Posted by: sunshack | May 5, 2012

Glorious April

We’ve always been fortunate with April skiing in Grimentz and 2012 was true to form. It seemed to snow every day, though from my photos, I see that there was at least 1 day where the sun shone.

A great chance to revisit the new routes we tried in January, though some were not safe to use because of warm weather and the risk of snow slides. After attending an Avalanche Awareness Course in December, I thought I’d be able to make more accurate assessments of the stability of a slope, and the risks it held.
Seems I have a lot to learn. I set off my first slide, whilst traversing with Andy. He was okay and ahead of me, I found the surface moving under my skis. I was heading downwards, losing height no matter how much edge I used. It was a really weird feeling, it felt like skiing in oil. I was fortunate, in that I had enough forward momentum to propel me out of it’s path. It was only a little slide, and I was off piste in an area we have visited numerous times without incident.
On another day, an off piste area I have skied frequently, settled underneath me when I stopped, a slight Booming noise and vibration underneath my feet, slightly uphill of my position. I turned back quickly retracing my steps, fortunately this was quite close to a piste, so I was able to make a hasty exit!
Grimentz was quite busy over Easter, and a Band was playing outside the Bendolla Restaurant. They were quite good too.

The SnowPark was as usual, full of folks who feel invincible. If this jump looks as if it had gone all wrong, you would be quite correct. I decided not to take a photo of the yardsale that followed their landing.

Grimentz has only 1 T-Bar lift, but it’s as hard to use as T-Bar’s are everywhere else. It runs up the side of the Couloir black piste, and we were unfortunate to have to wait for a stoppage at the steepest part. No problem, until the lift was started again, and the rope pays out of the reel to take the load. We were both a bit surprised to hear a snap and to view the T handle come up above our heads with us still holding it. The rope broke! Cue a small yardsale, followed by me skiing the handle back to the bottom, and presenting it to the liftie. I was so cross I don’t have any photos! We saw a minimum of 3 more broken T handles during our stay. Dear Lift Co. , put some new rope on the lift, it’s not as if we are big people!

These are my tracks, it was a really good morning!

The local Marmottes put on a show each day near the bottom of a chairlift. They even appeared in the snow, much easier to spot!

Towards the end of the month, we had lots of days where the mist rose up during the day. This meant that mornings definitely had the best skiing!

A really substantial amount of snow had settled on Grimentz by closing day. The hill was slow to open, lots of Avalanche Control taking place and a gusty wind. The powder had drifted across the slopes and it was a little like skiing in talcum powder. Closing day is always a little sad, leaving all this snow behind!