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July so far in the Forces-of-Nature Diaries
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Owner: squiz

Member#: 6644
Registered: 27-05-2007
Diary Entries: 1742

5th March 2019
Skiing: Bernex
Wind Direction:
Wind Stength:
Surf / Sea State:
Air Temperature:
Sea Temperature:
Weather: sunny and mild
Max Speed: 41.22 (knots - unless stated otherwise)
Distance Covered: 31.33 mile (Nautical Miles - unless stated otherwise)

Tuesday 5th March Ė Ski **** Bernex in France Ė sunny and mild.

5 hours 20 mins. out, 31.33 miles covered & 41.22 knot max speed, two lift passes with insurance 50 Euros.

Restful night in the carpark at the little ski resort of Bernex in the French Alps but things started to happen around 8.15 when a ski instructor parked really close on our opening door side and when we looked out of the rear window there were two traffic marshals in hi-vis with every car arriving containing a family with loads of kids! It didnít take much to deduce that its still French half term:( I walked down to the rubbish bins and said hello to a line of noisy huskies entertaining a large group of kids, sadly no sledge rides for them as a lack of snow low down. The good weather had returned and the high winds and rain were a thing of the past being replaced by mountain blue skies and sunshine. Despite the crowds we decided to go skiing but were not keen to go too early as the slopes were in shade making them icy. After breakfast Mag packed a picnic while I sorted the skis and we walked to the ticket office at just gone ten. There was a bit of a queue to buy our lift passes for 5 hours, a bargain at 50 Euros with insurance considering this resort actually has three chair lifts, real luxury:) We were really looking forward to skiing here again as we had two five star sessions here three years ago but that was a little later in the month and the place was not swarming with pesky kids trying their best to knock you over! The day started badly when on the first lift up, the le Pre Richard, I dropped my lens cap off my new camera, it didnít come with a safety leash unfortunately. I noted what it was no. 9 lift post so at the top I had to ski down the steep la Lanche while Mag took what should have been a nice relaxing blue (LíUgine) through the trees, her favourite run last time - she actually videoed it on her phone she loved it so much! It was scarily fast and icy on the red but I soon found my lens cap and headed to the lift to meet Mag. The red at the bottom was very uneven so you had to take care! I knew things hadnít gone well when it took Mag absolutely ages to join me. Her words being I think I will go back to the van and read and wait until things warm up. It was the worst piste she had ever skied, full of thick icy ruts and boot marks from where people had walked down - we couldnít understand how the piste basher hadnít sorted it, perhaps it was too cold by the time he did it? It is very bad that at a resort aimed at families with kids that the main return to the bottom was all but unskiable in the morning! We think most beginners head for the bowl at Pre Richard, which is in the sunshine, serviced by a couple of restaurants and easy buttons to get their feet! Mag decided to soldier on and we went higher in search of better snow. We went over to the Combet chair where there is some nice blues with better snow. I then went to the very top up the Pelluax to see what that was like, the Pointe de Peluax at 1912m is by far the highest we have been this holiday and offers jaw dropping views 360 degrees, from Lac Leman far below one way and the high alps including Mont Blanc with as usual its peak shrouded in cloud. There are some really sensational peaks around making this a special place to ski. If only the snow was better and the pistes not so crowded! The narrow red off the top is great fun and I thought it best to avoid the black mogul fields! We then headed over to the three button lifts on the right and had some really nice runs until we came to a really steep section where nearly everyone was side slipping gingerly down. One poor young lady after sliding down on her face and was left in tears, then took her skies off, goodness only knows how she got down. I took it slow knowing that Mag was going to have trouble, her short blades are absolutely useless for steep icy sections but the lovely Richard, our first and only ski instructor taught her how to side slip like a pro which has got her out of lots of trouble! My humble opinion for whatís its worth is Mag needs longer skis and poles, 160 would make it much easier to handle the ice. We try to avoid the icy sections but that is difficult when out on the mountain with some parts in sun while others in shade. So thatís two pairs of swanky fast piste skies to order, another large section of pension heads west!!!! Mag made it to the bottom in good humour so now was the time to take her to the top in search of a picnic spot. After marvelling at the vistas, we found a sunny sheltered corner away from the very top as the wind had picked up a little and enjoyed our rolls. Mag then took me around the lovely long blue through the trees along a stream to a button where the attendant has a collection of stuffed animals on the outside of his hut! It was so nice as the snow had improved that we headed up the three chairs to the very top and did it one last time. This was the longest distance skiing this holiday over 31 miles! With our legs now officially shot to bits it was lucky for us our lift pass had run out so we headed back to the van to dry the kit out in the warm sunshine while Mag made some more yummy hot chocolate. We even had pancakes later Ė thatís van life for you :) Thatís probably it for skiing this holiday, its just not worth going out in the school holidays and with the snow deteriorating. Snow shoeing has been much more enjoyable which is what we will do tomorrow before heading down to Lac Lemen and think about making our way home!

PS. Just a mention that it was the funeral back in Ipswich of our old windsurfing friend Russell Mexome today, we were very sad that we could not attend but our thoughts were with him and his family today.

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