Spring 2000 Greenland Heli Skiing | 2003 Trips: Nov.15-Opening Day | Nov.30 Snowboard Randonée

Dec.1 Verbier Off-Piste | Dec.4 Back Side | Dec.10 Heli-Boarding | Dec.20 Petit Combin

Dec. 28 Ice Climbing Mauvoisin Dam | April 29 - May 11 Spring-Time Alpine Games

June 1-7 Sailing Croatia | July 15 Ober Gabelhorn | October 10 Sailing Croatia |

last update: Tuesday, December 16, 2003

Tuesday, December 7,2003

I have moved to a new format. If you have arrived here from an external link, please go to this new page to view current conditions in Verbier. It will be easier to browse the archives of past trips and weather data and there is a possibility for people to communicate through a "commenting" system.

Sunday, December 7, 2003

I'm thinking about a new format for current conditions. What do you think?

Friday, December 5, 2003

Look, look! We went south, and found winter. (big)

Monday, December 2, 2003

The season is starting up in spells of snow fall and melting. We have had 2 substantial snow falls in the past month. The Foehn has been prominent, dumping huge quantities of snow in the south and heating these neighboring valleys with its hot winds. We headed over to Wiler to check out opening day there, and found some nice powder.

The forecast calls for more Foehn until Thursday, then the skies will clear and temperatures will remain mild.

Saturday, November 8, 2003

We opened for skiing yesterday. Lac des Vaux was a real blast in fresh powder. It's a good time for old skis and boards, as the rocks are well hidden, yet in large supply! A lot of last week's snow has melted. We have had warm temperatures this past week, and more mild temperatures are forecasted for next week. The rock climbing is ideal now on long, sunny, pulti-pitch routes.

Saturday, November 1, 2003

That big dump forecasted for 2 weeks ago hit hard in the East and other areas. We did not get much here in Verbier. The last two weeks has seen 3 lows pass over us, adding a substantial base of 70 cm above 2000 meters, and probably 1+ meter above 3000. The forecast is calling for warm temperatures high in the mountains, which would set this snow to a firm shell over the ground. It is a good start to the season...

Sunday, October, 19, 2003

The forecast is calling for a lot of rain, and snow above 2000 meters tomorrow. If it happens, this could signal a good start to the winter season. Getting a thick layer of snow on the ground in one shot, means the ground is well insulated. There would be less of a difference of temperature between the ground and air, meaning less angular crystal growth at the beginning of the season. These angular crystals are the buggers that create instability in the snow pack, leading to avalanches...
Tuesday is forecasted to be fairly calm, with cooler temperatures and snow to 1000 meters and lower from Wednesday. Let's get those fat sticks tuned and waxed!

Sunday, October 12, 2003

The clear air of fall is on us now. The contrast of alpine snow and golden grass is peaking. We received a few centimeters of snow last week, and the forecast is calling for clear weather over the next 5 days.

Croatia was fantastic again. I am still so amazed at how "real" Croatia is. There are no huge tourist traps on these tiny islands. Nature is in your face. The ports are authentic, leaving you wishing you could take a picture every step of the way. People are friendly with out being fake. Sailing in the off season means there are only a few other boats and good strong winds. We sailed from Rogoznica to the Kornati National Park on a Grand Soleil 46.6. We had winds of force 3-6 from just about every direction, making for some very fine sailing.

Tuesday, September 9, 2003

It is raining in Verbier today. This is a welcome sight for our dry ground and glaciers. We climbed the North Ridge on the Zinal Rothorn (large photos) Friday. The conditions were ideal, with a bit of fresh snow on the glacier to make the cramponing comfortable. The snow on the Boss near the summit made for some just slightly harder moves.

The forecast calls for cool, wet weather through Thursday. From Friday, it should clear up and be warm.

Monday, August 25, 2003

The weather has changed, clouds and rain! Oh joy... The forecast is calling for more cool weather for next week, though it will be dryer.

We did a fun "Haute Route" on foot two weeks ago. It has been quite some time since I did this on foot, and I truly enjoyed it. The glaciers and wildlife are quite intense this time of year.

