With even more snow falling in La Clusaz, my mountain-biking buddy from a few weeks ago and I took the opportunity to visit a friend in Tignes and hit the piste for a pre-season slide.
Although the wind prevented the telepherique on the glacier from opening, all the t-bars were open, and as the only snowboarder out with four skiers, I’m currently sporting a bruised behind from the t-bar…erm…bar. In case you don’t know, skiers rest the bar at the very top of their legs where their legs meet their cheeks. Snowboarders, however, have to go up sideways and take all their weight on their inner thigh and the cheek nearby. It also works your muscles a bit more when riding a t-bar on a snowboard and after the fourth journey up, I was wishing I had skied instead. My forward leg was like jelly.
The snow was fresh and powdery, but visibility higher up was not so good. So we stayed lower down and I played on a friend’s 2006 Nidecker Diablo (pictured) which was lots of fun. It’s much softer than my Burton Custom, but it felt just as hardy when going at speed. This board didn’t flap, yet the extra softness provided great suspension over the few small bumps that I could find on the well-flattened piste. I managed to find some powder that had blown into a gully the whole way down one side of the t-bar and that’s where I noticed that the board had that sinking feeling. Just one centimetre shorter than my Custom, I expected it to float just as well. It did float, but it felt like the back end was sinking – a feeling I haven’t experienced on a board before.
We ended the day in Tignes with a hot chocolate and drove back to La Clusaz, satisfied that the first day of the 2008/09 season was a good one. Meanwhile, more snow is due to fall this week. Winter is coming!