Friday, January 23, 2015

You can’t win them all!

I’d heard snow conditions were crap in Grenoble, but I just couldn’t have imagined how bad it was. With report of rain all the way to 2500m, it was quite a fairly depressing view all around the city.
For the first time in 10 years, I didn’t ski for my birthday and stayed home drinking spiced up coffee under the warm sun!
Snow was nowhere to be seen around....
The problem was not only for France, but Switzerland also suffered from a late winter start. Most of the mountainous country was seeing about half of the snow they usually get.
A storm was forecasted to start warm with  rain, changing up to 15 cm of snow expected in the northern Swiss Alps. It sure wasn’t the best forecast ever, but when you don’t have much, you bite at whatever shows up!
With Amelie onboard, we drove to the resort Meiringen near Interlaken about 4 hours from Grenoble to see if the forecast could be wrong the best way possible!
It was supposed to be a small resort with some nice slackcountry options.

As we got to their main ski base, one thing was sure : it didn’t snowed 20cm overnight! 
Actually, it rained fairly high up and the wind scoured the ridges.
Damn, the forecast wrong, but in the worst kind of way!

After cruising around the resort, we eventually found some good snow on wind-loaded  aspects. The main problem about this resort is that it is fairly flat besides some steep aspects (that didn’t had much snow). More family than skier looking for steep and deep must
Anyway, it was still fairly nice to ski in the shadow of the famous Eiger!
Back to Grenoble, some snow fell in the nearby pre-Alps mountains. With reports of more than 50cm of new snow in the Vercors, we figured it would be good!

Amelie and I had to go check it out! . After debating about which option to choose from, we left aiming for the Roc de Cornafion.

We parked at the Conversarie, near Villard-de-Lans and left the car into a really thick fog. We followed an already put on skintrack.
As we were making our way up, it was clear that the snow that was reported was fairly exagerated. With no base, rocks were showing up pretty often in the skintrack. 
We eventually stopped as the slope was getting steeper. We both didn’t like the idea of skinning into an unknown terrain without knowing what was hanging above us. The future got us right since 4 days after we skied this gully, an avalanche came down and unfortunately killed one teenager who was doing a tour without a beacon. The snowpack is really not the greatest this year.
We got some fairly decent turns near the top, where the snow was deeper, but eventually started loosing confidence after we both hit bottom rocks and stomps.

As we were going down, we even had to take our skis off and walk down because it wasn’t really skiable...
By the end, I was mostly doing alpine turns because I was staying more near the surface than by doing tele turns...
With some snow on the forecast and the arrival of some of my friends for an RV roadtrip, I hope skiing will get better!


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