Flims/Laax, Switz. Jan 31, 2013

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Flims/Laax, Switz. Jan 31, 2013

Postby Tony Crocker » Sun Feb 03, 2013 6:03 pm

Richard went out around 9PM Wednesday and got caught in a downpour of rain. Fortunately Thursday morning had blue skies so we caught the bus to the Laax base this time and quickly ascended the gondola and quad to Crap Sogn Gion. View of the tram which does the ascent in one stage.
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The terrain under the tram and quad looks quite interesting, but again it’s look don’t touch with the exposure. We were earlier than the day before so the first run to Alp Dado was smooth, but it was also solid frozen granular, no surprise as we were likely still below the previous night’s rain/snow line and it also seemed a bit cooler than Wednesday. This time we skipped the catwalk, skied down to Treis Palas and took a lap there, Richard on lower Treis Palas.
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We could now tell from the snow surface that the rain line was around 7,000 feet. The panoramic view west from Crap Masegn showed us that the Lavadinas chair was running so we thought we might come back there after it warmed up some.
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North facing piste from Crap Masegn with long gondola in background.
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At the top of the gondola it was breezy but we were pleasantly surprised to see the Vorab glacier T-bars just opening. We got up there and I made one of the tracks between the T-bars and the looker’s left piste.
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There was a fairly strong wind coming from behind the T-bar depositing snow below. So the pistes also had very soft snow. View from the top with pistes near the T-bar and a few skiers gathered at a saddle at right.
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On our second time up the T-bar Richard skied down the soft piste again while I checked out the saddle. View from the saddle:
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As can be the case at many Euro areas, this obscure corner of the trail map is a wide open 3,000+ vertical run down to the Lavadinas chair. A short traverse right from the saddle allowed some shallow untracked turns.
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Piste lower down with fresh tracks on either side.
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I was supposed to meet Richard at the gondola, but I didn’t realize the saddle drained to a different lift and was thus over 20 minutes late and we did not connect until the end of the day. I went up the short gondola and traversed to an off-piste route following tracks I had seen earlier.
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The snow here was not good at all; much of it had an icy glaze on the surface.

We were departing after skiing today and planned to skip lunch and ski to 2PM or so. It was now past noon and I planned to next ski the other high lift La Siala. But as I skied over there the chairs were coming down to be stored in the lower station. Just closed again for wind! So I took 3 runs on Mutta Rodunda at a similar time as the day before. The pistes were smoother and not as sun softened as Wednesday. Off piste had some wind drifted new snow and in spots you could link a few of those sections for decent skiing.

The direct route to Plaun is a “freeride run,” ungroomed with some bumps. Lower and steeper than Mutta Rodunda, I guessed correctly that it would be sun softened with the south exposure. View partway down:
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I rode the chair from Plaun to Crap Sogn Gion and skied the 3,000 vertical piste down to the Laax base. This faces mostly SE and at 2PM sections were just being shaded by trees to the SW. So there was a mix of firm and sun softened and I attempted to find as much of the latter as possible. This lower piste was wide and fairly smooth, mostly decent at 2PM. Perhaps more difficult at 4PM with more firm snow and a lot more people. 22,000 vertical, about 1K of powder.

Today’s skiing was a pleasant surprise after yesterday. Despite cooler weather and more wind, more of the upper lifts were open so there was better access to the best snow on the mountain. Given Flims/Laax’s exposure problem we were lucky to get 2 sunny days here.
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Season length: 21 months, Nov. 29, 2010 - July 2, 2012
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Tony Crocker
 
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