As January draws to a close its time for a pause in the Avalanche Geeks season. All of our Alps courses are completed and the Scottish courses about to start. Bruce is currently draining seemingly endless low density powder in Japan…while I’m watching the snowpack dissolve before my eyes on the Cairngorm Mountain webcam. Rats!
It’s been a really busy start for us this year. Tignes has become our favourite early season venue to run the Avalanche Geeks courses thanks to it’s reliability for snow. With good light snow laying with decent depth we both alternated between using the Cham 97’s and 107’s throughout December and January. We’re spoilt for choice as the 97 handles powder just fine – more than fine actually, and its chubby brutha from da same mutha; the 107, proved a remarkable capable on piste ski as we worked our way round the resort to access the backcountry each day.
But truth be told Bruce and I were itching to get out on our new and much hyped Mythics. We didn’t want to risk their shiny new bases until there was a reliable depth of snow everywhere so it wasn’t until last week on a personal ski day in La Contamines that they make their debut. First impressions are good…very good. Bruce was bouncing around in the fresh stuff like a kangaroo on Viagra on them. His comment after his first run came to a gasping end with freshies plastered all over his chest was: “I should have put a burlier binding on them”. They certainly look like they can take anything I can throw at them. So they look promising.
Fun in the sun in Cervinia – author in a caffeinated state.
As always the highlight of the early season has been the enthusiasm shown by our great students as they embrace their inner Avi Geeks. For me the AAA Level 1 course in Cervinia was a particular highlight. On paper it was mix of random folk of mixed ability, add to that a snowpack as nasty as a scrap yard guard dog and it wasn’t shaping up to be a classic AG course – but sometimes it’s the most unlikely groups that gel. Their enthusiasm for the subject grew exponentially throughout the course and was infectious. Good Italian coffee and endless sunshine helps too of course…
With a trip to Utah in a couple of weeks, my Mythics will remain in quarantine until March when they’re going to be my sticks of choice in Iceland’s Troll peninsula – where longish approaches will be rewarded by steep lines above a steely grey Arctic Ocean, followed by some big mountain skiing in Chamonix, terrain for which the developers specifically had the ski in mind, rounding off the season with a couple of weeks in Norwegian Finnmark. We’ll let you know what we think….can’t wait!
We even found time for a free public safety lecture with the good people at Mountain Spirit in Aviemore.