Splitboarding is the answer

It’s been a while since last time I put something on this blog, almost 1 year. The reason is simple – I haven’t been spending enough interesting time on snow with a camera. Throughout the winter I have been in the mountains an average of a week per month which, although it always felt too short and rushed, it something I can’t complain about. The only pictures you will see below have been taken by my good friend, amazing web designer, teacher, artist, excellent photographer…the list is long..Antonio Stilo. He has this amazing camera which is very heavy and has a very old and nerdy look but in fact is supposed to be the best of the best

We made the most of the lifts till the last day they were open and then tried to be out hiking as much as possible. Although this winter hasn’t been as consistent as the last one in terms of precipitations and temperatures, considering the time of the year the snow cover above 1,500/1,600 mt was actually pretty good. So the first route we decided to do was the refuge de Bostan. It’s a lovely walk through the forest from around 1,000 mt to 1,400 mt. but sadly without much snow on it this time of year. Then at the end of the trees the valley opens up and with another hour (on snow) you can easily get to the refuge which is at 1,700 mt.

The other nice ski touring itinerary of the past week was something I have already done last year. It’s called “desert de plate”. You can see pictures of my first time up there in a precedent post on this blog entitled “Ski touring day – Desert de Plate”. This year again I went with Adelaide, a local girl I met last year who has been living in the area for about 20 years and works in a ski shop in Flaine. From my previous post:

We started at 2,480 mt at the arrival of the Telepherique – Les Grandes Platiers – we skied down to a refuge (Chalets de Plate’) at 2,030 mt and then using the skins we hiked back up. It took us about 2 hours. It was a lot shorter and definitely not as interesting as other itineraries I did earlier on this winter but although there is still a lot of snow up there, given the time of the year, the snow below 2,000 mt can be very heavy and sticky so not great fun to ski and hike on.. on top of that the views were really pretty so it was definitely worth it. Looking at the pictures you can easily guess why the name of this plateau is “desert”

We followed a very similar line we did last year. The only difference is that this year I was on my splitboard..and believe me, it wasn’t a small difference. If you don’t know what a splitboard is please visit: http://www.splitboard.com to understand more about my world

It’s amazing how happy being on my splitboard makes me. My friends always tell me that as soon as I start changing from riding mode into hiking/skinning mode I have the biggest smile on my face and apparently that smile stays all the way up, regardless it’s a 30 min or a 3 hour hike. So, no lift..no problem. This is the reason why I exercise every single day, swimming, running, a bit of yoga..I eat healthily, (yes digestive chocolate Mcvitie’s are part of my diet as they are the best biscuits in the whole world) essentially trying to keep as fit as I can and stay healthy so that I can enjoy in the best possible way all my hikes on splitboard

Usually when I find something that inspires me and produces so much joy in my life I have the desire to understand more about it and do it as much as possible. In this particular case, in order to make the most out of my time on splitboard I have to be fit. I don’t have too many certainties in life but one of them is that I will continue to use a splitboard for the rest of my life. I reckon what really fascinates me is how all its various components, bindings, individual skis, skins, crampons, extendable poles..allow me to move through the mountains in the backcountry without the need to use any type of engine, relying entirely on my legs and my fitness. Going slowly, finding the rhythm, finding harmony with nature rather than challenging it.. I can’t think of a better way of enjoying, appreciate and feel close to nature, understand more about some of the important rules governing mountains and snow. It’s definitely not advisable venturing into the backcountry without having a decent knowledge about all the risks involved in travelling into avalanche terrain. If you are interested in the topic please visit: http://www.rockymountainsherpas.com/ these people have a brilliant DVD out called The Fine Line, great informative movie.

Being a board person and not having very strong off-piste skiing skills, for years and years I have been dreaming and also day dreaming about having a tool which would allow me to access the backcountry as well as alpine and tele skiers can do on skis. So now I can very happily say – splitboarding is the answer! Enjoy the pictures, big thanks to my friend Stilo and his wonderful stylish nerdy camera

Welcome to the mountains

Morning glory..on the way up for the last day of the season of resort riding

On the way to Flaine. the tallest peak on the right hand side is the Mont Blanc

Me and Andie

End of season chilling. Andie, Barbs, Kerry, myself

Setting up the splitboard on the rucksac, there is more than an hour walk between us and the first snow.

No lift, no problem

No idea what I was looking at but I don’t seem too excited about itBostan_3

We are at 1,400 mt on snow from now on

This giant bench made me feel smaller than usual

We also went to Verbier.  This is the cable car to the top of Mont Fort, 3,300 mt. the slope under it is probably the steepest slope you’ll find in commercial skiing. once you get to the top you will be standing on top of one the finest ski domains in the world. last year I came down the face at the centre of the picture. a bit sketchy at times given the rocks but well worth itMt Fort

And the view’s so nice. When I am out there sorrounded by the mountains I always feel I am only a guest and they decide for how long I am welcome. so I better learn how to read the signs they give me if I want to go home safe and sound and come back againView

Me and Adelaide moments before dropping into the Desert du PlatéMe&Ade

Me and Stilo. Aguille du midi and Mont Blanc on the top right just below the clouds. These mountains are so big, beautiful and aesthetic..and make you feel so small and insignificant

The snow was really good on the way down, shame we only need less than 10 minutes to get to the chalets. Adelaide and myself getting ready to skin up. usually you skin up and then you ski down.. in this case we did the opposite Skin up

Mountains + snow + splitboard = happinessSplit

Super Stilol1002429

On the way up

No lifts, no people, beautiful nature all around.. this is what backcountry skiing is all about for meView

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