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Date: January, 1997
Snowboarders: Mathias
Terrain: Hard icy off piste
Area: Le Vanoise, Southern Alps, France

I was geared up for some serious off-piste boarding and unfortunately like the previous year I had to do it on my own due to a total lack of attitude in the rest of the group. But I did manage to drag my good old friend the super skier Lars Klammer on to some pretty good and steep slopes. The last day in Val d'Isere was pretty interesting: I was to pick up a car in "Moutiers" which is situated on the other side of the Tignes Massif. I could either take a bus/train from Val d'Isere to Moutiers, which would waste a precious day of snowboarding or I could go to the top of the Tignes Massif (accessible on the lift system) and then head out in totally unknown territory (I bought a map) and thereby cross the mountain and avoid the long bus trip through the valleys. I tried to persuade Klammer and other potential interested to come along, but they where all discouraged by their respective girlfriends. So I was alone...

I prepared the trip - it seemed as there was two possibilities - either "Vers Champagny" or "Vers Peisey". I decided to go up to Col de Palet where the trip would start and take a look at the conditions. I was in the Col at around 12.30 and spend almost half an hour discussing with myself whether I should do it or not. It is always extremely difficult to decide in these situations - it a battle against your rational self and your adventures self. I think my rational side won and I started heading back to the safe slopes on the other side of the fence and danger signs. Suddenly I shouted - "What the Hell - let's do it!" and I turned around, quickly attached my board and went of into the unknown void....

Note: If you want to do the Vers Champagny on Snowboard - wait for good soft conditions, bring an ice axe, and money for the bus to Moutiers.

The trip turned out to be a bit of a nightmare. Snowboards are not good for randonee (back country) skiing and I soon realized that it was going to be more a pain in the legs to get to Moutiers rather than an enjoyable ride through the wilderness of Vanoise (the name of the national park). It took me around two hours of continues snowboarding to reach Champagny from where I hitch hiked the rest of the way to Moutiers. I made the Hertz office just 10 minuttes before the office closed and I picked up a nice Fiat Punto and made it back to Valdisere in time for the beers and after skiing and had the final rave on Dicks Tea Bar.



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