Friday, 29 January 2010

Jagged Globe Off Piste Improvers

This week was the Jagged Globe Off Piste Improvers course, based in Tignes les Brevieres. Changeable conditions kept me on my toes trying to find visibility and good conditions for the guys, and on the whole we managed to make the best of a tricky week..
Mark, Bridget, David, Andy, Alan and Adrian all came on leaps & bounds with their skiing, and we ticked off a host of classic lines: 3 Murs, Grapillons, Petite Balme North face, Telegraphe, Cairn, Spatule, East Face of Charvet, Arcelle, etc etc...

A few photos below:

Boot-packing into the Grapillons:

The reward:

Entry couloir to Petite Balme North Face:

Wild & windy:

A few more fresh tracks anyone?:

Friday, 22 January 2010

Off Piste Intro - Last day

Last day of the Jagged Globe Off Piste Skiing Introduction week today, with continuing good conditions - blue skies, cold temperatures, and great snow to be skied:




Fresh powder anyone?

Looking into the Vallon des Encombres from La Masse:

Thursday, 21 January 2010

Off Piste Intro - Part 2

Another fantastic day for the guys on the Off Piste Intro today - we started with a quick hike up to the Becca couloir:

After the steep entry this opened out onto some relatively untracked snow... perfect!

Alex nailing the first few turns:

Tom laying down some tracks:

Last nights snowfall didn't amount to very much, but has filled in a lot of tracks, and in places had drifted quite deep..

A quick trip up the Cime de Caron, and we dropped over into the Combe Sans Nom, with only 2 other parties tracks in there ahead of us. After a slightly wind-blown top section the rest of the run was perfect light powder, all the way back to the days chosen lunch spot - just before the short hike back to the orelle lifts...

Nice tracks:

There are still spaces left on our up-coming Off Piste Improvers courses, based in Tignes les Brevieres. For more details go to offpisteskiing or Jagged Globe.

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Off Piste Introduction course - 3 Valleys

This week is the first Jagged Globe Off Piste Introduction course of the winter, with 11 skiers split into 2 groups with myself and Neil Milne.

Conditions have been just about perfect, with 30cm of fresh snow on Sunday morning, and 2 days of blue skies to follow. So far I have been coaching Gavin, Gareth, Rowan, Andy and Steve, and the guys are all making good progress and getting to grips with the soft stuff...

Today we had first tracks down the top half of Les Avals - of course one of the down-sides of being a ski instructor is having to go first to check its safe..!

Steve getting in some tight turns:

Rowan ripping up the powder:

Andy and Rowan:

On the way out after a scenic picnic:

With more snow due on Wednesday night it looks like we are in for a good finish to the week, and this should also set things up nicely for next weeks Off Piste Improvers course in Tignes.

Monday, 18 January 2010

Glacier Skiing Safety

The full audio version of this film is now online:

Glacier Skiing Safety (full audio version) from Simon Christy on Vimeo.

Big thank yous to my co-producer, co-director, co-cameraman & co-editor (and provider of fine sarnies) Andy Perkins, along with Simon Abrahams, Tom Wilson-North, Emily Andrew, Miles Bright, Kath Murphy and the Compagnie du Mont Blanc.

Sunday, 17 January 2010

Alpine Guides coaching course

Last week I was over in Chamonix running the Alpine Guides off piste coaching course for 5 days. With soft snow on the ground and blue skies for 4 out of 5 days there was no shortage of powder to be had, and resorts were unbelievably quiet (even the Grands Montets on a powder day!!).

Day 1 at Le Tour, heading into the back bowls:

Fran shredding the powder:

Fran & Leila with some great tracks behind:

Speed rider at le Tour:

Day 2 saw us heading through the 'magic tunnel' to Courmayeur, and yet more powder, with a great run from the Arp cable car down to Dolonne.
The antique Arp cable car/sardine can:

Interesting tree on the way down:

Day 3 & 4 found us at a near-deserted Grands Montets, with some great fun in the trees low down on Wednesday, with fresh tracks round every corner, and a full-length Lavancher run (+ skin out to Pendant) and 2 runs from the top cable car on Thursday (literally walking on to the cable car each time - no reservation needed - amazing for a powder day!).

A slightly hazy view from high up the grands Montets:

On day 5 we headed to les Contamines for the classic Col de la Cicle ski tour - pictures to follow shortly...

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Early January round-up

Its been a busy week this week, with cold temperatures, but some beautiful clear days (for once!).
On Wednesday the predicted sea of clouds at 3000m turned out to be at 1500m and I emerged into a day of glorious sunshine and light powder with Andrew, the 2 Marks, Claudia, Delan & Nathan.

Nathan doing a great job in the soft stuff despite a broken toe strap:

That evening I was back up above Meribel with several hundred other instructors all trying to keep warm in -20 and dropping temperatures, for a torchlit descent to mark the Russian New Year - Nastrovye!!!

Lighting up:

On the way to the starting point - anyone know where we're going??:

On Thursday I met up with Harry and Pete in La Tania for a day of off-piste/intro to touring. With the clear skies set to cloud over mid-afternoon we made our way through the Courchevel lift system for the short skin up and over into Les Avals. The first pitches down gave perfect powder, with barely 10 other tracks in the whole place and this set the scene for the rest of the day:

We made a quick stop for coffee and a chat with Lionel at the Grand Plan refuge, and then headed off towards the start of the skin up to the Col des Saulces:

Pete and Harry approaching the Col des Saulces:

And more perfect light fluffy powder in the Combe des Roches - all the way back to Le Biol:

Harry and Pete at the bottom of the Combe des Roches

Yesterday I was in Tignes with James and Chris, dodging the weather and finding some fun powder on the steeo tree runs around laisinant and in the Fornet forest; off to Chamonix this evening for the Alpine Guides Off Piste Coaching week, and with 2 sunny days forecast, it looks like we should kick the week off in good style!

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Courchevel couloirs

After a hectic December it was nice to have a few days r&r before January kicks in, with an almost full schedule of off-piste coaching courses coming up (see here for more details).

On Sunday Ginny & I went over to Chinaillon/Le Grand Bornand to meet up with my sister & family. The snow conditions were great off piste, with soft snow down to 1200m even on South facing slopes, though the pistes lower down were a bit icey... We had a great ski with all the gang, with Tom & Matthew really starting to rock on their skis now (how long before they leave Mum & Dad behind??).

This morning I went out for a ski with Ginny, and with a quiet resort, fresh snow, and clearing skies it turned into a great morning. A couple of laps in Sous le Telepherique - untracked at the far end ('Couloir de l'Antenne'), then we swam our way out of the Grand Couloir and over into the Curé.

Ginny following my trench:

Nice scenery on the shoulder:

Ginny on the entry:

We found great powder (again) in the Curé, with most previous tracks well filled in with super-light powder, giving dreamy skiing all the way to the end:


Despite the 'poor' start to the season the couloirs have actually got a really good fill in them, and are no rockier than they ever get... Here's hoping for more runs like this this winter..!