My 5 Favourite Places to Ski in the World part 3 – My Home, Chamonix Mont Blanc

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First please accept my apologies for the delay in getting this post up. The Alps has seen some of the best early season conditions that Ive had the pleasure of experiencing in 20 years and its been really fun to ski with visiting American’s Johnny Collinson and Griffin post and share some of our favourite spots with them.

An article on ski mountaineering wouldn’t be complete without a mention of my hometown Chamonix. Hailed as the birthplace of alpinism, it is the superbowl of steep skiing, where boundaries are continually pushed due to the healthy competition amongst the hoardes of very strong skiers who make the pilgrimage there to either learn and grow or cut their teeth on the established test pieces. Easy (lift) access allows the big faces to be studied close up until its judged enough snow has stuck for them to be skiable. These are serious committing undertakings, fall you die terrain, and the grave yards will testify about all those who made a slight mistake in their quest. These are the real steeps rad, gnarly, complex, and to be given utmost repect.

In an area with thousands of lines it could be hard to chose one which stands out above all others. The 800 m 50 degree Gervautti Couloir on Tacul is a beauty, the 1100 m 55 degree Couturier Couloir on La Verte is definitely up there. But for me I will go with Trevor Peterson’s and Eric Pehota’s simple philosophy of the big line on the big mountain and that means the himalayan sized West Face of Mont Blanc, Western Europe’s highest peak.

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The West Face drops over 2000 m from a start point 4810 m (15780 ft). It’s a line that comes into condition late May or early June once the snow starts sticking to the ice cap high on Mont Blanc and as you ski over the upper convexity you will feel all of that exposure! The upper pitch alone is 1200 m and can be skied clean, no ropes, no tricks, just great skiing. If you then take the Quintino Sella hut couloir, the change in aspect will mean its just softening up perfectly and the 600 m exit couloir will take just a few minutes. A quick traverse of the Dome Glacier and you take the line of the summer path down onto the Miage Glacier where you glide down past all the mega couloirs under Petit Mont Blanc. The final walk down Val Veni is charming where the smells of the grass and spring flowers are a strong contrast to the snow and ice in the high mountain and about 15 hours after starting your day, you arrive at the road head tired and very happy to have skied one of the best ski lines in the World.

Sylvain Saudan did the first descent of this line and by stroke of coincidence I was lucky enough to bump into him the day afterwards while I was out mountain biking and we shared a few memories of this incredible line.

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My 5 Favourite Places to Ski in the World – part 2 Patagonia and Chile

In the second week of this five part series we visit some of the finest spots of Patagonia and Chile.

This trip was ten years in the coming for me. Getting the right person, at the right time in the right place proved difficult. I was working on a large engineering project in Brazil that summer and travelled from there to meet Michelle in Bariloche. From there we followed the snow along with many other fellow skiers who we crossed paths with several times in both Argentina and Chile.

The light, wind, ruggedness, red wine, steaks, monkey puzzles and friendly people made this trip one that will guarantee I go back.  Everyone should ski a volcano at some point in their life and the fantastic Frey Refugio comes with its own reputation as a freeride destination.

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Michelle in the vapours and walking between the cauliflowers on Llaima volcano

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Dropping into another sweet run above the Frey hut amongst the granite spires of Patganonia with Bariloche’s lake Rio Negra in the distance

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The volcano Llaima and the beautiful characteristic Monley Puzzle or Auracaria trees

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Skiing on Llaima with moody afternoon light

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Wall art in Bariloche

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Tree warmers?

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Dropping off the back of Cerro Catedral en route to the Frey

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Ross enjoying a fast run into Frey

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Wall art in Pucon

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Quietly contented and very shy

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Villarica and plumes of volcanic vapours

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Summit selfie shot on Villarica

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Michelle on Villarica with an abundance of riming near the crater rim

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Good low angled skiing lower on Villarica with the deep contrast of the volcanic landscape

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Michelle on Llaima volcano and the surrounding landscape

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The Frey hut at sunset with its stunning backdrop

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The Frey hut is nestled below the rock spires with access to a group of valleys providing different skiing options. Its also low enough to escape the worst Patagonian wind which destroys the snow for skiing.

