Châtel, FR 01/28/14

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Châtel, FR 01/28/14

Postby jamesdeluxe » Tue Jan 28, 2014 3:58 pm

Today went completely bluebird, which worked out well as this was the first time I got to see a larger part of this mind-blowing ski region, which is composed of 12 different sectors.

Although I've titled today's TR "Châtel" because that's where we spent the most time, we also skied in Avoriaz on the French side and Les Crosets and Champery in Switzerland.

As mentioned in my previous trip reports, I spent the first two days in the Les Gets and Morzine sectors; however, my local host today was Colin, an American who worked on the snowmaking crew at Stowe for six years during the late 90s/early 00s, met a French woman there, and they eventually married, relocated to this region, and operate a popular Irish pub/micro brewery in the center of Les Gets -- yes, it's called Irish Pub and yes, you feel like you've been teleported to the UK there. I went last night and caught the first set of a great French Rolling Stones tribute band and had two pints of their fantastic porter. Too bad they don't bottle it as I'd certainly buy a couple cases.

Colin's no-nonsense northeastern skiing upbringing informed all of today. His idea of ski paradise was Spruce at Stowe before the high-speed lift and base village went in and, oh yeah, he hates *HATES* the European habit of decadent 90- to 120-minute lunches (similar to the one I had yesterday). Instead, we spent all of today finding:

a) soft leftovers alongside the trails:

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or

b) wide open expanses of lightly tracked powder with no one anywhere in the vicinity: for lack of a better term, meadow skipping. Any ungroomed snow, even when it was blasted by the sun, stayed incredibly soft due to the cold temps.

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Per Colin's terms, there was no fancy-pants lunch. Instead, our 12-minute midday break consisted of this:

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Around 3 pm, we had to cross the border back into France, past the "Swiss Wall" -- an 1,100-vert moguled "Outer Limits"-type run (it's in the far distance to the right of the lift):

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Re: Châtel, FR 01/28/14

Postby Marc_C » Tue Jan 28, 2014 4:17 pm

jamesdeluxe wrote:... he hates *HATES* the European habit of decadent 90- to 120-minute lunches (similar to the one I had yesterday).
<snip>
Per Colin's terms, there was no fancy-pants lunch. Instead, our 12-minute midday break...

I honestly think there's a nice happy mid-point between those two extremes, even in France.
-marc
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Re: Châtel, FR 01/28/14

Postby jimk » Thu Jan 30, 2014 11:28 am

Nice pics!
Is it fair to say the Euros are conformists when it comes to staying on piste and nonconformists when it comes to staying in a lift line :-)
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Re: Châtel, FR 01/28/14

Postby Marc_C » Thu Jan 30, 2014 12:28 pm

jimk wrote:Is it fair to say the Euros are conformists when it comes to staying on piste...

One pragmatic reason to keep in mind regarding off piste: at many locales there are snow covered crevasses that are sometimes surprisingly close to on piste areas. The kind of crevasses that are unsurvivable if you accidentally fall into them.
-marc
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Re: Châtel, FR 01/28/14

Postby Tony Crocker » Thu Jan 30, 2014 10:32 pm

MarcC wrote:One pragmatic reason to keep in mind regarding off piste: at many locales there are snow covered crevasses that are sometimes surprisingly close to on piste areas. The kind of crevasses that are unsurvivable if you accidentally fall into them.

True for many but not all. Portes-de-Soleil (where James is now) and the Arlberg get a lot of snow but are low altitude and do not have glaciers. Some of my other destinations (Chamonix, La Grave, Zermatt upcoming) have lots of glaciers and thus guides are essential if you want to wander much off the pistes.
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