I took a few days off over the weekend to go down to Grenoble where, for want of a better idea, toured up to one of my old haunts, the Dent du Pra above the 7 Laux ski resort. Perfect spring skiing conditions on Friday and Saturday but things were warming up a bit by Sunday. On Saturday morning I set out at 6.45am which was early enough. There was snow cover down to 1400 meters and a good refreeze but good grip too. I only put on my ski crampons when the slope got above 35 degrees and at this point my partner, Anne, decided quite simply to climb using crampons. She was right beating me by a few minutes over the last 500 meters to the top. She has Diamirs weighing her down too .
We skied down the east facing slope at 9.45am, the snow was just about right east facing slopes but as the slopes turned south we had to wait 15 minutes for the surface to soften. So, given a good refreeze and a clear sky descent times should be aimed at 9-10.30am at the moment. The process from hard to soft to unskiable to disaster!!! happens pretty damn quickly at this time of year.
Sunday I was at the last day of skiing at the 7 Laux. As I was skiing with my 3 yr old I we got there for just before lunch. The 7 Laux opened around the 20th November this season and this is also a late finish. They’ve had a pretty good year all told. Snow was slushy and the boy did a few runs then decided to put his feet up. I skied around the top. Off piste was liquid but the runs were fun - very slush which seemed to cause all kinds of problems but I found kind of fun.
Pointe du Siflet
Monday and the avalanche bulletin warned of no overnight refreeze. I checked outside and the sky seemed clear so headed back to where I was on Saturday. The snowline had climbed 100 meters, still good for the end of April. I climbed up to the Pointe du Siflet but didn’t fancy any of the steep couloirs off the summit. They were all out of condition as the hot weather had caused a number of purges. I skied back down the gentle slopes - it would have been fun on wider skis but was just interesting on my skinny skis. Well better than sitting in bed.