I had some time to kill in Montreal, so I made use of their $9 bus (return to and from downtown. What a deal! It cost me $65 for a taxi from the deep south of Calgary to the airport!). I can happily say that I did not die while travelling over the crumbling concrete overpasses with exposed rebar and numerous concrete repairs. I wonder where all the transfer payments that Quebec receives are going?!!!
|Power day! I'm still kicking myself for not banging off more free lift access laps after my sprint qualification run. Doh!|
|The mythical Barre d'Ecrins on the centre-right. Classic mountaineering objective later in the season. And a good reason to come back.|
|With an afternoon start, plans weren't too ambitious (unless you are American. Nice work boys!). We settled on some short, easily accessible couloirs. Mini golf!|
After the races, it was apparent that the bodies were worn down and some rest would be needed. We traveled through Briancon on the way to Pelvoux from Geneva and we were in awe of the old fortifications in the hills around the city. We also wanted to check out rumours of a fabled skimo shop in the city.
|This bridge built under Louis XV connects two walled villages. Unfortunately we couldn't get into the higher of the two (on the other side of the bridge) as there was a drawbridge that was out and we didn't feel like rock climbing.|
|Beautiful mountains. This is looking towards the Col de Lautaret where our next destination, La Grave is on the other side.|
|The lower of the 2 fortified areas, and a lovely cell phone tower.|
|No trip to France would be complete without a shath (or bawer) experience.|
|La Blanche, a nice objective just above the top lift at Pelvoux. A 7euro backcountry lift ticket gave us a 1000m bump.|
|We were able to ski right off the top over a steep rollover with chalky snow.|
|Couloir Rouya Nord. I think there is also a Rouya Sud couloir that drops in earlier along the ridge. Don't quote me on that though!|
|We enjoyed a couple of laps through some smooth, settled, powder skiing really fast.|
|Okay, enough with the rockies style apron skiing. We noticed a short mini golf couloir that went up to a bench. I love mini golf and I was pumped up. Time to break out the putters again!|
|Well we enjoyed our run. Conditions were not too inspiring anyways and you have to be mentally prepared so you don't get in over your head. This picture is in the Lake zone, we skied the looker's left most of the 3 couloirs heading down to the lake. As a bonus, I got to find out how the Manaslus handle ice moguls. They are awesome skis. We definitely didn't see any conditions which warranted Megawatts or S7's. Definitely want to come back sometime with more mountain and skiing skills ready to bang off multiple lift access laps of complex glacier runs and steep couloirs.|
|Yes, there are tracks against the rock wall on the left side of the picture. More info on the routes here. Unfortunately, I found that website when I got home!|
|The hostel in La Grave is a funky place with lots of concert posters, monoskis on the wall and some jam band music playing in the dining area. The "random" in our room wasn't exactly happy to see us when we walked in though...|
|The line in the middle of the picture. Hard to spot from this angle. Excellent snow quality in the upper couloir. One of the coolest lines that I have climbed and skied (la Rouya was cool, but I didn't climb it!) because of the multiple features. The couloir is called Couloir N Oriental. More info here and here. (not trying to brag, but I think it's cool how there is limitless info on tonnes of routes...but not in English). It is ironic how I can complain about not having enough information when the problem is that I am too lazy to sift through the multitude of information!|
|You get what you pay for. 37euros for 3 people for this tiny space pod of a room, and toilets and showers in tiny closets down the room. Really, not that bad.|
|I can proudly state that I avoided paying to piss the whole time I was in Europe!|
We skied some cool stuff, but it felt like we were hindered by tired legs and a lack of information. It is a great experience to ski in France, but it was reading week back home and I missed shredding pow and some fun lines with my brother and my friend. My legs were blown. When I got back home, it took me a couple of days of rest before my legs felt good again.
So I am not sure if I would stay and ski after the races in 2015, but if I did, I would plan some more rest days to be a tourist and create a list of nearby ski touring objectives beforehand. We were a little burned out both mentally and physically.
Anyways, here is my video summary. Still kicking myself for not getting a POV of my skiing and course recon on the sprint day!