SkiBike Tour 2010-11 - Grand Bornand

Posted: Saturday, 15 January 2011 by Mark Kinnon in Labels: , , ,

We started our day whizzing around a number of fast runs at Grand Bornand, but found that the 3 chairlifts where skibikes are permitted, prevented access to some interesting terrain. This is very actively policed, as this is the very first season that skibikes have been allowed in the resort and still on an experimental basis. Following the strategy of leaving the skibike with the lift operators and heading into the forbidden zone on footskis alone got me into some of the more expert runs.
Les Lanche was little more than sheet ice with a sign warning you of "hard snow"; this is obviously the same type of hard snow that works wonders in your Gin & Tonic. Wilf later commented "I started to slide and had no control, I don't know how you made it on those tiny things, but I did notice that you were covered in snow by the bottom".
On such tiny skis, with no tail, you are caught between the devil and the deep blue sea. You can lean back and loose all grip or lean forward and get tripped over by anything in your path.
Wilf did ask me on a couple of occasions whether I should get back to the car and dig out my pair of SnowBlades.

I declined his offer to join him on the La Noire de Lachat black run and met him further down the mountain "Well that was about as much fun as having a red hot poker shoved up your jacksie" was his assessment.

Still deep in the skibike forbidden zone, we headed down the La Duche run into some charming back-country area of and the lovely long blue run Le Col des Annes above the woods. Even in a schuss you hardly move above walking pace, but you really want to be admiring the view rather than concentrating on technique. Please can we have this area opened to skibikes it would be awesome.

We also ventured over to the Roc Des Arces and found the lovely Les Envers run down to the bottom of the Le Rosay gondola. This had some of the best snow available that day and I settled into a gentle rhythm where suddenly everything felt "right" my upper body facing the fall line and lower body swinging like a pendulum from side to side. Oddly Wilf had stopped and was looking at me in a strange way, he then told me to turn around and follow my tracks back up the hill.
I was genuinely surprised to see these lovely symmetrical C shaped wiggles all the way back up the slope.

Having hurled my self down the mountain's most difficult terrain; once reunited with my trusty skibike, the added stability made me fearless, mostly pointing it down the fall line and surrendering to the pull of gravity.
With my eyes watering and nose running like a tap I stopped at the end of the run to find Wilf some way behind me. He admitted that it was the first time in 4 days where he had struggled to keep up.

Wilf and I had just about worn each other out by then and both got to push ourselves to try things we wouldn't normally attempt; at 4pm we headed back to Geneva airport to get Wilf checked in to his flight home by 6pm.

What a blast!