If you’re lucky enough to be skiing in the Alps this late in the season it’s quite possible to score some of the best conditions of the ‘winter’ (I use that term cautiously since it was over 20C in Méribel Village this afternoon…).
Here’s what I mean:
Last Saturday, April 13, myself and my flatmate Alison rose early since it has been snowing heavily at altitude overnight, and we were hoping to ski what may be the last fresh powder of the season.
Luckily we had a secret weapon in our search for first tracks – Alison’s friend Thomas Weller (www.skithomas.com) who has been a ski instructor in Méribel since the 80s and consequently knows the place like the back of his hand.
With the sun fighting a winning battle against cloudy skies Thomas took us down powder field after powder field, usually with few if any other tracks. Even though it was mid-April Thomas’ knowledge ensured we skied snow that was light, fluffy and shin deep, not to mention one little-known couloir where it was even deeper…
We finished the morning off in style with a descent of – well actually I’m not gonna tell you because even though it was 11.30am we scored fresh tracks on this run down into a beautiful, unspoilt alpine valley.
I’ll be giving those in the know a clue when I say we ended the run with a cold beer at the Refuge du Plan above Lac Tueda, spring sunshine beating down, magnificent scenery surrounding us and satisfied grins all round.
And our satisfaction was complete when, just as we were about to leave, the second party of the day to complete the descent turned up – a bunch of locals who gave us looks which said “How dare you do our run before us?”.
Well, messieurs et madames, we did dare, and I can only suggest you get up early or employ Thomas if you want to beat us to the freshies next time.
Spring skiing – at its best it’s unbeatable. Unlike the locals…

 

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