Greenland Heliskiing

We’ve just finished another outrageous season of heliskiing in west Greenland. Yikes! What a trip. The skiing here is just so outstanding, that after 13 years, I understand now that it’s an addiction. Obviously, having a heli at our disposal adds a lot to the experience, but while I’m floating through the powder towards the water’s edge, my sense of touch, directing my attention to my skis, is so distracted by my sense of sight to the water and islands below, that skiing here adds another whole new dimension to the experience. It’s a privilege to spend this time in this little village of Kangaamiut, getting to know these people and skiing down some of the most memorable runs of my winter. And a privilege it is, to ski with my clients, who every year, reflect what I see and feel about this place: the best skiing in the world. Come join us next year: April 18-24, April 25- May 1, and May 2-8, 2016.

Here are a few shots of our runs and time in Kangaamiut.

Haute Route- Chamonix to Zermatt

Back to back Haute Routes! On day one, Marnie and I went from the Grand Montets, over the Col du Passon, across the Tour Glacier, through the col superior du Tour, down the Trient Glacier, up through the Col des Ecandies, then down the Arpette valley to Champex. We spent the night in Verbier, then skied corn the next morning on the Marlene, corn off the SE face of Mont Fort, then on to the Prafleuri Hut. Then we did Dix, Pigne d’Arolla, Arolla, Bertol and down to Zermatt. What perfect conditions we had! The snow was brand new, super white crystals, laid down from the previous four day’s snow storm.  Living in Whistler certainly prepared Marnie for some of the hight gain each day, but I was happy to see her impressed with the vastness we live in here. Seeing the steep couloirs and faces to climb, her untrained eye was at first intimidated, but she soon felt comfortable once she had crampons on her feet and was in the thick of it. Hut life was super pleasant, meeting only a handful of people each evening, sharing the same desire to relax and travel up over these peaks and passes. Then I did a fun variant the past 4 days, traveling from the Valsorey Hut to Chanrion and then up and down to Arolla. The wildness of our own upper Val du Bagnes always impresses me and feeds that yearning to discover more of its nooks and crannies. Here are a few shots from the last few days…

Spring Steeps in Verbier

After lots of snow and high winds, these Alps are coated with a new white blanket of sparkling cream. It had gotten real dry, going from great spring skiing mid-April, to blackening snow and opening crevasses.

We skied off the summit of the other Bec yesterday, in strong NW winds. The north face was filled in like 20 years ago with spongey, grippy snow, making the steep and exposed upper slopes real playful. Alex and Roman started to grin ear to ear after they’d come to terms with the 300 meters of exposure, letting the skis ride over the fresh snow.

This is high time in the Alps for ski touring, safari, and haute route, and conditions are primed for some of the best in quite some time. The forecast is for beautiful blue skies and cool north east air for the next 2 weeks! I have one trip with space still available April 18-23. We will go to where conditions are best. The cost is 1’080.00 including guide fees and hut costs. Then Greenland again, April 28 – May 14 for the best skiing on the planet!

Here’s a few shots of yesterday’s two steep lines…

Discovery New and Old

Days and days of skiing, another line, another resort, another peak, and another valley. The challenge for me changes, with old clients down new wild lines I’ve never skied, and with wonderful new clients, down old lines I know and love.

After a superb 6 day trip into the Val d’Aoste, heliskiing in the Valgrisenche, then in the Freeride Paradise of the Monterosa area, I met 4 tough Englishmen who followed me up a peak in a storm. It should have been an easy skin, their first, but turned out to be so wild, as a fresh sou’wester blew in deep, fresh snow. They’d never done a kick turn, but survived the odysse with smiles, floating down deep powder on the calm, lee side. Then day two, after a suggestion to get high quickly with a heli, we dropped into one of my favourite couloirs above Verbier, coated with 45cm of excellent sponge. The joy I have, of taking such wonderful people to places they’ve never dreamed of, is something tough to describe. The challenge I have, to take a small group of friends into terrain they’ve never seen, is immensely rewarding, as I see them struggle at first, with the first turns of a narrow 45 degree couloir, then watch and see them adapt to their new environment, allowing gravity to do its thang, draw their skis in wide open arcs, effortlessly riding down the mountain, with huge grins of wonder on their faces. So fun!

After 20 plus years together, Rob and Jane again pushed me to find lines I’d never done before.  Our ski safari last week took us back into the Monterosa Ski area, between Alagna and Gressoney. We climbed through little cols and rode into big valleys. New views, so fresh for our eyes, stopped us in wonder as we gazed around us at the magical valley of Otro. We took the advice of local alpine guide Marco Zaninetti to find a high line in, skiing fresh powder down this seemingly endless valley. The day before, rappelling into the Malfatta, I teamed up with local guide Fabio, me down below, he above, helping our clients wiggle and rappel into a new couloir, into a new valley. So fun, all this discovery, with old friends and new.

From April 18, I’ll host another 5 day ski adventure and am looking for a few more to join us. The location will depend on conditions and people’s desires. The price will be around 1’080.00 including all guide fees, accommodation and lifts. The Haute Route is a bit crowded this time of year, though leaving out of sync from Chamonix could still make this a fun trip. The Bernese/Jungfrau area could be super nice, as could a romp through the Italian Grand Paradiso, drinking cappuccinos and eating fine Italian cuisine. So many options. Please contact me here to join in the fun adventure.