Day two was fun.
One of my goals this trip was to ski many of the classic Vallee Blanche routes that I hadn't bothered with previous. One I didn't intend to ski was the Petite Envers. Generally it is too crevassed for my likely.
One line that I am very excited about skiing is the steeper version called the Grand Envers. The less heavily crevassed run that is defined by a series of steep roll overs in a fairly direct line from the Midi lift station to the floor of the Vallee Blanche. But alpinism, even on skis, is still defined by the conditions.
Alex just prior to dropping in on the left, first steep on the Grand Envers.
Not many or at least very few ski tracks on the first drop in off the Midi/Plan ridge line told me my intended goal was not looking so good today. A huddle of local guides and their clients at the decision point was a good indicator of our impending mistake was duly noted mentally. And never something to be ignored. I watched as Alex's skis skidded across some steep ice with good exposure where a fall would have been very unpleasant. Snow conditions could have been better. Hearing the ice scraping under Alex's skis quickly convinced me I'd rather be some where else. And not on the rocks that would litter a mistake on the first turn. All this after two years of thinking I wanted to be exactly where I was this moment! Reality can be so harsh some times ;-)
I love skiing. But I also have zero tolerate when I don't like skiing. I don't ski well when scared....and that looked like some sketchy chit to me! My idea was avoiding the need to be scared. Plenty of time for that over the next few weeks here. Man, can I be a weenie!
Alex proceeded to hike back out 10m with my encouragement. And the three of us did a few awkward turns down to the obvious piste on the Petite.
Incredible scenery was obvious. As were the lack luster snow conditions exacerbated by the recent tune on my GPOs which left razor sharp edges I had failed to recognize early on or fully understand until the snow conditions got pretty bad. But nothing short of a full on helo rescue would diminish my enjoyment of the day out however. As my skiing skills diminished rapidly, at one point I could imagine even that being an option! And that is some really pathetic chit!
Eventually I addressed the edge tune issue on a near by granite boulder just short of lunch @ the Raquin hut.
A treat for a tourist like me..but over priced for the locals.
I've had better days on skis. They say it is all about location, location, location. How true this time around! So it really doesn't matter how I skied...other than to me. The terrain and the snow were every bit as good as I remembered, I just skied poorly. It happens. Tomorrow morning the Vallee Blanc will still be there. Always a chance to redeem myself.
Thanks to Alexandre Bussie Photography and Alize for all the photos and my local guides again on day 2 out!
All but the lunch photo is courtesy of Alexandre. No complaining when you have to look at my feeble attempts at photography next time :-)
Sounds smart to me, Dane :-)
Better to avoid being sketched out, and live to ski another day.
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