SkiBike Tour 2011-12 - Embracing The Mountain

Posted: Monday, 30 January 2012 by Mark Kinnon in Labels: , , ,

The weather looked quite promising in the morning so we got ourselves out early. We started off by using the Grand Vans chairlift to get on the Tourmaline piste. The cold night and a lot of traffic had rendered the slopes quite hard and icy in places. My skibike has thinner skis than Carl's and he suffered from a sudden loss of confidence struggling to gain control on the slick surface. We tried the run a 2nd time and he avoided the worst sections by taking in a tour of the excellent off piste terrain currently on offer.
Confidence restored we popped over to the Vernant sector and played on the quieter runs there. I was told off by the lift attendant who strongly disapproved of my "run like the clappers" chairlift dismount.

He suggested the following chairlift skibike dismount procedure:

1. Raise the safety bar.
2. With one hand position the skibike between your legs, facing forwards and semi-upright with the handlebars above head height (think wheelie).
3. Let the rear ski touch the snow.
4. Quickly drop the front ski and simultaneously push away from the chair by standing up on the pegs.

No doubt this method will be a subject for much further discussion over a few beers!

Stopping for a quick coffee at around midday we noticed some ominous grey mist spreading up from lower down the valley. Rather than remain, we decided to head back towards Flaine. Within minutes visibility had been reduced to almost nil, whilst I retraced our steps from memory, we tentatively probed our way, side slipping the skibikes at a snail's pace.
With the home stretch in sight, I hit a couple of moguls followed by a monster bomb crater, I just made it but the rear ski slid out on the following turn. I picked myself up and looked for Carl, who had disappeared from sight. Then I saw his helmet, off piste and some way down amongst the trees, he clambered back up, regained his composure and completed the last leg in complete control.
With snow falling constantly, he sensibly took the afternoon off, whilst I went exploring Flaine's forest runs by SnowBlade with a view to returning with the skibikes tomorrow.