Les Corbeaux

black crows

We spent a day testing Black Crows this week with the crew of Paul Prentice, Andrew Jordan, Sally Bartlett and Tom Grant. Some of the snow we encountered was so wet and sticky it was nearly unskiable but a bit of a giggle none the less. As the sky cleared the snow started to dry out and the best turns were found at the end of the day.

My quiver choice was the Nocta for every day downhill freeride happiness, the Corvus for a phat performance freeride tourer with low tech bindings and the Orb Freebird for a big mountain touring / steep ski. For those that prefer something a bit softer there is also plenty to choose from in the range.

Thanks guys!

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!


After fighting the queues to get up the lift we were all psyched to get going on a big Midi day and making the most of the fine weather. Drew Tabke has some time off after winning the men’s FWT title and joined Dave Searle and myself. On the way down the arrete I started to feel some discomfort in my back and by time we arrived at the Cosmiques hut my back was seizing up quickly. After a handful of ibuprofen tablets it was time to push on and good skiing took us to the col at the top of the Salopar. By now I was feeling the pain standing still so Dave took over leading and the rope work. The snow was good but with the usual sharks teeth in there to snag the unwary and the straight line exit created sufficient speed to ruffle the ski pants.

Back at the Plan I had Dave kneeling on my chest and rotating my legs to try and unlock my back but the day had ended prematurely for me and it was time to download while the guys did a few more laps. At the car it took me about ten minutes to get my ski boots off. At one point I thought I would have to call Michelle to come get me as I was unsure I could drive home!

Hopefully its just a few down days for me.



The normal Rond is shown by the red line with the Salopar, ‘heart of the Rond’ shown in orange.Salopard-5Salopard-21Salopard-26Salopard-37Salopard-42

So what do you do Drew? Well, I just won the Freeride World Tour.Salopard-45Salopard-46Salopard-50Salopard-63Salopard-80