Morzine 2006 Trip Report

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Saturday 14th Jan
 I had got home from the Scottish cup tie with Hamilton,had a quick bite to eat,got the car packed and we were on our way. Drove down to Manchester where we met up with Callum and Julie. Spent the night in the Brittania Airport Hotel and after a few beers in the bar it was time for a good nights sleep and dreams of powder as snow was forecast for the next few days over much of the French Alps.
Got up nice and early the next morning and we had a good buffet style breakfast (5) then the coach took us out to the airport. Check-in with BMIbaby was predictably slow and it was made even worse by having to hand over 30 each for the return transportation of our boards. Once we got the luggage checked in we had a stroll around the shops and had a couple of beers. The flight was called and we got boarded on an aircraft which looked to be around 75% full. The Captain then announced that there was a technical problem with a light which would have to be repaired ! After around an hour they could not get it fixed and we were told we would have to get a spare aircraft which was now on its way from East Midlands airport. They scheduled in a new departure time of 15.20. So we headed back to the bar for another couple of beers (so there was a bonus in the delay). Gave Chalet Ride&Slide a call to say that we would be delayed and that we would not be in Geneva to get picked up as planned.
Once we did get airborne the flight was fine and we soon had our baggage and got through customs. Because of our delay Jonny had to come back down to get us and the roads from Morzine were very busy with weekend ski traffic returning to the City and also because of an accident. Jonny arrived and we were soon on our way on the short drive up to Chalet Les Lanchettes which is situated in the small hamlet of En Ly down from the Prodains gondola up to Avoriaz. It is in a stunning setting below the huge cliffs upon which Avoriaz and some of its slopes are perched.
We were soon settled in and given a welcome chat from Jonny and Lisa and were introduced to Inga and Paul who would look after us in the chalet throughout the week.

View to the hamlet of En Ly

Monday 16th Jan
Got up quite early to see the clouds had started to come in as forecast. There had not been any fresh snow here since New Year so it was really needed to freshen things up. We had our breakfast and got all our kit together before Jonny gave us a run up to the Prodains gondola. The first thing to do was to get our lift passes for the week sorted out. A 6 day Portes du Soleil pass was €179. For the beginners they could buy a 2 day Avoriaz sector pass for €39 which is quite good value.
It was a short walk over to the ESF office to confirm the lesson booking for Callum and Julie. They were having private lessons for 2 hours each day. As we came out of the very overheated office the first flakes of snow started to fall, the sky was heavy and dull so things looked promising.
Jill and I then went for a quick tour around. We took the Stade chair then the Arare and had a cruise back to Avoriaz as the light got flatter and flatter. We checked that Callum & Julie were safely under the care of their instructor and headed for a bite of lunch at Changabang. After lunch we watched them getting their lesson for a while then went for a tour down the Super Morzine sector. The pistes were quiet and the snow began to fall in even bigger flakes ! Met Callum and Julie in the Yeti bar after their lesson but Julie had boot problems which would get sorted out later with another pair.
Jill and I finished the day by riding down the home run and walking back to the chalet.

Avoriaz Website

ESF Avoriaz

It was Monday night so after dinner we got a lift down to Chalet Manava from where we walked into town,having a snowball fight on the way. Visited a few of the bars before getting a taxi back up the road and away to bed by 01.30.
The good news was that it was still snowing.

Tuesday 17th Jan
It was a fine site looking out of the bedroom window when I woke up. I had no hangover and it was still snowing. There looked as though quite a depth had built up over night. It all looked set for a great day when after breakfast I went down to the basement to get my boots on. Then I had a real shock. My right boot was missing the tightening wheel for the BOA lacing system. It must have came off yesterday when we walked back down the road. This was all I needed on what looked like being a day for some fresh tracks. After everyone was away to the slopes Jonny gave me a run down to Morzine with the damaged boot. These were a new pair of Vans Fargo boots and yesterday was the first day I had used them. They had been great to ride in and were comfortable and a good fit.
Jonny and Paul gave me a list of shops to go to, to try and get a spare part. The first shop I went to was the Park and I would recommend it to anybody. Great service and vey helpfull. The technician did not have a spare part but took a new pair of boots from their box and fitted the wheel to my boot. He said that it was  common  for the BOA system to be loose when the boots arrive at the shop from the distributors and that they should be checked properly before being sold to a customer. This does not say a lot for the staff of Boardwise in Glasgow who sold me the boots just before Xmas.
Anyway I was now happy and I got the bus back up the road,picked up (and checked) my other boot and my board and walked on up to the gondola. I got up there just in time for an early lunch.

