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Report 918: Skiing Val d'Isere and Tignes

By SeaJay from Virginia, Winter 2005

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Page 10 of 13: Friday, January 28 - Solaise

We are going up the valley this morning. Our first lift ride is up to the top of Solaise (2560 m). We find a beautiful valley with extraordinary vistas and even better skiing. They have replaced the steepest double chair in the world, or at least the steepest we’ve ever seen, with the steepest detachable quad. This is the chair that is used to transport skiers, not to skiable terrain as they usually do, but to take skiers from one valley up and over the mountain to the next valley. The more modern technology allows is to be less steep and thus less impressive than its predecessor. Too bad.

We have lunch in the Le Fornet valley at the top of the tram. This lunch meal is as good as or better than Lo Soli. We ski down to Le Fornet and deposit Carol and Marine at the bus. Claude and CJ go all the way to the top of the valley. It requires four separate lifts: a téléphérique (tram/cable car) up to the location of the restaurant, a télécabine (gondola) up to the base of the glacier, a télésiège débrayable (detachable chairlift), and finally télésiège (chairlift) to get to the top of Glacier de Pissaillasa. This valley is famous for the Col de l’Iseran a road passage (open in the summer) that is used as one of the mountain climb stages of the Tour de France. Had it not been for the heavy snows and avalanche danger, this is the location that we would have begun the off piste route to ski down the frozen Isère river valley; perhaps next time. From this location we are surrounded for nearly 270 º by Italy. In fact the Italian ski area of Courmayeur (opposite side of Chamonix on Mont Blanc) is actually north and a bit west of us. Slightly to the east of that is Aosta.

We now are trying to ski in fog. We return to the Solaise and find visibility. We can actually see all the way down to the Tignes dam from here. We had a similar view earlier in the day high above Le Fornet.

We get a couple of good last runs in on the way down. When a homeowner returns he will not be too happy about our shortcut back to the apartment. Rather than walk around the end of the block, Claude decides to cut around the side of a building on skis. We deposit a couple of large piles of snow in someone’s nicely shoveled driveway.

We get most of our packing completed and leave for dinner. The village is very beautiful in the evening. Tonight CJ will get cous cous.

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