Val D’Isere re-opens 3rd June 2018 for spring skiing

Winter 2017/18 still continues….spring skiing and ski touring in Val D’Isere and Tignes 
This winter the snowfall across the French Alps has been phenomenal.  Locals of Tignes have said that it has been the best winter for snowfall in twenty years.  Out of the my twenty winter seasons it has been one of my biggest snowfall seasons by far. With all the snow Val D’Isère has announced that it will re-open some winter lifts for spring skiing on 3rd June 2018.  This will be the first time in 82 years that some of the winter pistes above the resort will re-open in summer. The pistes are planning to re open for summer skiing between 7am-12pm.  The lifts that plan to be open is the Furnival and the Marmottes chairlift in Val D’Isere.
 
The lifts have now closed in Tignes and there still is enough snow to ski tour up to the glacier from Val Claret.  All refuge huts are open till the middle to end of May. The guardian of the refuge du Palet believes that there will still be enough snow on the ground till June. 
Refuge Du Palet, Tignes March 2018
Last Thursday 17th I ski toured 5.5km up and around the Col Des Ves in Tignes with Clare and Dave and skied off piste back into Val Claret in Tignes. I was still amazed at how deep the snowpack was and the snow was still in great condition for May.
17th May Ski touring around the Col De Ves Tignes
 
FREEFLO SKI specialises in on and off piste ski instruction, ski touring and ski courses in the Tarentaise Valley. See more at www.freefloski.com.
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Author: Jocelyn Cockle
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Categories: backcountry, basi, british female instructor, France, ski courses, Ski guiding and teaching, ski instruction, ski lessons, ski touring, skicourses, Tignes, Uncategorized, Val D'Isere, Vanoise National Park

Ski Touring – Womens FREEFLO Introduction Tignes

Sefie at the Col De LaTourne
Sefie at the Col De LaTourne

For the third year running I have just finished leading the FREEFLO Womens Introduction to ski touring Course in Tignes and Val D’Isere. I love and enjoy running this two day adventure as it allows me to pass on skills and twenty years of winter mountain experience to people that have never experienced ski touring in the backcountry before. I have just had an amazing time with four special people.

Day one ski touring

On the first morning we met up in Planks Coffee Shop which is relaxing place to start any course whilst drinking good coffee. I spent the first forty minutes getting to know everyone and to find to each persons expectations and goals for the course. I then discussed the weather, the snow conditions and current situation of the snowpack and taught everyone where to find this valuable information. We then checked our gear and kit list and made sure we carried everything we needed. I gave a rough outline of a plan for the two days before heading outside on the piste for a skills session. I then taught everyone essential ski touring skills. This included how to put skins on and off, how to change their bindings and boots to uphill and down hill mode, different turns, route selection etc:

Breaking trail back to Tignes
Breaking trail back to Tignes

To gauge ski ability and to brush on technique before heading into the backcountry we skied a small section of off piste . The snow was great and as soon as the clouds broke and the blue skies arrived I took the opportunity and lead the group into the wilderness of the backcountry. Virgin untracked snow as far as the eye could see was our view as we crossed the Col De Palet. No one was around as skiers were skiing fresh powder in the resort. It was perfect timing as we made our own tracks in the powder as a group of five. Once we had arrived at the lake we tucked into a well deserved snack and drink. After ski touring for fifty five minutes we then arrive to the refuge de palet and enjoyed tucking into a three course meal.

Day two ski touring

The next morning was clear and no one was in sight. We took full advantage and skied the powder on the north facing slopes to lake Grattalu and then broke tracks uphill making our way through the valley of La Tourne. The valley La Tourne is one of my favourite ski touring itineraries. Its gentle and has breathtaking views especially when come out of the Col de Tourne and overlooking Tignes. It was an amazing two day adventure with great company and one that I will never forget.

