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TR: Val D'Isere with Esprit - lots of pics.

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TR: Val D'Isere with Esprit - lots of pics.

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Last week we were in Val D'Isere with Esprit. We booked with Esprit following a very successful trip with them to Courchevel last year. Prices went up there so we were forced into going with their more affordable option in Val D'Isere! How fortunate!

The chartered flights with Jet 2 was painless enough, although Geneva airport really need to do something about the cattle shed they force customers on chartered flights through. There's simply not enough space and the bussing between different parts of the airport is a bit of a let down on the return leg of the journey.

A three hour transfer from Geneva to Val D'Isere held its own entertainment value as the driver of the coach had clearly only ever driven automatics before and couldn't quite get to grips with a manual gear change. Funny for some of us, but I'm pretty sure I heard a few whimpers from other passengers who weren't quite so sure of his abilities to navigate us safely up the switchback mountain roads to Val D'Isere. The drive up is very scenic and offers some amazing vistas of the surrounding area.

Following a couple of stops to drop clients staying at other hotels, we arrived at our destination mid-afternoon on Sunday. A great time to arrive in resort as you have the afternoon to get bearings and chill out after the early rise.

We were staying in the Chalet Hotel Ducs de Savoie. It's a mysterious place, tucked away behind the main street and there's a lack of information as to exactly where it is. It's up a small lane beneath le Savoie Hotel and next to the Sherpa store. The lane is used for delivery to le Savoie and for collecting the kids and taking them to ski school or on excursions.



Not the most attractive of entrances, but it keeps the noise of the main street at bay.

The hotel is a bit tatty round the edges, but it is clean, rooms are a good size and bathrooms are ok. Reports I had seen on tripadvisor of it falling apart are unfounded. Everything works - apart from the WiFi sometimes and once you get by the entrance lane, it really is in a great spot. Nice and central with great access to all of the shops, bars, cafés and only a short walk to the slopes. A great big fat bonus is that the free buses that run all day throughout the resort stop directly next to the lane so If you can't be bothered with the stroll to the slopes, the bus will do the job for you and have you there in half the time.

This is the view from our bedroom on the first night as the sun went down. The view out of the other side of the hotel wasn't as good.



Anyway, onto the important bit - the skiing.

First thing on Monday, once the wee one was suited and booted and delivered to the excellent childcare team, the other half was off to her lesson, I went for my first foray into L'Espace Killy. I had been encouraged to make the Face the first thing I skied by another snowhead before our trip but had promised myself a wee warm up red run first. So, I jumped on L'Olympique lift and headed up the hill. It gives a great opportunity to give the Face Olympique a good look.





There was no-one on it! Out at the top station, skis on, turn left and the first run of my holiday was indeed the Face. Now, I had heard a lot about the face and how terrible it can be in poor condition. I must have struck gold! The snow was great, groomed, no ice, and there was only about 5 or 6 others on the whole way down.





Yep, there's a couple of steep pitches, but with snow like this, turns were easy - and I'm no expert - and on the final pitch you get a great opportunity to let the skis run and put down some nice big carves back down to the gondola station again. I have skied harder red runs (obviously that can change with snow condition) and this surprised me especially going on the reputation for Val D'Isere undergrading their runs.

I took a couple of pics of The Face later in the week from the gondola to show a bit more of the slope.

The final pitch



And later in the day once the slushy bumps have formed




With the Face out of the way, I was feeling happy to have been there and done it and I could now concentrate on the rest of my skiing. I headed back to the hotel to remove a layer and replace the helmet with a hat as it was simply too hot out there! Not even 9.30am and it must have been almost 10ºC in the sun.

Spent the rest of the day blasting blues and reds with the free hosting service laid on by Esprit. A great way to get out and discover how to get around the resort. Also where to find Folie Douce. €10 for a Jar of Spaghetti Bolognese and bottle of water… no complaints about high prices from me!



There was only 3 of us left by 2pm but it was great and we got to blast down some relatively easy and some more challenging red runs that really got the ski legs working again. The reds down into La Daille are great!



