Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Its all been a bit hectic here at offpisteskiing HQ, with the arrival of Junior number 2 eating up pretty much any spare time (and all the non-spare time too).

Despite this winter 2014 is shaping up to be very busy again, with requests flying in thick and fast. For a look at what is on offer check the courses page on our main website. I am very excited to be heading back to the Lofoten islands in Arctic Norway again - for a taste of the magic have a look at Nick Mason's fantastic photo album here. Don't forget to check out more of his work at www.summitphotographs.com.

Here is a taster:

Meanwhile the usual spate of pre-season videos have started rolling in - stay tuned for our favourites...

On a different note I would strongly suggest a read of this article in Powder Magazine. It is very US-centric but raises some important points, I agree with a lot of what Mike Douglas says in this, particularly with respect to no-one giving the mountain any time to settle after a storm. Food for thought for the coming winter?

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

The 'data' conundrum

2 events the other afternoon set me thinking. First I spent quite some time creating archive files on my computer for lots of old information about various things "which may come in useful at some point". Shortly afterwards, on my way back from the post box, I passed 2 middle aged men who had just stepped off their mountain bikes at a café in town, bristling with shiny armour and more than one 'teletubby-cam'.

Which made me wonder: with storage options in Terabytes accessible to all (not to mention the mighty 'cloud'), super-fast-access-everywhere internet connections and cheap-enough-for-anyone POV cameras are we being caught up in a whirlpool of 'record everything' and 'share everything'?

It is too easy to keep everything now - where in the past you would notice boxes of 'stuff' stacking up in the garage, folders and sub-folders are barely noticeable, but how often do we actually need to go digging for the contents?

As for the 'record & share everything' lifestyle I am in a dilemma: as a professional it is great for me to be able to show photos and videos of what I and my clients get up to, I know for sure it has helped lure new business my way, and an internet and social media presence is almost obligatory in this day and age. I also know that over the years I have found fellow professionals heading out to a spot I had blogged about the day before with their clients (ie getting a free ride off the back of my homework), and this has changed my approach to a slightly more measured (wait until conditions have gone) blogging frequency at times...

But do we really need to capture every moment of our life for posterity? And what ever happened to just living in the moment, and enjoying each minute as it comes and then passes again? Are we too focussed on recording to actually enjoy the moment to the full? My friend Will was a perfect example of this - not counting the success of his days out by the number of Likes on the 'blue book' but simply by how much he and his friends had smiled - it used to frustrate me that he never took a camera out (ie I never got any photos taken of me) - in retrospect the images you really remember are the ones that stick in your head, the ones that don't need any prompts to bring back a 'warm glow'.

Anyway, enough pondering - dates are now in the diary for next winter's courses:

Off Piste Introduction - 3 Valleys - 11-18 Jan 2014 Info here
Off Piste Improvers - Grimentz - 18-25 Jan 2014 Info here
Off Piste Improvers - Andermatt - 8-15 Feb 2014 Info here
Maurienne Valley Steep Coaching - 22 Feb - 1 Mar 2014 Info here
Freeride Chamonix - 8-15 Mar 2014 Info here
Steep Vanoise - Brides-les-Bains- 17-21 Mar 2014 Info here
Lofoten Ski Adventures - 31 Mar - 10 Apr Info here

Don't hesitate to get in touch for more information!

The faithful few are still getting turns in up high, last weekend however I donned the lycra to join the current cycling 'vogue' for a 2 day blitz around the Tour du Mont Blanc. Yes, we did pick the hottest weekend of the year so far (typical). Yes I did lose 4 Kg in fluids (not good). Yes I did have fun (I think), though I still favour the 'pedal up an HC col, have a good coffee and some food then freewheel home' option as opposed to stringing them together...

Feeling fresh on the morning warm-up up the Petit St Bernard (the smiles were less noticeable later on after battling headwinds down the Aosta valley then slogging up the monster 35 km climb to the Grand St Bernard...):