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France: La Clusaz / Grand Bornand 2011/12

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France: La Clusaz / Grand Bornand 2011/12

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
'Best day ever, I can retire happy' - the first words from ski host Jon when he got back from Grand Bo today. 30cm of the lightest snow imaginable on all the pistes bashed late last night, and getting on to 1m as soon as you go off piste. Gusts of winds calming through the day, and visibility not as bad as feared. Cleared well during the day. Lachat (top lift) was shut all day, so whoever gets up there first over the weekend is in for a treat!


Quote:

loatie, are you timing these storms to coincide with your trips or what?


loatie, make sure you tell us when you are back next, i'll wax my skis!
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
What are the roads like up through St Jean from Thones at the moment?
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Stunning snow today, boot top powder on piste first thing, thigh deep just off the sides.
Think I'll sleep well tonight.
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paulio wrote:
What are the roads like up through St Jean from Thones at the moment?


Hmm, well it looks like I'll be finding out for myself in an hour or so then Smile
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Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Popped up for my inaugural snowboarding day of the season.

Road up was fine.

However:



Conditions were sh*t. Scratchy man-made rubbish snow all over the place, plenty of ice to be found despite the recent snowstorms, poor visibility, and out-of-control amateur dickheads (self included) absolutely everywhere. Easily as busy as it was (or even busier!) as/than on those fantastic bluebird days between Christmas and New Year.

Wouldn't.
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Skiied yday afternoon here in lgb. Visibility not brilliant in light snow but pistes and off piste we did was great. Snowed all night and still lightly as I look out from our window. No rush to get out though as there are nt many people about and tomorrow s forecast according to our local source is for much better viz. cannot believe how much snow around even since Christmas. The rooves are groaning!

Next out on 28 th jan after this week so be prepared!!!
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Quote:

Scratchy man-made rubbish snow all over the place, plenty of ice to be found despite the recent snowstorms, poor visibility, and out-of-control amateur dickheads (self included) absolutely everywhere. Easily as busy as it was (or even busier!) as/than on those fantastic bluebird days between Christmas and New Year.


Puzzled are you being glass half empty, or tongue in cheek? We skied in Les Saisies and Crest Voland (which is low - the top is only 1650m) yesterday. Agree about the visibility - the light was very flat and it was a bit cold and miserable after the cloud filled in disappointingly early and we only did half a day but the snow was really good. There were one or two harder patches on some aspects of the lower slope but most was terrific - hard to imagine better. What little off piste I did was very light and we watched some very good skiers doing an exhibition run through the trees at one point. And there were no crowds around, as is usually the case on a Saturday. When we stopped for a drink I got the distinct impression that the other half dozen customers were all locals - they all seemed to know each other and the serveuse. A couple of them were the guys we had seen in the trees.

Maybe La Clusaz tends to get the weekend yob element up from Annecy?
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After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Now you're just being silly.
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pam w, we took a couple of the families staying with us to Crest Voland yesterday and they had a great time - it's a really sweet little area with lovely gentle terrain I think.

paulio, doesn't sound like the most fun day out - La Clusaz can get very busy at weekends (it's really tricky to get dinner without a reservation at certain restaurants on a Friday or Saturday even in the 'quiet' January bit).

loatie, we are planning our first ever ski at LGB this week once the sun arrives - really looking foward to it!
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miranda, sounds good -def worth waiting for the sun! Hope you have fun. Today we waited till lunch time and there were a couple of hours of reasonable viz if staying low. Good fun to be had amongst the trees but am sure the bruises will appear tomorrow! The sun tried to come out for a while but the cloud and murk had the upper hand. Looking forward to tomorrow.
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loatie, thanks, and if you decide to head over this way this season, remind me to let you know the side route to avoid queuing around La Clusaz.
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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.
miranda wrote:
paulio, doesn't sound like the most fun day out - La Clusaz can get very busy at weekends (it's really tricky to get dinner without a reservation at certain restaurants on a Friday or Saturday even in the 'quiet' January bit).


For GOD'S SAKE miranda, stop being so negative. It was a fantastic day out with almost no crowds! As stated above! By someone who wasn't there!
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Lovely skiing for the past couple of days both on and off piste . Hardly anyone around and practically wall to wall sunshine. Doesn't get much better than this for us. Looks like it's set to continue for a bit yet so happy days.
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 You know it makes sense.
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Yo, el Clusaz homies.

There's some kind of Radikal FWT event happening this weekend. Is this expected to bring enormous amounts of traffic and annoyance with it, or will it just be a few dozen dafties hucking cliffs somewhere tucked out of the way?
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Yo! Spekt itl B the weekend yob element element up from Annecy Madeye-Smiley
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Same as any other weekend then.