I then went for a quick look around the Fornet side of stuff in the afternoon and headed back to the hotel for some rest and food as I had some guiding with Alpine Experience booked for the Tuesday morning.







Tuesday… What a day that turned out to be! Good, bad, and plain ugly.

Having checked in with AE on the Monday evening, all I had to do was turn up and go and ski. I was in a group of 6 including myself (off piste experience, but never skied with a guide before), a girl who hadn't skied off piste for a couple of years, Matt from the US who was a good skier but likewise, hadn't been with an alpine guide before and a couple of others who had been regulars with AE and our guide for many years. Following the briefest of hellos we set of the the Fornet cable car, then up to the glacier. Now our guide doesn't hang about. He skied at a good quick pace and this was evident before we even got to the off piste route.

After a very shot boot pack, we had to side step very slowly and carefully down this slope. It was icy and rocky and no place for a fall.



I was immediately after the guide and we had no problems, but someone in the group behind us had a ski come off. At this point, our guide skied off and left Matt and Sally on the hill behind him. I waited for Sally and Matt and we followed on a long traverse to the point where we put our skins on. It was made clear that the pace wouldn't be quick so that was good and it was a great spot up into Col Pers. On the way up, our guide criticised a guide from another company who had made uphill tracks that were too wide and ruined the snow for everyone else. A choice word or two were heard.



Matt with our guide's wife behind. She was a really really nice person, chilled out and cool to ski with.



After our skin, we had a very brief stop to get skis on and take in water. It was very very warm so this was welcome. We then set off down Col Pers. After telling us to follow his tracks, our guide set off, followed by the rest of the group. This left me going 4th. This shot is of our guide's wife coming down after me.



It was great. That feeling of untracked - though not fresh - was brilliant. I didn't ski it as well as hoped, but didn't disgrace myself… or so I thought. The guide then proceeded to question why my tracks didn't match his perfectly as they were longer than the others and i had ruined the snow for other skiers. I explained that I was maybe skiing faster with bigger turns, so I was told that any turns must match the others, even if they were SL sized turns. I made sure the rest of my turns through the morning did that, but I was a bit perplexed as to why you can't ski with your own style - it's not as if I straight-lined it. Looking at the pic now, I can see other skiers lines where the turns are much bigger and longer than mine were. Is this normal etiquette?

We pressed on down the next pitch and all met up at the bottom of it. It was at this point that half the group, including myself, were taken aback. Our guide said to sally that her attitude was a 10 out of 10, but her skiing style was… S H I T!!!! She looked visibly shaken and did well to not say anything at the time. If someone that I had paid good money to spoke to me like that I might not have bitten my tongue. Yeah, her skiing wasn't olympic standard, but I've seen a lot worse!

So, we continued on and skied some great pitches, Sally's skiing improved as we went on and we got to the bottom(ish) of the final pitch. In the photo below, our line was from the valley up to the right, emerging left centre and down the steep pitch under the cornice. Good skiing but instead off finishing off the hill, we traversed out to get to the start of the Gorges Malpasset.

Sally and Matt after skiing the Col Pers behind.



The gorge was where a man had died the week before after falling through the snow and drowning under the ice. Our guide was very good here and waited for the entire group before taking it easy down the gorge. There were a few sizeable holes but we couldn't work out how the skier had managed to get so off line that he ended up in the river. Stuff happens on mountains that can't always be explained though.

Gorge Malpasset



So, we all came out of the Gorge completely unharmed and safe and on the whole, had a great day, apart from the issues mentioned above. Everyone finished the route on a high and skiing generally improved through the route.

Then, MY HOLIDAY FELL APART.

Skiing the hard compacted snow heading down to the bridge across the Isere on the way down to Fornet, my back just popped. No warning, just went.

I struggled down to the bus stop, said my goodbyes and retired to the hotel where I remained - save a slow walk to get some pain killers - until the next morning when a girl from Ski physio came out and did some manipulation etc.

The family all went out for their lessons and I stuck around the hotel for the next day or so then managed to get out and take very slow walks with my camera to see our wee one getting her afternoon lessons. It was great to see the kids enjoying the snow and learning the very basics of this sport we all love. Brought a smile to my gloomy face.







