Archive for April, 2010

Season Wrap-up in Engadin

April 29, 2010

I love ending the season with some ski touring in beautiful weather. It is relaxing and reviving at once to be surrounded by snow covered mountains, sliding one foot ahead of the other, constantly uphill, on a pair of ski touring skis. Together with my sister Tamara, Jake and Anselm, who is in the middle of the Swiss mountain guide course, I took advantage of the sunny weather to go ski touring in the Engadin. Starting from the Diavolezza cable car, which takes you up to 2973m, we skied down to a gently rolling glacier at the base of the impressive Piz Palü (4048m).

Piz Palü (4048m)

The sun is relentless and I can’t remember ever feeling so hot while in the mountains as we cross the glacier, heading towards “Gamsfreiheit“. Arriving at a plateau, we decide to scramble up and down a rocky ridge. Anselm and Jake guide us on the short rope, good practice for the upcoming mountain guide to master undoubtedly the most tricky technique in mountain guiding.

My sister Tamara sampling Anselm's already confident guiding techniques

The run over the Fortezza glacier, offering beautiful views of the Bianco Ridge, was awesome! Super fast snow. I laughed at myself that I still could get this excited about skiing after such a long and busy season.

Tams enjoying her last turns of the season

My plans now are to head to Australia for the Warren Miller film tour and get some surfing and sun in Bali in before heading back to Wanaka for a New Zealand winter season. I love skiing and training in Treble Cone, while still enjoying the snow-free valleys which offer trails around the beautiful Lake Wanaka, fishing, hiking, mountain biking and rock climbing.

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The Search for the Perfect Heliski Terrain at Skeena Heliskiing

April 15, 2010

Sometimes I feel like the luckiest person in the world. Imagine being invited to Canada for a week, together with some of your best friends, to help a heliski operator scout and ski previously untouched mountains in search for new heliskiing terrain. So it was that in April, I flew to Smithers, B.C. Canada, to join Giacum (Jake) Frei, owner, operator and head guide at Skeena Heliskiing, to scout the enormous heliski terrain in the Skeena Mountains, 2 hours north of Smithers.

Griffin, Mcfly and me: the luckiest people in the world!

The existing lodge, the Bear Claw lodge, is located in the southern part of the tenure and offers luxury accommodations for 10 to 15 guests. Although the first runs are only a 6 minute flight away, the size of the tenure, which encompasses 8,500 km2 and represents the second largest heliskiing area worldwide, means that the most northern mountains are a 45 minute flight away. Most of this area is rarely skied, not even Jake was familiar with the mountains there.

Endless possibilities

The next week consisted of poring over maps, spending a ridiculous amount of helitime, analysing and observing snow pack, terrain forms and potential dangers. We scouted and skied amazing runs over wide, endless glaciers, fun pillow lines, and through glades and gullies.

Endless challenges

The perfect cliff band

Is this a dream?

We documented our experiences on film, which will be out next winter.  Stay tuned!