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Fairy Meadows Post… Finally! – April 2 to 9 2011 (Sort of)

April 20, 2011

It finally arrived. The bloody trip we had to book a year in advance, sort out a food menu with Will (no dairy, never enough food) and go shopping with the Rubbermaid Nazi (Trev). Before we even got to the heli pick up we were stuck in a 6hr traffic wait due to an accident on the highway. Things were not shaping up too well. Fortunately it was snowing and conditions looked like they were going to be Epic, we made the pick up and the first three days up at the hut were deep with a great combination of alpine and tree skiing. Unfortunately I had the to end the trip on day three due to a family emergency…  soTrev and Will stayed… and I only have 3 days of photos for you.

Trev was nice enough to get this photo of my ski pole… in the white room

Trev shreds what turns out to be an icefall…..

The skier highway….

Another skin track shot……….

and the rest……


1:20k Topomaps of BC!

March 24, 2011

Details… I like them. So I like 1:20k topographic maps. Yeah you can get by with the government standard 1:50k but you’ll probably have no idea what peak you’re standing on or you can be like my ski touring partners and just turn up totally unprepared without a map and hoping for clear weather everyday.

After some searching I’ve found a source for decent 1:20k maps for the entire province (BC that is). Ordered two for my upcoming Fairy Meadows Hut Trip in April. The maps look like…. maps (wow, I know) full of useful contour lines, peak names and terrain features. They are also full of a bunch of useless information. Do I really need a box on the side telling me how far it is to Castlegar or Abbotsford. Really, of all the places in the Province why the hell do I need the distance to Abbotsford.

Anyway…. 1:20K Topos are available at The Canada Map Store for twenty CAD.

Saas Fee Switzerland – March 12 to 15 2011

March 19, 2011

Couples weekend????? Well sort of. Eric and Jenny from Stockholm were off to Saas Fee for a week and with nothing better to do (is there anything better than skiing with friends?) Monster and I headed out for 3 days of skiing, eating and socialising. The food was Swiss (um yeah…), skiing average and drinks….. Disaronno on the rocks. Wow.

Lisa and I had one day on our own to ski and I was hoping to take her out for some ski touring on her christmas set up (some new K2’s with Marker Tours).  But we couldn’t see shit.

Glaciers and low visibility do not mix…..

The next two days were much better visibility with a bluebird monday (30cms of fresh)  and a lightly snowing tuesday. A great time ripping around the mountain and eating in the Vernisage Berghaus was had.

Pentes De L’Hotel Chamonix – Feb 28th 2011

March 4, 2011

Wake up late, convince moody ski partner that the skiing will definitely be worth it, wait in an excessively long line to get up Brevant……… AND still manage to get fresh tracks on 5 laps of the Pentes De L’Hotel area.  Not exactly bottomless stuff but great pow skiing in an area that sorely needed it.

In and out weather, 40cms of fluff…… William

Weather, Courmayeur and Pete – Feb 27th 2011

March 3, 2011

After the sunny weather and my solid neck tan from yesterday (Feb 26th, previous post) Will and I headed over to Pete’s hood Courmayeur to escape the socked in weather system that enveloped Chamonix. The original plan was ski the Capucin Couloir off the Col du Tacul but you can only do what weather permits, and in Chamonix the weather was no good. It’s a well known fact that due to the Mont Blanc Massif the two places have very different weather systems and sure enough we arrived through the Mont Blanc tunnel to a little fresh snow and much better visibility than Chamonix. Weather was in and out all day providing glimpses of decent visibility but not enough to get out and stretch the legs with a tour. So off we went following Pete in to the white, skiing a few of the classic off piste areas of Courmayeur. Conditions were pretty decent, about 20cm of new stuff freshening up a very crusty base. In some of the areas a decent amount of wind blow in made for good turns. P H O T O S………

Will and Pete creating some fresh tracks…..

Pete and the seemingly long ski poles….

Following the summer road back through the park…

Col du Chardonnet west facing (Chamonix) – Feb 26 2011

March 1, 2011

Back to Chamonix after just over a month and guess what???? NO SNOW!

Well I lie, apparently there was about 15cms of snow earlier in the week that didn’t bond too well and just blew away. Will and I thought it would be a great idea to ski a west facing couloir near the Col Du Argentiere (Brilliant I know… west facing after a month of no snow and high temps) so we headed off………….. and got lost in one of the Rognons Glacier crevasse fields. F U N. Yep turns out a massive serac fall (it looked like an avalanche pile only it was solid ice) took out the traverse toward the south east side of the Argentiere Glacier. A little route finding later we thought let’s scrap those plans and headed for the much more accessible Col du Chardonnet to ski down the west facing glacier and the lower couloirs.

Col du Chardonnet….

We skinned up the lookers left hand side to just below the col and then skied back down the right hand side before hitting the larger couloir just below the tongue of the glacier. Great views and a nice sun tan. Snow wasn’t great but the day out was.

Will admires the view (Argentiere and Rognons Glaciers) on the skin up…..

Do I ski with rednecks?

Our markings….

We went up, down and all zee way around…..

Alagna…. great wine – Feb 19 to 21 2011

February 24, 2011

Last weekend we spent three days in Alagna. Italian it turns out is very easy to learn… Ciao Bella, grazi and prego is all you’ll ever need.


I was pretty pumped for this trip and after 40+cms the week before I was expecting blower conditions. Instead a massive warming spell after the snowfall left us with marmalade overlying rocks. Pretty much the entire Monterosa massif is south facing.  On the positives the wine was cheap, food even cheaper and meeting Michele Cuchi (ski guide, polizei, B&B owner, Mountain Rescue Chief and purveyor of all that happens in Alagna) was excellent. Perhaps it’s worth another trip back when snow isn’t at a premium. Oh and that London to Milan flight route… Ciao Bellas




-My solid double ejection on the first day

-Italian ski fashion

-Wine and food