Monthly Archives: January 2012

Life in the Freezer…

The garden

Snowed all night last night so was on the first lift this morning & putting down some fresh tracks in the fresh snow by 9h30 – which really can’t be beat as a way to kick start the day 🙂

Carried on snowing for the rest of the day so another fun morning in store tomorrow but with temperatures set to plummet tonight to -10°C where we are and -37°C (with the wind chill) up at the top of the mountain I’m gonna be putting on an extra base layer that’s for sure!

Anyway – here are some photos from yesterday & today…

Over the garden wall

Log pile house

Snow hedge

Categories: Mountains, Photography, Snow, weather | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

“The mountain guys are all so nice and they all have fun…”

Not a Snowboarding or Mountain Biking story but a good story nevertheless…and seeing as I’m living in ‘Le Tour‘ country now it’s kinda apt…

Click on the link below to read the original article from

Amazing Ritte Van Vlaanderen Bikes Born From Irreverence

Categories: article, cycling, Road bikes, Wired Magazine | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Serre Chevalier; an Introduction…

Whenever I tell friends back home exactly where I’m living now they more often than not say “where?”

So for those that don’t know here’s a good (snowboarders) introduction to the Serre Chevalier Valley – I nicked it off the Whitelines website ( if you want to see the original

Serre Chevalier Piste Map

Serre Chevalier is one of the most southerly resorts in the French Alps, located on Le Grand Serre Chevalier range close to Italy. It has 250km of some of the best terrain in France, including gullies, open bowls, couloirs, cliffs, pillow lines and long, wide, tree-lined pistes. Spread over four fairly traditional French villages from Briancon to quieter Monetier, the accommodation and nightlife tends to be a little isolated, but nice and cheap. Briancon has less sunshine and is usually icier than the more popular Chantemerle and Villeneuve. Le Monetier, although quieter, has some crowd-free riding in some of the best trees in the valley.

The Companie des Alpes spent a reported 10 million euros last year on lift improvements, including the new chairlift links to the village of Frejus, as well as snowmaking facilities and two Gasex Avalanche control systems. Serre

Chevalier has had some great snowfalls in the last few years (it is frequently on a different weather pattern to its larger northern counterparts) and with La Grave and Montgenevre at opposing ends of the valley, there is always plenty of riding to be had.

THE PARKS (2 out of 5)

The Altitude Park is located off the Combes chairlift and has features for beginners and intermediates. There are two lines of kickers, various boxes and rails and a hip and wallride at the bottom. It is well maintained – great for learning spins and improving – but advanced riders will quickly become bored. That said, the whole resort is one big backcountry park for experts, with natural hits and gullies to be found throughout the valley. There is also a 100m boardercross course, located off the Grande Serre chairlift, which snakes down through nine raised bank turns.

THE POWDER (5 out of 5)

When it snows, Serre Chevalier is freeride heaven – just be sure to check the avalanche risk and ask at the lift stations before attempting anything remotely out of bounds, as there are some really dangerous areas. From Monetier you can take the Cibout chair and traverse to the tree line, then drop the Yret face that runs back to the Tabac run.

The Montagnole – a glacial valley run from the Yret chair down to post five on the Tabac run – is best done with a local guide as it is totally out of the view of lift attendants, has some large cliffs and is prone to sliding. From Villeneuve, there are great runs off the Tete de Balme – take the Balme lift and head down the Cucamle side. L’Eychauda is a nasty draglift that leads you to a long, clear run where you can join the piste at any point, or head off to the Isolee black run for some huge cliffs. Towards Briancon, the Prorel lift takes you to a popular face – although caution is required as it is prone to avalanches.

slope1 Serre Chevalier

THE PISTES (4 out of 5)

There are plenty of wide, well-groomed and tree-lined pistes in Serre Chevalier that are clearly signposted and interlink the various areas in a logical way. Briancon tends to get less sunshine – pistes are icier and accessed by several draglifts. Chantemerle has the Luc Alphand black run back to the village, which is fun and can be tackled by mixed ability groups as there is a bail-out green that avoids some of the steeper sections.

Villeneuve has some great pistes, particularly from the Casse du Boeuf chair and the Bez. The link to Monetier is accessed via a very slow chair and then two flat narrow traverses; it’s harder for beginners but well worth a trip as the runs back down to town are excellent. It is unusual to find so many trees on the slopes of a resort, meaning that visibility is OK even on bad weather days.

THE PARTIES (3 out of 5)

Due to the separate villages, nightlife is never going to be legendary, but with some great little bars around it’s not bad. The Saloon at the bottom of the Briancon main lift is great for après ski, while Bar Central and the Eden Bar offer the best nights on the town. Over in Chantemerle, the Station Bar has just opened at the foot of the pistes with live music and a buzzing happy hour, while in Villeneuve, the biggest venue is the Grotte, boasting internet, live music and a party vibe. Mojos has 2-for-1 happy hours and Le Frog is the best place to watch the football with a pint. In Monetier, L’Alpen is run by an English couple and has a great atmosphere.