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Ross Hewitt on a line directly above the hut

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Cosy nights at the Frey for enjoying the pizza and wine

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Loads of variety between open slopes, faces and couloirs. We found the best snow at Frey

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Matt Livingstone shredding

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Me shredding

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The road to the Argentinian – Chilean border and the 3700 m volcan Lanin

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Lanin offers 2000 m of vert and has a 1000 m cosmique like couloir from the summit which we were aiming for

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The military concrete hut at 2800 m provides shelter for the night en route up the mountain splitting the climb into 2 days.

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We spent the night with fellow travellers Brodie Leven and Adam Clark who had a faulty gas cylinder and were happy to have our stove to use.  Michelle and myself had travelled to South America without sleeping bags and the ones we borrowed in San Martin were bigger that our packs and pretty cold.

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Dawn hit Lanin as we leave the hut

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Michelle just below the summit

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The stunning contrast between snowcapped peaks and the lakes

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Michelle and myself on the summit above the volcanic and lake district landscape of Chile

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Ross Hewitt skiing the north east couloir of Lanin

Verbier Opening Day

We went over to Verbier for its opening day and enjoyed a fantastic day of endless powder – here is a little edit from the day.  Lets hope it stays cold now! The ski season has got off to an amazing start this year after the last two dry years. I started skiing again on the Midi about a month ago and in the last two weeks Chamonix in particular got a load of snow.

My 5 Favourite Places to Ski in the World

This is the first in a series of five weekly articles which discuss my 5 favourite places to ski in the world.

I was recently asked what my 5 favourite ski lines were.  Thats a toughie. What makes a line great? The difficulty, the aesthetics of the line, the quality of the snow, skiability, or the overall experience you had on it? Some of the lines we skied in Alaska sure were fast, furious and a heap of fun but then I didn’t always earn those turns benefiting from the aid of a heli. Does that make a difference? Not really, its the same as any lift but for this article I have excluded Alaska as my experiences there in the Chugach, Heneys and Alaska range are a decade out of date. Why havent’t I been back to the velvet snow there??

The line has to be aesthetic, that goes without saying, and off the big mountain. It also has to have high skiability. What I mean by that is low reliance on abseils and maximum focus on skiing. Skiing is all about the sensation of turning, the control of the acceleration as gravity assists your descent and the flow state your mind can enter. Skiability generally is inversely proportional to difficulty. For example, a popular Chamonix test piece like the Mallory under the Midi cables is psychologically and technically challenging, but its also rocky and I’ve seen teams do as many as 9 abseils in poor conditions breaking the fluidity of a ski descent. I avoid getting caught up in that climbers game of chasing grades and go ski where the good snow is. Good snow can make a hard route ski well and easy, while poor conditions may mean you have the most harrowing marginal experience of your life leaving you burning a lot of hard earned cash at the bar afterwards to recover from the mental trauma. Aside from the snow, the overall experience I have on a route is heavily influenced by the people I share the experience with. So the ultimate line for me is the aesthetic one off that huge peak, which no reliance on abseils, great snow and a bunch of good friends to share the ride with.

Choosing 5 of the best lines has been so difficult so I finally settled upon selecting 5 of the must ski mountaineering areas of the World. There are all different, unique, and utterly brilliant in their own ways, varying from adventure skiing in the coldest, remotest area of the world where bringing an Everest down suit and a high tolerance for suffering is mandatory, to the more relaxed and accessible ski touring opportunities and fine dining that Lofoten Ski Lodge offers with everything else there is in between. The skiing isn’t restricted to the northern hemisphere either, every skier needs something to do when summer round and the quest for powder may take you to the other side of the planet. There is something for everyone here and hopefully a few things that might inspire of create ideas for future trips. I grew up reading book’s like Paul Pritchard’s ‘Deep Play’ or Chris Bonnington’s ‘Quest for Adventure’. I never imagined in my wildest dreams of ever going to Baffin, let alone to ski first descents there, or end up having Chris Bonnington as a Berghaus team mate!

So this is the first in a series of five weekly articles which discuss my 5 favourite places to ski in the world.

No. 1 .The Northern Hemisphere – Lofoten Islands, Artic Norway.