We then returned to Croatia, sailing from Dubrovnik on a real nice Jeaneau Sun Odyseey 40 for 7 days.

Thursday, August 7, 2003

The warm weather has persisted. 0 degrees has remained at or above 4000 meters, and is expected to do so for the next 7 days. The afternoon thundershowers are rare and isolated, though there should be a higher tendency today. The hills are looking steely gray as more ice shows bare under the melting snow. It is a great time to be high in the mountains, but one does wonder where the next rock fall will happen.

There have been reports of big and small rock falls in areas of relative stability. The Drus lost more of the area around the Bonatti Pillar and the first 2 pitches of Anouk on the Petit Jorass fell off. Prudence...

Sunday, July 20, 2003

The heat of the past month has crept into the permafrost at altitude. 0 degrees has remained at approximately 4000 meters, melting the ice that bonds everything permanently together at this altitude. A critical zone of instability from around 3500-4000 meters has developed. Rock falls of previously solid rock routes are possible, as happened on the Matterhorn last week.

A large section of the normal "Hornli" route fell near the second couloir. The route was "closed" for 3 days, as the area was cleaned by a few guides from the Zermatt Guide's Office. It is now possible to again climb this route.

We were in the Zermatt area last week, and traversed the Ober Gabelhorn via the Arben Route. The weather was perfect, making for some fine rock climbing at 4000 meters in T-shirts!

Thursday, June 19, 2003

Summer is here, and with it new activities. The weather got hot, real quick, this Spring, leading us quickly into rock climbing. We even got as far as Croatia for week's sailing. If the weather this past month is any indication of this summer's weather, it will certainly be one of the best for alpine climbing.

This past winter can be characterized for its abundant quantities of beautiful, sunny days. We started with a solid snow pack in November, then a huge snow fall the first week of February. We skied for weeks to the valley floors. It was such a joy to again ski these classic runs from the mountain tops to the valley floors.The first week of March saw another small snow fall. But in between, the weather was stunning!

The result, of course, is a dry environment. The few thunder showers we've had this month, have helped the grass turn green. But the state of the glaciers is another story. We will certainly see larger crevasses and bergschrunds this summer. These bridges (or lack thereof) may well be the crux of many an alpine climb. But viewing the bookings for our guides for this summer, it appears most of you are already excited about climbing that special peak, away from the hustle and bustle of silly-vazation.

Friday, April 4, 2003

We have had 2 days of powder skiing after weeks of spring skiing. 20-40cm fell on these Alps Wednesday. The weather changed from spring to summer. Temperatures are well below the seasonal average, and with the north wind blowing, it feels even colder.The forecast calls for good weather for the next few days. At 2000 meters, the temperature should remain at around -4 degrees.

We had a nice day at Champex on the boards Thursday, and skied down the Val d'Arpette today.

Wednesday, Mar 26, 2003

The weather has been absolutely splendid. We have been having a blast, skiing super nice corn snow these past 2 weeks. Just a recap of what it's been like: it snowed 1.5 meters the first week of February. It remained clear and cold until the 1st of March, when it snowed 35cm up high. It again snowed 15cm high up on the 6th. Since then, it has been clear!

Lately, there has been a northerly system. That's cool weather, and has kept the snow in great shape for spring snow. There is a change forecasted. It has warmed up substantially, with +2 at 2000 meters. The foehn may blow Friday, bringing variable weather for Saturday and Sunday.

Wednesday, Mar 12, 2003

Again, it has been difficult to find the time to update the site. The skiing has been wonderful. 3 weeks of superb weather reigned since the snows of early February. We had a clean base to the valley floors, stable avalanche conditions, and blue skies to make all sorts of fun lines possible. Just when we needed it, it snowed 30cm on Sunday, then again, 20cm on Thursday, a week ago.

I had, quite simply, the best week ever, in these Alps. We skinned and helied our way from the Trient Glacier, all the way past Interlaken and back. We skied in the fresh 30cm of powder every day. And I was able to touch 2 descents I have dreamed about doing for years. I have created a slide show with tons of photos, and a large version for fast connections and big screens.