I'm using the fact that we got booked into the creche at the mairie, at very short notice, as a crude indicator that it will only be as busy as normal and not totally rammed.
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Crowds weren't bad. Traffic jams were, but the pistes weren't crowded which was nice.

Things were *very* firm in the morning, and I think they've been overgrooming because just like my previous (entirely false) report, man made snow was everywhere, which had then been polished to a glassy shine by the piste machines. So that was grim until the sun had been on it a while. Afternoon was great though. As I was leaving (in a horrible traffic jam) it looked like all the cannons were blowing - so I expect a repeat performance tomorrow: i.e. not worth bothering before about 11am unless you have skis like razor blades.

That gnarly event whatever it was didn't really seem to affect anything. We only saw people skinning up to the start line - couldn't be bothered hanging around for the cliff hucks to begin in earnest.

PIX


People skinning up to the Radikal start line.


Looking down the 'Aiguille' bit.


Looking back up.


View from La Balme.
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Sunday was fantastic. Snow conditions were better - groomed and grippy rather than scratchy in the morning; pretty much perfection at lunchtime; and going a bit sloughed-up or scraped-off in the afternoon but nothing at all to grumble about.
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Ay Caramba!!!
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Mexico?

how strange.
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Quote:

Traffic jams were

we met some people on Saturday afternoon who had been badly delayed in jams on the A40. The Saturday traffic will build up steadily now, reaching their peak of awfulness in the four holiday weeks.
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paulio, hope this wasn't the spot where you liked to get a beer and stare at Mont Blanc.

http://www.ledauphine.com/faits-divers/2012/01/23/le-restaurant-p?image=2c2b4e37-6cf9-49f7-986c-625e68a234e3#galery

No one hurt, thankfully, but what a shame Crying or Very sad
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Does anyone have an update? I'm heading on Thursday ... looks like it's going to be a cold weekend! With some snow forecast for tomorrow?
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Hammered with snow overnight in Annecy, about 6 inches or more, and still going.

So I would imagine that it's a similar story just up the road in them there Aravis.

miranda - yes. Terribly sad. Lovely little spot for a lunch.
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Mickster - as paulio says, at least 6 inches of fresh snow on all the cars parked in the street here at chinaillon this morning as I walked up the road for bread. Still going strong - consequently viz is not so good. Mr loatie is off exploring though as nothing stops him venturing out but I'm waiting till a bit later on! Supposed to be a bit clearer tomorrow I think with a chance of a bit of sunshine which will be fabulous. Fingers crossed for you on Thursday but whatever the weather the snow is fantastic so enjoy!
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Hmm. So after making La Clusaz my 'home', it turns out we're more than likely off to LGB this weekend. No, not the Lesbian Gay and Bisexual society - although I'll try anything once - but Le Grand Bornand.

Any favourite runs anyone wants to share? Any particularly crap flat linking roads we should seek to avoid? Is it worth driving round to Chinaillon, or just taking a big gondola up from the main village? Other tips?
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
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Gave Bornand a spin today. Lovely weather apart from the intimidatingly low temperatures. The kind of cold that induces an instinctive, prehistoric "FIND CAVE. BUILD FIRE. PROTECT YOUNG" kind of caveman instinct. Pistes were nice and grippy, possibly a bit too firm to make snowboarding comfortable if you're a bit mediocre like I am, but it was good on skis. As I grumbled about Clusaz a few weeks back though, I would say that the pistes were a bit *too* groomed, and there was too much man-made kicking about.

Didn't really 'get the hang of' the area. The runs seemed a bit short, we didn't manage to find any really satisfyingly long descents (yet). And the chairs. THE CHAIRS. So slow.

Good day out nevertheless. No photos, since taking my hand out of my glove for even a split second would have made it instantaneously crystallize and shatter like that bit at the end of Terminator 2.

Back again tomorrow!
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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
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Cold again in Grand Bo today, but not as cold as yesterday. In fact, a great skiing day - if you were dressed appropriately. Once the sun started to take an effect at around 11:30 or so, in fact, it didn't feel remarkably colder than an average skiing day. Lovely blue skies, perfect pistes (maybe a bit too perfect again) softening up nicely as the midday sun got going, and really really empty. Presumably loads of people stayed in bed due to the low temps.

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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Nice photo. It was v quiet here too, especially in Notre Dame de Bellecombe. Much less cold than yesterday. The worst of the cold seems to be over for the time being.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
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paulio wrote:
the pistes were a bit *too* groomed...


Not true today though (at LGB). Last time, there were special banners at the top of some pistes, warning the unwary that the piste was ungroomed. Not there today, because everything was ungroomed. Massive, slushy lumpy bumps, absolutely everywhere. Much better.

Beautiful weather, just a touch of 'fresh' wind in the afternoon, but great.

It was busy. Driving in at 8am was a traffic jam, although not as bad as the period between Christmas and New Year. On-piste was OK in the morning, but did get quite chewy in the afternoon.

