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EXPLORING FLAINE - Jane Peel, Chief Reporter
Monday April 30, 2018 - Email this article to a friend

PlanetSKI's chief reporter ended her season ski touring on a Ski Club GB Freshtracks holiday. Here's her round-up of what turned out to be a true adventure.

A week in Flaine at the end of April for a bit of skinning and skiing.

It sounded worth a go, even though I was very much a novice ski tourer.

Flaine is in the Grand Massif ski area in the Haute Savoie region of the French Alps and I'd heard good things about the off piste skiing.

It's bound to be even better than usual this year, I thought, as it's had a whopping amount of snow.

Flaine, FranceFlaine, France


So I joined a group of 13 other Ski Club of Great members booked onto Flaine Exploration for a week's stay in the club's two chalets along with five full days of touring with a ski instructor.

View from Ski Club chalet, FlaineView from the chalet

The touring started off gently under cloudy skies.  Most of us had either no or limited ski touring experience so we needed to learn the basics first.

Ski touringFirst-timer with his skins

SkinningOur first skinning expedition

The introduction over, it was time for some proper ski touring and wildlife spotting.

Fortunately the sun came out and the snow conditions improved - at least in the early part of the day.

There was no deep powder but off-piste there was perfect spring snow.

Haut de Salles off piste in FlainePerfect spring snow













Jane PeelYours truly enjoying the spring snow















It was also time to tackle the tricky kick turn.

It's what you need to do to change direction when skinning up the steeper slopes.

It didn't always go well and, sadly, one of my pathetic early attempts was captured on video by fellow tourer, John Pennifold.....

  If I thought the second part of the trip was tough, that was nothing to what followed in the third and final part.

I faced my worst fears as we skinned and boot packed along a narrow ridge to Flaine's highest point, the Tête de Colonney.

The route to the Tête de ColonneyThe route to the Tête de Colonney

I can't say I'd have done it if I'd known in advance where we were going. 

Steep drop-offs on both sides aren't really my thing and there were some scary moments, but looking back I'm glad I did it.

Ski touring in FlaineFacing my fears















John Pennifold had his camera out again.

I should point out that his Go-Pro footage with its wide-angle lens makes it look more treacherous than it actually was....

The final part of my ski touring adventure ended not just in fear but humiliation.

I was accompanied on my last skin up the mountain by a couple of local brothers.

One, Didier, kept me company as I struggled in the heat.

The other, Raymond, overtook me.  He is 78 years old.

Didier, Jane & Raymond in FlaineWith Didier and Raymond at the top











The Flaine Exploration Frestracks trip was a great way to end my long season on the slopes for PlanetSKI, which began way back in early December in Tignes and Val d'Isere.

Little did I know then just what a spectacularly special winter in the Alps this would be.

Here's to another great season in 2018-19.


Jane Peel in FlaineThat's all folks
















The Ski Club Of Great Britain runs hundreds of Freshtracks holidays for members each season, split into six types - off piste, touring, weekend, development, heli & cat and action. There are also trips specifically aimed at solo skiers, families and the over 55s.

Flaine Exploration (2017-18 season prices) from £859, including 7 nights chalet board and accommodation based on a twin share, coach transfers and 5 days with an instructor and a Ski Club leader.  Course only price £450.

Any equipment required, including touring boots, skis and skins can be hired from Flaine Super Ski, which works with the Ski Club in resort.

See here for the main PlanetSKI news page with all the latest stories from the mountains.

For the Spirit of the Mountains - PlanetSKI: No1 for ski news

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