Monday, 31 December 2012

The best way to spend New Years Eve...

Is to go skiing! Obviously.

After the long drive from Lancashire to Cham, the ski season is now truly underway. Keen to ease into it, Sophie, Tom, Sharon and I went to Les Houches yesterday and had a good afternoon ripping the pistes and finding the odd powder stash. Sharon and I finished the day with a quick skin up the Prarion peak, which may not have provided great skiing, but it always provides a fantastic view.

About to reach the summit of the Prarion

Today (New Year's Eve), we added Tristan to the team and went to Brevent. The pistes were lovely but very crowded and as ever the answer was to put a bit of effort in and do some uphill. In our case the effort was pretty minimal, as we skinned up to the Col Cornu and then the Col de la Gliere, a grand total of about 30 minutes. From there we skied some absolutely fantastic powder, which was so good that we went for a second lap. 

Tristan about to drop in

Sharon and Tristan loving it

Tristan. He's taken I'm afraid, ladies.

Sharon arriving at the col for a second lap.

The weather is looking pretty shoddy tomorrow, but I suspect that nobody would have been getting out early anyway after tonight's frivolities. About 20cm of snow is forecast for the afternoon/evening so hopefully the rest of the week will be epic. Stay posted for updates!

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Mountain World Ltd.

I'm now back in UK for the Christmas period, and already missing the Chamonix powder! Winter is still young though, so I'm sure there will be plenty more snow to come. 

This is just a quick note to publicise the company I've helped to start and have been quietly working on for a few months - Mountain World Ltd. We create and run expeditions, and have a few trips in the pipeline for the next year or 2, but the first one which is fully organised and ready to go is a trip to climb 4 peaks in Bolivia, finishing with the highest mountain in the Country (Sajama - 6542m). 

The trip is going to be from the 28th July to 18th August 2013, and costs £2950.00 (land only). Full details of the trip can be found here. I went to Bolivia a few years back (report from that trip here) and was blown away by the scenery, the quality of the peaks and the Country itself, and I've been really keen to get back ever since. Why not come along?! The website is, and the best way to get in touch about the trip is via

Feel free to get in touch if you have any questions, and check back for reports of epic powder days come the New Year. 

Monday, 10 December 2012


With almost continuous heavy snowfall over the last week, finding powder has been easier than avoiding it! 

Jack and I began the powder fest with a day of skiing from the Montenvers train, and were not disappointed. I'd never skied down from the train station and a bit of traversing and walking is required, but the terrain is great and the powder was bottomless. A good day by any measure. I took out my new headcam too, so there will be a video coming soon. 

Chamonix - not rubbish.

The weekend came around with lots of resorts in the region beginning to open, and we decided to leave it until the last minute to choose a destination. After much umming and ahhing (and waiting for Compagnie du Mont Blanc to update their website with lift status, grr) Sharon and I opted to walk about 3 minutes and go to Les Houches. Although not blessed with great terrain, Les Houches is very scenic and doesn't get tracked out quickly, and we had yet another excellent day in the company of Sam and Tristan. As it turned out the Montenvers never opened, and the Grand Montets opened, but only the telepherique was running and not the lower chairlift, so I'd imagine the queues were MASSIVE!

You know it's truly winter when only a fry up is good enough at breakfast time. 

Me in the powder at Les Houches. Photos Sharon Wray.

Next up was a day which started in Courmayeur and ended at Grand Montets. We headed over to Italy with high hopes of the top lifts opening, and providing us with miles of untracked snow, but they never opened and we bailed at lunchtime. The morning had provided some incredible snow, but the really good lines ended with some pretty horrific shuffling through trees, bushes and rocks, so we decided to leave it until there is a bit more snow over there. The terrain at Courmayeur is just so good though, and I can't wait until the lower sections have filled in enough.

After lunch we went to Grand Montets and skied a nice run down from the mid station. Not much at GM has been open and it showed in that the bottom section of the mountain (usually a bit of a "secret" area) was so tracked. Still, the snow quality was really good at all altitudes, so it should be great when they get a bit more open up there.

Generally everywhere needs a bit more base, but things are looking good considering that we're still only 10 days into December.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Snow - LOADS!

Winter seemed to be getting off to a bit of a slow start, but that all changed earlier this week when we got some major dumps of snow. As ever this caused chaos on the roads of Cham, but it has also meant that the ski season has well and truly started.

There was almost enough snow for a ski tour at the weekend, but not quite enough. Plenty for sledging though...

Today Jack, Heather, Bjarne and I went to check out Courmayeur and were rewarded with ridiculously deep powder. There were only 4 lifts open, all of them in the main bowl of the resort, but when the snow is that good and there are so few people about, 4 lifts is plenty. I'll let the photos doing the talking.

Off up to Montenvers for an explore tomorrow. Tom said it was awesome today, so it should be a good day.

I think Grand Montets is going to open this weekend, and some of the other lifts in Courmayeur were running although not open, so I suspect there will be a lot more terrain available there pretty soon. Slowly but surely, winter 2012/3 is getting underway. Let's hope it's a big 'un!

Saturday, 1 December 2012


Although the lifts aren't open here in Cham just yet, the various resorts of the Alps are slowly starting to open up as the snow line comes down lower and lower.

Keen to get out on the planks for a weekend, Sharon and I headed over to Cervinia, just above Aosta, and had 2 amazing days zooming around the pistes. There wasn't much good off piste, but with the groomed runs having perfect snow and with coverage all the way to the village, it didn't seem to matter.

We got awesome sunsets both days

Picnic lunch - the choice of winter champions

Final run all the way to the Valley

Courmayeur opened today (Saturday) and Jack reported good powder which became slushy at lunch but unfortunately I missed out due to moving house. Anyone who has done this will understand my pain, but we are now into the new place and keen to get skiing ASAP. 

Reports (of neck deep powder, no doubt) to follow...