Merry Christmas!

I wish you a cozy Merry Christmas, happy and content within you, surrounded by friends and family, whether they are close or afar, and lots of joy in the coming new year.

From our avalanche awareness course, to these past few days on split boards, the beautiful, sunny skies have given us ideal conditions for moving about in these mountains. The snow cover is thin, low tide indeed! But with expectations low, the reality of linking turns for 700 meters of vertical decent in boot top powder is pure joy, shared with happy free riders.

After half a day of lecture on the evolution and metamorphism of snow on the ground, we moved outside to skin over varied terrain and talk about route choices up and down, slope aspect, altitude, terrain, and snow pit analysis. My 6 students were so keen to absorb everything we talked about, creating a desire in me to add more and more stuff to the curriculum. Thanks to James for this link to an interesting article on what it means to be an avalanche expert. As my instructor Werner Munter once said, “Beware avalanche expert, the avalanche doesn’t know you are an expert.”

Most recently, I have been out riding with Duncan and his son on a snowboard. What a joy that has been! Thanks to K2 and their new Quicker system on the Ultra Split snowboard, I have been enjoying my passion for surfing at a level I couldn’t achieve before. The whole set up must be lighter than any other split out there today. (My client is on the Jones Carbon, which is renowned for being light, and it’s heavier than my K2.) This weight issue has been big deal for me, wondering if I would take my regular board or split. And the shape of this new board makes it by far the most forgiving and pleasant board to ride yet. It’s so quick and easy to go from ride to skin mode. I’m even breaking it apart for the traverse along the Cleuson lake to skate on the two sections!

We are in an intense episode of high winds from the south, the Foehn. If it does stop, we may see a few centimeters of snow. My finger are crossed! It will be dicey out there if it does snow substantially. The facetted snow we are skiing on now, will not offer much support for the weight of the new snow. Let’s hope for a big dump which will create spontaneous avalanches on all aspects before we can get there to trigger them ourselves.

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