The Park. Snow and Skate Morzine.

After some lunch and with the snow still coming down I felt the day still had a lot to offer. Jill,Lee and myself set off down the Proclou and on down to the Seraussaix chair. The snow was in excellent condition and there were few people about. The plan was to meet up with Jonny and a few other people for some glade riding.
Lee went back to Avoriaz and Jill and I had a few fine runs in knee deep powder from the Baron drag lift. The visibility looked like improving for a short time but it then got very gloomy as the snow started to fall even harder. Jill decided she would head back to Avoriaz and I was about to follow her when a skier cut across me, stopping me in my tracks ! This was lucky as it was then that Jonny arrived along with Bill and Tracy.
I got contact with Jill on the radio (eventually) to say I would see her later as Jonny started to tell us about the fine runs down through the trees which you access from the Tetras piste beside the Zore chair. The next thing we know he is away like a rocket with myself and Bill i pursuit. The terrain was great with lots of natural hits and rollers all in knee deep fresh powder. Eventually Bill said he had had enough and headed back. Jonny then took me on some real nice,tight tree runs where I had to work hard to turn the 169 Ambush with branches and snow flying everywhere. We had a few runs and then just as we decided to head back to Avoriaz the Ski Patrol had closed the lifts back up ! Oh well, the only thing for it was to blast all the way down to the Super Morzine gondola for a lift down into town.
It had been an exillarating afternoon as we walked through the streets of Morzine and as we went into Bar Robinson I felt the Mutzig was well earned.

After a beer or two it was time to catch the bus back up to the chalet. Got showered and chilled out before dinner which yet again was excellent. Tonight was the Scottish Cup replay between Queen of the South and Hamilton at New Douglas Park. The match was on Radio Scotland and was broadcast live over the net so I was able to hear what was happening. Unfortunately Hamilton scored the only goal of the game at the start of extra time and that was us out of the cup for another season. Had a consolation beer and went to bed.

Wednesday 18th Jan
On looking out the window this morning I was pleased to see it was still snowing. It seemed that there had been quite an accumulation over night. I was eager to get out as conditions looked very promising. After breakfast we headed up to the Prodains gondola where it was not too busy. Jill,Lee,Bill,Chris,Neil and Pete all met up with Jonny. The first place we headed was for a look through the Bio park on the way down to Lindarets. The snow was very deep in here and some of the rails were almost completely burried in powder.
Had a good laugh making our way down as everyone took tumbles here and there as it was difficult to get a good feel of just how deep the snow was in places and it was important to keep your speed up so that you did not become embedded in it.

Jill makes her way through the Park.

As we all gathered ourselves together at the bottom of the park, Lee was having boot problems and seemed to be in agony so decided to head back to see what he could get done to fix the problem. Bill also had to leave us  so we were now down to six as we made our way down the steep slope below the Lindarets chair where there were some small jumps.....or slides off the little cliffs and rocks. The snow was deep and soft so nobody got hurt.

We made our way safely down to Lindarets. Lee was having problems with his boots so decided to head back and try and get the problem sorted out. Bill also left us now so we were down to six as we made our way to the Chaux Fleurie Chair. The visibility was getting worse as we neared the top and it was still snowing lightly. We made our way along a cat track looking for a place to drop into the powder bowl below. There were a few gullies in there and it was going to be important to get the correct line unless you wanted to stop and dig yourself out. Jonny led the way and just as he was about out of sight we saw him get stuck in the deep powder. He shouted back for the rest of us to head a little more to the right. Alex and Neill then went down and got so far before I had a go and went further over and just got up onto the next ridgeline. Pete was still up top ,carrying his helmet which was now full of powder along with Jill. They now knew which route to take and in the end Jill was the only one to make it all the way over without stopping and getting stuck. We re-grouped then had a fine run through nice deep powder all the way back to Lindarets where it was time to sit down with a coffee and look back up at the route we had taken. A fine mornings work.