This is what the team thought

“I love skiing, but getting a introduction to the awe inspiring backcountry of Tignes, gave me a new level of appreciation of why we ski. Nature is even more beautiful, impressive and so much more powerful than us out there beyond the ski area boundaries. Still, we can be part of it and enjoy it if we work together, breaking track, reading the snow conditions and finally huddling together in front of a fire in the cosy Col du Palet refuge. A truly unforgettable introduction to touring.” Leizel Cloke

Leizel enjoying the uphill of ski touring
Leizel enjoying the uphill of ski touring

“Such an adventure to be pushed safely right out of my comfort zone, experiencing an enemies depth of powder surrounded with such stunning scenery and Flo providing us with a photographic life time memory to share..thanks FREEFLO..amazing amazing.” Sally Coates

Sally skiing the powder
Sally skiing the powder

“The two day tour exceeded all my expectations from the glorious weather, the bouncy snow and the sunny scenery to the delicious refuge dinner and the comfy beds. It was a magical couple of days and Flossie inspired confidence by creating a safe and fun learning environment for all of us touring rookies…I am so please I booked it was my best two days of the week.” Amy Cardale

Amy having fun in the powder
Amy having fun in the powder

FREEFLO specialises in progressive on and off piste ski instruction, backcountry ski touring and women specific ski courses. We offer personal British ski lessons for skiers of all abilities, though our sweet spot is helping competent skiers to improve their technique on and off piste and in the backcountry. Our intuitive coach-approach will help you to progress, have fun and enjoy the full freedom of the mountains in a safe and confident manner.

Step into your next adventure and email: [email protected] or visit www.freefloski.com

Author: Jocelyn Cockle
Posted:
Categories: activities, backcountry, british female instructor, off piste, ski courses, ski instruction, ski lessons, ski touring, Tignes, Val D'Isere

Off Piste Skiing Val D’Isere: Table D’Oreintation

Mountain Respect Snow Awareness Courses and Workshops in Tignes

The Rocher de Bellevarde rises to 2817m and the summit of its 1000m high face overlooks Val D’Isere. Through the  breathtaking off piste skiing lines between the rocky spurs of the summit  lies the couloir Table D’Oreintation and l’Antenna.  The Table D’Oreintation is commonly known as the Table and it is a classic off piste route in Val D’Isere that should not be missed.

The Table is one of my favourite routes to guide and to coach in because of its variation and also for its accessibility. If you get the snow conditions right you can start the decent in a wide couloir which opens into a bowl of untracked powder. After the bowl you can then decided to continue left into the trees and end up at the bottom of the cable car lift. The second exit option is handrail to the right and work your way back onto the piste of the famous World Cup downhill run Le Face.

Off Piste skiing between: 2690m-2209 m NE
Max Gradient: 44 degrees
Uphill: 25 to 40 mins boot hike dependant on conditions
Skiers Level: Strong Intermediate/Advanced off piste
Start: From the top of Olympique
Finish: At bottom of Val or the
Lift pass needed: Espace Killy
Map needed: 3633ET
Grade: 2:2
Exposure: E2

Table D’Oreintation Val D’Isere

FREEFLO specialises in progressive on and off piste ski instruction, backcountry ski touring and women specific ski courses. We offer personal British ski lessons for skiers of all abilities, though our sweet spot is helping competent skiers to improve their technique on and off piste and in the backcountry. Our intuitive coach-approach will help you to progress, have fun and enjoy the full freedom of the mountains in a safe and confident manner.

Step into your next adventure and email: [email protected] or visit www.freefloski.com

For more ideas for adventures and activities in France visit: Active Azur 

Author: Jocelyn Cockle
Posted:
Categories: backcountry, off piste courses, offpiste skiing, Ski guiding and teaching, ski instruction, ski lessons, ski touring, Tignes, Val D'Isere

Powder Paradise: Off-Piste Tree Skiing Sainte Foy

Yesterday in Sainte Foy was a ‘un jour de blanc’ a white day with low visibility.  I woke up with the lowest expectations and had one of the best off-piste powder days of the ski season in Sainte Foy. I was having fun,  ski guiding and teaching in Sainte Foy in the trees.  We were skiing fresh tracks all day and jumping off pillows of snow and putting our skiing to the test. The snowpack is so deep this winter that you can ski confidently off-piste without bottoming out or hitting rocks and tree stumps.

This month we have had the heaviest snowfall in one month since 1981. Its been a once in a generation snowfall winter. I am now on my 20th winter season and its a winter that I will never forget.

