This morning we headed over to Crosets to ride some fast runs with the group. Sunny, early morning groomers means quiet, fast runs. Awesome. I love it when you you’re going at a speed that makes you think, if I stack it now it’s gonna really hurt.

I’m not totally sure where the boundary between Champery and Les Crosets is on the slopes, but we made our way towards Champery to get a good look at the infamous Swiss Wall. I guess 99% of the times it’s a really steep, mogul field, and big moguls at that. The rest of the time, following a lot of snow, it might be an awesome powder run; well that’s what I hear, I’ve never seen it like that…

I had no desire to join the 100 skiers or so and ride the moguls – not just to say I’ve done it. Instead we headed down a really long run, the Grand Paradis, towards a small base station (car park), sitting a little higher than the town of Champery. A note for snowboarders who find themselves in this area: don’t get suckered in by the length of this red, or the top section for that matter, which you can see from the lift, and to be fair, is really nice.

The rest of it sucks. You’re walking. Guaranteed. And probably more than once. Apart from the top section, which, surprise, surprise is quiet, the rest of the run is a long, flat, boring trail. And there’s nothing to see at the bottom either.

Cue lunch. Yummy.

Ciara and I split from the group for the afternoon. We had two agendas: Ciara wanted to show me some of the stuff she learned on her freestyle lesson, and at 3.00pm, we had a meeting with the top guy from the Avoriaz Park Team, Jean Noel.

I watched Ciara in the park for an hour or so, but I don’t think she was totally feeling it. Still, I know she’s improving a lot at the moment, her freestyle basics are more solid than they’ve ever been.

This was the first day that I haven’t put any sun cream on. First thing this morning it looked like it was going to be overcast, so I skipped the cream. Mistake. It turned out to be the hottest day so far and I could feel my face tickling. A slight goggle tan ensued…

We met Jean at 3.00pm, at the top of the stash. He took us for a couple of runs through the stash, different routes each time, explaining things along the way. That, plus to the two chair rides back to the top and we’d learned a load of interesting information. It was definitely a good idea to have this meeting.

Having spent some time prior to this meeting shredding through the stash, I was surprised to find that we’d never been through Main Street. You see, there are numerous paths through the stash, which as well as providing good variation, also allows them to grade the different runs. I’d gravitated to the area that I could see from the lift; I like the hits that I could see, and the line under the lift had some nice sections of pow.

(click to enlarge)

Main Street is awesome. Loads of natural rails and boxes, jibs, hits and hips. There are no actual kickers; there isn’t really enough space or control, given that the stash is laid out as a run. And it’s laid out well. It’s all about providing a good lines, and it works.

The only downside is that it’s placement next to regular runs can attract skiers. That’s not a dig at skiers as a group. What I mean is that you get skiers passing by, thinking it looks interesting, so they ski through as they would on any other run. It’s just unwanted traffic. I don’t mind waiting for someone else to hit a box or a jib, but who wants to wait in a freestyle-specific area for a convoy of 6 skiers to snake their way past?

Mini rant over.

Jean Noel was excellent and I thank him for his time.

Drinks at La Kinkerne is becoming a regular deal. After taking the bus from Prodains to Morzine, we popped into Mel’s Cafe, a must visit. Ciara and I spent the last of our Euros, almost to the cent. The purchase was: one cheese burger, one double cheese burger, curly fries and two large beers. It was totally worth it, the burgers here are awesome!

I guess my budget wasn’t too far out given that there’re only two days left. Getting a close to one euro for your pound sucks, but not enough to pass up a beer and a burger after a day on the hill.

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