Category Archives: Off Piste Skiing

What a Winter

So much skiing and so little time to write about it. What a winter it’s been so far. The people I have been skiing with have been so open to so much adventure in such amazing and changing conditions. Chris was so stoked to ski glacial powder in -17C. Alex and I got back up Mount Lollitop for a big day out. Bobby and I were psyched to ski some of the fine couloirs in the Val d’Anniviers, untracked, 2 weeks after the last snow storm. And that’s straight off the lift! With Franco and his boys, I felt like I was back in Hawaii, riding the huge wave of Combe d’Orny on my snowboard. What amazing g-forces felt, arcing turns through deep, untracked powder, from the top of the Trient Glacier to the forest trails below Champex Lac. It was awesome watching the Hartley’s kids tear down a 45 degree Arpette couloir in the morning, then follow me, perfectly, one at a time, at the right time, down another wild couloir into the Val Ferret, with chamois and deer bouncing along the sheer cliff we hugged. And with friends, wonderful Fi, and Steve and Cherries, and Marie-Lou. So fine, so fine, you all. Thank you!!!

Winter started will a Big Bang, got hot, snowed again, dried up, snowed again then got glacial. It’s just turned mild and is forecasted to snow again. The Vermont Boyz are arriving and will certainly be missing our minus 17’Cs from last week. But with a little dump tonight, they could enjoy deep powder without too much skinning.

Here’s some photos with some stories…

Winter Starts in Verbier

For me, yesterday was the first real day of Verbier side country. The lifts opened to Ruinettes at 9:45. It was a classic day, so similar to those years when it dumped all of December and January, and Ruinettes was the only thing open. Lots of local folks up there wearing smiles ear to ear. The powder was deep. I was happy to be on the Dark Sides, with 128mm under foot. We did a few fabulous runs to Verbier, then headed all the way to Chable. POWDAH!!!

Looks like it’s gonna keep snowing for a while… The forecast is for storm force winds Friday, accompanied by more than 30cm of new snow for the Lower-Valais (us!).

Skiing with Chris

I’m kinda at a loss for words at this point. The days are blending into a (very) cold smoothy, filled with wild fruit and adventures. Skiing off piste with Chris these past two days heightened my being on these slopes, who chose on day one to ski from Bruson, all the way to the Val Ferret, then through herds of Ibex and Chamois on day two. I’m glad I took these photos to share with us and keep these mind’s images alive…

The Avi danger is down to level 2. There really are no bad layers in the snow pack to speak of. The warm ground is our only concern now. These creep and glide avalanches can go at any time of the day and night. And since the whole snow pack slides, it is very impressionable. Swiss Meteo is forecasting temperatures to drop even  more by Saturday. Expect temperatures to go below -25 @ 3000 meters with NE winds blowing at 55km/hr. Get those mittens ready!

Perfect mid-winter Freeride conditions in Verbier

With the avalanche hazard down to level 2, freeride conditions in Verbier are outstanding. Every day has delivered new and exciting descents down hidden valleys and deserted towns. The snow is layered thick on chalet roofs. Rock, stumps, cliff bands and glaciers are all blanketed with a wonderfull thick coating of frosty snow. Launching off little jumps to help change ski direcetion is de rigueur right now. It’s mid winter in December!

Here are a  few shots of the past week…