Tag Archives: backcountry skiing

The Alps; steep skiing

For years now I have been dreaming of several lines in the Alps. I call it my bucketlist of skiruns. At some point in my life I want to have skied all of them. After traveling for a while now, I couldn’t think of a better way to finish my trip than to ski at least a couple of the runs on my list…

Couloir E de Brèche Cordier, les Ecrins, France

In December 2012 I started a one year trip that eventually turned into a 17 month trip. After completing my initial goal to ski all seven continents, I made some new goals. Skiing on high altitude was also accomplished, for the moment at least, when descending from the summit of Cotopaxi (5897 m). The only goal left, was to complete a serious steep skiing descent. In Chamonix conditions were not on my side. The Ecrins however, finally delivered. Skiing Couloir E de Brèche Cordier was the ultimate way to finish my trip!

Glacier Rond, Chamonix, France

After spending a couple of weeks in Chamonix during the spring of 2014 there were rumours about the Glacier Rond being in condition. When a little snowfall was followed by a sunny morning, I had no choice but to go for it. Together with Fredrik Ström, a guy I had met in Gîte Le Belvédère, I took the Aiguille du Midi for another mission.

NE couloir of Pointe d’Orny, Val d’Arpette, Switzerland

Chamonix and its valley is probably the most visited area for skiing and ski mountaineering. For good reason that is because the terrain is endless and offers a challenge for all abilities. However, a drawback of the popularity are the crowds. A great alternative is offered just around the corner in Switzerland. Behind the ski resort of Champex the Val d’Arpette has plenty of great couloirs to keep you busy for days without having to fight for space.

Canale Staunies Nord, Cristallo, Italy

The Dolomites have some famous ski resorts. Most of them are fancy ski towns, Alta Badia and Cortina d’Ampezzo to name a few. Besides offering a famous ski tour on the slopes, the Sella Ronda, the Dolomites offer many possibilities for backcountry skiing, especially couloirs. The tiny resort of Cristallo, part of Cortina d’Ampezzo, has great access to a number of couloirs. March 28, 2014 I skied canale Staunies Nord, a steep descent with 1500 meters vertical!

Canale Holzer, Passo Pordoi, Italy

After skiing in the backcountry more and more, I created a bucketlist of ski descents. Most of those runs are located in France, where the mountains surrounding la Grave and Chamonix have a lot to offer. However, a few runs are located in different parts of the world. One of the runs ranked very high on my bucketlist was canale Holzer in the Dolomites in Italy. It’s a true couloir with a serious gradient and therefore a great challenge!

Iran; ancient cities and Persian powder

After all my travels there is one obvious region I haven’t visited; the Middle East. One country in this region stands out in terms of variety it has to offer. The Silk Road and Islamic buildings offer some impressive architecture. Multiple deserts and mountains identify its landscape and make for interesting excursions. And, finally, the Trans Asia Express train ride offers a great alternative for the much more touristy Trans Siberia Express. This country of course is Iran.

Morocco; skiing couloirs from the Tazaghart hut

In March 2013 I skied in the Atlas mountains for the first time. I summited some peaks around the Toubkal hut and skied perfect corn snow. Apparently there is another, more remote, hut from where one can access a number of beautiful couloirs. In February 2014 I visited Refuge Tazaghart in order to ski the best lines Africa has to offer…

Couloir ouest de l’Adad, Atlas Mountains, Morocco

Morocco offers several options for skiing. If you’re looking for couloirs however, there is only one place. Refuge Tazaghart is surrounded by many narrow corridors, all pretty easily accessible. Couloir ouest de l’Adad was spotted when climbing couloir Occidental on the opposite side of the valley. It looked simply amazing and had to be skied. February 7, 2014, together with Jurriaan Huisman, I decided to give it a go.

Couloir Median, Atlas Mountains, Morocco

Morocco offers several options for skiing. If you’re looking for couloirs however, there is only one place. Refuge Tazaghart is surrounded by many narrow corridors, all pretty easily accessible. One of the better couloirs in the area is Couloir Median which offers two variations. Looker’s right there is a very narrow couloir, nice and steep. I climbed and skied it on February 6, 2014, together with Jurriaan Huisman.