So I’m all snooty about not watching daytime TV but I make “daytime videos” and the biggest excitement in my life over the last three or four days is that someone has switched on many of the snow blowers around me. Now this is where this could get very boring if you haven’t been infected with the bug of skiing. If you haven’t you may even be thinking “Does he mean snow ploughs? But surely he wouldn’t say ‘switched on’ if he did. Hm, do they use snow blowers like leaf blowers?” No, I mean things that blast a fine spray of water into the air which, as long as the air is below freezing point and the spray fine enough, will freeze in the air and fall on the ground as artificial snow. Here you are:
So that’s the little green slope to the south of Aime 2000 seen from the terrace outside our apartment here. The sun was beaming strongly when I went out to investigate the blowers yesterday but I suspect the air temperature was below zero and being out there in tee shirt wasn’t viable for long once I decide to record these things, a fleece and warm shoes were needed.
That slope is where we step out from the cave des skis in season, clamp on the planks and put hands in the ski pole loops and head off in season. As you can see it drops away gently to the left and then the whole of the La Plagne domaine opens up for you. As you can see, a fair bit of snow is needed if people are to do that on 15.xii.18 when the season officially opens. I’m impressed by how much snow the blowers have produced though I think that’s in at least two days of continuous running, day and night. You can see the three puffs this snow centre left on the big competition pisted dropping down into Plagne Centre. I think those are bigger blowers than these but I could be misremembering.
This, in the video above, is where the cows were not that long ago, 10th of September actually. Here’s the handheld ‘phone video I shot of them then.
Coming back to yesterday, here’s what zooming in gave me on the blower on the right there.
Sort of soporific to watch for 13 seconds?! Interesting to see how high above the current ground level the crash padding is now. I don’t think they rest on the snow in the season, there’s generally a bit of a scalloped out hollow around the bottom of the blowers, but I suspect that a good half metre of snow is needed there. That blower is blowing onto the area at the end of the little button “lift” that gets people back up that slope and on the turning off “Sue’s run” (our name, you may have guessed) above and to the right, so it’s covering an area that gets a lot of use through the season. Here are some more short videos of snow blowers in the sun in case, as for me, they’ll do it for you as daytime TV (or anytime TV, vimeo and my blog aren’t fussy about circadian rhythms!)
Sue was, is, a friend who came skiing with us and her children some, hm, many, years ago now. I don’t know how or why that slope got to be “Sue’s run” really. I must consult with the experts in the family with good memories. It’s almost the only skiing return route into Aime 2000 and a bit steep if you’re a complete novice so you can come back along that track on the left.
Here’s the whole of Sue’s run:
Snow blowers going at the bottom and at least three more up on the skyline at the top. However, not on the run itself as it’s north facing and holding the natural snow it’s already acquired. It’ll need a lot more before it’s skiable though. Here’s zooming in onto that skyline.
I love the way that was all caught in the low but intense sun. Less than a day later as I type and snow is falling steadily all around and we’re heading into white out. Off behind the ridge at the top on the right there’s a black run (i.e. the steepest and most challenging of the official “on piste” runs. “Les coqs”, how could I have forgotten. I did it with tnp on his snowboard at the end of last season, me on my short skis much more suited to its moguls (mounds of snow up to probably 1.5m high on Les coqs and decidedly challenging, I remember doing a lot of very unambitious side slipping!) tnp of course, just shot away out of sight making it look like a walk in the park, to choose a tired old cliché.
And finally, swinging back to my left from the terrace.
Hm, those are the same type of snow blowers on the main competition slope down into Plagne Centre. I know there are some other, bigger ones over there too but I think they’re hidden below the ridge, further onto that slope. There’s pretty good snow cover in the relatively (or completely) sun sheltered slopes beyond, a mixture of on piste runs and off piste. That’s the peak of les verdons in the distance. Over the top there and you drop down into the “Champagne-en-Vanoise” or just “Vanoise” extension of the La Plagne domaine back where I met up with friends in the summer in very different weather conditions. OK, steady fine snow falling now and I must get on with work!