Thursday, March 16, 2017
Sunday, March 05, 2017
Friday, March 03, 2017
The Grand St Bernard Monastery is right at the bottom bit of the red section on the avalanche danger map. This was to have been our goal. We were due to skin up the road and spend the night. A goal Marco and Laura and I had had in the diary for several months. Yet with an avalanche forecast like the one above the decision was simple. We needed a plan B. Instead we climbed the wonderful L'Arpille . Laura and Marco invited their friends Jess and Matt , both who were new to ski touring. The Arpille is a very good choice because it is both safe from avalanches and offers spectacular views.
Thursday, March 02, 2017
It continues to be grey and wet in the Chamonix valley caused by almost continuous Foehn winds . Yet the conditions in Italy have produced some of the best powder skiing I have seen in years. Chris Dovell and Lia Heisters joined me for three days. On our first day we skied the trees which lead down to the Petit St Bernard road, then down through the meadows in knee deep fluffy snow. The next day Chris and I explored Courmayeur. Chris has skied in Courmayeur a lot, but I still managed to find him some descents he hadn't made before. To be safe I asked him to throw 50 meters of Dymeena cord in his bag in case we got "Cliffed Out." Anyone stupid enough to be suckered into following our tracks thinking they would get good skiing would have got some amazing skiing , but a whole lot more too.
Sunday, February 19, 2017
Saturday, February 04, 2017
The first plan was a good one . It had been tried and tested a few times. It was called a "helicopter skiing safari." We would take off from Finhaut just over the Swiss boarder from Chamonix , fly to the Trient Plateau , ski down to Champex, pick up another flight and fly to [say] the Pigne d"Arolla , ski down into the village of Arolla and spend the night. The next day , after consulting the weather forecast and finding where the best snow was by talking to the helicopter base in Sion, we would fly to another peak and so on and so forth. A great formula, but, the issue was that there was no good snow. It had all been scoured away and making skiing on the glaciers untenable. With the group arriving the next day , the plan was unraveling. I needed another plan and I needed it quickly. I opened my contacts book and started phoning around the alps to see if anyone had any snow. I was lucky , I found snow and in addition managed to rent a dedicated helicopter for our group. Monday 30th January. 6.45am. We left Chamonix in two cars . Four hours later Peter David and I arrived in Piedmont at the village of Pietraporzio where we were greeted by Analdo the Mayor of the Village and the man who can arrange the helicopter permit. [Who was also to be our local guide.] Meanwhile the other cars occupants had not arrived. They had decided not to follow us but instead put blind faith in their cars GPS. The GPS had chosen the most direct route yet it had not figured out that this involved negotiating several alpine passes, the key pass being closed in the winter. They were eventually confronted by a barrier behind which there was a wall of snow. They were forced to backtrack to Turin. At mid day our helicopter turned up piloted by Roberto and landed in the car park at the back of the hotel.