Day 2 on Cairngorm

The temperature had risen slightly overnight, leading to a gentle thaw in Aviemore. The snow on Cairngorm was a touch icy to start with, but soon improved.

After a couple of runs, we met up with Vickie and Claire.

Planning the morning runs
Planning the morning runs

I didn’t fancy the walk to Cairngorm summit, so I left Dave, Vickie & Claire to make the trip, while I had a few easy runs.

Cairngorm summit
Cairngorm summit

Dave & Vickie split off to do some off piste trips while Claire and myself took a more leisurely time on the easier slopes. However, they did persuade me to go off piste, but from previous experiences I knew it would not be that easy and expected to fall a few times (which I did), but had a good trip anyway.

The route back to the car
The route back to the car
Claire makes a funny face (I've no idea why)
Claire makes a funny face (I've no idea why)

We had a great day, and finished off in Tesco’s trying to get some food from the rapidly emptying shelves. But did I hear Dave say “I’d prefer a milkshake to a beer”?!?

Tea in Tesco's car park
Tea in Tesco's car park

All open at Cairngorm

Dave and myself headed for Cairngorm on Friday evening ready for a weekend on the piste.

After a couple of beers we headed back to the B&B. Up early and off to Cairngorm.

The conditions were amazing (for Scotland) with ALL runs and lifts open.

Kitting up
Kitting up

After a few runs (I skied and Dave Boarded) we stopped for a healthy lunch…

Mmmmm, nice
Mmmmm, nice

Even though it was half term, the pistes were not that busy. In fact, I managed to find a lovely run that was nice and quiet, while Dave found some good off piste snow.

The 'busy' M2 run
The 'busy' M2 run

We finished our last run before heading back to the car park to be disappointed that some B**stard had backed into my drivers door, denting the metalwork and smashing my wing mirror (and of course they’d driven off without leaving a note).

A pint or two in Mambos we met with Vickie (from work) and her friend Claire and decided we should meet tomorrow on the mountain……..

Snowboarding, Downhill and X-Country Skiing

Dean showing Style in the sun

Our friends Dean (above) and Marie live in Zell am See, where Dean just started work this season as a skiing/snowboard instructor. Dean took a busman’s holiday and came snowboarding and skiing with us for the week.

We had mostly sunshine with a useful top-up of snow mid week. No great powder days but I managed to get back on ski’s for the first time in 15 years and was pleased to say that after a few reminders from Dean on technique I could still ski competently down those Reds & Blacks. Reckon I will do more of a mix of snowboarding & skiing in the future.

Fiona looking like the pro X-Country Skier

Probably one of the more interesting things we did was some X-Country skiing or Langlauf. Finding out info about X-Country in Zell am See in advance was quite difficult even with the wonders of the web. Everywhere you look claims over 200km of X-Country is available here but try to find out any specific info and blanks are quickly drawn. The tourist info in Zell & Kaprun were only able to give us a map of the immediate area and told us, incorrectly, that the Hiking Maps of the Austrian Alps: Grossglockner, Kaprun, Zell Am See (Walking Maps) did not show the x-country trails it actually has all the loipes marked as blue lines. BTW. I think 030: Zell am See – Kaprun Europa Sportregion 1:30, 000 would also prove useful.

Fiona managed to find plenty of cut, well maintained loipes in great condition to occupy her for the week doing several 20-30km days.

Marie, Trevor & I also wanted to give X-Country a go so we had a great day out with 2 hours of tution and a full days gear hire from Skischule Maresa Handl, Kaprun would definitely recommend them if you are there. After our lesson we headed out for a 12km tour on the local tracks. We all had a great day and Marie seems mad keen to keep it up.

Fiona, Marie & Trevor X-Countried out

The above photo shows the local boards that can be found at key points on the tracks.

Riding the Freeze in Risborough

Top of the main run back to the Risborough Resort

You may have noticed its been snowing, so just back from the Alps thought I’d try out the runs in Risborough over lunch.

The cover was thin but powdery off piste πŸ˜‰

Didn’t rate the lift facilities but can’t complain about the transfer time from home πŸ™‚

Mid-way down the Risboro Blue Route

On the final run into the Risborough Resort, hows that for living right on the slopes home is dead ahead!

Hows that for living close to the slopes?

Snowboarding & Skiing in Scotland

Ok this was the weekend before last but its the first chance I got to write anything up. Trev, Jax & I noticed the piste conditions in Scotland were the best in years, added to that was a fine weather forecast and we felt compelled to hop in the car and drive up to Aviemore for some end of season fun. The cover on Cairngorm mountain was deep and wide with pretty much the full terrain open, multiple options for full descents of the mountain on pisted powdery snow, plus some nice off piste lines if you looked for them. The weather came through and it felt more like the alps than Scotland – top weekend.

Col Cornu, a (mini) Ski Tour

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Col Cornu

After yesterday’s efforts our leg muscles were knackered. Well Laetitia’s and mine were. Actually if the truth be told, mostly just mine! πŸ™ And as Dave reported almost no aches and pains, it seems that it’s true that skiing makes higher demands on the thigh muscles than snowboarding? Anyway, all of this led us to turn to the idea of enjoying some piste skiing to save ourselves from more punishment (and to work on our – my – technique for the next tour)…

But wait, piste skiing just doesn’t really pique my interest, going up and down similar runs all day. So why not spice it up a bit with this classic off-piste linkup that used to be the only way to ski the area below the Combe de Gliere before the telegraphique that links the area from the BrΓ©vent station.

However, we were a little over equipped, seeing as we didn’t use our skins (or snow shoes in Dave’s case) at all. It’s just a short hike between the two cols on this route, followed by a long almost un-tracked descent. Brilliant!

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Dave shouldering a heavy load including snowboard and snow shoes!
What about that ace backdrop across to Mont Blanc?

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We ended the weekend with our traditional reward – a large cake!