Coldly weird

Guillaume Saenz, a Pyrenean skier who is now confined in the Landes region, reflects on the strange season which he has lived in this part of the world. Absurd snowfalls, hot winds, crazy temperatures, an already somewhat stressful situation before a good big dose of anxiety showered all hopes.


October for a skier, is a bit like a 23rd December for a 10 year old kid, one is nearly there but it is taking an eternity . This year, October in the Pyrenees felt good, the weather changed and the summits turned white. And, as each year, the best ski films came out at that time, a way of making us really fidgety. But how could one imagine that the month would resemble a month of January in Japan…

Guillaume Saenz


Hardly time to get the gear back out, the weather forecast was going crazy. In the space of about ten days, more than a metre of snow had fallen without a base and as from an altitude of 1200 metres … « But what is going on? ! Where shall we go ? ! Are you sure its doable ? » The situation was strange for that time of year.

Guillaume Saenz skieur: Pablo Mourasse

Guillaume Saenz skieur: Jérémy Gey

Guillaume Saenz skieur : Pablo Mourasse


But there we were, the dream was too beautiful and our enemy, the south wind, was invited to the party. Hard to return to reality. The amount which fell in November was such that certain resorts opened while hoping that, the true, winter was rapidly arriving. After having profited from conditions worthy of the month of February, we were now in December with spring conditions ! And we were there to benefit from this cream which all skiers crave.

Guillaume Saenz skieur : Pablo Mourasse


The days pass each one resembling another and, at the end of January, doubt sets in. The monstrous anticyclone doesn’t appear to want to shift and, to the west of the Pyrenees, we feel it. With an ISO bar at 4 000 since the beginning of the month and virtually no precipitation, the snow was beginning to be seriously lacking below an altitude of 20000 metres. Finding something to ski was becoming a real headache. An then, above all, morale was affected after a two month wait for a fall of snow.

Guillaume Saenz Pic du Ger


What if there really wasn’t going to be a winter this year in the Pyrenees ? That was the question that some people were asking themselves considering the forecast for the future. Almost no precipitation and very high temperatures. The high altitude itineraries that one usually takes in April / May were no longer feasible – like the Fourche gully at the Ossau where the snow cover was very feeble for the time of year.

At that moment in time, we didn’t have much hope for the rest of the season. We hoped without much conviction that there would be big snowfalls in March and April for spring skiing. We had to accept it and we could always hope to go abroad to finish the season in style ! Norway … why not?

Guillaume Saenz


There were still three good months before having to store the skis away and it had begun to snow again a bit in the Pyrenees ! Even though the thermometer was yoyo-ing, there was hope ! Except for the fact that the vicious virus invited itself to our beautiful mountains and rightly calmed us down.

I thought that it couldn’t be worse, after several days I understood that it always could be. We are now closed in and deprived from that which we love the most. The more the days go by the more the hope of going to make several last turns disappears. On the one hand, because we are not close to being able to get out of our lairs, and on the other because the weather continues to panic with temperatures in April worthy of a month of June. With this virus and this confinement, it is maybe the moment to step back and realise that the situation is super serious.

Guillaume Saenz

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