The above picture was taken later on in the week but we took a route down which was to the right of the buildings in the picture. I did not get the camera out that morning firstly because visibility was poor higher up and then I was having too much fun when we got lower down.

After a few more runs it was lunchtime and we sat outside a small restaurant in the Lindarets hamlet and replenished the body with some more energy ready for the afternoon. Jill left us to head back up to Avoriaz but we met up with Lisa and done a few more runs off-piste from the top of the Lindarets chair. There were lots of little natural hits and jumps all over the place as we headed back down and onto the piste just aboce Lindarets. Alex then went over the edge and into the wood but seemed fine when I stopped to check he was ok. We then went on traversing high up above the Parchets piste then dropping down through the steep powder back to the run itself. Met Jonny and told him about Alex and he said he would wait on him as the rest of us bombed down the wide run to the gondola at Ardent. It was quite a while as Lisa,Neill,Pete and I sat looking back up the run for any sign of Jonny and Alex. After about 15 minutes they came into view. Jonny had gone back to find Alex who when trying to get himself back onto the piste had ended up sliding another 20 m down into the trees. He was shattered by the time he climbed back up.
We then headed back up to Avoriaz and then down the home run to Prodains for a few beers in the bar.

Once back to the chalet we got showered and had an early dinner so that we could all get down to Morzine to watch the Hockey match between Morzine-Avoriaz and Chamonix. This was a friendly but was quite an entertaining match in which the home side eventually ran out winners 7-6. They done well as they only had a total of about 11 players while Cham had the full compliment.

After the match everyone was ready for an early night so after pushing the minibus out of the carpark we were on our way back up to the chalet. The forecast for the rest of the week was for clear skys so it was now time to explore a bit more of the Portes du Soleil,

Thursday 19th Jan.
The plan had been to spend some time today exploring the Happy Valley area over towards Linga and Chatel with Jonny and Lisa but when we arrived at the top of the Prodains gondola it was such a fine sunny day that Jill and I decided we just had to head over into Switzerland and explore a bit more of the Portes du Soleil. So we headed down to Lindarets and caught the Lechere chair then onto the long Mossettes chair up to the French/Swiss border at Pointe de Mossette (2277m). It was quite busy up here but the views were magnificent looking across to the impressive Dents du Midi.

We headed down into Switzerland towards Les Crosets. The red Mossettes runs down were pretty nice but got a bit mogulled on the steeper parts. The snow was still good over here but it was immediately apparent to me that there had not been as much snow over the last few days at this side of the area compared with back over in Avoriaz. When we got down to Les Crosets it was very warm so we took a short Blue run down to a small handle tow which was just across the road from the Crosets-Point de L'Au chair. This is a long slow old beast which takes you back up to the high ridge over looking Champoussin.It was much quieter up here and it really felt like March rather than mid January.

We continued on our journey and headed over in the direction of Morgins but as time would eventually be against us we decided to head down into Champoussin to find a nice place to sit outside and have lunch. We eventually found ourselves at the Restaurant Le Poussin where we found a table on the terrace with great views looking down into the snow-less valley far below.Jill had a very filling Lasagne and I had the Croute which was excellent. We sat enjoying the sun for about an hour and then we realised that we had a fair trip to get back over to Avoriaz so reluctantly we left and headed down to the lowest lift in the village which was a steep drag and took it back up to the chair and we were soon back up high on the Pointe d l'Au

Champoussin Website

On the way back we found some of the grooming machines were just starting work so it was nice to make some late afternoon tracks on the fresh cordurouy. We got down to Les Crosets and took the Crosets 2 chair which goes up past the park. They look like they have a lot of re-shaping and building to do after the recent snowstorms to get the place back into shape. It was then a nice cruise down to L'Echereuse and onto the drag lifts up to Pointe de Ripaille.

