Author Archives: Mike Austin

Barryvox S Review

We’ve had a couple of the new Barryvox ‘S’ transceivers on long term test from Mammut UK over the last three months. Mammut’s new range of beacons are the direct replacements for both the very successful Element and Pulse models. Here are our initial thoughts and impressions of using the new beacon this winter so far. Both of us have used the Mammut Pulse unit for several years, and it has been our go to transceiver, especially when working with groups. The Pulse’s multiple marking Continue reading →

Skiing in the Picos D’ Europa

Whist the Alps and Scotland have been battered by endless storms and unprecedented snowfall this winter, I headed to Spain to the Picos D’ Europa with a couple of friends in search of some stable conditions and a slightly less schizophrenic snowpack. It was the first time in a decade that I’d been to this remote mountain range on the edge of Spanish Basque country. One of the last wildernesses left in Europe, bears and even wolves remain there, protected by the complex and inaccessible Continue reading →

Powder Highway

It was snowing hard on our arrival in the Monashee Range of British Columbia in early April. Three weeks later, sat in departure lounge of Calgary airport awaiting the flight home, it was still snowing hard. In contrast to Europe this season, North America has had a record breaking snowpack, so it was a good time to road trip Canada’s premier ski terrain. This was only the second time I’d travelled the Powder Highway through the interior of British Columbia. Frankly it’s a long way Continue reading →

Monkey Brain

If you’re serious about having fun, then it can be no fun at all…. It’s a rainy evening three days before Christmas and I’ve driven 2 hours to Aviemore to present a free avalanche lecture. The town streets are empty. There is no snow. Few things are as miserable as a ski town in December without snow. Eventually about 20 people make their way into the lecture room above one of the the towns ski shops, tempted in by free cake and gluwein to accompany Continue reading →

Avalanche Safety. Get the Big Picture.

When I was a young winter climber in Scotland my avalanche safety process was pretty basic. I looked at the SAIS (Scottish Avalanche Information Service) hazard forecast and then extrapolated it to the route that I intended to climb that day, and then…ummm, well that was pretty much it. Sound familiar? Sure, I was aware that there were other warning signs that I needed to heed, like a fresh storm or sudden ‘whoomphing’ in the snowpack, but I never joined the dots between all of Continue reading →

Antarctica Yacht Trip #2

The team have reached the Antarctic mainland and had a successful ski, summitting two peaks. Today’s blog update is from Mark B.   Words can not describe arriving on the peninsula. This place is not real. Even better news is the forward cabin heater is now operational and the boys’ cabin is now dry and warm. With yet another amazing dinner – vegetarian pasta bake courtesy of Bruce – we retired to our bunks ready for our first ski on the peninsula in the morning. Continue reading →

Antarctica Yacht Trip #1

Hi Everyone, Bruce is currently in Antarctica and out of contact. However, he’s able to occasionally send email via their sat-phone data link. Here’s a blog from one of his team outlining the beginning of their trip on the yacht ‘The Spirit of Sydney’ and their first ski on the Antarctic continent #haglofs Dynastar #beattheelements :   ‘The most inefficient way on the planet to go skiing!’ said Neil as we dropped off the thousandth green mountainous wave still 150 miles out from the South Continue reading →

Preparing for Winter

With the first snows arriving in the mountains, thoughts are turning to the upcoming ski season. Everyone has different ideas on how to best prepare, but here’s our thoughts on what we do, and some of the training we’ve been focusing on to get ‘Strong Like Bull’ this winter. Kit wise, we’ve pulled out our ski’s from the basement and given them a customary visual once over, paying particular attention to the bindings. Pin bindings should have been stored in the closed jaws position so Continue reading →

We are all Vikings now…

The authors scopes lines from the hot tub in Olafsfjord, Iceland….what? you never scoped a route in a mankini? One of the great things about backcountry skiing is that it lets you explore cool parts of the world that you may not otherwise have thought to visit if they didn’t promise fresh snow and untracked lines. Last year fellow Avalanche Geek and ‘Titan of Touring’  (he really hates that title bestowed upon him by Fall Line magazine, so obviously I refer to it as often Continue reading →