I've been mulling over this latest blog post for while, wondering whether I should post it or not. Because you see as a Private Ski Instructor in Méribel I sometimes get to experience some incredible skiing days on the mountain with clients. I'm not one of those types that like to brag about things in life, but at the same time I do want to share one particular day I had recently. So here goes, bracing myself for any envious comments I may receive.
I've been skiing with Gilly and John now for a few winters, and it was a delight to be with them again over the festive period recently. They've both been training really hard on their off-piste skiing, and will take any opportunity to ski in the fluffy stuff if and when it's available. We were lucky to receive some precipitation in the middle of their trip, which enabled us to continue their quest for off-piste skiing. On our last day together I wanted give them a stonking experience, and had conjured up a route with a difference, the mighty Vallée des Avals.
This valley runs to the east of the Courchevel valley, and is reasonably hidden away out of sight which means it stay deserted and makes it even more of a gem. After a pep talk and an avalanche equipment check we ducked under the roped off boundary. Just as we were doing that I heard the dulcet tones of Michael (the other half of mh2ski) shout out. Fancy that? We were in the biggest ski area in the world, just about to drop into the quietest off-piste valley, and we bumped into Michael and his client Susan. They wished us good luck, and off we went.
So how was the snow? Amazing. It was fresh and deep, very deep in fact. Skiing in this stuff is incredibly hard to describe to people who've never experienced it. But let's just say that these snow conditions are the 'Holy Grail' for advanced and expert skiers, with Gilly, John and myself just lapping it up. The views were quite spectacular, the pitches chosen very enjoyable, and we were in awe of the whole experience. However there is a slight downside to this particular valley, it's a bit of a 'Gut Buster' to exit. It's a typical valley floor, mostly flat with the occasional downhill section, which means it takes a bit of effort.
Gilly is a keen long distance runner, and John is bonkers about his road cycling and has participated in a few 'Etapes' here in the French Alps. So they are fit as fiddles and were fired up for the exit. But then a very bizarre thing happened. Just before we hit the valley floor we heard a very familiar sound, in a very unfamiliar environment. After a few moments our confusion was cleared up, there was a piste basher chugging along clearing a path. I have no idea what it was doing in this remote valley, perhaps taking supplies to a mountain refuge that's further up in the mountains. Who cared? It was clearing a path just for us it felt like, squashing down deep thick powder, making it so much easier for us to pole push our way out of the valley. We couldn't believe our luck!?!
Forty five minutes later, we exited the valley fully exercised and over the moon with the whole experience. Bet you can't guess who the first humans we bumped into were? Yep, Michael and Susan again, spooky. We had a quick chat before rushing off to lunch, because we had a very important lunch reservation. The evening before John had contacted the Chabichou restaurant in Courchevel 1850, and reserved us a table for lunch. Gilly and John enjoy their food, and wanted an end of week treat. The Chabichou has two Michelin stars, not one, but two. None of us had eaten there before, and boy oh boy we weren't disappointed, it was stunning.
I couldn't believe our luck. We had just skied some fabulous powder snow, miles away from civilisation. Then celebrated the whole experience by eating at one of the best restaurants in the Three Valleys. If you are reading this blog post, please don't think this is a normal day for Private Ski Instructors from Méribel, it's not. But I tell you what, that was one very fine day in the office. I'm aware that this is an invitation for all sorts of comments, but why don't you let us know what your best day has been in the mountains. Just follow the instructions below, it's easy to do. Michael and I always enjoy hearing from you. Live with passion everyone.
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Hi everybody, and welcome to the first blog post of the 2018/19 winter, direct from Méribel. All went well with the big drive down from the UK to the Alps. Since then I've been gradually settling in, and have so far managed five days of skiing in Tignes, Val Thorens and Val d'Isere. So what are the all important snow conditions?