30 November, 2009

A sigh of relief

What a contrast in just 12hrs, yesterday I was out walking in Chamonix in mild late autumnal weather with a strong southerly wind called the fhone blowing. This morning I awoke to 10cm of beautiful fresh snow outside, the first real snow of the winter is here.
Its has been snowing all morning and there is now around 25 - 30cm outside the Mountain Tracks office, you still can't beat that excitement you get when the first snow of the winter falls. Thoughts drift to ski plans for the weekend or a cheeky early morning ski tour up one of the hills for some fresh turns....

Here are a couple of quick photo's from my snowy drive to work this morning.

We still have places on our Early Season Skills Week if you can't wait for those first turns of the year, Penny and Eric have called this morning to confirm its dumping in Zinal too.

See you out skiing soon.

25 November, 2009

Olly climbing L'oeil du Faucon a classic 3 star 7a at Saut de l'Ours

Olly on the technical headwall of Mac Hulotte 7c at La Livre

Ben Hargreavse cruising Les Arche at les Arche

A busy crag in the Ariege !!

Have had a great winter break climbing in the Ariege. This little known (until now) climbing area an hour south of Tolouse is amazing. It has world class climbing, no polish, very few people and tough grades. The perfect place for a cragging holiday. I have been down here off and on for the past five weeks and have fallen for the climbing in the area, the beautiful views of the Pyrenees and chilled atmosphere. Forget Kalymnos this is better (nearly) as when your arms are pumped and fingers shredded you can do your legs and lungs with some great mountain biking and ruining.
Despite this I'm getting quite excited about this years ski season as the snow is arriving in the alps. I cant wait to get out on my planks and ski some early season powder, fingers crossed.

See you in the Winter (unless I'm climbing in the Ariege)

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23 November, 2009

Steep Skiing Clinics with Rémy Lécluse

NEW for 2010: Two 'steep skiing' Clinics in Chamonix with UIAGM Mountain guide and steep skiing specialist, Rémy Lécluse.
The course is 5 days with 2 days of technical skills/preparation followed by 3 days of steep skiing - the itineraries and routes will be set by Rémy depending on the snow and weather conditions.

This course is a fantastic opportunity for a small group of expert level skiers to spend a week with one of the best steep skiing experts in the Alps.
In Rémy's words..."The goal of the course is to teach you safe technical skills & the necessary psychological attitude to enjoy your passion safely."

Dates: 14-18 March and 11-15 April.
Price - £875 per person course only
Both courses are for a maximum of 3 skiers.

Visit www.mountaintracks.co.uk/winter/offpiste_adventure/steep_clinic or email email Susie for further details.

20 November, 2009

Curry Powder Skiing Gulmarg...2011 dates published

Gulmarg is currently one of the hottest ski tickets around - the combination of fantastic powder skiing and the unique culture of India is a winning formula!

Our 2010 weeks are now almost fully subscribed and with the main hotels in the resort fully booked through January and February anyone still hoping to get out there this winter may be disappointed.

With that in mind we're pleased to announce that 2011 is now on sale! We've just published our dates for January and February and to find out more click on www.ski-gulmarg.co.uk or email Chris

If you can't wait until 2011 then do call Chris on 020 8123 2978 for the last few places this winter.

06 November, 2009

Zinal...home of the best off-piste in the Alps?

Over the past 30 (or so) years Nick has been fortunate enough to ski many of the Alps' best off-piste ski areas - Chamonix, St Anton, Andermatt, Alagna, La Grave, Ste Foy. It's a long list...and if you ask him for his top 5 or top 10 he'll tell you that on the right day with the right snow and the right group any and all of the above will be at the top of the list.
Now here comes along a (relatively) new name to compete for top spot...Zinal in Switzerland's Val d'Anniviers. Like many of the above resorts, Zinal - and the other small villages that line the valley - has abundant off piste terrain but what makes it so special is the best runs aren't easy to find and are still relatively unknown so therefore don't get tracked out in ten minutes. Top that off with spectacular peaks all around, good tree skiing and a wonderful new chalet to relax in and it is a real contender for that top spot!

Mountain Tracks is running a number of off-piste weeks in Zinal throughout the 2009-2010 season, starting with an Early season skills week, 12-19 December...places still available!

For information about the wonderful new chalet which is the base for our trips click on www.skizinal.com - taking time to enjoy Penny's fantastic photography.

05 November, 2009

Mountain Tracks at the London Ski Show

It was show-time at London Olympia recently when the annual Ski & Snowboard show hit town.
A new attraction at the show was the 'Off-Piste Adventure Theatre' which featured a daily menu of talks on topics from 'Skiing the Haute Route','avalanche safety' and our very own Olly Allen and Matt Dickinson giving talks on 'Curry Powder skiing in Gulmarg' and 'Making the transition from on-piste to off-piste'.
Thank you to everyone who came by our stand and said hello!
We look forward to seeing you there next year...if we can negotiate a good deal with the organisers!?

New flights to Geneva with Baboo!

Anyone looking to travel to Geneva from London or Oxford now has a new option with flights with Baboo.
They've introduced new flights from London City and Oxford to Geneva.
Check out www.flybaboo.com

03 November, 2009

The snow is arriving, time to go and find my skis!

Snow is falling across a lot of the Alps this week, I returned from the UK yesterday to strong wind and rain at Geneva airport but as I drove back into Chamonix you could see the snowline down to around 1200m.

There were some snow flurries last night and this morning and the view from my office window is one of white snowy mountains (I have a great view straight up to the top of the Grands Montets and the Pas de Chevre) and snow sitting on the trees, combined with the late autumn colours, its really beautiful!

We have a string of warm and cold frontal systems crossing over the Alps this week and the Chamonix meteo http://www.chamonix.com/page.php?page=11&r=meteo_chamonix&ling=en reads of an accumulation of up to 50cm at 2500m over the next 24hrs. The snowline should drop to 1000m, just below the height of Chamonix town from Thursday and the weekend is forecast for further snow falls.

Will it be time to get the skis out soon? Lets hope so, maybe not this weekend but almost certainly the next. Some of the resorts with glacier skiing like Cervinia, Zermatt, Tignes and Saas Fee will be in great condition and it means we will start the season on a high with a good base for the 3rd year in a row.
Here are a couple of photos:

Further snow updates as it fall.