We started off the TSD Marquise chairlift on a big open face then headed into the trees off the run Toboggan and kept to the fall line. Skiing across the walkers path keeping right of the river as we kept in the trees then headed left and took the next path back into St Foy. It was amazing, no one was around and fresh deep snow lied untracked in between the trees. The next few runs we took different routes close and under the TS Arpettaz chairlift working on line and precision following each other and filming. It was training for endurance and so much fun. Our ski cool down before heading to apres was then carving in low visability and soft conditions from the top of the Marquise chairlift all the way down to the start of the station non stop. What a great day and an amazing powder paradise.

Improve your skiing and have a great adventure with FREEFLO.

FREEFLO specialises in progressive on and off piste ski instruction, backcountry ski touring and women specific ski courses. We offer personal British ski instruction for skiers of all abilities, though our sweet spot is helping competent skiers to improve their technique on and off piste and in the backcountry. Our intuitive coach-approach will help you to progress, have fun and enjoy the full freedom of the mountains in a safe and confident manner. Step into your next adventure and email: [email protected] or visit www.freefloski.com

 

 

Author: Jocelyn Cockle
Posted:
Categories: Uncategorized

Tignes Video Snow Report 17th January 2018

Once in a generation snowfall: 

Bringing you a weekly video snow report for Tignes. This season has been described as once in a generation snowfall that hit the alps. This is my 20th winter working and teaching in the Alps and I have never seen a winter like it. We now have such an amazing snow base and cover for the rest of the ski season.

FREEFLO specialises in progressive on and off piste ski instruction, backcountry ski touring and women specific ski courses. We offer personal British ski instruction for skiers of all abilities, though our sweet spot is helping competent skiers to improve their technique on and off piste and in the backcountry. Our intuitive coach-approach will help you to progress, have fun and enjoy the full freedom of the mountains in a safe and confident manner. Step into your next adventure and email: [email protected] or visit www.freefloski.com

Author: Jocelyn Cockle
Posted:
Categories: Uncategorized

Snow Report Tignes, 15th Dec 2017

An amazing start to the winter. 
It has been an amazing and extraordinary week of fresh snow in Tignes. Out of the 19 seasons that I have completed; it has probably been one of the best starts to the season for snowfall that I have seen in a long time.
Last Sunday and Monday we received nearly a metre of snow in two snowfalls with in 48hrs.The amount of snow falling in a short time with the snow level at 900m brought some disruption in resort. The opening of ski lifts were delayed as the pistes were being secured. Roads have been shut for a short time to ensure safety. People have been working around the clock clearing snow to keep footpaths, roads and entrances clear and open.
Powder skiing, Tignes
Off Piste Skiing Tignes
Wednesday brought more settled weather and everyone was enjoying the sunshine and the 100% visibility. Pistes were soft and in excellent condition. The avalanche rating increased to a four out of five for danger due to the large loading of new snow. However, if you knew where to go and skied flatter safer slopes you could ski fresh powder. The powder off piste on south facing slopes was light and heroic.  With a great base of snow underneath you could ski more confidently as you wouldn’t hit the base.
On Thursday a new weather front came in bringing poor visibility and wind with speeds up to 100kmh. This has moved a lot of snow around and has altered our snowpack. Skiing off piste on the windward slopes are difficult to ski with a crusty layer and the lee slopes are loaded with fresh snow but are more dangerous.
Today we have been excited to receive another 30cm of fresh light snow on upper slopes as the wind dropped overnight. There is more good news as we are expecting another 20cm of snow tonight which will help build the snowpack even further and will give us a better snow base and piste conditions throughout the winter.

Author: Jocelyn Cockle
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Categories: Uncategorized

Early Ski Touring Adventure in Val D’Isere, French Alps

Keeping an eye on the weather and the snow conditions, Tuesday 14th November was a perfect time to leave Tignes and go to Val D’Isere to start our early ski touring adventure in Val D’Isere.  It would also give us a great opportunity to check conditions and the snow pack for the winter coming. I love my low season time in the mountains as less people are around and there are lots of adventures to be had. Ski touring this time of year is a completely different game compared to going ski touring in Spring. To go ski touring at the beginning of winter takes a lot of preparation and different skill sets.  To have a great experience, to be insured and to be safe you are strongly advised to go with a mountain guide or instructor. 