I think this was Tolar, at lunchtime.

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 Poster: A snowHead
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Total slushfest at Clusaz on Saturday. The warm temperatures really starting to take their toll on the snow. Gigantic mashed potato moguls everywhere. Sunday at Bornand fared a bit better though, not quite as hot. Still quite lumpy and bumpy, but in a fun way rather than a knee-breaking way. Mind you someone apparently had replaced all the snow with sugar, which made it all feel a bit more like an indoor slope than real snow. I guess that's maybe a consequence of all the excess manufacturing of man-made that I mentioned before. Up at Clusaz again today, and it felt OK underfoot again, but hard to make an accurate comment because we just bungled around with our 2 year old on the noddy slopes all day.


Piste 2000 on Sunday.


Beauregard nursery area today (not very spectacular I realise...)
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Returned yesterday. Travelled down to LGB on Friday 16th. Car temp guage hit 23 degrees driving through France and chance meeting with gvj in Petit Bornand on Friday evening confirmed it had been t shirt and fleecy skiing all of the previous week. Some very brown faces around!
Skiing on Saturday 17th was very pleasant on soft pistes and then followed by Sunday afternoon and Monday when it snowed practically continuously. Quite unbelievable given the temperatures of the previous days. Didn't get out on Monday much as visibility was poor in the snow for the majority of the day. Lovely couple of days followed in the fresh snow and beautiful sunny conditions. Day trip to La Giettaz on Thursday - wall to wall sunshine again. More sunshine and very warm temperatures meant that the south facing pistes were getting a bit heavy by the end of the week. However, as the majority of the slopes at LGB are north facing it was holding up well and by timing the skiing right during the day a great day could still be had. Beautiful blue skies, warm chairlift seats, drink stops and picnics in the sun made for a very enjoyable end to the week.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Here's a good joke, you'll like this.

Q: On which day this season did La Clusaz have the best completely awesome powder?

A: 22nd April.

We went on a quick recce yesterday up to La Balme just to push jr around at the bottom of the piste, and ended up cursing ourselves for not taking our gear with us, because conditions looked pretty good. So we decided to go back this morning after an apparent overnight dump. When we arrived the weather was horrible - grey gloomy clouds hovering everywhere, and chucking it down with that horrible 'little balls of polystyrene' type snow. Avalanche dynamite going off every 5 minutes, and the chairlifts above the gondola looked like they were probably closed. I almost said 'forget this, let's go home'. But we persevered. Did a quick blue run from the Balme gondola down to the bottom with the boy, which was hard work holding him between our legs and snowploughing through boot-deep powder. Pretty good indicator of what was higher up though. Magically, Mrs. P didn't fancy doing much more, so she let me toddle off for 2 hours on my own. Both chairlifts now open and...

Powder powder everywhere. On piste was more like tracked off-piste. The off-piste looked unbelievable (but I never go off piste - today has redoubled my resolve to rectify this next season).

Bouchet, Choucas, Bergiere and Balme runs all in fantastic powdery and pretty ungroomed shape. Crintiaux and Roualle closed. The other gondola - Fernuy - also closed. Didn't make it to the Torchiere drag, so don't know about that little limb. Visibility was variable, but the cloud was swirling around so much that for most of the time it was 'if you don't like it, wait 5 minutes'. Plenty of breaks in the cloud to enjoy descents in the sunshine. It was lovely and cold too.

We left around 1pm, the snow not even really slushy yet, just as more snow started to fall quite hard, right down to the town. La Balme is open for another week I think, not sure about the rest of the area, but certainly the Etale and Merle bits look a bit iffy compared to Balme. I think today might be closing day for at least some of the rest of it.

On the day with the best snow of the entire season.

More forecast this week as well (!), with the skies probably clearing ready for the final weekend. Happy/sad. Might take the old board up there on closing day, if the missus will sign me off for a day again Smile


Looking up from the Balme car park.


Looking up from the arrival of the Balme telecabine.


Looking down from the summit.

Edit: Yep, La Balme closes on the 29th, the rest of La Clusaz is now closed for business (as is Grand Bo, not sure about Manigod/Croix Fry but suspect it's curtains for that too).
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La Clusaz: closing day. Forecast was for rain, cloud, rain, rain and perhaps a bit of rain.

We went up sans skis, just for a cuppa and a mooch round with the boy. It was all a bit like this:


View from the car park.


End of the Bergerie blue.


Looking up under the Bergerie lift and the Choucas black.

Looks shite, eh. Slight tinge of envy watching the skiers as we were up there in jeans and shoes, but it's been a good season and last weekend's powder day was enough of a climax. Grew quite fond of La Clusaz over the last few months. Grand Bornand less so, but had a few good days up there as well.

Adios, Aravis.
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