Down Days…………

March 3, 2011

It’s -20 out, the winds howling, the jobs that need doing are done and the helicopter is definitely not going anywhere today, so what do you do? Guide School is over and those 6am starts are no longer mandatory, there are any number of ways to spend those 12 hour days that were spent learning and uploading information to your cerebral cortex.

Maybe some beacon practice, I’ve got a big backyard at the trailer and there are multiple burial avalanches going down there nearly everyday. Get your friends, get some stuff bags and go bury some beacons and practice your efficiency at finding one or more at a time, one day it could make a difference at saving one of your best buddies lives. Fingers crossed it doesn’t ever get to that, but if it does you want to know you are giving them every chance at survival.

So now your on the brink of frostbite, and you think your nose is about to fall off, what to do next? How bout cruise on over to 33 mile, get yourself a coffee and chat to some of the guides. They are a wealth of information on all things Haines. Snow reports, up-coming events and general knowledge is what you’ll find here and it never hurts to make some new friends.

That done and your guides are growing tired of you endless questioning, get a shovel and start building some form of ghetto terrain park. Your hours of hard work will be rewarded with down day skiing, jibbing and bonking and hopefully not an injury. Plus all your friends will love coming over and hanging out, chatting shit and maybe even getting a nice photo to send home to their friends of some gnar shreddage in the backyard.

Exhausted?? Go home and cook yourself some dinner, read a book, watch a ski flick or play some cards. Then go outside build a huge fire and throw some sacrificial skis on it, the snow gods will undoubtedly love you for it and provide you with a week of bottomless powder…. or maybe not…… just make sure they’re someone elses skis!!


I’m Here…….

February 3, 2011

After  a 36 hour straight through drive from Haines, I have arrived.  Home base for the next few months, and a place that should create a massive learning curve in my skiing.  At the moment I am staring out the window over the bay, staring at the most beautiful mountains that reach from sea to sky. For that exact reason this post is gonna be short, I can’t take my eyes way from a view like that. A photo journal of the drive should be up soon but until then I will just leave you with a taste of what the drive is like.

I seem to crash a bit so ski insurance is not such a bad idea, that is, if you can find someone to insure you.  I am an Australian citizen, with a British passport who lives in France and this my friends, makes the gaining of the neccesary insurance, a massive complication. You must be more than a citizen of a country to qualify for their insurance policies, apperently you must live there aswell. If you are a resident though, you must be in the country to get the insurance and if your not, well, good day to you and good luck!! 

I have spent now three nights and three days tirelessly researching insurers who may or may not cover all the things I need. Some policies cover off piste skiing but only with a guide, others heli skiing but no off piste. Can anyone explain why I would want to spend hundreds of dollars on a helicopter to get dropped on top of a piste? Why is it so hard for them to insure me, In all honesty these companies must make millions and millions of dollars out of people who pay and never need to claim. We pay you to help us if we are in trouble end of story, thats what you offer, please do what you say on the packet.

After three horrible days, I think I finally found someone who would cover everything I need  today, but let me tell you, it was not without that horible feeling of being kicked in the balls several times by a number of other insurers. Fuck you all very much as I have now missed a valuable day of skiing, there is also now a  slight tinge of grey in my hair and that’s only in the parts that it’s not begun to recede.

ESF stupidity…..

January 17, 2011

Why do some ESF instructors have no idea when it comes to the skiing ability of their group? I know this is a grosse generalisation but I really find it hard to swallow when I see an instructor take his group of approximately 20 down a sheer face of moguls, glazed with ice followed by  a ten foot drop onto a rock hard piste at the bottom.

After seeing the plight of the first victim who proceeded to slide, then flip then tumble from the top to the bottom before falling the ten foot onto the piste at the bottom, most of the other potential victims decided wisely to ignore the advice of their massively incompetent instructor and take the long way around.  The instructor however, proceded to swiftly confirm his groups brave decision by following the plight of victim number one himself.  I wonder if it was purely through guilt…….. Anyone for a helicopter ride to Thonon?

2am Perth Time 06/01/2011  So I departed Australia after an amazing 2 months spent with family and friends and once again embarked on a journey with an uncertain future. Now don’t get me wrong I love flying, on skis that is, but when it comes to flying with an airline of competitively priced choice, thats a different story.  We would all love the convenience of first-class upgrades, fresh oysters and celebratory champagne on arrival but to the economy traveller the only thing that comes to mind is sardines, in a tin roughly proportioned in the shape of an Airbus A380. 

As with all flights, the shape and size of the counterparts on your aisle is of utmost importance, for example a young attractive female with an honest smile or a big, fat snoring bastard who drools and smells, I know which one I would choose. Unfortunately this time I didn’t have the choice and was lumped with both for an arduous 6 hour flight. Thankfully the attractive young female was the cushion between me and the fat guy and though he snored from before take-off till after landing and my headphones which pumped my music at full pelt, were barely audible above his dulsit drones her smiles where worth the painful snoring.  Who am I kidding, no smiles are worth having to listen to someone snore for six full hours, and although she was beautiful, it was just lucky that she was between me and the fat guy as to stop me from strangling him.

09am Singapore Time 06/01/2011 After enduring this painful experience I arrived at my stopover destination of Singapore. A lovely airport indeed but also a place designed to allow you to spend your six hour stopover walking from one end to the other with a massive array of mind numbing entertainment options such as an indoor butterfly garden, smoking rooms, perfumeries and a TV lounge. I decided to sleep, and then walk and then sleep in a different location and then walk. finally after six hours this sleep, walk pattern was broken by a 15 hour flight to London.

1pm Singapore Time 06/01/2011  Fortunately for whoever is reading, this flight was fairly uneventful, asides from the initial fear of being sat next to a couple with an 11 month old child but in all fairness he never wept, screamed, cried or pooed as far as I could smell.  I sleep, I watch TV, I sleep.

07pm London Time 06/01/2011 Winner, winner, chicken dinner!! I arrive in London withought a hitch, was unable to exchange money at a place that said Money Exchange, withdraw more cash than I needed and headed for my overnight hotel.

09am 07/01/2011 I got up, Blah blah blah, I got my flight to Geneva, blah blah blah,

05pm Morzine Time 07/01/2011  I arrived in Switzerland, spent 2 and half hours on a one hour drive and  I was back in France………….THANK FUCK for that, 48 hours in transit and as usual treated to a lovely warm welcome by the people I love in the place I love….. It’s good to be home, even if it is only for a couple of weeks….. now all I need to do is psyche myself up for work tomorrow.