23 December, 2008

A White Christmas in the Alps

After the huge falls of snow in the Alps in the last few weeks we now have bright blue sunny skies and fantastic snow.

Last week our group of early season skiers were enjoying the fantastic conditions in Ste. Foy and the surrounding resorts. Lead by Bryan Hogg they honed their off piste skills in the powder and the group all come on leaps and bounds by the end of the week.

Nick was out leading a Ski Touring Skills Weekend in St. Gervais, their first day was spent skiing around Les Contamines and practising some avalanche search and rescue techniques. The following day they did a lovely day ski tour around the Petit Croise Baulet and on Sunday they enjoyed a ski descent of the Vallee Blanche.

Over Christmas and New Year we have our Off Piste Performance Foundation and Plus courses running in Chamonix, they will be heading out and around the mountains under the astute eyes of Mark Gear and Olly Allen.

I have been out for a ski in Chamonix this morning and the conditions on and off piste are excellent, with the sun out and not a cloud in the sky, Stuart and myself enjoyed a few runs on the deserted pistes before heading across from Brevent to Flegere, skiing some nice powdery snow in the Combe Lachenal. Before heading for lunch we skied one of the steep couloirs under the top cable car, this astatically pleasing line in Couloir Bellin was an excellent ski and after 500m of jump turning our tired legs just about carried us to the bottom.

Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, we look forward to seeing you out with Mountain Tracks in 2009, please do give us a call to check availability on our courses.

14 December, 2008

Powder In Chamonix

Have just been up on the Grand Montets ski lift, Chamonix. The snow was amazing with shin deep fresh tracks in light powder. This is probably the best start to the ski season for ten years. There's more snow forecast this week so the Christmas week is looking good. I can safely say the snow is great in all our destinations, from St Foy across to the Silveretta. Watch this space for more updates from the Mountaintracks team.

Fantastic off-piste and ski touring trips

Ski now, work later Olly

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08 December, 2008

Where were you this weekend...?

...if you weren’t out skiing this weekend then you missed 2 amazing days!

It snowed most of Thursday and Friday last week and Saturday dawned cold, cloudy and very very snowy. Courmayeur was the destination of choice on Saturday and with most of the lifts open and an ample covering of snow all the fantastic runs through the steep trees were in perfect conditions. After a lunch of pasta, tiramisu, red wine and cappucino we headed back out into the snow for more deeeep powder. Our final run down the Dolone Valley was the best of the day, no other tracks and light, waist-deep powder, it was fantastic. Here is the evidence...

Sunday was a true bluebird powder day and after another quick journey through the Mont Blanc tunnel and up the classic "sardine can" cable-car to the Glacier du Toule, we headed off into the sunshine for more excellent skiing.

Looking across to the top of the Valley Blanche and the Aiguille du Midi the conditions on the glaciers are fantastic and it was strange not to see any tracks at all on the Valley Blanche because the Midi cable car is closed until next weekend.

We did a few laps of the Toule glacier, the snow was fantastic and plenty of space for lots and lots of fresh tracks.

So if you are wishing you were escaping Christmas shopping, credit crunch depression and the British weather then why not make a last minute booking onto one of our course running in the next couple of weeks. On Saturday we have an Off-Piste Skills week in Ste. Foy with spaces available and over Christmas we have a week of instructional off piste in Chamonix. Further into January we begin our Adventure Off Piste skiing trips, so check out our website or give me a call to check availability.

03 December, 2008

Ski Touring Training

Just been out for the first training skin of the season, bit of a shock to the system! The snow was great, fresh tracks in shallow powder with no one around. The Meteo has forecast more snow on the way over the next few days. Bring it on!

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01 December, 2008

Climbing in Siurana, Spain

Steep 7b+ Magalef

Perfect rock sector Siurinella, Siurana

Siurinella 7b+ Siurana

Just got back from ten days cranking warm(ish) rock in Siurana Spain. Nine years have passed since I'd been there. There has been so much development over the past few years, it's very impressive with grades from 6a up to 9a! If you like steep and technical climbing on perfect rock you need look no further. Despite this I cant wait to get on my skis tomorow after Susies post. Just arrived back in Switzerland to powder. It should be an outstanding winter for off-piste skiing and touring, bring it on!

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Powder and Fresh Tracks

The weekend provided 2 great ski days in Chamonix, I spent both Saturday and Sunday skiing on the Grands Montets, the weather was good both days and snow even better. With the Bochard gondola open it provided access to lots of great powder skiing in the Lavenche and on the Herse side.

On Sunday myself and some friends ski toured up the short distance from the top of the Bochard to ski around the back of Grands Montets down towards the Argentiere glacier. The snow was fantastic, pristine powder and not another sole in sight, it’s a real privilege to ski somewhere like that with no-one else around.

It continues to snow today in Chamonix and there is more forecast through the week, the conditions are excellent on and off piste and ideal for those luck people coming out to ski with us in the coming weeks, grab a place on some of our December trips quick.