Snowboarding in Flaine

Flaine sunset

This is my first trip back to Flaine since 2011. It is pretty unforgettable in its appearance. The Bauhaus architecture is brutal and imposing. We arrived to less than inspiring conditions. This winter has been incredibly warm. There was a lot of snow forecast during the week but it felt pretty wet and only one step away from being rain. We took the time to cruise around the slopes and get to know the place.

The warm temperatures have also significantly compromised the stability of the snow pack and increased the avalanche risk. We took some time to do some avalanche transceiver practice and refresh ourselves with our gear. The reality is that none of us do this enough.

Finally the weather kicked in and snow started to fall. It came with high winds though which closed the whole resort for a day (Tuesday). Not ideal. Having only had a couple days riding, energy levels were still high and cabin fever set in fast. This is Flaine’s downfall – there is not a lot going on. After a short walk (in terrible weather) checking out the town we hit the pub. Flaine is not the cheapest place to drink at 7 EUR a pint. We made the most of happy hour.

Wednesday morning the weather cleared – powder day. This is what we had been waiting for really. We made the most of it. It was still windy and snowing hard but you could see enough to have fun. Some of the areas we had checked out earlier in the week were now working really well. It was fun to take the camera out on the slopes and get some shots. I have so much respect for pro photogs who work in these conditions – it is pretty tricky dealing with snow plus the constant on off of gloves/goggles/bag. The GoPro comes into its own in these conditions too.

Thurday we woke up to bluebird skies. It looked like it could be epic. As soon as we got out to the lifts though, we knew we might be wrong. The amazing weather also brought out hideous amounts of people. Lift queues were crazy. We ventured off to the smaller areas and it worked out ok in the end. We found some fresh snow to ride and got plenty of turns in.

Friday was our last day. It started busy so we took the brutal drag lift. Marked as “for experts only” these drag lifts launch you like at a wake park. It was snowing hard and the wind picked up – before long the chairs and bubbles were all closed. We lapped the drag lifts finding endless powder runs – clearly everybody avoids the drags! By the end of the day even the pistes were amazing to ride – covered in a blanket of fresh snow.

I wish we had stayed longer… it was just getting good. As we left town early on Saturday I captured this amazing sunrise.

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