Ski touring up the Manchet valley in Val DI’sere

Off we set with all our years of experience, an open plan that gave us plenty of options, and knowledge of the snow conditions.  Just before the Manchet chairlift we gained the access road. Little did we know that the two women walking their dogs would be last time we would see human life for two days. The road was a nice easy warm up before harder things to come. At this time of year days are short so we wanted to use our daylight hours wisely and make sure that we were in a hut by 4pm. With no running water in mountain refuges we were taking full advantage of topping up our water bottles in streams as much as we could and keeping hydrated.

Route decision making whilst ski touring up to Col Des Fours refuge

Passing the Manchet chairlift we were in good spirits and excited about our adventure to come. We toured through the gates and entered the Vanoise National Park. Each National Park has different rules that you have to obey to so its good to find out about them before you go. The sun was warming up our bodies and the spectacular views were warming up our hearts.  We started climbing steeper terrain and that’s when I could feel the weight on my back. I was carrying close to 10kg, which included 3 to 4 days food, water, clothing, first aid, clothing, stove and gas. We had to be self sufficient and prepared. Its always good to pack more food than you think just in case you get stuck in a storm and have to wait for better conditions. 

The line that we normally take in the valley wasn’t achievable due to lack of snow and previous avalanche debris from the last winter, so we took a high South West route. We had to be skillful and concentrated as kick turns were tricky on steep slopes, and with the hard layer of wind crust our skis broke would break through the sugary faceted snow. With difficult snow conditions and, slowed down by the weight of our packs, we were behind our game plan. After nearly four hours of touring uphill we were pleased to see the Fond du Fours mountain refuge. Being on the side of caution we changed our decision to reach the Refuge de Femma and decided to stop and rest overnight. We finished a perfect day by watching the sunset with a whisky and coke. We then took off any cold and wet clothes and, putting on dry extra clothing, we settled in for the night. We made a fire, dried our boots, and melted snow to hydrate and cook the food that we had carried. We both fell asleep deeply listening to and watching the roaring fire and its embers.

Refuge Col Des Fours, Val D’Isere. Home for the night

By law every mountain refuge should have a winter room and be open when the hut is not manned by a guardian. It is always good to phone ahead to check with the guardian that the hut is open and what supplies are in inside before planning your route.

After a hot breakfast soup we packed up, taking all our rubbish with us. We left the hut closed and tidy after paying a small fee into the honesty box known as the tronc. We started touring uphill heading to the Col De La Rochure, half a day behind our original plan. The views were spectacular as the sun was breaking through the high rising mountains. The large peak of Mean Martin was looking down on us as we were breaking tracks in snow. No one was around; it was just us and the only signs of life was very faint old tracks in the snow. It was so silent you could hear a pin drop. The snow pack was thin, probably only a foot in depth due to limited snow fall and high winds. All north facing slopes were covered with sugary faceted snow. On south facing slopes the snow had consolidated but was even thinner in depth.

Changing our route slightly and after a small booting up we had reached the Col du Pisset. Totally on our own we could see for miles and miles into different valleys. It was exactly what I expected, all the snow had been stripped off the ridges and peaks and the snow was deposited in gullies. Finally we enjoyed making down hill turns and leaving our tracks in the virgin snow. The sun was dropping slowly out of the sky as the temperature plummeted. We were tired and behind our plan and the right decisions had to be made. There were cirrus clouds in the sky and collecting fast which is an indication of high winds and a change of weather. With this information we decided to change plan once again and head back to the Col Du Pisset towards home. We didn’t want the new weather front to come in early as we were a long way from home.  One of the many lessons that I have learnt when in the backcountry or skiing off piste is not to be set and follow just one plan. Always adjust plans to timings, weather, snow conditions and to the group. Listen to you inner self and never be scared to turn back. 

