You can keep your sunkissed shoulders, flip flops and strappy tops, I’d rather be sporting a sunburnt nose, baggy ski pants and lightweight down jacket any day of the week.
Don’t get me wrong, summer is a peachy-ass season for sure but my love for winter runs on a deep, cellular level. When the temps start to drop and the nights draw in, my skin starts to prickle and my heart beats that little bit faster because it all points in the direction of the finest thing in my life – skiing in incredible places with cracking people.
All followed by epic amounts of après ski of course.
The winter of 2017/18 has been a belter so far (yup, I know we’re well into spring but the ski season ain’t over yet…..not by a long shot!). I’ve been lucky enough to share some seriously memorable days out on the hill with a wide variety of fab folks including fat bike/ski fusion adventures with ‘me bloke’ in the Highlands, skiing boot deep Austrian sparkly powder with Dynafit’s legendary Fritz Barthel (founder of the pin tech touring binding), steep couloir sessions in the Dolomites with new friends and bluebird days touring in the Scottish hills with my legendary 73 year old dad.
So before we bid a final farewell to our thrice daily checks of the SAIS avalanche forecast, MWIS weather forecast and British Backcountry Facebook Group, let’s reflect on the best monthly moments from the season……..so far.
DECEMBER - FROM THE DOOR
The first snow came in December meaning we could explore ‘from the door’ in Glen Strathfarrar in the Scottish Highlands.
There’s nothing quite like a wee mountain mission in your own backyard, even when it involves a substantial amount of heather hopping and numerous dings to your edges – all part of the adventure!
JANUARY - DYNAFIT PRESS CAMP
When the invitation came through to join Dynafit and Canadian freerider Eric ‘Hoji’ Hjorlefson for a weekend of boot-testing in the Garmisch backcountry, we immediately cleared the diary.
To be amongst the first on the planet to test out the 2018 ISPO award-winning new HOJI Pro Tour boot was an opportunity not to be missed, as was the chance to follow Whistler local Hoji up and down the mountain (albeit at a considerable distance!).
Pics - Andreas Jacob
FEBRUARY - THE DOLOMITES
Why haven’t we been here before?!! Our first trip to the Dolomites made a massive impression. The mountains are magnificent, the ski area is huge, the folks are super friendly and the food, wine and coffee is the ‘coglioni di cani’ (see Google Translate).
The standout highlight of the week was a descent of the Val Setus couloir – an unbelievably aesthetic north facing line that takes you from the top of the infamous Sella 1,400m straight down into the Val Gardena ski area.
MARCH - THE SIGB SKI TEST
Being paid to test 40 odd pairs of skis in the Austrian Alps may sound like a good gig but the reality is it’s far better than that. This was our first time at the annual SIGB Ski Test and we had a thoroughly excellent time ripping around Galtur checking out all the new female-specific skis for next winter.
If you’re in the market for a new pair of piste, freeride, park, all-mountain and/or touring skis when winter rolls around again then look out for our reviews in the upcoming edition of Snow Magazine – out later on this year.
APRIL - HIGHLAND GAMES
The late season spring skiing conditions have been bloody excellent in Scotland this year.
Top memories include our fat bike/ski touring fusion adventure into Glen Einich and up Braeriach, a zero wind, bluebird powder day circuit of Bheinn Mheadhoinn (complete with steep descent in Coire Raibert and skinning across a frozen Loch Avon) and a late season smash and grab descent of the infamous Aladdin’s Couloir in Coire an t-Sneachda.
The Nitty Gritty
If you’re fed up of hearing about our skiing adventures well tough luck folks, you’re going to have to dig in for a wee while yet as we’re off to Norway with Off Piste Performance next month!
Here’s to winter and making it last as long as possible – santé to that.