I did manage to get skiing again later in the week, (thanks to a lot of physio exercises and ibuprofen and paracetamol), 2 hours of greens/blues on the Friday, including a brief venture across to see the X Games set up in Tignes, and around the same of the blues/reds at the top of Solaise and Fornet with my lovely wife on Saturday. Her skiing is improving all the time and I can't wait for the day that we can all get up the hill as a skiing family and enjoy more interesting places together.

X Games set up




We also paid a further visit to Folie Douce, great party atmosphere getting going early afternoon.



All in all, an enjoyable holiday, interspersed with a few annoyances, which also include my ears not coping very well with the last couple of flights we've been on. But we will be back, probably next season and I'll get across to see more of Tignes side of things.

I said last season that Courchevel Rocks…. this season, Val D'Isere rocks even more!

Esprit were as good as last year and we have no reservation in recommending them to anyone looking for a family ski holiday where the kids come first.

A few more photos.

Lots of Paragliders on show


The owner of this car may get it back soon!


Mountain bikers having fun


Fornet cable car


Melting snow


And the important bit... Enjoying our first ever family ski together Very Happy on the 2nd last day.



More photos available here
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Great TR, thanks! Hope your back gets better soon.
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Great pics, really enjoyed your report Smile
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shoogly, nice write-up. your guide sounds like a grumpy fecker. evangelical powder farming is worthy of a black mark in my book. his comments to Sally about her skiing ability also are pretty lame, unless there was some serious tongue in cheek which doesn't come across here
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Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
nice TR, did you/have you said anything to Alpine about the guide comments and the fact he skied off when one member had lost a ski??
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Arno, yep, he was grumpy and his comment to Sally was straight down the line. never so much as smiled all day.

Shame, as he seemed a decent bloke and has had good reviews elsewhere. To be fair though, lib-banana's other half did catch up with me in the hotel to say that our guide had enjoyed skiing with me so that's good. I did listen to everything he said and being a guided rooky I just had to listen and enjoy as best I could, which I did.

I really don't get it with the strictness on skiing those lines though. It's the one day of this season that I'd managed to put the effort in to seek out that untouched snow - apart from being first on lift at glencoe of course - and I was a bit gobsmacked that it was a black mark for opening up the turns a bit. Kind of removed the freedom of the situation for me. Live and learn I guess.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
shoogly, there have been epic threads on here about powder farming. i can just about see that it is a nice thing to do on easily accessed slopes but I generally take the view that if you make the effort to get there first, you get to do what you like with the slope. if you don't like that answer, get there before me!
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
shoogly, BTW what date were you out with Alpine and what does Waynes diary say about the day???

http://www.alpineexperience.com/waynes-daily-diary/
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Nice report, and really sorry to hear about the back going.

Every guide I've ever been with has been very relaxed about lines and method of skiiing the fresh stuff. If you get to open the pitch it's your call Puzzled
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kitenski,

Quote:
13 March 2012

It was even warmer again today so we took advantage of trying to get the best of the powder while we can and Chris, Thomas and I headed over the Col towards the Glacier Pers. It’s interesting getting over the Col but still pretty easy, relatively speaking, and the snow on the Glaciers Pers was excellent. Towards the bottom we cut out way right above the refuge to get clean snow as well as ambience and it was a cracking finish. I had Diana Tingley along and we haven’t skied together for six-years as she’s been married and had two boys during that time, and it was great to see her again. The boys were also well impressed with her skiing as she skied beautifully today, bravo Diana! Thomas took his team across the glacier and up towards the Gros Caval and they had a terrific ski as well.

Meanwhile Andreas has a week’s private with Ian S and they started off around the Lavachet and Sachette before lunching in the Fruitiere. Pretty jammy Andreas! They then continued on this afternoon around the Spatule, Jardin du Borsat and Familial.

Gill, Laura and Mel walked up to the Manchet to give Mel some exercise and to watch Katie’s cross-country session with the school. Stephen and Kaye were also up there as they’ve volunteered to help with Christian’s cross-country class.