Ski touring back to the Col de Pisset

After one and half hours touring we were at the Col Du Pisset once again.  We handrailed a ridge line and started our decent back home. My legs were feeling the strain with a heavy pack and the long day but I knew I had to be focused not just on the line to take but also my ski technique. The snow was thin and variable which meant that every turn was different and you needed to adapt your skiing to every condition. However, the descent was unforgettable, skiing open bowls, ridge lines paths and skiing over bridges then crossing the Manchet gorge. The views were stunning with the continuing silence. It was 4.30pm once we had reached the path and handrailed around the Charvet. It was impeccable timing and at 5.30pm it was nearly dark we had finished our adventure and was safe and off the mountain. It was another great ski touring adventure that I won’t forget and shared with a great friend.

FREEFLO specialises in progressive on and off piste ski instruction, backcountry ski touring and women specific ski courses. We offer personal British ski instruction for skiers of all abilities, though our sweet spot is helping competent skiers to improve their technique on and off piste and in the backcountry. Our intuitive coach-approach will help you to progress, have fun and enjoy the full freedom of the mountains in a safe and confident manner. Step into your next adventure and email: [email protected] 

Author: Jocelyn Cockle
Posted:
Categories: Uncategorized

FREEFLO Mountain Respect Workshops in Tignes for 2017/18

Step up your avalanche game!
This winter we are running avalanche training and snow awareness workshops in Tignes as last winter season, 2016/17 there were more avalanches and incidents than in a normal season.  This was a result of an unstable snowpack, caused by variation in temperature, high winds and the type of snow that fell. Out of the19 ski seasons I have done this one had the most avalanche activity I have ever seen.

New ski technology and the fast-growing trend in winter sports means more and more people are venturing into the off piste. They have good equipment but a with a lack of snow awareness and a lack of experience sometimes bad and riskier decisions are being made. The mind-set of getting ‘fresh powder tracks’ is creating a culture that shows little respect for others as groups and individuals are just focused on themselves.

Most of the time people get away with their route selection and decisions.  However, it’s a risky game to play and sooner or later it could be you or your friends who get caught out and trigger an avalanche onto someone else, or even be in it yourselves.

This is when you need to be ready.

I have a lot of clients, friends and seasonal workers that ask me how they can be safer in the off piste and backcountry. So, new for this winter, with 16 seasons ski teaching and guiding behind me, I am delighted to be coaching and introducing affordable half day FREEFLO Mountain Respect Workshops in Tignes.

The workshops are designed to help you be safer and make better decisions whilst off piste and in the backcountry. They will give you more snow and avalanche awareness and you will learn the skills that I use to help make the best decisions I can in avalanche terrain.

FREEFLO Making the right decisions in avalanche terrain Workshop
13th Dec 2017
14th March 2018

IMG_2743

FREEFLO Avalanche Transceiver Training Workshop
12th Dec 2017
13th March 2018

Avalanche training Womens
For more information on the workshops please visit FREEFLO If dates aren’t suitable or work for you drop us an email: [email protected] and we will be able to tailor other dates and workshops for you, your chalet staff, your clients or friends.

BE SAFE OUT THERE…..

Floss

BASI ISTD International Ski Teacher
APC Race coach Level 2
Mountain Leader MTA

Stay connected and like us on:

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Author: Jocelyn Cockle
Posted:
Categories: basi, british female instructor, british ski instructor, Espace Killy, France, off piste skiing, ski, ski courses, Ski guiding and teaching, ski instruction, ski lessons, ski touring, skicourses, Tignes, Val D'Isere

Relating the ‘Here and Now’ of coaching from the book ‘Inner game of Tennis by W. Timothy: Galloway’ to Steep Couloir skiing

Relating the ‘Here and Now’ of coaching from the book ‘Inner game of Tennis by W. Timothy: Galloway’ to Steep Couloir skiing was a great insight and made me realise how more of a ski coach I am compared to a ski instructor. After 17 seasons of ski teaching I didn’t realise how many techniques of the inner game of tennis I use in relation to my own ski coaching.

