Italian days … 24 to 27

So Monday you get lowered into a couloir for the start of some of the best turns of the season .. how to top that.

Day 24

Spent the day with mini adventures on the Gressoney side, finally took advantage of Tibetan Tuesday at the prayer flag cafe and Angela joined us down Bettolina

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Day 25 – Ice cream tour

I am sure the ice cream tour has a proper name but basically up the Bettaforca chair and skin up on the right, navigate some slightly tricky terrain and then lovely turns down to the valley the other side. The route ends up at the Gelateria in Saint Jaques then a short walk down the road or in our case ride in the back of a pickup to Frachey to get the funicular to the bottom of the prayer flag cafe chair. better known as the Alpe Mandria chair.

Fabulous day had by all despite the strange snow constructions on what should have been a lazy zig zag down a road to the Gelateria but instead became a comedy combat ski. Sense of humour lost about 4 zags in. Have a look at the end of the film and the wiggly line image.

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The black line is the road. The turquoise our improvised route.

Day 26

The lovely soft snow has turned a bit crunchy. We were lured into the trees ‘cos they looked so pretty. The lesson here is just because it’s pretty doesn’t mean its nice.

The white stuff on the trees turned out to be frost not snow, some crunchy turns and a great lunch in Punta Jolanda.

 

Day 27 – The Grand Stolemburg Couloir

The quest for epic led to Mike’s search for something steep and hopefully deep (but not too steep or deep) and the Stolemburg Couloir was the result. More than 30 degrees so potentially risky but aspect, snow conditions and history lured us in. Also it is now dead easy to get to thanks to the new posh chair installed which drops you off a few meters above the Indren.

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So a short stomp up a little slope and here we are.

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As it was Mike’s idea he was expendable and went first, with us all following sensibly spaced out. Was for sure worth it, so much so we did it twice. Here’s Ed flashing the girly custard lady poles.

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There was a little walk out at the end .. sensibly we skinned up the second time. Much more efficient. Sadly Mike’s snowboard had a rather terminal encounter with a rock so is in the hospital for repairs. Luckily was just the board not Mike.

Just for fun the Piste down to the cable car was closed for racing but they were finishing just as we ended our second run so elected to mingle with the racers then zip down the piste rather then navigate the slushy, windblown, icy (I know how can it be icy & slushy at the same time!) off piste route we did on the first lap.  Can you spot Ed?

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Despite me coming a cropper on the icy post race piste we made it to the cable car and even had time for hot chocolate in the cat cafe. They have a new cat since last year and a dog and a puppy.

The traditional home run was replaced by the valley of the Mos and an interesting route down it. We should know better than to blindly follow Mark.

It was our last day in Gressoney so home for packing and last night feast ready for early start in the morning. Back to Chamonix for me and Mark and back to the UK for everyone else. See some of you again in March!

Next week Chamonix with Steve & Alpha Rich …

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