I took a bit of convincing to leave the house on this horrible rainy day, but I am so glad to have gathered my gear and joined Jess on her first Nordic ski outing. Happily, the gross rain turned into beautiful snow as we made our way over the pass. We spent the day in a winter wonderland of fresh falling snow. Not bad to tackle a long red loop for her first time with these skinny skis.
Some of the girls hit the still-snowy trails to celebrate Astrid's birthday. A great way to start her special day, 10k run with plenty of sun and soggy shoes.
Next up, chasing the boys for a vertical kilometer, reaching Montoiseau at 1600m. A great workout, but after two days of back to back running followed by skiing, I might give my legs tomorrow to rest, at least a little.
I really started to like the consistent sunshine throughout our week in Italy and Austria. Now we are back to the typical fog, but that didn't stop us from making a trip to the mountains. We selected Pointe d'Andey for a short outing, less than an hour drive to Brizon, and we are skinning up nice fluffy snow (an advantage from the lack of sun). It's an easy climb and rather popular, but offers amazing views, and is 2 / 2 having good snow.
No view today from the summit, but always a good time and a great ski down.
Since we were so close, we couldn't resist making a stop in Austria on our way home from Trento. It was dark when we arrived at the guest house on the Brenner pass, and just over the border. We gobbled up an amazing dinner at the restaurant, with big beers, and hunting lodge decor, before moving upstairs to a cozy room with fluffy blankets in the 600 year old guest house. In the morning, we ate breakfast and took took the owner's suggestion to do our skiing just a five minute drive down the road.
We parked and started our skinning up under bright warm sunshine.
Some areas were already quite bare from the Spring-like weather, but we found enough snow to keep moving. Although the sun was warm, there was a strong cool wind as we made our way above the trees. We reached our goal, Trunajoch (2152m) and ducked beside a snow drift to keep out of the wind before descending. There was little base and it was hardened by cold overnight temperatures and wind. The snow condition wasn't great, but the views more than made up for it.
We stopped at a supermarket for car snacks and for a sunny picnic with a lovely view. Then it was nonstop driving home through beautiful Austrian alps and the familiar highway across Switzerland.
We spent this week in Trento Italy. Derek attended a conference, and I enjoyed some sunshine and exploring. It was difficult not to make a stop in Chamonix on the sunny drive through, our ski gear was ready in the back of the car, but we traveled on, and ended up needing the extra time to reach our destination. We were happy for a good meal on arrival, and waking to a beautiful sunrise the next morning. The town celebrated carnival on Tuesday with costumes for the kids and giant pots of polenta. We were staying in the hillside, so that evening we walked down to Trento for drinks with the conference group.
On Wednesday, I found myself a trail and ran up to Monte Calisio (1097m) to enjoy a great overlook of the Trento valley.
When I returned from my run, I had a nice swim in the hotel pool and looked back up at the summit from the patio before joining the tour of Buonconsiglio Castle.
Kuhleitenhütte (2361m) where we stopped for a drink. As we enjoyed the view and the quiet from the hut, we noticed that the lifts below had stopped running and the slopes would be empty for the return ski.
As we finished our sunset descent, many tourers were beginning the same route, which is open for night randonee certain evenings. It would have been fun to join the pack going up with headlamps, but we needed to reach our next stop just over the Austrian border, and this fit perfectly into our afternoon.
Happy Valentine's Day from Grand Montetes! Last night we joined friends for a great dinner, and rolled out of bed extra early for today's ski adventures. Our friend Jim is in town, with one day available to ski, so the men gathered their downhill gear and caught the telecabine up Grand Montetes, while I made my way up La Trapette, the fitness route. It was a wet morning, climbing up to meet them for a cozy mountain-side lunch, and I was happy for a chance to dry out a bit.
We all skied down together, and with a few more hours to pass, and better trail conditions, I decided to make the 700m+ climb again before we rejoined at the base for our beer rewards.
I finally had the chance to take advantage of the ski bus to la Vattay. It only runs school holidays and weekends, but is an amazing deal at 2 euro roundtrip from the Pays de Gex up and over to the other side. After yoga class, I hustled with my skis to the bus stop, and spent the afternoon exploring some new tracks. Twenty five kilometers and some painful blisters later, I decided to have a vin chaud on the patio, and met some of the friendly regulars. Skating has caught my attention this year, and after watching the skate skiers speed around the trails, I really can't wait to give it a try.
We couldn't resist the sunshine for another skimo outing. Today we headed for Croix de l'Écuelle. A lower summit at 1815m, but with lovely views. We paused on the ascent to practice avalanche rescue in the shelter of the trees, before continuing up the windy exposed slope.
The wind grew really strong and we battled against it to make the summit. Suddenly we saw the point, and quickly ducked down the other side, which offered more protection.
The snow wasn't as soft as we hope for the descent, changing often between icy wind-pack and sticky sludge lower down, with a few nice patches in the trees.
We stopped by a few chalets not too far above the parking, to sit in the sun. We watched a long crack develop in the snow on one of the roofs, and widen. Of course we waited for it to slide before we could continue on our way.