Millie and Katie started to speak to one another in French last night and Gill and I were gob smacked by Katie’s French as we’ve never heard her speak it before. She’s shy about it and refuses to speak it when we’re around and we’ve hoped that she says something in school, so it was a relief to hear her in action. Millie’s speaking beautifully now and it’s a pleasure to hear their lovely accents. (Unlike mine of course!)

More sun is forecast for tomorrow and well done you Gunners for an excellent win last night.


From what I saw, Diana did indeed ski beautifully on the day Very Happy
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snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
Great report shoogly - glad you had a good trip and you have Val d'Isere as a 'rocking' resort. Hope the back gets better soon.

You were skiing in Waynes group were you? Can't believe he was like that... or am I getting my wires crossed!

AE are pretty hot on putting the lines in quite close to each other... it is simply so that if we have a long period of time between snow falls there will be continuing fresh tracks for consecutive groups to ski. However i think that as long as you don't take up the whole damn powder field up (basically as long as you are not selfish) then who cares. I always encourage people to keep relatively close together but certainly not carbon copies of the guide or instructors line or anything like that.

Worrying about the comment to Sally and skiing off when someone was still looking for their ski.... hmmm? AE are well respected outfit and this was the first time I heard anything other than praise for them (although I may have missed others comments in the past).

Anyway [/b]lovely[/b] phots and great report - thanks.

BTW you were with AE of course, your little one was with the ESF... who was your wife with - no comments on her lessons?
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
She was with Evo2 who were reported as great. Her skiing came on no end over the holiday and I can certainly see a big improvement over the week. She put down parallel turns on the steep (as in should easily be a red kind of steep) blue down towards Fornet. She had a great time skiing with them and I had the pleasure of meeting her instructor who was very happy.

I wasn't skiing in Waynes group, but would rather keep names off this thread as that's not what it is about.
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So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
shoogly wrote:
She was with Evo2 who were reported as great. Her skiing came on no end over the holiday and I can certainly see a big improvement over the week. She put down parallel turns on the steep (as in should easily be a red kind of steep) blue down towards Fornet. She had a great time skiing with them and I had the pleasure of meeting her instructor who was very happy.

I wasn't skiing in Waynes group, but would rather keep names off this thread as that's not what it is about.


Glad she improved and had fun... the blue down into Fornet - that would be the Mangard. Good on her - smiles and having fun is what it is all about.

Re AE.... fair enough. I can work out who you were with then. I was thinking (hmm that doesn't sound at all like Wayne!)... so glad it was not him as I recommend him a fair amount (and he is a friend out here).
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You know it makes sense.
shoogly, lovely report, thanks for sharing. Glad the young 'un is loving it Very Happy Hope your back improves.
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Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Lovely photos, I'm a big fan of Val d'isere and thought you captured it nicely.

RE snow farming: I'm not a fan at all, I'd prefer to make big fast turns at my choice of radius on a slope where others had done the same meaning some turns were a bit bumpy than ski neat little turns next to the previous persons tracks in uncut snow.
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Poster: A snowHead
We had a very similar experience with AE, he ordered my wife to ski last so she didn't ruin it for the others, very similar to you in that she skied probably within 2-3 feet of his tracks but not in exact synchronisation with his turns. She almost cancelled the next 2 days we had booked with them.

I can see his point, when we went he was able to produce fresh powder each day as he is effectively managing the consumption himself by demanding the group ski exactly in sync within 1 foot of his line. However I really think its going a bit over the top to have a massive go at people. If they were massively carving the entire picth then yes, but having a go for being 1 feet wider is a bit much.

On a subsequent day he had a go at another person in the group. He was following second and where there was a slight rise and crest he mistook a previous days track for Waynes track and then followed it pefectly to be welcomed with "what the f*ck are you doing, why didn't you follow my track"! Wayne did apologise when the guy stated he honestly thought that was his track, but even so I thought the comment was way over the top.

Saying that I would go with them again, but I'd be on my mega best behaviour not to p*ss him off!!

