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Alpine Climbing & Skiing: Frost Guiding Blog

Bivio Ski Touring

~ Saturday 26th March 2011

 An excellent week in Bivio with the Eagle Ski Club. Bivio has a small lift system with good off piste and excellent day touring, plus stunning views to the Bernina and Bregaglia.

Despite some very windblown snow we still found powder every day, and finished the week with a night at the Jengatsch hut and a fantastic descent from the Piz Agnel - 1400m of powder and then perfect spring snow. 

Pix Turba

Ca, c'est du peigne!

Climbing Pix Surparé

Ski off Tschima da Flix

Descent from Tschima da Flix

 Lots more pictures here

Ski Touring Arolla

~ Saturday 19th March 2011

Our Monta Rosa plans were scuppered by bad weather - plan B saw us heading to the Aiguilles Rouges hut, skinning across heather and grass in thick cloud. All very Cairngorm. Higher up the snow was better and after a quick tea in the hut we boldly headed up into the clouds again, eventually reaching the Col de Vouasson. There was some great snow...but awful visibility. An excellent meal and comfy night - we were the only people in the hut. 

Plenty of snow here

Next day the weather was worse...tricky route finding across to the Vallon des Ignes was rewarded by and excellent ski as we dropped out of the cloud, fresh tracks in good snow down a deserted valley. Well worth the effort. 

Telemark turns in powder

Beneath les Ignes

Excited by Friday's blue skies  we headed up the Pigne d'Arolla. At the col des Vignettes it became obvious that the endless heliskiers plus the wind and sun had left some dubious snow on the Pigne, so we went for plan B...col de l'Eveque and the Arolla glacier. This was a great journey - we saw no-one from the Vignettes to Arolla. Tough conditions past the Eveque with strong NW wind led eventually to perfect powder beneath Mont Collon. 

Col de L'Eveque

Windy!

Ski Touring Arolla

~ Saturday 12th March 2011

 Excellent skiing the last 2 days on the Col des Ignes and Pointe de Vouasson. The top lift at Arolla has broken down so there's an extra 45 minutes of skinning but it meant the the area was deserted - we saw 2 other tourers all day. The lift broke when someone slalomed the wrong side of a pylon, breaking a crucial piece which has to be specially made. The ski area team have worked extra hard this year to keep the skiing in great shape and it's a real pity that a moment's silliness can ruin the busiest weekend of the season for them.

Surprisingly for a winter with very little snow the Cassorte couloir is well filled and - steeply! - skiable, and we were able to ski all the way to the café in la Gouille for well earned chips. 

Broken ski lift

Cassorte couloir

Col des Ignes NE side

 Yesterday we set off for the long haul up the Pointe de Vouasson - 1600m from the road and much of it in the sun, so it felt like a long way. Worth the effort though - the north facing descent to Evolene was still good with fresh powder and good snow on the steep bit. Excellent. 

 Spring snow!

NE face Pointe de Vouasson

Ski Touring Verbier

~ Wednesday 9th March 2011

 After a slightly challenging 2 days in the Verbier lift system it was a relief to be back touring today...Whilst excellent the 4 Valleys area gets skied out very quickly and at the moment seems to be either rock-hard piste or bumps. Combined with the holiday queues this isn't ideal...

Yesterday we saw the Mont Fort North East face from beneath and it looked good. It was, boot up to the summit cross and the crowds were left behind for an excellent steep ski on good skied-out spring snow. A quick skin up the Rosablanche, lots of fresh tracks down, then Col de Prafleuri and more fresh tracks. Skate round the dam and then down into the land of bumps and queues!

 

Mont Fort summit and Grand Combin

View towards Pantalons Blanc, La Sale, Pleureur, Cheilon

Grimentz and Zinal Skiing

~ Saturday 5th March 2011

 I spent last week at the excellent Hotel Moiry in Grimentz with the Eagle Ski Club. This is a regular event in the Eagle calendar and so we were able to book a big dump of fresh snow for the start of the week - and of course 5 days of blue skies to follow...fantastic conditions on and off piste and a lot of fresh tracks!

The group split into 2 doing alternate days of ski intruction with Tom Saxlund of New Generation Skiing and Alison Culshaw from BASS, and guided skiing with me. The result was an impressive improvement in everyone's skiing and an eye-opening first try of some wider skis for some! 

Avalanche activity in the Orxival valley - left one is skier released

Fresh tracks and smiles

Chamois couloir, Zinal

Col de Louché, Grimentz

Bec des Bossons hut

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