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Season Diary - Day 4: The Powder and the Glory

Updated: Jan 28

Snow came to La Clusaz last night. It started just before our last run of the day, when we took the top chair up to the very top of the La Balme sector, normally home to stunning views across to Mont Blanc.


Instead we skied down in intense fog, driving snow and finally pouring rain.

 

What a relief, therefore, to ride the top chair this morning and breach the summit to beautiful views of Mont Blanc, framed against clear blue skies and a perfectly golden sun beaming down on us.


The snow was fabulous too. A good inch or two of fresh powder was beautiful to ski, and flattered even the most not-so-great of the skis we tested. Today was all mountain day, setting off to make the most of the conditions mother nature had given us.


One of the best views in skiing - looking out from the top of La Clusaz to Mont Blanc, Western Europe's highest peak.

I'm most at home on an all mountain ski. There is so much to be said for the versatility, nay the freedom to be able ski wherever you want or need to go. But, for me, the biggest benefit of an all mountain ski is it can keep up with me.


I don't mean that in an "I'm too good for other skis" kind of way. I'm not the smallest guy in the world, coming in at 100kg on a good day, and I ski pretty hard. As a result, the extra stiffness, width and length you get with an all mountain ski makes the on piste experience so much better for me.

 

There is so much technology pouring into particularly all mountain and freeride skis too. You can have a ski with a metal layer, that responds to your drive to push the ski forward in the turn, or you can not. You can have a stiffer tail to support you all the way through the turn, or you cannot, and have a softer tail that helps you recover if things get gnarly in the deep stuff. And you can have a thinner 85mm all mountain ski, something playful and nimble, or you cannot, and have a 98mm charging ski that wants to shred until the cows come home.


And here's the thing; there is no wrong answer to any of the above. There are awesome skis to be found with any combination of the above.


Personally I love a slightly stiff ski but still with some give in the tail, just because it flatters my technique - or lack thereof - in deeper and steeper terrain.


A metal plate is also a must. The metal adds a rigidity to the ski, but metal is never as solid as it sounds; it bends and twists and flexes as you ski, directing your power to various points in the ski and powering you back out of the turn. If you really want to crank it over on piste a metal plate is a must.


The top of our all mountain and freeride circuit in the afternoon, as the sun moves round and begins to head down for the day.

My current set up is like this, and I am very much looking to upgrade it to something more modern albeit along the similar - or indeed same - lines. Watch this space, dear reader.




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