Skis the World!
Twelve Days In France: A ski odyssey
Day Nine. February 18, 1994.
If you want the party line on L'Espace Killy, there's a whole slew of
commercial info on the web regarding Tignes and Val D'Isere: from Ski In,
Tignes is discussed in French and
and Val is discussed in
French and English.
From SkiFrance, Tignes in French and Tignes in
Val in French and
Val in English.
Woke up woozy and a bit nauseous. Seemed to take forever to pack up my goodies, checked out, and get started. Didn't want to ride in any cabin lift lest I vomit on some innocent bystander. Decided I wanted a long, easy cruiser to clear my head and get aw
ay from people. Planned on going from the Aiguille Percée down to Tignes les Breviers, about a 1200m descent, along some easy greens and blues.
Well, at the Aiguille Percée I saw some people heading down some unmarked piste to the left, and it looked like they might be having fun without me, so I followed. Turned out I was heading towards le Vallon de la Sache, another local classic. Yow! Steep! But great forgiving snow, so no problems. Down towards the bottom, the majority of the tracks and people were heading back right to the piste, but there were indication that something more lead left, so I want that way. Apparently
I had chosen the Gorges Variant. My guide book (which remained untouched in my pack until I hit the bottom -- didn't want to ruin the surprise) says that this is "for those who like thrills." An honest 45 degree couloir, steep and narrow with twist that c
oncealed what might lie ahead. But again, great snow. I took it more cautiously that I would have liked, since I knew not what to expect.
Finally found a place to bail out and head back to the piste. Just in time, too, since the handy guide book said that the lower part is impossible to negotiate.
What a wake up call!!
I did spend the rest of the day cruising around as planned, especially three lovely runs down from the Grand Motte funicular. Fast cruising on great snow.
Overall, I liked Tignes better than Val D'Isere. Better snow, fewer people. Either place, though, still has something for everyone, and far more terrain than can be covered in just two and a half days of exploration. And every inch was filled with incredi
ble views. All for just $34 a day (or less!) for a lift ticket!
Back to Day 08 Tignes/Val D'Isere or on to Day 10 Watched skiing on TV (Picabo Street wins Silver).
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Wesley Alan Wright
Last update November 15, 1995