Ironically we went with a guide in Alpe d'Huez a couple of weeks later and he commented we left perfect tracks, and even took a pic. When we told him about our previous bollockings he was shocked, he said when you skin for 4 hours you should be able to enjoy it and do what you want, otherwise where is the fun in it all.
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Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person


MKII Volkswagen Golf Driver (1989) 1.6, in colour silver grey metallic.

It's a problem I have, I'm working on it. Sad
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
shoogly, great report mate and I can only echo the sentiments on Esprit. Thanks for kind words on Diana's skiing - I'll pass it on to her.

On AE it's good of you not to name names, we had an evening with the guides wife later in the week who is a long time friend of Diana's and although there is no excuse for his attitude on that day, there are extenuating circumstances (I won't say anymore I'm afraid as its a very personal issue)- and it's not typical of him - he is actually a very good chap but I'm afraid it seems you caught him on a bad day.

AE are somewhat obsessed with the tracks thing - just their thing I guess - I guess if you have to find fresh tracks every day then you can see why they are keen not to trash everything - but I can understand that not everyone agrees.

Anyway, we'll be back next year so hope to see you there! Great pics mate and great report
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Feast, Is that really your car???? Shocked

Should have been nice and cosy for the winter under all that snow I suppose, but hope your metalwork has survived untarnished!

lib-banana, thanks for that. Will pm you.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
shoogly, fabulous report and pics snowHead

Sorry to hear about the back - as a long time, but irregular sufferer, I know what its like when it just goes. Grim.

Seeing your daughter in the Esprit lessons brought a smile to my face - recall my daughter doing exactly that stuff with Esprit in what seems an eternity ago (well, 7 years to be honest Laughing )

Thanks for sharing.
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shoogly wrote:
Feast, Is that really your car???? Shocked


It's not. Cool

I just have an unnecessarily detailed knowledge of Volkswagen models manufactured between 1983 and 1992. Sorry. Embarassed
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Arno, i missed the last discussion of powder farming. I've never heard of it before this thread. I've never been off piste with a guide, I just do my own thing with my mates. If I had paid a guide to take me off piste I would be genuinely raging if he had a go at me for boarding different radius turns from him. It might be arrogant of me, but I'd take the view that first come first served and would definitely want to do my own thing (all the more so if i've paid a guide to help me access it). When i'm in good fresh pow I tend to make pretty unpredictable turns because I get carried away with the freedom of it. Sure sometimes it's nice to do neat powder 8's but it's much more fun to blast around like an excited terrier isn't it?

Obviously it is in the guide's interests to keep the powder neat, but not necessarily the client's. If i'm ever in the position of being the client, I think i'll just suit myself. I hope this doesn't get me put on some sort of black list...
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Thanks for the report. I was there on the same week (well based in Ste Foy but skiing Espace Killy for several days), I hope to get around to post a TR too.

Now I'm really torn between never booking with an outfit that demands sperm turner powder farming and booking with them just to put in some proper big turns and enjoy the subsequent conversation!
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horizon, Twisted Evil Twisted Evil

Nice TR by the way Little Angel
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Quote:

It was great. That feeling of untracked - though not fresh - was brilliant. I didn't ski it as well as hoped, but didn't disgrace myself… or so I thought. The guide then proceeded to question why my tracks didn't match his perfectly as they were longer than the others and i had ruined the snow for other skiers. I explained that I was maybe skiing faster with bigger turns, so I was told that any turns must match the others, even if they were SL sized turns. I made sure the rest of my turns through the morning did that, but I was a bit perplexed as to why you can't ski with your own style - it's not as if I straight-lined it. Looking at the pic now, I can see other skiers lines where the turns are much bigger and longer than mine were. Is this normal etiquette?


Be Nice please! that poo-poo! You're paying a guide to show you some good places and keep you safe. Skiing, especially offpiste and freeride, is about doing it your way, playing with the terrain. Should have told the guide to go Be Nice please! himself, why should you have to hold back, when you've paid for the service, just so he can be lazy and make more money taking people back there next week??? Guy sounds like an absolute dick. Not his snow and not his mountain, other than for safety reasons, he has no right to tell you how to ski.