The magical archipelago of the Lofoten islands is located at 68° north on the western seaboard of Norway. Despite being in the Arctic Circle, the presence of the Gulf Stream keeps the Arctic weather at bay and instead one should expect temperatures more akin to those found in Scotland and since its west coast means there is a lot of preceip or snow. We headed up there in mid March to benefit from colder snow and dark nights in which to view the Northern Lights or Aurora Borealis. There are many options for accommodation and we elected to stay at the beautiful Lofoten Ski Lodge that is run by the charming couple of Maren Eek Bistrup and IFMGA guide Seth Hobby. They provide a fantastic homely relaxed atmosphere that allows you to completely unwind and adjust to the natural rhythm of the days in the far north. Starting the day with a full breakfast, Seth then gives you the beta on the best places to ski or sorts you out with a guide, go skiing in some marvellous places, before coming back to the lodge for afternoon tea and waffles and then relaxing in the sauna with occasional paddle in the fiord to cool down. Then its time for a beer, an excellent diner, and finally marvelling at the northern lights to end the evening. Despite being in the Arctic Circle Lofoten is well served by good net work of roads and served by several airports at Bodo, Evenes, Svolvaer , or Leknes. Just pick up a car and go ski where you want!

 

 

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Every clear night we were treated to a light show outside Lofoten Ski Lodge

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Michelle eyeing up potential ski lines and just taking in the beauty of it all

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Geitgalien’s classic south west couloir. We skied the snaking line to the right

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A small ice bulge blocks my way to a 500 m first descent

Lofoten 5 Minna Riihimaki and Michelle Blaydon by Ross Hewitt

Minna Riihimaki and Michelle Blaydon in gorgeous afternoon light

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Minna, Cedric and Michelle high on Geitgalien’s normal route

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Checking out the stunning view from Breitinden

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Ross Hewitt opening a new line on Nilsvikteinden

Lofoten 9 Michelle Blaydon Geitgalien

Michelle Blaydon slaying the pow on Geitgalien under a moody sky

Lofoten 10 Cod run heads drying

Cod fishing is the main industry in Lofoten. Once the heads are dried they are ground into fish stock

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Even the lampshades are made from cod!

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The idyllic setting for the Lofoten Ski Lodge

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Emerald waters and white sandy beaches with a backdrop of snowy mountains

Lofoten 14 Michelle Blaydon Unstad Beach

Michelle trying to slime me with some giant seaweed

Lofoten 15 Surfing at Unstad beach

Surfers enjoying the swell at Unstad beach on a cold, dark day

 

 

10 Tips to Improve Your Ski Boot Fitting Experience

  1. Chose the Right Type of Boot for the Job

Ideally I want a boot that offers race stiffness in the forward, lateral and aft directions, with a warm liner and enough space to stop my toes getting frostbite, has a walk mode, vibram sole, and weighs less than 1 kg per boot. Unfortunately this doesn’t exist so think really hard and carefully what you want a boot for. If you are doing a lot of uphill or multiday tours then the Evo F1 could be ideal, but if its more downhill orientated you will appreciate the support of the Freedom. I run a World Cup race boot, a Freedom RS, and Evo F1 and the Alien to cover everything from 160 kph runs on my GS skis to skinning up hills for training. Spend a little time contemplating what you really want the boot to do and where you are willing to compromise.

Also bear in mind that a rockered vibram sole is not compatible with traditional alpine downhill bindings and flat DIN soles should be used like those that come with the Scarpa Freedom. Some newer alpine bindings have a height adjustable anti-friction device at the toe that allows adjustment for the additional height between the rockered sole and the top of the toe piece. 

  1. Chose the Right Shell for Your Foot.

This may sound obvious but the boot that is most confortable in the shop may just be the one that has most room around your foot and may end up being the sloppiest to ski. The choice of shell should not be based on colours, brand loyalty or magazine reviews. Each manufacture moulds it boots around its own last and they are all slightly different. i.e. Scarpa’s last for ski boots is 102 mm wide across the forefoot and mid volume in the heal and arch areas whereas Dynafits last is 98 mm across the forefoot and is very low volume throughout. That means a narrow foot with skinny heals will work in the Dynafit whereas a medium to wide foot with normal heals will be better in the Scarpa. The stock shell is just a starting point, and if its confortable straight out the box then its probably too big or has too much volume for your foot. The correct shell length can be confirmed by removing the liner and placing your foot in the empty shell and with your toes just touching the front, there should be 1 cm between the heal and the shell. Remember that the liner will pack out through the moulding process and skiing, especially when the snow is heavy as you put more force through the boot to turn the ski. Once you have a shell that will provide a glove like fit, the boot fitter will heat the liners, put them back in the shell and then strap your feet into the liners while the moulding process goes on.

