First tracks for 2006/7 winter

Driving up the long, meandering Romanche valley towards the frozen wasteland of the col du Lauteret and its isolated motel always brings The Shining to mind. To be honest you’d have to be slightly unhinged to climb 600 meters towards the Col du Laurichard just to steal a few turns but such is the draw of the “plaisir de la glisse”. It’s been a long time baby.

col du lauteret
Shining motel, a tremendous sense of isolation

A smidgen under five months, three weeks to be exact. Around 30cm of snow fell at the Col on Friday night and this was topped up with another 10cm on Sunday. The snow started from just before la Grave at 1500 meters. Mother nature had been treating us mean this autumn.

col du lauteret

The pass was an isolated and desolate place. A kiteboarder was training for the forthcoming event but the only sound was the wind and the occasional truck crawling through the slush and crunching gears as it struggled to the summit.

The bowl from the micro ski station of the Lauteret up to les Clochettes had a significant amount of snow. There also seemed to be a good quantity on the road to the Galibier pass which was closed and up to the Trois Eveches summit. However the higher you climbed the more rocks were poking through the snow. Finally at 2550 meters, about 100 vertical meters below the col we decided it was time to ski down. To be honest we had also noticed some instability, small slabs and cross loading of small bowls and valleys on the climb. We didn’t want to go and test a col directly under influence of the southerly winds that had blown over Friday/Saturday.

col du lauteret
Here’s Jonny!

Oh I didn’t mention. I was also testing my Wed’ze backcountry specials. Diamir mounted Wed’ze midiskis from Decathlon. Well if first tracks are anything to go by they will live up to expectations. In the light powder they would almost turn on a six-pence, ideal for avoiding rocks lurking just under the surface. More later.

col du lauteret

Clicking into bindings and so another six or seven months ski touring begins. A tough job but someone has to do it. Have a great season!

Posted by davidof on Monday, 20 November, 2006 at 06:59 PM

According to the Quechua website (Decathlon), the Wed’ze ski is a 100% on piste ski! Is it really any good off-piste?

Posted by  on  Sunday, 03 December, 2006  at 02:26 PM

Hi Phil,

Any ski this short is going to lack floatation in powder and this is sometimes why short “approach” type skis are called “firn” skis. Suitable for spring snow conditions. I did a quick calculation and the Wed’ze at 130cm would be like my old Dynastar 4x4s in 150cm. Not really long enough. However the Wed’ze are designed to be skied by adults in their short length which is a plus.

If we look at the short appoach ski market they are quite interesting. The Dynastar ST1.0 is around 150 euros. The Hagan Extreme, a thinner albeit lighter ski, 193 euros.

So what is the motivation behind the mounting the Wed’ze with touring bindings? In the Chartreuse we have a lot of routes that are on tight forest tracks. I have come across skiers on both the Salomon X Adventure nordic skis and Rossignol Freetrack skis who do very well in these conditions. This is where I anticipate using the Wed’ze. I will do a fuller review sometime over the winter. Watch this space.


Posted by davidof on  Sunday, 03 December, 2006  at 10:40 PM

I’d like to know if there is a list of reccomended tracks. I’m new on this and new some advice from the experts. Would be much appreciated your help. Thanks

Posted by  on  Monday, 15 September, 2008  at 05:06 PM
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