Sunday, 26 February 2012

Colour me Beautiful!

It's been another great week in my office, over in the Aosta Valley Headquarters this time.
The cold weather has now given way to pretty hot and sunny conditions and although we didn't have fields of untracked over the head powder, we certainly had plenty of snow, much of it very good for snowshoeing. 

Now then, about these colours. Take a look at these carefully selected shots. Everyone is wearing some shade of colour and they look wonderful. The scenery is spectaular anyway but if these folk were wearing black (or grey or beige, heaven forbid!) the photos would be severely compromised. I can only thank my friends this week for thinking of this when they chose their wardrobe. Please do bear this in mind if you're coming snowshoeing or trekking with Trekking in the Alps - there's nothing worse than a great photo spoiled by a monochrome hiker, (although of course for silhouette shots this is immaterial!)

In addition to the great weather, we also enjoyed good accommodation and took the time to savour all the gastronomic specialities that the Aosta region offers.  It's always great to have a group that fully embraces this aspect of the trip.
We spent the final night at the Rifugio Bonatti, my favourite hut where we had a very warm welcome from the gardienne and also from Skip, my favourite dog, who led us up to the Pas Entre Deux Sauts the next morning.
The view of the Peuterey Ridge in the evening

The same view next morning

Heading up to the pass

Skip after a fine morning's work

Great raquettes, great view

Father and son giving it max on the descent

Sunday, 12 February 2012

MSR Dream Team hits the slopes with panache!

Europe has been in the grip of Siberian weather for the last two weeks and we certainly felt it in the Val Clarée. Névache is nestled deep into an extremely cold hollow, and last week saw night-time temps drop to minus 30°C. We certainly stayed well in the negative zone all day every day and high winds didn't help.
But take a look at the photos - bright and sunny every day, despite two half days of light snow which merely served to improve the already good powder we found for running down.

Above the tree-line the snow varied immensely from wind blown dense powder to scoured icy slopes to breakable crust to rare patches of powder. Not great for skiing, but on raquettes who cares, anything goes and we had a blast.

We even found snow deep enough for certain of the more athletic members to perfect their rolling techniques.  

The whole area impressed the group, all of whom have done several snowshoe trips with me and are very discerning when it comes to location, hikes and descents. The Val Clarée is undoubtedly one of the best snowshoe destinations in the Alps and Trekking in the Alps is offering more and more visits there each year.
Beautiful views, and many moments of solitude are guaranteed, and since the region advertises 300 days of sunshine a year then good weather is a fairly sure bet. This winter's two trips there have seen excellent weather and conditions.

A few days break now, then off to the Valle d'Aosta next week for more fun in the sun and snow, and also of course all the gastronomic and vineyard treats that the Aosta region is famous for.