Val Thorens - Part III

How to overcome all those red, blue, green and black pistes on Ski Maps

Ski trails – Powerful Challenge

This article is intended to tell you more about the beauties and powers of mountains and potential dangers they bear.


The Return to Val Thorens

        There was no way to check anything on the map, as we were descending following the shadows of one another. It is incredible how different, longer and more dangerous seemed the already known pistes in these situations. Our disorientation fully came to surface, as our descending into the emptiness lasted quite long. 'Boulevard de la Loze' and 'Rodos' seemed like an infinite band unwinding under our skis and besides we had the feeling of being on another slope. In Meribel Centre everything appeared much better and it gave us hope that the remaining half an hour would be just enough for us to catch the final lift 'Cóte Brune'. As we ascended the 'Tougnete 1' lift, we discussed how much it would take us to ascend 'Plattieres' which remained the final time obstacle to get to the blue slope of 'Bouvreuil' that would take us to our final destination. The conditions on the slope started to change slightly and the visibility was somewhat improved, which most likely was the main reason that they did not close the lift towards Val Thorens and Les Manuires; or at least we hoped, because in such a hurry to get to the last basket to take the skiers to the top, we failed to check whether 'Cóte Brune' was open at all (yet another amateur failure caused by panic). The 'Plan des Mains' lift was somewhat lower, but we knew if one of them was not working, neither was another. Again we faced a short uncertainty and finally we could see the contours of the baskets of my favourite lift in movement. The isolated and quiet 'Cóte Brune' was waiting for us! It was such a relief and a great ending of our chase. All the rest immediately became unimportant, the snow, the cold and our weary feet. Just the whistling of the wind, which chased all the other arguments of this powerful mountain, reminded us of its strength and changing nature that had to be respected. As if the wind itself wanted to show us that it was strong enough to stop us on its own whenever it wanted. It only took a stronger blow and we would have remained there.

        I understood everything, and the lecture was learned; in such conditions and in this ambient, to count only on luck and velocity was completely foolish. The seconds and minutes were completely unimportant here. What remained was the respect for this monumental nature. After this experience, my admiration for it grew.

        Our descent toward Val Thorens started after a short break at the top with our relief. It lasted an eternity, but nothing mattered any more. 'Chardons' and 'Plein Sud' were under our feet and under the worn slick surface of our skis. How many kilometres of slopes have ended up in our thighs for the previous eight hours and more? Thinking about that deep snow on 'Chapelets', I wondered whether it was possible that it happened the same day? We made so many ski violations and we risked so much. We promised ourselves that this was not going to happen again and that from then on, the overcoming of all these red, blue, green and black pistes on the map would be only done with us obeying the rules that were to become postulates! It is never enough of learning and gaining new experience...


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