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Report 918: Skiing Val d'Isere and Tignes

By SeaJay from Virginia, Winter 2005

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Page 9 of 13: Thursday, January 27 - Olympic Run

CJ is up and out early. He’s off to ski “The Face”, the Olympic downhill run in the 1992 Albertville games.

Armed with Marine’s cell phone, he is on the mountain at the top of Rocher de Bellevarde shortly after 0900. We all skied this same run in 1990 with far less experience but for some reason no one wants to join him. Great snow lays the foundation for a great run. There is only one section of about 100 yards that is very steep. He still can’t figure out how those guys make one turn on the course when they are going the speeds they go.

He enjoys a hot chocolate while awaiting the group’s arrival. Eventually he figures out how to operate Marine’s cell phone and get a status. We are in a rut. Because of the avalanche danger, we haven’t been able to attempt some of our “off piste” goals. We are doing the Tignes trip for the third straight day, albeit by a different passage across the mountains. We take the Borsat Express lift up and cross at the Col de Fresse but still end up in Val Claret as usual.

Following our first lift ride up on the other side of the valley, we stop to watch a couple of small aircraft with skis on their wheels performing takeoffs and landings in the middle of the mountain. The “runway” is located just next to one of the mid-mountain lifts; with a mountain rising a thousand meters the entire length of the runway. These pilots are nuts.

We call ahead for reservations at Lo Soli with Jean-Michel. We have the table in front of the fireplace again. Today we order two chocolate soufflés for desert. Jean-Michel arrives with the small soufflés, punches a hole in the top of each and pours hot melted chocolate in the whole; absolute decadence.

The trip down to Tignes Les Brévières (1550 m) is much easier for CJ today. We begin overlooking the dam and the road up to Val d’ Isère. Notice the avalanche tunnels covering the road that seems to hang on the side of the mountain above the lake.

He’s on skis. Overall, even though the temperature remains below zero Fahrenheit, it’s a much more enjoyable day. We ski down to blow the dam.

From here we begin our return.

A gondola and chairlift deposit us near restaurant Lo Soli. We ski down to Tignes and take the Aéroski Tovière gondola back to the Val d’ Isère ski area. We elect to take the route up to Rocher de Bellevarde and back to the main VDI village. Big mistake! The run down to the village is across the valley and Le Chatelard and Le Joseray. There is a ton of polling and walking. Unfortunately we don’t find out about the third complimentary bus line that begins where the flats begin until later.

There is a festival in town this evening. There is complimentary vin chaud (hot wine) being served in the town square, three folks playing those long mountain horns, amateur snow sculpting competition, and a professional ice sculptor.

We return to Crêpe Vals for a light dinner.

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