SkiBike Tour 2013-14 - Back On The Dole Part I

Posted: Wednesday, 5 February 2014 by Mark Kinnon in Labels: , , ,

Well the weather seems to be stuck in a rut at the moment, when it's this stormy you are better off staying low and amongst the trees. So today I headed past yesterday's ride at La Faucille and about 5 miles further along the ridge to Les Rousses and the skibike friendly outpost at La Dole. On arrival I was horrified to see the car park all but empty and the chairlift not running. It turned out they were running just a few drag lifts as high winds were to be expected. The jovial lady in the lift office confirmed that, when running, SnowScoots (and I suspect skibikes too) can use the chairlift.
I bought a morning session ticket and stuck some skis on my feet to go explore. The overlapping selection of drag lifts is mildly confusing at the best of times, with poor visibility and driving snow covering up the direction signs it was quite a challenge. At least in this station the only way home is down and there is no back mountain to get lost on. That's not strictly true, there is another side, but if I was on it I would most likely be dead fairly quickly.

La Dole - one lone E.S.F. instructor with student in tow, a few lifties and a couple of Scandinavians

On my last visit I couldn't work out why the snow on the runs at the top of the hill are always so thin and icy, unlike those lower down, today I found out the answer.
As I emerged from the forest approaching the summit, I was assailed by a wind of biblical proportions carrying with it heavy snow. I would guess it was somewhere between 30 and 40 mph, if that sounds tame, try standing on the roof of your car while your buddy drives you down the road in heavy snow at that speed and you'll understand.
These sorts of conditions are very common in Scotland and the canny Scots erect picket fences to catch the wind driven snow. Oddly, they don't do this here and the snow must end up in Basel before it eventually settles.
Having got out of the wind, there were some pleasant tree line runs to enjoy in near total solitude; I saw one lone E.S.F. instructor with student in tow, a few lifties and a couple of Scandinavians. I don't know when the weather will settle down again, but it is going to be one hell of a Bluebird day when it finally arrives and I will be there with my skibike waiting.