As we rode up the Chavanette chair the sun dropped behind the peaks to the West and it became much colder but it was fun watching the all the people returning to Switzerland down the very mogulled "Swiss wall". Once back over the Col we headed  down to Avoriaz  where the runs were quite busy.
We kept going onto the home run and down to Prodains. We were just going to walk down to the chalet but as we passed the bar we saw everyone inside enjoying a beer so we just had to go in and join them.
It was then back to the chalet to get ready to go out into Morzine for dinner tonight as it was Paul and Ingas night off.

We all got a lift into town and went to Bar Robinson for a couple of pre dinner Mutzigs before going to the Restaurant L'Etale where we were all seated in a long table near the door. The place was pretty busy and ordering the food seemed pretty chaotic but in the end everybody got what they wanted and the wine was flowing freely.

The following paragraph is a direct quote from Goneboardings Stonedylan (Nick) on what happened after leaving the restuarant. All I know is when the fresh air hit me I was out of it and the next thing I remember is waking up the next morning , in bed back at the chalet and feeling fine.
Nicks tale -
It was chalet night off and we took Paul and Inga to a very nice Italian in town. Having already visited Bar Robinsons for the (pictured) requisite Mutzigs first. Much vino was being poured and a great night was had.

After we'd done at the restaurant some of us went home to get an early night for the slopes and some tried to get into the Cavern (tried, Stu : ) Middle of the night and everyone's sparko, we (MrMauy, Murph1978) hear Pete trying to give back the red wine he'd drunk to the world. Checked he was okay, no reply. Suddenly I hear padding on the floor, so I look up to make sure he's alright and he's walking between mine and Neil's bed. He'd mistaken the stool next to my bed as an en suite toilet! I look up to the sight of him pulling down his kecks and sitting on the stool!

I immediately get up and start slapping him on the back to wake up before tragedy strikes!
"Pete you're not in the bathroom!"
"It's alright"
"no it f***in' isn't!"

To be fair to him, he got up, pulled up his shorts and gets straight back into bed and didn't make a sound for the rest of the night!

Morning came and when he finally woke up, remembered nothing of it. Probably best.

A classic moment and a tragedy averted. Lisa wasn't the happiest person to hear the story but at least the damage was minimal. And the rest of the next day was a laugh everytime we thought about it.

Moral of the Day: Many Mutzig's and red wine are bad for your health...even if they are fantastic.
So there you have it. A fine night was had by all !

Friday 20th Jan.
The events of Friday can be viewed by clicking the link below.

Off-piste route to Chalet Les Lanchettes.

Saturday 21st Jan.
Jill and I were up quite early this morning for what was to be our last day exploring the Portes du Soleil ( for a while). The sky was clear and blue and the temp outside was nice and cold so we were all set for a fine day. After breakfast we got our kit together and Jonny drove us down to Morzine and dropped us off right outside the Pleney gondola. This small 4 person contraption is ancient and reminds me of the old resort pictures from the 50s and 60s which lots of people now collect. Anyway , there were few people about and we were soon at Pleney. Had a cruise down to the TS des Mouilles chair before going up on the Belvedere chair and down the gentle blue track to the area where 3 chairs shoot out in different directions. It was just after 9.30am and we had the place all to ourselves. We decided to take the Charniaz express chair and looking down we could see a fine run which was freshly groomed and had nobody down it as of yet,
Excellent. At the top we soon strapped in and had a glorious thigh burning blast down to the bottom.

Well groomed slopes.
From the Charniaz Chair, Morzine.

View from the Chevrelles run, Morzine.

As time was short we had to move on but I would have loved to have spent much more time in this area. We took the chair back up then had a good run down the Rhodos piste to a small valley where a selection of lifts would take you up both sides. We decided to take the TS.Rosta which takes you up to a height of 1665m. From the top there is a choice of runs back down. We opted for the Red Eglantine piste which was in great condition. It was now after 11am so we decided to head  across to the slopes on Mont Chery. It was a real nice long run from the top of the Nauchets Express chair, where we stopped for a coffee down into Les Gets.

