Les Courtes, North East Spur

Today was about just getting out for me. Its been an emotional period, I hadn’t skied for a couple of weeks, my back was untested after injury,  I wasn’t sure if the psyche was there for skiing big mountains…knowing the NE spur of the Courtes was in made it the obvious choice, nothing too hard or scary to try and regain the feel for it.

I was joined by Max, Tom and Dave although Dave had to turn back with binding issues.  We made steady progress climbing the face in the sunshine but as we arrived at the lower angled summit slopes, the sun moved off and the snow started to refreeze.  We called it a day and skied from there.

This is the fifth route I’ve skied on this mountain and I think the 11th time I’ve skied off Les Courtes. Truely a skiers playground.

Afterwards we watched Sami Haapasalmi and his Finnish friends ski the right hand finish of Col Aiguille Verte. Hats off for ticking one of the steepest sustained ice slopes in the Alps.

NE Spur Les CourtesNE Spur Les Courtes-6 NE Spur Les Courtes-26 NE Spur Les Courtes-48 NE Spur Les Courtes-64

Tom enjoying the refrozen crusty snow through this section.NE Spur Les Courtes-92

Tom having fun.NE Spur Les Courtes-105

Max enjoying good pow. NE Spur Les Courtes-117

Tom ripping it up.NE Spur Les Courtes-119

Max blasting to the bottom. NE Spur Les Courtes-132

The skiers are at half height. The bootpack is obvious. Steep.NE Spur Les Courtes-137 Can you spot the 4 skiers?NE Spur Les Courtes-141

Still looks steep from this angle!

Petit Mont Blanc – Bonatti Couloir

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Davide de Masi and Max Turgeon waiting for the gondola to open.Petit Mt Blanc-3 Petit Mt Blanc-8 Petit Mt Blanc-14

Hard snow. I skied lots of this stuff as a kid in Scotland and its as pleasurable for me as skiing over peoples tracks. I’ll come back to GS this in pow. Petit Mt Blanc-34

Max Turgeon skiing at my turn around point. He went up the the first narrows.Petit Mt Blanc-35

 

Time for a rest day after 4 days on in the big mountains.

Cold Smoke

Today I wanted to get out and put some miles in my legs. On the back of the pre-Christmas Scottish Winter Climbing season and very little road biking this summer they are even more spindly than normal and we started the ski season with a fair bit of touring. So with great snow conditions I have the chance to get some strength back. I left the SLR at home in order to go light and enjoy the skiing more but had a little point and shoot.

I was joined by Max Turgeon and we kicked off on Brevent to take advantage of the fresh snow on the lowers. Cold, sluffy blower was lying in wait and we had a lot of fun playing with sluff.

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The plan praz couloir. Max skiing below.

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And again here.Brevent & Cos 22_01_2013-13Me ready to open Bellachat after pushing off a bit of cornice and watching the sluff go airborne.

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Max skiing.

After Brevent started to warm up I switched to the darkside and had some sweet runs off the Plan going flat out. Then as the sun came round I decided to head up the Midi and do a Rond or Cosmique. For a change I went for the Cosmiques which is always lush in the afternoon sun, all to yourself, no one trying to kill you with rocks from above, and overhead blower so cold I wished I had a gimp mask.

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Only 2 or 3 tracks today.

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Me enjoying the warmth of the sun after the cold on the Midi. My leg muscles were well warmed up by the time the para came round and it felt good to finish the day on such a good slope arcing out the GS turns.