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Season Diary - Day 11: Losing My Couloir Virginity (Again)

Updated: Mar 18

Right, so a lot happened this day. I didn't exactly lose my couloir virginity today, but we went back to where I did.


This was a really good day. Seemingly chill, we ticked off some really big lines and lapped some great pistes.


 

Leg Burners

One of my favourite piste runs of all time is the red from the top of either the funicular or Les Lanches chairlift. It's a looooooong couple of red runs that twist and wind their way down to Tignes 2100, and are always in really good nick.


We headed here first after a cracking run down from the link chair, Tommueses. The challenge we set ourselves on Les Lanches is to go top to bottom without stopping. It's nearly 1000m vertical, so a long long way, and a real test for your lactic acid.


The best bit of Lanches is a long left hander turn that leads into the bottom section of the run, right under the chair. Then it's a case of opening the gas, controlling your turns as the snow deteriorates with the drop in elevation. And don't cock it up! There are plenty of on lookers on the long slow chair up to applaud any tumbles!


 

Into The Valley of the Shadow...

Once in Tignes, we set off for Le Brevieres, the very bottom of Tignes' five separate villages. We didn't go the easy way, however, scoring two exceptional runs down Grand Huit, an off piste run that meets the Grand Huit chair.


The entrances can be a bit gnarly here, with a some steep entrances and narrowing gullies. Luckily the snow was deep enough to make it really good fun from top to bottom. This will come into play later (and on Thursday!) as good snow makes anything fun.


After a couple of runs here, we made it the whole way down to Brev, skiing horrific moguls in weird light and the inevitably terrible slushy run down at the bottom of the resort.


 
The end of the traverse into Moniteurs - which isn't even the narrowest part!
The entrance to Moniteurs


 

Moniteurs

All this before lunch, we took a round about route back from Tignes towards Val, heading up the long slow chair that is Borsat and loop round towards Grand Pré.


From the top, you have several options, all of which are equally good fun. You can turn right and head down a blue run back to Grand Pré and towards Val, you can go off the back down an impeccable off piste run Tor de Chavet (although this is best reserved for first thing in the morning due to the avalanche risk). Turn 180 degrees to the left and you access the difficult boarder cross run, or cut off from here within 50 yards of the chair and you can traverse into Moniteurs couluir.


Monituers holds a special place in my heart. It was, after all, my first couloir. Be warned, it is a gnarly traverse in, fast at first, with the final 50yds narrowing down to a ski widths' wide and peering over a gnarly cliff. This is a no fall zone.


Once in, however, good times can be had. It's not as steep as it looks from the lift up, and holds snow really well. It's also relatively wide, allowing room for manoeuvre both in the literal sense and in the more figurative sense if things go wrong.


After six really good turns, the couloir opens up into a beautiful powder field. We scored some of the best powder turns on the way out.


So good in fact, that we went back and did it again!




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