Marks in the snow

Created 24/11/2019

I’m kicking myself a bit today (Sunday) as I didn’t get out into the sun and snow that persisted from Wednesday ( through Thursday and Friday and would have been lovely. I was slogging through the usual backlog/overload of work and told myself I’d mark the weekend by getting out then … but of course yesterday was grey, threatening to rain and a bit above zero so it really wouldn’t have been that much out there, today the same and of course I’m failing to shift all the things I need to so I won’t get out and will content myself with a few minutes to create a silly little post about the marks in the snow I saw on my trek for the milk on Wednesday. I do take some rather sad pleasure from the different imprints of the different modes of transport but the last one was the real pièce de résistance. Hang in here until you get to that one but let’s start with downhill skis.

Downhill ski trails above Plagne Centre 20.xi.19

Actually, I think the mostly straight track up the middle is someone with skins or trekking skis going uphill but the waggly ones are the sheer pleasure of cutting some of the first trails downward before the season starts. Here’s how the caterpillar tracks and plough of the piste basher cut across the piste (and some downhill tracks) while it flattened one of the routes between Aime2000 and Plagne Centre

Piste bashed snow 20.xi.19
“My” skier’s track between the pistes 20.xi.19

Here’s the track left by “my” skier cutting from the big slalom piste to cross my uphill slog on the smaller piste in that last image. I hadn’t noticed at the time how he has let his right ski pole skim its own trail alongside his ski trails.

OK, snowboard track going back in to Aime2000 which is leaning rather ominously because of the wide angle and fact that I’m looking down at it for a change.

Self-protrait with snowboard track 20.xi.19

And now for another travel-on-snow option: French style lightweight snowshoes.

Snoeshoe imprint 20.xi.19

That was on pretty hard snow made up of a light fall on top of snow that had been pistebashed. This next is what makes snowshoes good: in my walking boots I’d have sunk into that soft snow towards my knees whereas the snowshoe traveller only sinks in an inch or so. (I did take a few steps to see if I could follow those imprints but even where the person had compacted things a bit I was sinking in and would have had cold, wet ankles and feet by the time I’d crossed that bit of snow.) Oh, yes, the distortion of Aime2000 really is extreme there. It’s a bizarre building in many ways but its verticals are vertical I promise you!

Snowshoe tracks on softer snow 20.xi.19

Talking of my boots, this was me meeting my own tracks as I slogged back up.

Chris Friday? 20.xi.19

This is an example of what happens where dark material is exposed to the really quite hot sun that was beating down.

Snow melting 20.xi.19

But the l pièce de résistance.

Avian touchdown and take off again? 20.xi.19

I hope that’s visible on whatever device anyone is reading this. I think that’s the imprint of an Alpine Chough coming in to land on the side of the trail between Aime2000 and Plagne Centre but I think s/he takes off again immediately leaving those wing pinion marks at the bottom. I think those are marks of tail feathers at the top in a “whoops, came in a bit low on the port side there didn’t I?” landing. I wonder what caused the decision not to stay, or even the decision to land there at all? Would have been quite a good vantage point but nothing to eat just there I’d say. A metaphor for lives?!! Aarrgh, give over boy and get on with things!

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