Sorry about the poor camera-work. I don't have a helmet cam, but I wanted to put a video from yesterday in because it doesn't seem like a real TR without one.
Hey guys, here is my long overdue first trip report for the season at Le Grand Bornand in France.
Background: Last year I skied for the first time on anything other than a midwestern hill. I skied two different weeks totaling about 10 days at Le Grand Bornand and Zermatt. Before this season I hadn't touched any black pistes, any bumps, or any off-piste terrain. This year I have a season pass for Le Grand Bornand in the massif des Aravis near La Clusaz. So far this season I have taken pretty full advantage of the huge amounts of snow in the alps and learned to ski in powder, bumps, and skied all of the pistes here except two: Le Noir de Lachat and the Espace Freeride. Yesterday morning I awoke to a few feet of fresh powder and headed for the slopes for around the 30th time this year.
I took the first lift straight up to the top of le Lachat (2100m). I checked out the Espace Freeride, an unpisted, unmarked and quite steep bowl.
It was covered in about half a meter of heavily chopped up powder. I figured today was as good a day as any and went for it. I figured I would probably fall a few times as I havn't skied anything quite as steep as this in this kind of condition but I didn't It was a blast. My heart was really pounding for the first time in my skiing career. I stopped about halfway down and took this picture of the section I had just covered.
I continued down the slope without stopping. For the second half of the descent I was able to go through mostly untouched powder, making things a bit easier. By the bottom my legs were absolutely gone but I had gone straight down with only one quick pause for the photo so I had a nice burst of adrenaline.
It was such a beautiful day and I had only one more piste on my list. I knew that I would check the final one off the list later on.
After a few more gentle pistes I hit another black run that I had already managed in similar conditions, Le Couloir de la Sonnerie.
It is heavily moguled, as always, and lots of fun. I was ready to go for the final run on my list. La Noire de Lachat. It had been such a beatiful and perfect day, but as I took the lift up to the top the clouds rolled in in minutes. By the time I reached the entrance to the piste visibility was down to almost nothing. There are two entrances to this run and I had wanted to take the more difficult one (a chute with, for some reason, a large periscope-like pipe in the middle) but in this lighting I had to opt for the easy way which is similar but not quite as narrow and without the pipe.
Getting ready to go for it:
I had to take at a bit more slowly than I would have liked to obviously; lots of soft bumps Lots of quick turns. But I managed to go all the way to the bottom without stopping. To celebrate I skied straight down the mountain to the nearest creperie and ate a delicious crepe with two eggs. What a great way to finish the day. I can't wait to do that run with good lighting and take the more difficult entrance.
I'm working on a wiki for Le Grand Bornand complete with a detailed skiing guide with all of the common runs that are not on the piste map.
Edited by Ruke - 2/22/2009 at 09:14 pm