The forecast still calls for stable weather for the next 5 days. It has been extremely warm, feeling a lot like April. The spring snow is in fine shape on slopes from SE to W. Yet nice powder can be found on the northern aspects.

Wednesday, Feb 12, 2003

So many things have happened, it has been very difficult to update the site. Close to 2 meters of snow fell last week in this valley. The avalanche danger went to level 4 on February 3 (though the SLF in Davos had the level still at 3 for this area!) It remained there for 3 days as it continued to snow. By Friday, February 7, the snow had compacted and bonded under its own weight to bring the avalanche level down to level 3 (though the SLF still had it at 4).

Needless to say, the skiing has not been better since the storm of '99. We have been skiing deep snow to the valley floors. In this valley, the snow fell with no wind. Neighboring valleys had more wind and weaker sub-layers, allowing huge avalanches, in some places, to rip out large sections of forest.

Tuesday, a week ago,1 meter of fresh snow was on the ground. The skiing was very challenging, as the pack was "upside down" (the presence of air between the new snow and old, meant that your fat skis plunged through the entire pack and came to a heel-releasing stop).

Wednesday, we skied at Champex, where 4 wonderful people lost their lives in an avalanche. It was sickening for me to read the local papers and listen to reporters telling the general public how these people were wrong to be skiing and get caught in an avalanche. How great you reporters must feel having not been caught yourselves in this slide. How better you are because you were home playing with your zee-zee while we were skiing. When will you get it through your teeny, tiny heads that the mountains are mountains and are dangerous places to be. People and animals, trees and rocks, will forever be killed and uprooted in the mountains. It is not because I am better than you that I am still alive.

My soul goes out to those close to those lost in this avalanche. Remember them with the smiles they certainly wore most of their lives.

Thursday, the snow pack had settled substantially. We were still skiing through waist deep snow, down through some of the most amazingly beautiful places ever!

Friday, we finished the Coombs Steep Camp with a heli off the Petit Combin. The winds were still hitting hard at these higher elevations, making for some superb ambiance.

Saturday, we skied from Col des Gentiannes to Le Chable, then up to Bruson and back down to Le Chable. The powder was still good on anything from NW to SE. And on Sunday, we tellemarked the fabulous Plamproz Couloir in powdah!

The forecast calls for clear, cool weather for the next few days. The Avi danger is at level 2. It does seem a bit like paradise around here now, with all this snow...

Friday, Jan 24, 2003

Ok, I'll stop complaining. We got it too, here in Verbier. It snowed last night, giving us a real fun snow pack to ski on. We had a solid 35cm on a soft base, heading into Barry's Bowl, at the end of the day.

The forecast is for a real nice day tomorrow. Sunday should be nice, then another front may move through.

Thursday Jan. 23, 2002

It has been snowing for 3 days. Here in Verbier, we've had all of 10cm!?! I was in Chamonix for the day, and found 40cm of fresh powder!

The forecast is for it to continue to snow on north side of the Rhone, then get sunny tomorrow and Saturday- Sunday. Colder...

The danger is at level 3 and will probably stay there for a few days.

Friday, Jan 17, 2003

Conditions change rapidly. No new snow for 2 weeks means lots of old tracks and wind blown snow. We flew high today, then skinned for 1.5 hours to get to the fun stuff. Yesterday, we skinned 4 hours to get to where we wanted to go. I was totaly shocked by a class 3 avalanche which I set off as I gained the ridge.

Tuesday, January 7, 2003

Conditions rapidly improved 4 days ago. 30-60 cm of snow fell in this, and neighboring valleys. Today, the sun shown down. The temperature dropped to -15! Blue Bird!

We put on the skins and headed into the Combe d'Allève. What a day!

The forecast is now calling for a nice morning tomorrow, then a weak system should go over us Thursday. It will remain cold. Friday sounds like a nice day.

Thursday, January 2, 2003


The skiing has improved dramatically. The few centimeters of fresh snow made for some real nice powder skiing Tuesday. The light came, then went, in the Gand Couloir de Monts de Sion.