  1. Customising the Shell for Your Foot

Once the liner has been moulded, the next step is to customise the shell for any tight or pinch points you may feel. It may be you need to ski the boot for a few hours to work out what needs modified or things may be apparent straight away in the shop. By removing the liner and applying some marker paint to any bone spurs, bunions, or bulges on your foot and then putting your foot back into the shell where the marker paint will be transferred to the inside of the shell. The boot fitter will decide if he can create more room in this area by grinding the internal surface of the shell or if the shell needs ‘blown’ out – a process involving softening the plastic of the shell with a heat gun and then applying and holding pressure to that area with a press. This is usually an overnight process as the plastic in the shell has a strong memory. The various plastics respond differently with grilamid being the easiest to work with and pebax having a stronger memory to overcome. I’ve found I often have to repeat the blowing process on a pebax boot to get the result I want. I usually blow all my boots in the 6th metatarsal area and also at the heal due to bone spurs.

Don’t forget boots that fit well in the colder months may pinch your foot when it swells in the heat of the spring months requiring the shell to be pushed along the side. I find myself pushing my boots again in spring along the 6th metatarsal area since my feet get warm and swell up skiing north faces in mild temperatures between April and June.

If you are bow legged or have other alignment issues you will need to adjust the canting (verticality of the upper cuff). Most shells have the options to adjust forward lean. Before you crank it right forward to the most aggressive angle, see how much you can flex you lower leg forward with your foot flat on the floor. For most people have a more upright forward lean on the boot will allow them to flex forward and absord bumps. If the boots is already forcing you towards the extend of your flexibility, there is little range of motion left for you to flex, and you will end up skiing backseat.

  1. Customising the Insole

Firstly throw away the piece of cardboard that comes with the boot. Choose a footbed that will support your foot, closely fit the underside of your foot and provide good friction so foot movements result in instantaneous boot and ski movements. A good insole will also prevent the down force from tight buckles collapsing your foot and that burning lactate sensation which has you reaching to pop open the buckles at every opportunity. Superfeet or the more expensive moulded Conformables are a good investment and you may choose to get an electrically heated insole if you suffer from cold feet or are off on expedition (I recommend Lenz electrically heated socks nowadays as you can use them in any boot). I prefer Conformables and run them in all my boots. Superfeet have a little too much heal raise for my liking. Raising the heal from footbed/insole/binding ramp angle (the angle off the horizontal due to the heal being higher than the toes) used to be common to try and make people more aggressive over the front of the skis. However it does the exact opposite. Try it at home, place a book under your heals and I bet you stick your bum out to compensate. In skiing this would make you more backseat. Now try this, feet flat on the floor, lift your toes and notice your weight going forward. Push your toes into the ground and you’ll feel your weight going backseat again. Try lifting your toes when skiing to get that weight forward.

  1. Choosing the Liner

Surely the liner comes with the boot? Well it does but again you need to decide what you will do with the boot. If the intent is to do day tours you may have no specific requirements but if you are doing multi-day tours or expeditions then you will love Intuition closed cell foam liners. The closed cell structure does not absorb sweat so at the end of the day its easy to dry overnight in a hut or sleeping bag whereas a porous liner will stay saturated and may freeze without a direct heat source causing you major problems. There are other reasons why you may discard the stock liner. An Intuition Powerwrap is warmer, stiffer and will take some volume out of the boot, and the Intuition Pro Tour is designed specifically with that with a hinge point, rear stiffener and a choice of tongue stiffness’s.

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Scarpa’s boots come with Inuition Liners as stock

  1. Customising the Liner

It’s now time to get the liner thermo moulded to your anatomy. The boot fitter will place the liner in an oven at 200 F for around 10 minutes until the liner looses a little stiffness. It will then be placed in the shell and you’ll be asked to slide your foot into the liner. The boot fitter may have already placed some foam pads on any bone protuberances to create more space for them while the liners conforms to your anatomy. If you are ski mountaineering make sure you mould with toe caps in place to create a warm air space for your toes within the boot. Its essential that you get the heal firmly into the back of the boot and you’ll be asked to stomp down on the heal which will create a nice heal cup to hold your heal securely – you don’t want heal lift touring and any lateral heal movement will make it tough to smear the tail of the ski when you are buttering the turns off. The boot fitter will crank up the buckles and ask you to walk around and flex for ten minutes or so. And that’s it, well, almost. Final adjustments to remove volumecan be done by adding customised shapes of self-adhesive foam to any problem areas. In the photo below you can see where I added 2 mm thick green foam around the heal to get the glove fit I was after with my skinny Achilles. These simple bits of foam can transform a boot from almost unskiable to world class so bear that in mind and if you think you’ll need some once the liner packs out ask the bootfitter to give you a sheet to take away. In the second photo below you’ll see how I put foam ontop of my foot to take volume out around the ankle to get the heal locked down in the boot – super important with modern skis where you can use heal pressure to control the ski at the end of turns. Alos if you have low volume foot like mine and your liner has a lacing option, use it.