“With so many trees on the slopes, visibility is possible even on bad weather days”

Categories: Briancon, Mountains, Off-Piste, Serre Chevalier, Snowboarding | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Silly Sundays…


If you want your snowboard waxed or want to know how to wax it check this page


…but if you want to see how it should be done you should probably watch this 😉

Categories: Skiing, Snowboarding, Tuning, Video | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Still Snowing…

Snow Trees


Well, some more snow has arrived at long last.  Woke up to a pretty light snowfall with 2 or 3cm already on the cars.  But that light snowfall hasn’t stopped all day and doesn’t look like it’s going to stop any time soon 🙂

After working for the morning, headed up the mountain for some fun in the fresh stuff.  Thick cloud up there so pretty hard to see anything at all – so once again the trees provided the best place to ride hide.  Still managed to get in a few good runs out of the trees – most of the time going up the Vallons chairlift and coming down next to the Cucumelle red run where there are all sorts of natural features to hit and little trees like the ones above to weave in and out of or jump over.

Very quiet up there today – for a couple of the little off-piste runs I was a lone wolf with not another soul in sight or earshot – just the way I like it 😉

All  in all a good afternoon session.   The weather at the moment is still the same;  the cloud layer is pretty thick and there’s no wind so think it might be snowing for while yet…happy days

Saturday afternoon session


Categories: Mountains, Serre Chevalier, Snow, Snowboarding, weather | Tags: , | Leave a comment

There be Snow in Them There Clouds…

Frozen trees at Serre Ratier this morning

Another morning above the clouds.  Was on the first lift again and spent a couple of hours up there.  It was pretty cold going through the cloud layer but warm enough once you got up the top and into the sun.  Got in some good runs and covered about 25km before having to head back to the computer 😦

The forecast says there’s a big dump on the way tonight and throughout the weekend so fingers crossed for that.  Other than that it’s pretty much same, same here.  Here are the best phone snaps of the day plus the snow report at the bottom.  Bon weekend! – THR

Low Cloud High Cloud

Trees Clouds Mountains

Snow Forecast

Categories: Mountains, Photography, Serre Chevalier, Snow, weather | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

Playing Above the Clouds…

Looking down on Serre Ratier

Well, woke up to a cloudy morning – only the second one this month year 😉

The amount of days I used to wake up in London and the city was covered by a blanket of low cloud and I used to think to myself, wouldn’t it be great if there was an Upper-Level to the city – ‘Above the Clouds’ :  There’d be parks, bicycle lanes, skate parks and cafés with terraces full of happy people sitting in the sun.

Well guess what ? – these places exist!  5mins on the Grand Alpe bubble and I was out of the cloud & in the sun – and no wind!

A bit of a late start but still got about 2.5hrs riding in, covered over 30km of the mountain and discovered some pretty cool off-piste runs like the little one from the top of the Barres drag-lift to the bottom of the Vallons chair-lift (about 1.5km) and the one from the top of the Vallon chair down to the bottom of the Fréjus chair (about 3.5km)

Here are the best snaps from the phone from this mornings session



Categories: Mountains, Off-Piste, Photography, Serre Chevalier, Snowboarding, weather | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Forward Thinking…

I know.  I’m living in the Alps, it’s the middle of winter and there’s plenty of good snow around but I can still think about next summer too…can’t I…??

Just another reminder of why the mountains are so special;  the air, the scenery, the sun…and the ride 😉

Check it out.

The new 2012 Canyon Torque FRX 8.0 Dropzone in action;

Categories: hardware, Mountain Biking, Mountains, Video | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

A Strong North-Wester…

Rocher Blanc, 2503m

Very windy up on the mountain this morning.  The cable car ride (1st section of the Tronçon) was ‘interesting’ as it was full of a group of school children and the thing was blowing around like a red shirt on a clothes line.  They seemed to keep remarkably calm with just the odd squeal here and there.

Anyway we made it up and got on the Orée du Bois chairlift.  The weather report said the wind was 20km/h but it felt more like 40km/h up at the top!  A lot of the exposed lifts were closed due to the conditions and the only weather my better half is not partial to is strong wind so we did one on/off-piste  run of nearly 5km back down to Chantemerle and called it a morning.

The bonus with that is that I had time this evening to clean & wax my board and make a blinding organic chicken curry 😉


Freshly Waxed Burton Custom                                       Organic Chicken Curry, Potatoes & Aubergine

Categories: Food, hardware, Mountains, Snowboarding, Tuning, weather | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Ridge Rider…

A 0.5m wide ridge with sheer drops on each side and covered in snow…on a motorbike?  No thanks.

Categories: Backcountry, hardware, Mountains | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

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