such a popular place. I just can’t wait to get out and ride!

View from the kitchen

Our morzine season has just begun…well kinda…but look at the view from our temp accommodation…

A lot of driving….DONE

Here are some images in a slideshow of our journey down, it was like driving on the same road for 7 hours except each hour was a different month. The drive itself was amazing, really nice country side to be driven through, no traffic and not too taxing. The ferry was pretty fun too…I can highly recommend…especially for £19.
Arrived at Chalet Chambertin 8:40 so we made pretty good time. This chalet is…incredible…I want one!