Friday, 19 August 2011

The power of snow

There is a magical quality to snow, it has the power to mesmerise & fascinate and brings out the inner child in most of us. It's flakes are infinitely varied & complex, and it changes landscapes with its transient beauty.

This video from New Zealand captures this feeling exactly:

Check out more of Ro Tierney's work here.

Sunday, 14 August 2011

3 Valley lift changes

Its all go this summer in the 3 Valleys - work is well under way in Courchevel on the construction of the new Plantrey chair with a fast 6 man chair replacing the fast-ish 4 man which had been in operation for 28 years!

Helicopter ferrying materials for the new lift:

Over in Meribel the top section of Burgin Saulire is being replaced with a new gondola as part of a 2-year plan (2012 will see the replacement of the 1st stage) - the new lift takes a line directly up the Tournier couloir with the top station next to the Saulire cable car station.

Talking of which I recently was sent a couple of archive photos of the Saulire:

You can clearly see the top station & pylon of the old lift coming up from the Meribel side which was subsequently moved down the hill with construction of Burgin-Saulire:

Elsewhere there is a brand new lift going in above Portette in Val Thorens with the top station right on the ridge between the Belleville valley and Orelle. No linking pistes are planned just yet but the lift will open up more runs on the Val T side, and should provide interesting off piste access to the Bouchet valley.

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Getting fit

After 3 months of work, moving house etc and not much time to get out in the mountains I decided enough was enough yesterday and went for a run to kick myself back in to action.
Creve Tete is a hill I have looked at almost every day for the past 5 years (you see it as you drive out of Bozel) but never been up, and there is a convenient loop you can do with bang on 1000m of ascent up a steady but steep path followed by a nice ridge run and a longer but gentler descent back to the car.

Good views of the Nielard:

And up the Belleville valley to Val T:

Looking across to the Cheval Noir - we skied this on last winter's Steep Vanoise week:

Atmospheric clouds on the ridge:

Managed to nail the climb in 1 hour & 20, not quite up to Killian Jornet speeds, but I was quite happy considering how little activity I have managed this summer...

A scenic run along the ridge, Morel valley on the left, and the Tarentaise & Vanoise on the right:

Off to Holland this afternoon to run some IRATA training for Orange Access. Looking forward to working with my Swiss colleague Gilles again. For more information on rope access check out the IRATA website.

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Summer break

OK, it's been radio silence here for some time due to a variety of reasons - work (& lots of it), moving house, preparing for the imminent arrival of Offpisteskiing Jr, lots of family visits and 3 weeks without internet in the new house...
Sadly with all this going on there has been little time to get out in the mountains, particularly frustrating as there was a good window last week, with a few folks sneaking in a descent of the NW face of the Bionassay.

Preparations are well under way for 2012 - check out our course schedule here and don't hesitate to get in touch if you don't see the dates you want or would like to discuss some private guiding.

Kyrgistan 2012: The big project for February 2012 is a week of ski mountaineering based in a yurt in the Tien Shan mountains of Kyrgistan - there are still a couple of spaces left on this exciting trip for strong ski mountaineers with a sense of adventure!

For those of you in the UK a date for your diary is the weekend of the 10/11 December - the 4th British Ski Mountaineering Symposium is happening based at Plas y Brenin in N Wales, and I will be giving a presentation and also delivering practical sessions as part of this. There is a great line-up of speakers for this weekend so put the dates in your diary now!!

And finally... Sweetgrass Productions have just released the trailer for their latest film: Solitaire - looks great, and if their previous offering 'Signatures' was anything to go by, it will be well worth seeking this out at a Film Festival near you this autumn (more of that later...).

SOLITAIRE: A Backcountry Skiing, Snowboarding, and Telemark Film from Sweetgrass Productions on Vimeo.