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We went out for some lift serviced summer skiing this Sunday on the Les
Diablerets glacier.  We picked the right day, with plenty of sun and warm
temps.  Maybe just a bit too warm as it was +7c at 3000 meters.  Access to
the glacier is via a cable car at the top of the Col du Pillon, at 1600
meters, between the Vaud Alps and the Berner Oberland.  The skiing takes
place between 2800m and 3100m on 4 lifts, 3 T-bars and a chair.  I brought
out the teles and it was my first time on them since March when I lost a
hook for one of the Chili cables.  I've since found a replacement hook at
the only shop in Western Switzerland, at least that I've found, which sells
tele equipment, Mountain Air in Verbier.  Conditions were already soft
spring corn when we arrived on the glacier at around 8:45.  The corn was
soft, but not too soft, at that point.  The longer slopes are serviced by
the 3 T-bars but their low angle and direct orientation to the sun insured
that these pistes began to become really mushy by about 11:00am.  It was
possible to find slightly firmer corn on the few shorter and steeper slopes
which face to the north and we took a few runs there in the late morning
and early afternoon.  The lifts close at 2pm but most of the slopes were
nearly un-skiable by that time.  The best skiing is definitely in the
morning and I'm of the opinion that the cable car should go up at 6:30 or
7:00 instead of 8:20 to allow for better snow conditions.  Other points of
interest included a huge half-pipe which was be far the most heavily
trafficked area on the glacier.  The slopes were nearly empty but the pipe
was extremely busy.  There was also a husky dog sleigh team selling rides
for 10 CHF.  Which seemed a bit of rip off as the driver really only looped
around for maybe a 2 minute ride.  But there were several tourist wearing
sandals and trudging through the wet snow who were willing to pay the price
and to take photos of the dogs.

I discovered that a tele turn on smooth corn snow is possibly the coolest
feeling on skis, IMHO.  I've only been skiing tele since last February but
I'm a big fan now and I can wait for next winter when I can get some powder.

later,
Jon

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