Powder farming is lame.
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snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
What a great review. Lovely to see your daughter enjoying it too. Some brilliant photos. Hope your back is better now.
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Hi Shoogly, great report and thanks for posting. Which room were you in?
thanks
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
horizon wrote:
Now I'm really torn between never booking with an outfit that demands sperm turner powder farming and booking with them just to put in some proper big turns and enjoy the subsequent conversation!


Toofy Grin Never had a guide demand similar and if they did they'd never get repeat business from us. Will give AE a definite miss.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
NickyJ, we were in 407. Never had a balcony, but did have an ok view. Probably one of the better views from the hotel. Being situated the way it is, there's a good chance you'll get a view of the car park of surrounding hotel buildings.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
horizon wrote:

Now I'm really torn between never booking with an outfit that demands sperm turner powder farming and booking with them just to put in some proper big turns and enjoy the subsequent conversation!


I like this idea - can't say based on this powder farming write up I'd be inclined to book with AE otherwise.
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 Poster: A snowHead
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shoogly has done a great write up of his holiday but it is sad to read about his back problems and his disappointment with AE. Then lots of other people go grumbling about 'powder farming' and using this to condemn AE without any discussion of other good reasons to keep close to the guides tracks. I have skied many times with AE including with, I believe, the guide that shoogly skied with.

AE do desire their clients to ski close to their guides tracks but not just for 'powder farming'. They often ski to places where there are narrow strips of good snow. Often we have skied a narrow strip of soft snow between strips of hard but breakable crust - I know, I have skied too wide and fallen. Occasionally we have arrived at places where the guide is concerned about the safety of a snow face and wants the group to keep to a narrow and relatively safe path. Other times we have skied to places where there are narrow strips of snow between clearly visible rocks. The guides want to know their clients can ski in control in narrow paths when necessary. It gives the guide greater choice of places to ski, to show us clients other places around the mountains. Consistently skiing close to the guides tracks is good training and means the guides know their clients can ski narrow pitches when required. Perhaps the AE guides should spend more time discussing how that wish their clients to ski, but that might reduce the time available for skiing.

One of shoogly's pictures show a wide but gentle snowfield with his groups ski tracks and one female skier. There are three or four tracks that are the guides and others side by side. Another track goes over the others hiding big sections of them. Maybe the guide was commenting on skiing over other people's tracks so that they could not look back and see their own track clearly. I enjoy looking back up the snow and seeing my own track, I keep on hoping that one day my track will look as neat as the guides.

I remember one day we skied Glacier Pers - the same place as I think shoogly went to: cross Col Pers, traverse a long way following the right hand wall, then skin up for about 20 minutes. Ahead of us was a group from another ski school, then two or three AE groups. We paused for a drink at the top of the climb and surveyed the huge untracked snowfield below us as the non-AE group ski off first, they appeared to be almost straight-lining through breaking crusty snow. Did they get good value from all the effort they put into getting there? The AE groups skied keeping their tracks close to their guides and everyone got soft powder snow.

Some people want to ski fast huge-radius GS turns when off piste. There is nothing wrong with that, provided the snow conditions allow such turns to be safe. My experience of AE is that they encourage short radius turns when off piste. Perhaps those that want big radius turns should look for other guides.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Great write up shoogly and fantastic photos! I hope your back is much better.

We too were staying with Esprit the same week as you in Val d'Isere. This is first time I've gone with Esprit and I couldn't fault them. We had a spacious room, the food was great all week and the staff were amazing - very helpful and cheerful. We'd never left our 10 month old daughter with anyone before but the nannies were great, put us at ease and we had complete peace of mind knowing India was in safe hands while we were out enjoying ourselves on the slopes. I've previously worked for Mark Warner and I thought Esprit were a match if not better in many respects. Will definately use them again.

I've only just joined Snowheads having had the pleasure of lib-banana's and Diana's company at dinner for the whole week (hope you're all well down in Devon!) and we had many discussions trying to indentify who shoogly was!! Having listened to Diana's adventures with AE and now seeing your photos, I know I have to book something similar up for next year!
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