I realised I didn’t write an end of season blog post last year, maybe because it’s become routine or maybe because there was nothing new to report? Either way, I thought I’d make an effort this year, at the least to show a few photos. I’m writing this blog post the day after a trip to Glacier 3000, where there was more snow than I’ve seen in any of the four seasons I’ve been here, but that’s not representative of the season as a whole.
The season didn’t start well, however low temperatures and a complete absence of any precipitation meant that the lake in Bretaye was both frozen and accessible for the first time in over fifty years. People were ice skating and playing hockey, and I used this opportunity to shoot a photo, which I will probably show at a later date as It’s going to be used for something else in the meantime.
I continued to follow the ski club here, but the lack of snow and work on other projects meant I visited far fewer resorts than I have in previous seasons. I also managed far fewer days riding. I haven’t been counting, but I think I’ve probably done in the region of twenty five days this year. Not bad considering the conditions, but only three powder days that I can remember.
This season I’ve only managed to visit: Villars-Gryon, Zinal, Les Diablerets, Zermatt, Verbier, Saanen (although wasn’t allowed to ride due to it being a privately owned piste), Portes du Soleil, and Glacier 3000. Saanen was an interesting day due to the temperatures being close to -20ºC. I ended up hiking up the piste to get some photos from the top.
On the subject of conditions, it’s interesting to observe how critical a couple of days were this seasons. In December, and even into early January, the pistes in Villars were close to 100% artificial snow. The absence of snow at the start of the season, and then the low amount later, just goes to show how critical the snow making infrastructure here is.
It seems that the snow making infrastructure has a weak spot in that it isn’t sufficient to ensure pistes are suitable for racing, or the quality of the snow isn’t right, or there just isn’t enough of that infrastructure yet. On a few occasions races were cancelled because there simply wasn’t enough snow, and training had to be rescheduled with the télécabine opening early exclusively for the ski-club a few mornings.
All the photos here are from one of the days when a race was cancelled, at the Portes du Soleil, even though the snow itself was pretty good. I decided to go shoot some photos of Le Mur Suisse, which is rated as one of the most difficult official pistes in The Alps1. Actually, due to the low level of snow this season it was reasonably easy because the usual enormous moguls had not formed.
We really only had three short periods of snow in the time that the resort here was open. Had there not been the small dump in March it’s unlikely the resort would have been able to make it to the official closing date, even with that dump the snow was pretty poor by the end. We then had another dump at the end of April, so my last day of riding was a great powder day on the Glacier. Enough snow to make the traverse under the first cable car.
For next season I have already purchased the MagicPass2, which gives access to 25 resorts for only 359 CHF (although I have paid 200 CHF extra to include Glacier 3000). Let’s see if I can manage to make it to all 25. Until next May then…