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Customising the fit of your liner with self adhesive foam & use of laces

Read more about moulding liners here: http://www.powder.com/gear/gear-hack-how-to-cook-your-liners-in-an-oven/ – GpEHChwuVVLvCYdh.97

Finally I am going to mention a few other things I use to get that glove like boot fit. Don’t forget boots that fit well in the colder months may pinch your foot when it swells in the heat of the spring months requiring the shell to be pushed along the side.

  1. Spoilers – these typically come with alpine boots and are a wedge of plastic that velcros to the top back of the liner to take out any space. Skiing is a very dynamic sport and when you want to put power on the back of the boot the last thing you want is a delay as your leg chances angle to move from shin contact to calf contact. My calf muscles also disappear as I go from the climbing and biking season into the ski season so it something I introduce as my anatomy changes through the season.
  1. Volume Reducers

These are flat incompressible foam or rubber insoles that you place under your moulded insole to take out some volume. Typically 2 or 3 mm but if you need more a cork board might be the solution.

  1. Heal lifts

An incompressible foam or rubber wedge under the heal to take out room. I don’t like these much as it changes the ramp angle – its remarkable that you will notice a change of a couple of mm in heal height causing you to be more backseat or thrown forward – until you get used to it and subconsciously compensate.

Read more about tech binding delta (ramp) here: https://www.wildsnow.com/10733/get-up-rise-up-stand-up-for-your-ramp/

  1. Heal Space Frame

These cheap plastic frames create a more pronounced heal pocket by inserting over the outside of the liner. They do push your foot forward and you’ll notice more pressure on your toes. I also find that while they are good for downhill, they tend to give me blisters along the sides of my Achilles and so I always use adhesive foam.

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Black Crows Corvus Freebird Review

Black Crows Skis is the Cult  brand in France, conceived by Camille Jaccoux and Bruno Compagnet and born in Chamonix. The name derives from the friendly mountain crow the Choucas,  the legend being each bird is the soul of a dead alpinist or skier. Treat them with affection next time one pays you a visit on a airy ridgeline. Chamonix lays claim to be ‘the World Capital for Skiing and Mountaineering’ and whether you love or hate it, there is no denying that its the ultimate testing ground for high performance, big mountain skiing. The guys in the ski films like Glen Plake, Scott Schmidt, Andreas Fransson, JP Auclair, Seth Morrison, Sam Favret, Aurelian Ducroz, Oli Herren, Nate Wallace, Alex Pittin have all served time perfecting their arts in many different disciplines of skiing before coming to Chamonix and undertaking a long apprenticeship in the unforgiving big mountains  before they could turn on the style on the big test piece routes. This ain’t Alaska where you throw caution to the wind and tomahawk a line and walk away unscathed, make a mistake here and the next second will probably be your last. Its the perfect testing ground, equipment has to perform and withstand abuse (dry skiing, morraines rock, roots) or it gets left in the cellar.

The Corvus has been Black Crows Sovereign ski since the brands conception, and with each year they have added some extra width to drive the market trend. The Freebird version landed in 2016 and won many awards. It is a backcountry orientated ski, lightened to help you get up the hills,  and for a 109 underfoot ski at around the 3.6 kg mark, its boasts a lot of performance.

Like its full weight brother, this is a ski that likes to charge, and the harder you push the more impressed would will be with its stability as it shows its calibre. You can ski pow with dustbin lids but when its variable, crusty or firm then you start to appreciate the all round abilities. I’ve skied this on heavy touring boots but the combination of stability, ease of pivot and dampening has meant I’m happy to go out on this in the mountains with my Scarpa Evo F1.

Photos by Michelle Blaydon on the Shoulder of Aiguille du Tacul above the Mer de Glace.

