Category Archives: Freeride

Fun on the Steeps

There was deep powder and glorious sunshine over the Christmas holidays. How nice for everyone who came. And came they did! It was very, very busy in town. Then everyone left and all the obvious off-piste was done! Skied! Tracked!

It’s been a month since our last snowfall. So finding fresh tracks is super rewarding. I’ve been guiding freeride skiing every day, finding nice stashes of powder low in the forests and deep in the shady couloirs. We’ve been going high into the mountains for great adventure too. With the avalanche risk so low, one can ski really steep terrain now.

I made another little video of Chris and I skiing a local couloir. Thanks for the footage of me Chris! And it has just snowed 15-30 cm in this part of the Alps, so we are back to a bit of fresh powder skiing!

Freeride Ski Tour above Verbier

You’ve got to love these Alpine ski areas in Switzerland, France and Italy for the super quick access to the wonderful Freeride Skiing terrain! Using the lifts and modern freeride skis, mounted with light ski touring bindings, one is quickly into the virgin powder.

Yesterday, we took the lift to Attelas, then toured on from there, quickly getting into some real nice powder for a couple of good runs. It’s still relatively thin, so one needs to be real careful not whack into the rocks hidden below. I put the 3-axis gimbal on again to get a little video of Gilles floating…

Early December Snow Conditions Update

We have good snow coverage now here in Verbier. At 1500 meters in town, we have 30 cm of compact snow. At 2000 meters we have 65cm of various layers. Above that, the wind and warm temperatures have filled couloirs and faces with snow. Because of these high temperatures, these layers of snow are bonding very quickly, which is unusual for this time of year. The avalanche risk should descend to level 2 out of 5 by tomorrow. The forecast is calling for bluebird weather for the next two days, and the two week forecast shows a depresion sitting over northern Europe, bringing a humid, westerly flow through to mid-December.

Verbier is now open all week, having opened for weekends a month ago. Here’s a 1 minute video showing what freeride conditions are like at present.

Another Ski Safari of Glaciers ‘n Couloirs

(Notes to self- Ski Safari X 2018)  Done. Stress flowing out now, as we ride the train home. We had the most amazing second day. And that, after a super fun, 2 heli drop ’round Verbier, starting high on the glaciers and finishing in the valley floor with the most superb couloir.

Marcus high on the Petit Combin, enjoying the second drop of the day.

Marcus high on the Petit Combin, enjoying the second drop of the day.

We started that second day directly off the chair lift at N#$%, no tracks anywhere, loving these little resorts, it was the left couloir, starting high on its right rib, dropping left into the little secondary couloir. I noticed Jane setting off a tiny slough, the crown @15cm, so not too much volume. 

Dark Couloir

It’s dark in this couloir, so the shot isn’t great, but the ambiance was.

Skiing to the valley floor.

Finishing in the valley floor.

We finished that run with a quick skin to gain a shoulder, then down through the alpage and back to the chair for our next ride. As the cloud lowers, feeding us a total whiteout, I find my way, gingerly, into that couloir under the high, north facing bowl, and yeehaw, what a ride!!! I’m a pin ball in the C machine, g-forces slapping me back and forth, up and down the sides of this couloir, caked with this deep winter’s snow. And our last couloir, which I thought would have too much southeast in it, =slight surface crust, was the best! That 15cm ripped out in big pockets, sending slough managment front and center, adding a whole new dimension to our last ripping run. It wasn’t planned, this couloir safari, but it really has made my addiction to this free falling, pin balling, couloir skiing way too insatiable.

Lowering over the last little bit of waterfall ice...

Lowering over the last little bit of waterfall ice…

Rob and Jane all smiles...

Rob and Jane all smiles…

Yowzah!

Yowzah!

Powder Skiing

Such hard work this…

Skiing down.

See ya…