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Top tips for map reading/ getting my bearings

(7 Posts)
taptonaria27 Sat 21-Jan-17 07:47:26

I go with a friend every year, she's a very competent map reader and route planner so I leave it all to her. However, I'm also going with the children at half term so I really need to have a grip on where we can go.
Although I've got a really good sense of direction usually, in snow it all looks the same!
We're off to Portes du Soleil, staying in Morzine
I'd appreciate any top tips as to how you plan your routes please.

MaybeDoctor Sat 21-Jan-17 08:12:20

I find ski maps impossible to read too, despite having a Duke of Edinburgh's award! grin

I am normally with my DH but find that looking at the signs is more helpful than getting the map out. Also trying to get to grips with the names of the pistes that you like, even if you are not sure how they all relate to each other.

Morzine - if you go up the Pleney bubble there are a couple of very gentle slopes heading down immediately below it. Just follow the crowds when you come out. Most people then head right, but go to the left, take a small chair lift up and that brings you to a very gentle children's 'bumps' area, great for beginners. Green/blue.

witchmountain Mon 23-Jan-17 00:59:52

You could find the piste map online so you get a bit more familiar with it in advance.

Perhaps start by working out if there are any places you don't want to end up, e.g. where the only route down is beyond your capability, or where you'd have to use a drag lift if you'd rather avoid them - the different types of lift all have their own symbol on the maps. If you know where to avoid then you can relax. Also if you don't like very steep bits bear in mind that 'mur' is French for wall and 'face' is like cliff face - they turn up in piste names quite often. 'Col' is another one - it means pass, but as a snowboarder I find it generally translates as 'hideous narrow flat path with a sheer drop to one side'.

Sometimes it's hard to tell which direction the pistes go on the map. Look out for arrows which they use when it would impossible to tell otherwise. Also look at where the lifts are, i.e. pistes go down towards the bottom of lifts and down away from the top of lifts.

Also sometimes the map just doesn't seem to represent reality very well and until you ski it you won't be able to join it up in your head. Often the plateaux where lots of lifts and pistes meet are like this. Just get the map out and check if you need to. I do quite often because I can never remember routes until I've done them. I do find it useful to memorise the names of the various parts of the resort because then it's easier to follow the signs without having to check the map because you know that you want to go towards so-and-so bit of resort/bubble etc.

Also - good lesson to get the kids involved, depending on their ages? Then they can spot signs etc.

taptonaria27 Mon 23-Jan-17 09:23:15

Thanks, that was really useful advice, think I need to pay a lot more attention than I usually do! I always start our trip saying I'm going to buy then just go where I'm told!
I seem to have a better recollection of restaurants and cafes (I'm driven by my stomach!) so I'll try and relate which ones are on which runs

PatriciaHolm Mon 23-Jan-17 11:40:03

Get the Portes Du Soliel app as well which will tell you what runs are open etc, as well as maps of runs and restaurants.

MaybeDoctor Mon 23-Jan-17 11:51:58

bear in mind that 'mur' is French for wall and 'face' is like cliff face - they turn up in piste names quite often. 'Col' is another one - it means pass, but as a snowboarder I find it generally translates as 'hideous narrow flat path with a sheer drop to one side'.

That is really useful info, I had never thought to read piste names in that way.

Yes, the app is a good idea - some of them show you where you are via GPS.

witchmountain Mon 23-Jan-17 13:15:31

MaybeDoctor sadly I never see any marmots or bilberries on their namesake pistes (Marmottes, Myrtilles)!

I second getting the app, or for resorts that don't have a good one, bookmarking the web page with the live lift and piste opening info.

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