The forecast calls for storm force winds today. "The force of the wind will be such that ridges and bumps will be cleared of snow." (Swiss Federal Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research Davos) They place the avalanche danger at level 4 today, in neighboring valleys. It will rain to 2000 meters this morning, then descend to 900 by tomorrow. We may get as much as half a meter of fresh snow...

Saturday, PM, December 28, 2002

The ice was super plastic here today! Yipee!!!

Saturday, December 28, 2002

It has been incredibly warm this whole month of December. The rain we had to 2400 meters, continues to influence where we ski. A crust from 2200 meters and down, plays a great role in our choice of ski itinerary. The snow above is a pleasure to ski.

The forecast calls for a strong foehn today, bringing snow to the south. The Foehn should cease this afternoon, bringing snow to other parts of Switzerland. This mild, stormy weather will persist for the next few days. The winds should turn from the SW. Monday will see a respite in this ugly weather.

Tuesday, December 24,2002

We rode off the Trient Glacier today, on fine grains. The snow surface is very variable after the rain Sunday to 2400 meters. The boards went well in the Val d'Arpette, as did the fat skis.

The forecast calls for some clouds... and some sun... and maybe a couple of snow flakes...


Saturday, December 21, 2002

The forecast is a bit grim. Sunday, we can expect rain to near the top of Attelas. This warm weather is expected through Tuesday, when temperatures will start to come down. This month of December will certainly be recognized as one of the warmest on record...

Friday, December 20, 2002

After 30cm of fresh snow at the beginning of the week, the skiing has been very nice. A few people have been surprised by the isolated wind slabs here and there. The Avi danger was at 3, but came down to 2 today. We skied off the Petit Combin today. The snow and light was nice on the lower slopes...

The forecast calls for some warm temperatures and precipitation over the weekend, then clearing on Monday.

Saturday, December 14, 2002

A lot of the smaller lifts and other areas are opening. Tortin-Chassoure, Bruson, Champex... It's a nice morning...

Tuesday, December 10, 2002

The weather has been fine, at least in the eyes of those who do not crave fresh snow. We flew high today, to get to the soft stuff. What a magic world we live in!

The forecast calls for some clouds and a little snow over the next 2 days. The avalanche danger has come down to level 2.

Wednesday, December 4, 2002

Conditions continue to improve in the Alps. 35cm of fresh snow fell over the last 2 days. The riding was really quite nice today. Davos had the Avi danger at 3, but I noticed no activity. They have changed the forecast to level 2 for tomorrow.

The forecast is for some snow tomorrow, then nice for the next few days. It is cold, -6 at 2000 meters.

Saturday, Nov 23, 2002

Conditions have changed substantially. The foehn blew hard, creating isolated wind slab. These slabs are now hidden, in some places, under a few centimeters of snow. It's tough to isolate.

The forecast calls for more foehn from Sunday to Tuesday! Merde!!! The skiing is nice up high on the Mt.Fort, which is open Saturday and Sunday. During the week, only Attelas is open.

Thursday, Nov 21, 2002

The foehn is blowing hard today. The snow pack is getting hammered on certain aspects. Too bad, it was so nice! Snow quality is degrading, and avalanche danger is rising...

Wednesday, Nov 20, 2002

I skinned up Mt.Gele yesterday and skied its S-Couloir. For those of you who have skied this with me, you'll remember this 45 degree angle with a twist. Conditions are super. This is by far the earliest I've gotten into this line. The wall of Chasseure (Tortin) is in primo shape. The reason conditions are so good is because no avalanches have ripped out the snow pack. We have a good, solid base, unlike the depth hoar of previous seasons.

Saturday, November 16, 2002

The riding was really, very good yesterday!!!

Friday, November 15, 2002

It has been snowing and raining for the past week. This has created an excellent base, with dense, humid snow sitting on the ground, down to about 1800 meters. We are currently under a strong system from the SE to SW. This means the Foehn is blowing at times. The wind is blowing at more than 60km/hr at the St.Bernard Pass, and over 100km/hr at the Jungfraujoch. A look at the radar, shows heavy precipitation in the south, as well as far north. This is typical of the Foehn. This will be the first snow this year for these southern areas.

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