Monday, 19 January 2015

The start of mid January?

After a rather slow start to the winter, the snow has finally arrived!

Photo credit: Heather swift
Photo credit: Heather swift
The first big dump of the winter gently floated its way down onto the slopes and Saturday was a truly fantastic powder day. Unfortunately, the gorgeous fluffy powder was covering a multitude of hidden rocks, meaning that I now know a collection of people with core shot skis (when you strip off the bottom of the ski down to the wooden core-ouchy ouchy ski!) and I myself have very scratched skis. Despite this I have had some amazing runs off the top lift of Grand Montets with the 'girly shred crew' in the the fluffy stuff this weekend, as illustrated by these pictures...

Amazing powder through the trees!
Photo credit: Heather swift

A rather sparser snow day at the Brevent the previous weekend
Photo credit: Heather swift
Leading up to this first snowfall, the winter has been rather sparse. I passed New Years down in the Pyrenees doing some winter assessment prep with Claire, Alistar and his son, Magnus. The week started off horrendously cold and windy and ended up too warm by the end. We looked at lots of trees and animal tracks and stuff like that, and barely covered any ground.
A powder day...on snowshoes.

And by the end of the week,
most of the snow had melted...

My whole family were here for Christmas which means we were running around like headless chickens trying to find something to do in the complete lack of snow, but had some good days skiing at Les Contamines (Rosie totally smashed her first off piste experience), a couple of days snowshoeing, and just some normal walking in the valley as well. Also had the achievement of doing Christmas dinner for 8 in my 19m2 flat!
The aftermath of the Bulgarian
 present exchange
This is what 'fresh tracks' look
like when there is very little snow

Rosie totally shredding the nasty sun crust at Contamines

Team snowshoe out at Le tour

Need straight legs!
Photo credit: Heather swift
Standard, mainly spending
my time sitting of the mats
Photo credit: Heather swift
In between all this, I've been climbing indoors alot, until I hurt my shoulder last week. I've been feeling really good and strong moving about on the plastic so its a bit of a bummer to have injured myself, but I have been very aware that my core has been letting me down, so going to take this opportunity to address that, so sit up city here I come...

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Getting ready for winter...I hope

(Forgot to press post on this one so dates back from November!)

So after a dump of snow down to valley level last week (or the week before?), ski psyche for the winter is high. I've dug my boots, ski and skins out of the garage and even gone for a quick snowshoe up at Le Tour (got to get IML logbook days in!). Unfortunately it has now been unseasonable warm and dry for the last week and the snow level has disappeared somewhere upwards in a slightly worrying manner. At least this means that climbing season is still going strong!

We have taken a move from the van into an apartment, as everything was getting a bit cold and damp. The relief of living inside four walls with a shower, toilet and sink can probably only be understood by someone who has done the same.

I took a trip back to the UK last month in a last ditch attempt to get my car fixed (failed), and although the weather wasn't great, saw lots of friends, my godchild, my parents and spent lots of time at indoor walls.

Climbing indoors in Chamonix, I only ever boulder at an indoor wall called the EMHM (Ecole Militare de Haute Montagne), its a wall on the French army base with great facilities for training, not so great for just having a fun time. It was so nice to go back to the UK and climbing on a wall where the problems were already made for you and a bit less testosterone flying around!

I got back to France feeling a bit stronger than before, but unfortunately the snow put a stop to immediate crushing, so more training on the indoor wall.

Just the same as last year, I then had to drive the big van back to the UK for its MOT (first time pass go van!), which combined with getting stronger and a bad driving position, immediately means I have shoulder pain again.

I've been trying to combat this with yoga at least every other day, and am already feeling the benefits, not only in my shoulders. I'm feeling more stretchy all over! The apartment has been great for this as yoga outside is a bit too chilly and damp.

Despite all this there has been trips outside. Whilst Jonny goes to Sarre roof in Italy every weekend, I've been going to more chill crags like Pierre a Voix and Bionassy, trying to tick routes around 7b to tick over. I'm not feeling a need to push hard at the moment, and I think it is unhealthy to do that all year, so I am really enjoying climbing just for the sake of climbing and being outside with good friends.

Who knows what the winter will bring!?