Tag Archives: Avalanche Course

Opportunities present in a dry December

The driest December in this area since measurements began in 1864 created new challenges for a mountain guide like myself. I could have behaved like Chicken Little and believed the end was near, or rather taken advantage of those conditions. The foehn episode that dried the northern Alps in November, coated the southern Alps with a lovely layer of fresh powder. Living close to that main divide here in Verbier, my clients and I profited from the situation, ski touring and heliskiing in the south, and hiking and climbing in the north. For those who enjoy being outside no matter the weather and conditions, I've found it so rewarding to share these mini adventures with you. Thank you! The following 20 pictures show some of our days together on skis, skins and foot, enjoying what mother nature provides.

Winter!

October snows, leading to November snows, leading to December sun! Conditions are excellent at altitude, resembling prime alpine conditions of spring time. A stable snowpack in the high mountains has stuck to many of the icey faces that often don't see snow until spring. Isolated areas, protected from the November Foehn winds, give rise to primo conditons for steep skiing in boot top powder. For those of you who have heard about the ISTA method of avalanche training, I am a certified ISTA instructor, offering group and private avalanche courses. After spending a few days with me, talking about snow metamorphism and slope analysis, you will feel more capable to understand and analyse the untracked slopes you want ski. This gorgeous weather is forecasted to be with us for another week, when this high pressure system should weaken, allowing more humidity to make its way onto the continent. Have fun skiing that boot top pow!

Alps Winter 2016 Start

It rained at my house here in Verbier @1600m all day and turned to snow early this morning. 20cm of wet snow lays around me now, and looking at the data for Attelas @2700m with 45cm of new snow, leads me to believe winter has arrived. Yeehaw!
Verbier_Town_new_Snow-10

Verbier, November 21, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-11-21 at 07.09.10

Automatic measurement of 45 cm of fresh snow on Attelas

The forecast is calling for real cool temperatures over the next few days. Precipitation should peter out through the weekend, with another front from the NW passing through Wednesday. I'm guessing Televerbier will open next weekend. This autumn in the Alps gave us a fine, extended, indian summer, providing lots of opportunities to bike, climb, sail and hike. I hope you were able to profit from it, enjoying that fine feeling of contact with Mama Nature through movement and touch. My rehab gave me lots of excuses to work on strength and flexibility through sport.
Biking above Verbier, November 18, 2015

Biking above Verbier, November 18, 2015

The knee is feeling great, ready for more fun in the snow. Wanna go for a skin this morning? There's lots planned for this coming winter and next summer. I hope I get a chance to share some of these experiences with you. From Avalanche Courses, Off-Piste around Verbier and neighboring little resorts, to Ski Safaris, Haute Route and Greenland Heliskiing, there will be lots of opportunity to share and learn from each other. Next summer's planning is well under way for fun alpine climbs up and down this Alpine Chain. Send me an email or give me a call to book a private trip or join a group with myself or one of the fine guides working with me.

Avalanche Course

We had a fun day in the snow Saturday. A snow pit analysis on the slopes of Mt.Gele revealed lots of facets under the Sahara sand from the foehn event before this last snow fall. We skied some powder lines on soft grass, and even dipped into the lovely Vallon D'Arbi. As the sun set, we buried a few transceivers, highlighting the difficulties of searching and skiing in the dark! It is raining now in Verbier, snowing from 2200 meters (Ruinettes). The forcast calls for colder temperatures tonight, then snow to the valley floors tomorrow. It does not look like we will get much fresh, but this rain may be a good thing for us, creating a real solid base for the coming winter. Wednesday could be a superb day for skiing, before the next front moves in Wednesday evening.
Sunset skin over Col des Mines

Sunset skin over Col des Mines