Welcome to my secret page; if you found it, you are either a robot or not writing your research paper.
My other life is ski.
Favorite places: The two places where I ski most of the time are Oz-Vaujany-Alpe d’Huez and Val Thorens (for the first and last days of the season). It is only for practical reasons: all ski resorts are good. Those two places are easy and fast to reach by train or car from Paris. For off-piste, I prefer Oz-Vaujany-Alpe d’Huez. It is a bit more engaged but you can spend a days skiing fresh snow with only few skiers around. Comparably, in Val Thorens, off-pistes are almost all groomed by des hordes de Grenoblois (good skiers) at 9h30.1
Oz-Vaujany-Alpe d’Huez has many nice places for off-piste. Dome des Rousses (2-6-3 is my favorite), Combe du Loup and arround, Col de Pyramide). When not off-piste, I love doing the course contre le téléphérique (race against the gondola). The specification is simple and stupid.2 The telepherique come by two; take one, at the top, go full speed so that you can take the very same, start again. Doing five in a row is not bad. Good places are (from though to easy) the Funival (La Daille, Val d’Isère), Téléphérique des Rousses (Bartavelle, Oz-Vaujany-Alpe d’Huez), Téléphérique de la Cime Caron (Combe de Caron, Val Thorens). Only possible at the very beginning and end of the season (two much people otherwise so it is dangerous; the piste is not mine).
Material: I skied Dynamic (VR27, VR17, VR15) for years; then exclusively Dynastar (in particular the “Coupe du Monde” and “Assault” in the early 90’s). They were great for moguls and jumps but nothing comparable to modern skis. I you still have old skis, burn them. After several accidents, I stopped skiing for a long period (approx., between 1996 and 2003) and restarted when my boys got 4. I discovered large and parabolic skis that are amazing for everything.
My favorite ski is the Stockli Stormrider 95 (183cm) from 2014. This is by far the best ski I ever had: it is strong and carves like a geant ski, it likes speed, floats on fresh snow and is excellent in all condition (on and off-piste). I also have a pair of Black Crows Nocta in 188cm from 2014 that I only take on deep and fresh powder. They are modern (double rocker, foot centered) and very different from the Stormrider; very easy to turn with, they tend to overturn a bit and do not like speed that much. With 12,5cm under foot, deep powder becomes une partie de plaisir (a lovely day). But, they pèsent un âne mort (they weight like a dead horse), are terribly unstable and quite unpleasant on pistes even if you spend minimal time on them to join a chair lift. They are fine on perfectly groomed piste (but you don’t care: the day after a snow fall, you don’t loose your time carving on a piste, right?). My plan is to replace them by the new Stormrider Pro 115 in 195cm or the Stormrider 105 in 186cm. The price of Stockli skis is crazy and some series have been a bit disapointing (e.g., the Stormrider 95 from 2015-2017 is lighter than mine, easy to turn but not strong enough on traffole at full speed).
Update (Nov. 2017): I bought the new Stormrider 105 (2018) in 186cm this summer (together with the old Stormrider 107 from 2014 in 192cm for which I got a huge bargain). The 105 is fantastic, on and off piste; period. It has all the features I enjoy with the 95 (strong tip and tail, soft on hard snow, no vibration). Stockli have remade the other Stormrider models this year (95 and 115) with the same old receipe — wood plus two slices of titanal — that works here far better than the lighter but disapointing models from 2015-2017.
I moved upfront by 1cm the bindings on the 105 (the recommanded position was crasilly too much in the back). The ski is now more playful but it did not loose in stability at high speed and carving. I skied mainly with the 107 this year (but this time, I will move the bindings by 1cm in the back). The 107 is a fantastic ski for both on and off-piste. It is softer than the 105, it is easier to camber, yet the ski is extremely stable on high speed.
Telemark: some of my good ski companions are using those strange skis. They ski very fast and everywhere with them. I should definitely have a try. I have not been convinced by monoskis and snowboards up to now (my surface under foot is 2 * 12,5cm * 188cm, so why bother taking something smaller?)
Ski places: nothing surprising, my dream is to go to Hokkaido, Japan (14 meters of snow every year!). I skied in Mont Tremblant (Quebec) during my post-doc in 1996. It is not steep, the snow is really hard and il fait un froid de canard (it’s brass monkeys) but it is magical to ski there. The light, the wind and the view are extraordinary. I had the opportunity to ski in Vail in 2015 (during the world championships) with my two friends Alain and Michael. Ca coute un bras (it costs a leg) but it was great. Vail is wider than any other place I have skied; well, Michael promised us deep powder that we did not have but we had a lot of fun carving on the wide slopes and between the trees. Vail with deep powder should be extraordinary.
This document was translated from LATEX by HEVEA.