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Black Crows Skis is the Cult  brand in France, conceived by Camille Jaccoux and Bruno Compagnet and born in Chamonix. The name derives from the friendly mountain crow the Choucas,  the legend being each bird is the soul of a dead alpinist or skier. Treat them with affection next time one pays you a visit on a airy ridgeline. Chamonix lays claim to be ‘the World Capital for Skiing and Mountaineering’ and whether you love or hate it, there is no denying that its the ultimate testing ground for high performance, big mountain skiing. The guys in the ski films like Glen Plake, Scott Schmidt, Andreas Fransson, JP Auclair, Seth Morrison, Sam Favret, Aurelian Ducroz, Oli Herren, Nate Wallace, Alex Pittin have all served time perfecting their arts in many different disciplines of skiing before coming to Chamonix and undertaking a long apprenticeship in the unforgiving big mountains  before they could turn on the style on the big test piece routes. This ain’t Alaska where you throw caution to the wind and tomahawk a line and walk away unscathed, make a mistake here and the next second will probably be your last. Its the perfect testing ground, equipment has to perform and withstand abuse (dry skiing, morraines rock, roots) or it gets left in the cellar.

The Corvus has been Black Crows Sovereign ski since the brands conception, and with each year they have added some extra width to drive the market trend. The Freebird version is touring orientated ski  that has been lightened to help you get up the hills and for a 109 underfoot ski at around the 3.6 kg mark, its boasts a lot of performance.

Like its full weight brother, this is a ski that likes to charge, and the harder you push the more impressed would will be with it stability as it shows its calibre. You can ski pow with dustbin lids but when its variable, crusty or firm then you start to appreciate the all round abilities. I’ve skied this on heavy touring boots but the combination of stability, ease of pivot and dampening has meant I’m happy to go out on this in the mountains with my Scarpa Evo F1.

I rated the ski on the 10 qualities I look for in a ski:

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Home Sweet Home

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After nearly six months away from home this year its great to finally be home, wake up in the same bed, catch up with friends and enjoy the Fall in the Alps in the autumn. I love this time of year with the valley being quiet, temperatures better for riding, near perfect friction on the rock, early snows of the winter, first turns…the hardest thing can be deciding what to do! Its especially sweet that he hard work in Wales this summer paid off and past the British Mountains Guides’ summer rock test and will be going to Scotland for the winter test next. At the start of summer I had a bad bike crash when I dropped the front end off a jump a piled my neck into the ground.  There was a lot of heavy crunching in my back and while I spat out bits of broken teeth, my back muscles went into hard spasm stopping me from getting much air in my lungs. It was a pretty scary experience and with my back feeling weird I made a beeline for the emergency room. The doctor was pretty nonchalant about it, monitored my blood pressure for a few hours and released me armed with a paracetamol and the advice that I might be a little sore in the morning. Having played rugby and raced bike downhill for years I’m not unused to taking hard knocks but this was a new level.  A week of not being able to sleep and 3 weeks of complete inactivity had me thinking it was unlikely I’d get into shape for the guides exam. 3 months later and I was starting to move a bit better and not feel like I’d been hit in the back with a sledge hammer, but for a while there were some major doubts about getting over this injury in time! A big thanks goes to Martin Chester who spent a day giving me some great tips during my final preparation for the test. He’s a IFMGA mountain guide and a fantastic performance coach and all round nice guy so check him out at: martinchester.co.uk  Also a big thanks to John Whittaker for being the perfect mock client – hope to see you for some Scottish Winter action!

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Coaching how to fist jam. Photo Martin Chester

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Me leading Shadow Wall. Photo Martin Chester

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John Whittaker seconding. Photo Martin Chester

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Me on Western Rib, Dinas Mot. Photo Martin Chester

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Placing gear on The Chain, a quality crack pitch, Dinas Mot. Photo Martin Chester

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On The Chain. Photo Martin Chester

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John Whittaker belaying me on The Chain. Photo Martin Chester

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John getting the finger locks on The Chain. Photo Martin Chester

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John on the jugs. Photo Martin Chester

 

The following biking photos are from Merlet, my home run.

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And Gietroz with Enrico Mosetti and Beatrice Michelotti (photo credits)

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Then to the Gabarrou route on the triangle with Phil Brugger who is over from Innsbruck to train in the high mountain. Its ultra dry and the crux would be way easier in rock shoes but feels like M6+ right now. Short and sharp.

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And skiing on the normal route of Mont Blanc du Tacul.

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Finally a couple of scenic shots and Michelle at Elevation!

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