Steep skiing in couloirs is one of my passions and one of the many sides of skiing that I enjoy and coach in. For myself just being in a couloir and skiing in challenging and exposed environments naturally focuses my mind and attention. For many other skiers it is a different story as they become nervous, frightened and feel threatened with the exposure. Skiing on steep off piste and in narrow unknown corridors which are often surrounded by rock is where focus, skill and belief is vital for a good and safe decent.

Steep skiing Tignes Val D'Isere
Steep skiing Tignes Val D’Isere
Steep skiing Pisteurs couloir tignes Val D'sere
Steep skiing Pisteurs couloir tignes Val D’sere

Learning to focus your attention is a master skill that has unlimited application. When skiing in a threatening environment where your skills are being pushed you need to learn to focus awareness in the NOW. It means tuning in to what is happening in the present not the past.

Concentrate your focus on here and NOW, in present time and in the present space. Most accidents and falls happen when we lapse in concentration as we allow our mind to think about what is about to happen or to dwell whats has already happened in the past. Especially for women that are lacking self confidence. Don’t let your mind absorb itself in the world of “what if’s” “What if I fall over” “What if I can’t make that turn” and then let your mind wander away to “this happened to me last year and this is how I injured my knee” or something totally irrelevant “I can’t believe what that Facebook post said about me”. Since the mind has a will of its own and tends to wander, how can one learn to keep it in the present?The answer is by practise as there is no other way. Every time your mind starts to leak away, simply bring it gently back.

The next time you are in a couloir or on challenging terrain have this action plan. Focus your mind on the present, see and accept the environment that you are in and then ski it with one tactical or technical focus to block out any nervousness. Subconsciously believe in yourself and ability and you will be able to ski stronger and more effectively. For more tips on skiing follow our blog

Steep Skiing Course Tignes
Steep Skiing Course Tignes

Improve your inner game and your steep skills with private coaching or on the three day Steep Skiing course with FREEFLO.
Get in touch and email: [email protected] Visit our website: www.freefloski.com

Author: Jocelyn Cockle
Posted:
Categories: basi, british female instructor, off piste, off piste courses, off piste skiing, ski, ski courses, ski instruction, skicourses, Tignes, Val D'Isere, Vanoise National Park

Ski Touring and Steep Off Piste Skiing North Face of the Pramecou, Tignes & Val D’Isere

Route: Val Claret Tignes/Pointe De Pramecou/Val Claret
Off Piste skiing between: 3054m to 2107m NE/NW
Max Gradient: 48 degrees
Uphill: 3hrs 12 mins
Total Route time from Val Claret: 5hrs
Skiers Level:Advanced off piste
Ski Touring Level: Intermediate
Start: Bottom of Lanches Chairlift
Finish: At bottom Tichot chairlift
Map needed: 3633ET
Grade: 2.1
Exposure: E2

I just love Spring time. Its warmer, the snow pack is more stable and I have more time to go on adventures. Last year touring up and skiing down the 48 degree North Face of the Pramecou on the 9th May 2016 with adventurer and good friend Squash Falconer was one of my vivd memories of 2015/16. From that day onwards we came up with the idea of running backcountry adventures together to inspire, to teach and to motivate people to adventure into the back country. With one of the largest winter store retailers Snow & Rock behind us, in a few days time I am looking forward joining up with Squash and to leading the Snow and Rock Back Country 5 day Backcountry Adventure in Tignes and Val D’Isere.

Fresh Ski tracks on the North Face of the Pramecou
Fresh Ski tracks on the North Face of the Pramecou
Celebrating the fresh powder tracks on a 48 degree North Face
Celebrating the fresh powder tracks on a 48 degree North Face
Ski touring up to the Pointe De Pramecou
Ski touring up to the Pointe De Pramecou

Don’t miss out on adventures next season and get in touch and email: [email protected]
Visit our sites:
www.freefloski.com
www.squashfalconer.com

Author: iwood.web
Posted:
Categories: backcountry, basi, british female instructor, british ski instructor, horsdpiste, navigation, off piste, off piste courses, off piste skiing, offpiste, offpiste skiing, ski, ski courses, Ski guiding and teaching, ski instruction, ski lessons, ski touring, skicourses, skischools, Snow, Tignes, Uncategorized, Val D'Isere, Vanoise National Park