Winter

  • Glacier Camping in Chamonix

    In order to test some gear for touring Patagonia in the summer and to enable a couple of easy access day tours we camped up on Glacier du Geant above Chamonix. It turned out to be a windy and unseasonably cold night. The perfect clear sky was perfect for a time lapse night shot but the frozen condensation on the door and cold wind stopped me venturing out. The cold was worth it for a spectacular sunrise and fresh tracks without anybody about. We had just finished our tour and were returning to pack up as the first people arrived off the Midi lift at 9.30am which has a certain smugness attached!

    So it seemed the lightweight  cylinder style Therma-rest Neoair lite type mat is not up to these temperatures, I was pretty cold! But Marion’s Mountain Hardwear Phantom 15 sleeping bag was just about OK, rate to 15f it seemed about correct!

    These are few pictures from the trip;

    camping 1

    This is the early morning light over the Aiguille du Midi  17051304

    Snowboarding back down the lower part of the Valley Blanche P5170248

  • View from the Office, Chamonix

    Storm brewing on Aiguille du Midi and the cable car for scale making a rapid retreat on left.

  • Ski touring the Canadian Rocky Mountains

    This was spring 2012, we started in Yoho national park, then into Assiniboine Provincial park before heading into Banff and finally up to Jasper. The national parks in winter are stunning. The icefields parkway opens up hundreds of day tours easily accessible from the road. On the longer tours we made use of a number of cosy cabins such as Egypt lake in the picture below and the Hilda Youth hostel on the icefields parkway. In spring we thought we would be safe from bears but the first trip involved us following bear, cougar and wolf prints in the snow. With record breaking snowfall a lot of lower elevation routes were much more accessible these are some pictures below;

  • Winter snowboarding in Fernie, BC

    I didn’t take many photos in winter 2012 to much riding and too many powder days. Here are a few of my favourites;IMG_0315

     

    The above picture was opening day at Fernie, lots of fresh snow!

    IMG_4605 This next picture was at mammoth droppings a playground of powder pillows.
    Another picture of playing in the mammoth droppings
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    The shot above was looking at a hiking line from polar peak chair
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    This was picking out lines from the hike up to Mammoth head
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    The picture above was at tunnel creek hut hiking back up to a ridge.

    I also made a bit of a go pro edit of the winter which is shown here. It shows footage from the various BC resorts we went to.

  • Japow; Snowboarding Hokkaido, Japan

    Snowboarding in Japan is amazing. We visited Hokkaido which is the northern island of Japan. Hokkaido has without doubt the best snow in the world. read more

  • Winter in Wanaka

    Although the snow is rarely phenomenal, the scenery makes up for it in New Zealand. The picture below was a good 20cm powder day in the Cardrona backcountry.  I was given a promo Rome board so we posed for a catalogue shot with it! We had season passes at Cardrona ski resort where we enjoyed mellow off piste and playing in the park. Nothing epic or huge, the length of run depends on the snow line. In warm years the resort accesses very short runs as you can’t drop any lower than the lifts. The mellow (aka flat) snow capped hills set against the brown grass lower hillside earns the resort the nickname ‘Flat White’ after the NZ coffee with a touch of white foam on top.

    Treble Cone near Wanaka was the pick of the ski resorts on south islands for me personally. During our season there, we visited it on a few good powder days. Treble Cone is still a small resort with 3 lifts but has such cool terrain to ski or snowboard. All the fun stuff is easily accessed from some well thought out lift locations.
    The even smaller club fields dotted around the South Island add fun options too. For me New Zealand is worth another trip, but not just for the snowboarding. The huge snow parks aside, it is a long way to travel for some summer snow that might be worse than glacier skiing in Europe. It depends hugely on the snowfall, more so than European or N. American areas, as the often grassy slopes don’t need much snow to allow riding on them and this opens many more touring options that can extend lower down the mountains if the snow is plentiful. It is more about the all round experience and we certainly enjoyed our year there.

    Cardrona back country - Catalogue shot  for the sponsors.

    Lake Wanaka is rarely snowbound in winter meaning you can mountain bike all year or go for a swim if so inclined. My feeble back flip in the picture resulted in significant back slappage and I narrowly missed a gigantic eel big enough to eat my arm!
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    In the picture below we mountain biked the crown range through a couple of inches of snow, for some reason I only took a gillet and it was freezing cold. After the ride we were to cold to pedal up the road to the car so I hitched, it was dusk so few cars were about but finally a minivan pulled over and a group of fairly drunk Kiwis welcomed me in all enjoying a drink, even the driver, up the twisty mountain road!IMG_4329

    As winter was arriving we entered a long distance cycle race around lake Tekapo near Christchurch, at about 100km it’s quite a long MTB race. The beutiful landscape is on private land so it’s a one off chance to see some amazing countryside, it also involves a few deep river crossings as well!
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    After cycle touring for so long I was in pretty good shape for this race, it was therefore a shame I was late to the start and ended up having to overtake about 400 competitors just to get near the leading group! I also did a 12 hour MTB race and a multisport peak to peak race, this was a ski from The remarkables, then MTB down the steep gravel access road, a kayak across the lake, a run through Queenstown and I did the final road ride up to coronet peak ski area! The kiwis like a challenge.
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