Tag Archives: couloir

The Balkans; skiing the unexpected

When it comes to skiing in a different culture not too far away from home, the Balkan region offers plenty of opportunities. A wealth of culture and history can be found in the many countries that form the region, making a trip to this part of the world very interesting. However, snow coverage, the weather, finding reliable ski partners, language barriers and tough logistics can make a ski mountaineering trip difficult. So, while facing many challenges, was I able to make something happen?

Skiing the Andes…again

May 2014 I returned back home from my long trip. Having been away for quite a while, I was looking forward to some continuity. I soon started life as a freelancer and my first contract was a fact. Working on an important project for a year meant I had faced quite a few deadlines and that I had been looking at a computer screen for a while. Therefore, time had come to participate in some outdoor activity. Another trip to the Southern Hemisphere where winter was in full swing, was on the agenda…

Banana couloir, Las Leñas, Argentina

Las Leñas in Argentina has many options for freeriding, most of them easily accessible by the Marte chairlift. These options include many bowls, chutes and some steep couloirs and can keep you busy for days or even weeks. In case you want to explore a but further there are some fantastic options in the “backyard” with mountains like Cerro Martin, Entre Rios and Torrecillas…

Frankie’s couloir, Las Leñas, Argentina

Las Leñas in Argentina has possibly the best lift-accessed terrain in the world. Of course, that is, when the famous Marte chairlift is running. Otherwise the terrain is suddenly very limited, especially when you’re looking for steep offpiste lines. Another factor that plays an important role is the volatility in snowfalls in this part of the world. Recent years have been what is referred to as ‘low snow seasons’. Finally 2015 had a decent amount of snow, opening many possibilities…

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!