The day was forecast 40% sun but it didnt look too promising peeking out window from under the covers in my bed. Eventually my conscious starting playing on me for being lazy and we headed up the Midi with hope the forecast was right. The lifty on the bin said we were the first skiers of the day which was slightly surprising as this is Chamonix at the most exciting time of year for a skier and a bin had gone up before us.
Walking down the Arrete the mist started to part revealing a pristine sparkling wonderland with its new coat of pow. I never fail to feel a twinge of excitement going to ski on the Midi. Unlike a ski resort the Midi offers adventure, doubt, excitement (read sphincter twitching fear), risk and reward. You end up skiing in outrageous places – the stuff dreams are made of.
A guide was working on the arrete removing the fixed ropes and expressed concern that we were going skiing. Its not like I haven’t been up the Midi a 1000 times but I guess they have responsibility to warn people of the dangers given the number of inexperienced people that disappear up there questing of into the unknown. Maybe I just looked like a punter walking down rather than skiing. It does always make a little part of me question my decision making and that can be unsettling. I spent a few seconds thinking about it and off we went.
Anyway the Rond was getting better with every run and with a topping of 30 cm made for fast fluid skiing in fresh tracks. Bit by bit the North Facing stuff is coming into condition. Its a shame Grands Montets closed on Tuesday!
After months of dry sunny weather the storms have rolled in and yesterday was a non stop till you drop kind of day on the ‘Phatest’ of the ‘Phat’ skis. Perhaps the last great tree ski day of the season with jumps, drops, pillows, hip checks – all at warp speed. My brain was frazzled by lunchtime. We were joined by ski tour racer Lyndsey Meyer who was packing some power with her Doberman 150 boots which were being worked! I dont know any guys man enough for those bad boys!
Meeting a mate after lunch we went for a final lap. The viz had gone mid mountain as we lined up for a Chinese DH (Cham rules – i.e. last down, read the weakest, buys the beers and pizza. This ensures you go out and get better until you are either not the weakest or financially broke and have to go home, tail between your legs) down the hotel face to the car park. As we chatted Dave jumped the starters orders and I shot of in persuit. Catching him quickly I was looking at him over my shoulder wondering why he was slowing so much when I felt the ground go beneath me. Attention back to where it should be I saw one of those evil cat tracks 2 m below coming up fast. I had visions of my lower leg coming up through my knee. I tend to try and roll onto my side on these occasions to avoid the full slam. The impact was the biggest I’ve taken and quite impressive up my left leg as both skis blew off, my lower legs bending on the tops of my boots. (glad I didnt have those Doberman 150s!) My femur had tried to go up through my pelvis for a moment I thought there was no way my hip hadnt broken. All I could hear was this ringing in my ears, ‘deeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee’, like in the 80’s when the TV channels shut down at midnight and they used to play that ear piercing noise to wake you up to go to bed.
As someone who’s suffers badly from SI joint problems I couldnt quite believe it when I stood up. Apart from that ringing in the ears I seemed ok.
95% of my skiing injuries have resulted from slamming down onto flat unmarked cat tracks. I remember going for a spine X-ray at Cham hospital when I was 17. Another time we were in Courmayeur skiing through a forest and there was a track pisted horzizontally through it. I cricked my neck and Anna who was hot on my tails blew her nose open. Dangerous or what?
I’m sure you are wondering where the photos are. Well it was too good to stop mid run for the first few hours and when we did slow down cause we were knackered it was for a run up higher skiing some open pow. Fun meadow skipping but not impressive:
I forgot about this little afternoon run we had earlier this year: