Other than a few days at local Pennsylvania mountains, I hadn’t skied in about ten years. I also had no idea that there was reason to wear a harness while skiing, or how to put skins on, or that my crampons fit on ski boots. Basically I was ready to go!
Viktor was convinced I would be able to ski Mt. Blanc with him within the season, which seemed like telling a first time gym climber that they should try El Cap the following month. But I dove right in, and I think I’m hooked.
We spent a few days warming up on local hills in PA and NY, and headed for a week in the Selkirk Mountains of British Columbia, basing ourselves in Revelstoke.
After 8 days skiing in BC, we were ready for Cham! Viktor and I were heading to Croatia for work, and Jeff had a last minute cancellation from a client, so we were able to team up for several days with the goal of skiing Mt Blanc.
For our first off-piste of the trip, we took a lap on the Vallee Blanch, a 20km super popular run from the top of the Midi lift. Even though it was really busy, the route is so long and there are so many variations that we felt almost alone once we got going.
We were feeling good, and somehow I was managing to pretend to be a skier, so we booked a heli to take us up on Mt Blanc. Unfortunately, the winds were incredibly high on the day we were set to go up, so we bailed. Our backup plan ended up being the best skiing day I’v ever had, so absolutely no complaints! We chose to do some ski mountaineering in the Berard Valley, skinning and booting up Pointe Alphonse Favre and skiing the Glacier Mort. The route ended up involving 500m of vert, both skinning and in crampons, 1600m of descent, and 13km horizontal.
With some time left, we headed to Verbier to see what Swiss skiing is all about. The mountain is enormous, over 400km of trails, lift access to some serious backcountry, and really good food!
Of course, you don’t travel all the way to Europe and not bring some climbing gear along!
All told, not a bad winter! Picked up a new sport, skied some incredible lines that I never would have thought possible a year ago, swung some tools, pulled down on some sport climbs, and ate some amazing food!