Wednesday, May 28, 2014

back & forth

 April in the Alps. Stories, interviews, and spontaneous adventures
Rosablanche tour with Linda
April pow day in Verbier. Liza Sarychev shredding.
La Clusaz, France! Had a couple interviews to do here, such amazing skiing, people and town. Definitely coming back, mid-season.
The Faction crew contemplates life with a view in La Clusaz
Back to Chamonix. The best time of year. Spring down low, winter up high. 
Breaking trail and climbing up the Glacier Milieu to the Aiguille d'Argentiere

Liza, Paul and Fred
Laurent and Eric, kicking off super fun mini-golf day

Of course there is a always a way down. The never ending adventure run, thanks to the boys
To Italy: Rifugios Forni, Branca, in Gruppo Ortler Cevedale

Bormio, Italy's Bagni Vecchi (Old Bath) hot springs pools...
The Bagni Romani hot spring grotto in the mountainside dates to Roman times. Pliney the Elder used to come soak here (IN THIS GROTTO!). He mentioned it in his writings. So. Awesome.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Out for a Stroll in the Tetons

This season we decided to do a little backyard exploration in the Teton Range for Backcountry Mag, so we took a few days to wander around the more untrammeled parts of the Tetons in between Jackson Hole and Grand Targhee. We crossed the range to the northwest heading from JHMR and ending at GT; three skiers, three days (we had to speed it up a little due to weather) and about 30 miles. Fun! 

The lines we saw were big amazing, and abundant; while a big trek to access, and the snow and weather conditions were not conducive to skiing them this time...but definitely worth putting on the list for the future! In the meantime, we had an awesome traverse, some weather and route finding adventures...and the best tasting beers ever at the Trapp Bar when we finally got to Grand Targhee on Wednesday night. 

These photos don't quite do any of the scenery justice, but luckily my photog friend John Slaughter came to shoot the action for the magazine. 

We started with an apres lift-served skiing beer at the Moose...

Heading out the gate and up Cody!

Then we skipped the Arch due to...not amazing snow. The first of a few intended, but skipped descents along the way.

A lovely morning at Marion Lake! 

Miles and miles of the massive Death Canyon shelf! 

Some clouds, precipitation, and hellacious winds joined the party on the second morning!


Shoulder of Table Mountain

Hitching back around the range to Jackson

 Could there be a better sight at the end of a multi-day, heavy-pack laden ski boots mission!? 

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Reconnaissance mission in the Swiss Alps

Even though the European Alps dominate ski lore, history and culture, I'd never made much of an effort to go check them out. When you are operating on a, erm, slim-type budget and looking for extended trips, Canada, Chile and Argentina offered plenty of bang for the buck! Six weeks in Argentina would equal out to about a week or so in Switzerland or France cost-wise, with plenty of huge peaks and deep snow to boot, so I kept heading south and north (plus, no jet lag and all I need to know to speak with everyone are English and Spanish. Easy peasy travel).

But! every now and then it is time to expand horizons, so when the opportunity to work with ISPO in Munich came up earlier this winter, I extended the trip for a few weeks to wander off from Munich to Verbier, Switzerland and Chamonix, France, and see what all the hype was about with skiing in the Alps. I also ended up with a super fun day in Courmayeur, Italy. I find I may have erred in not making a trip happen sooner! Skiing in continental Europe is mind-blowingly awesome - plus, lots of new friends and friends from Jackson who were over there made the trip even better. So now that I am full of story ideas and armed with a couple of assignments, I'm looking forward to heading back in April for some more organized adventures.

Castles in Munich
Muenchen metro

A little waiting for trains
Switzerland = punctuality. 
The famed Clambin! 

A mountain spring with a champagne cork floating in it, naturally. 

My first day in Chamonix, strolling off the Aiguille du Midi

Wild Bill and Meredith! 

Back to Verbier! My homebase while in Europe this time, I really loved this place! 

Hasta muy pronto, Alps. 

Monday, January 13, 2014

The Sleeper Stars of the Ski Lift World

Recently I had the distinct - and really entertaining - privilege of writing a fun story for The Wall Street Journal on one of my favorite things - old ski lifts. Sure they are slow, creaky, and often cold but they are awesome, fun, full of character and history, and to me, an integral part of skiing inbounds. The premise of the piece was really that skiing inbounds isn't just about speedy, high capacity lifts and every luxury amenity - but being out there on a dawdling lift, swinging above the slopes, checking out the next line to ski and ample time to chit-chat with friends.

There are two lifts that are favorites of mine that did not quite make it into the piece, but that I want to mention: the Summit Chair on Snow King Mountain, in Jackson, Wyoming, and the Pallavacini Chair at Arapahoe Basin in Summit County, Colorado (which is one of the best all around ski hills, to boot!).

These are both awesome chairs that I have skied a ton, and access super fun, steep, terrain that will seriously give your quads a run for the money if you keep on lapping them. I pretty much learned to ski at A-Basin, and the Pali chair instilled a love for steep, double fall line bumps and gave me just about all my skills, airing into and pounding high speed bumps (or GS-ing them, rather) tight, steep trees, and cliffy sections for lap after lap. You can get quite the day in if you spend it all on Pali.

This is the view of the town of Jackson from the top of Snow King - priceless and beloved by all Jackson locals!

Summit chair and ticket office!

Snow King also happened to turn 75 years old this season. This is their New Year's eve torchlight parade. So charming!  I don't have any photos of Pali lying around - I'll have to look around and add some!