A Tale of Two Halves – One Soggy

Well, the snowfall turned out to be a bit sporadic, but there was about 4 inches of it overall. Below about 1700m it fell as rain, and pretty much trashed the remaining snow below that level. Although it is still possible to travel on skis down to 1200m, you’d be forgiven for donning a pair of water skis in places. Not the most enjoyable.

At St Gervais, the snow above 1700m was fairly heavy, although very enjoyable at the very top of the hill at 2100m, but just too limiting to really be that much fun. I took a couple of off piste runs down through only partially tracked snow which was good fun. I love falling over in that stuff! Very heavy going though, and the clouds kept obscuring the view which added to the challenge.

The precipitation has remained longer than forecast, and it’s been raining most of today. It’s been colder today so hopefully it may have repaired the damage at lower altitudes. Fingers crossed.

We decided to head off to Chamonix for lunch and a mooch around the shops. We have been looking for some kind of snow shoe, but don’t really want the full monty as we doubt it would be necessary unless you went fairly high when walking. That might be a nice idea though, when we walked the other afternoon, we ended up high enough to be in the snow, which in places was deep enough to give way underneath you and send your foot 6″ into the snow. Snow shoes would have helped, but not strictly necessary – half the time we were in and out of snow all the time and you’d get bored taking the snow shoes on and off. I’ve never walked in them before but imagine that they are a hindrance over thin snow or bare earth.

We did find some grip enhancers, a bit like snow chains for the feet, and may go for those if needed. I think we are likely to take a walk tomorrow so may head up to the mid point here at St Gervais, so we’d be walking between 1200 and 1800m. That should give us an idea of what we might need in the way of equipment before heading off into more remote parts. We aren’t intending to go mountaineering by the way, just don’t want to get caught out. On the other afternoons walk ended up crossing a piste, which fortunately was soft under foot but quite steep and still a challenge for ordinary walking shoes. If it had been sheet ice like some pistes are, we’d have ended up on our arses at the bottom of the run! Hence the need for some extra grip on the shoes.

I took some video whilst out skiing yesterday, this time with some narrative! You get to hear my silky tones for a change. Probably sounds like inane wittering and bravado, but there you go. Will upload them in the next day or so when we go back to the Internet cafe. The SFR SIM card is working ok finally, but it’s very slow and only good for email and limited web browsing.

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