Jill enjoying a fine day on the slopes of Les Gets.

Once we were down into Les Gets it was a short walk across the road to get access to the Mont Chery Telecabine. It was still very quiet and we had a peaceful ride up to the top of the gondola with great views in all directions. We had a look through the freestyle park and then a blast down the boardercross track which was really just a series of banked turns but it was good fun to ride down. We then discovered a superb run called Lievre which ended up at the bottom of the Des Planeys chair. Its a lovely area down here and reminded me of some of the small Canadian areas we like to visit. We then made our way up to the top of Mont Chery (1850m) on the T.S de la Pointe chair. From here I could see endless off-piste routes back down towards Les Gets. This would certainly be a great place to be after a fresh powder fall. The runs down the back of Mont Chery are wide and quite steep in places with spectacular views to your front across the valley to the impressive Le Roc d'Enfer (2243m) where it was possible to pick out small figures away in the distance who were doing some touring. Once down at the small hamlet of L'Encrenaz we sat down outside to enjoy a nice lunch in the sunshine.

Once we had payed for lunch we took the chair back up to the top of Mont Chery. We had another run through the park where we both had nasty falls on one of the kickers when we both hit it with too much speed . We survived and headed down and onto the black Gazelle run towards Les Gets. It was well mogulled so we decided to cut through the trees towards the Chamois run at the other side of the gondola and we were rewarded with some nice powder turns. The snow was starting to get very soft and slushy towards the bottom and was quite bare in places as we reached the gondola base station. I had really enjoyed the few hours on Mont Chery and will have to return here again sometime.

The plan was to go down the Black Gazelle run to Les Gets but once on it we found it was well mogulled so we headed off through the trees towards the Red Chamois run at the other side of the gondola. Through the trees we found plenty of still untracked powder and it was a nice way to finish our few hours riding on Mont Chery. As we neared the bottom the snow was getting very soft in the afternoon sun and there were a few bare patches starting to show through as we unstrapped at the gondola station. It was then a short walk back across the road to the Chavannes Express chair. From the top of here it was a nice cruise down to the TS des Folliets chair which is a link through the woods back to the Morzine sector.

It was a slow return to Pleney via the blue run below the  Belvedere chair. We then decided to take the Red run down towards the Atray chair (Piste A) then onto Piste H back to the bottom. These runs were well scoured and hard and we came across the first Icy patches of the whole week. On arrival at the bottom we took our boards off and reflected on a great weeks boarding. The Portes du Soleil had gave us some decent sport with great snow throughout the week and we had managed to see quite a lot of the area in that time. There are a few places still to see and a few others we want to visit again.

We then headed to Bar Robinson for the final couple of Mutzigs of the week before having a look round the shops and a walk to the supermarket to buy some cheese and wine to take home tommorow. We got the bus back up to the Chalet and before dinner started the job of packing all our kit away.

Sunday 22nd Jan.
Got up at around 8am and after a shower and breakfast it was time to get the packing finished. We then took a walk up to Prodains for a bit of fresh air and a Vin Chaud before Jonny arrived and we packed the kit into the minibus. We were picking another couple up at St Jean d'Aulps so it was a nice scenic route back to Geneva via the Gorges du Pont du Diable.
We said goodbye and thanks to Jonny and got checked in. Marie and Suzie were with us and their flight was leaving around the same time. We had a good flight home then picked up the cars at the Hotel and headed onto the M56 where we only got a few miles and had to be diverted as a result of an accident. Eventually got onto the M6 and arrived home by 8pm. It really had been a quick week.

Thanks to Jonny,Lisa,Paul and Inga for all you done to make this a memorable week for us all and thanks to our fellow guests in the Chalet, Callum,Julie,Lee,Ali,Marie,Suzie,Nick,Terry,Pete & Neill for being great company.

Ride & Slide,Morzine.

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