This season I am changing things up a touch.
Instead of following the American qualifier tour, like I have the last couple of years I have opted for the Euro comps instead.
I am currently based in Verbier and will be travelling between Switzerland, Austria and Andorra to compete. The plan is to do four 4 star events and two 3 stars.
I have had 2 days skiing here so far and all I can say is this place is big and gnarly.
This trip has been a totally new experience for me so far. Its the first time I have ever been to Europe let alone a to a country that speaks a completely different language to my own.
The language thing OK, It seems like you can mostly get by only knowing hello and thank you, as a lot of the time shop staff or customer service types can speak English well enough to get you sorted. However you gain mad brownie points if you approach them with poorly spoken French greetings off the bat.
|First day on snow - Bruson|
Photo - Charlie Lyons
The terrain here is amazing, its the kind of place where almost everything you can see from the lift you can ski.
However, it is totally up to you not to die. The majority of epic off piste terrain is not patrolled, I'm not exactly sure the reasons why but that seems to be the case. They bomb and ski cut anything that is likely to slide onto a groomed piste or into a building or lift station, but everything else is left to its own.
This season the snow pack is screwed.
Early season Hoar frost has meant that the super low layers are mighty unstable, so basically the avy danger is at considerable whether there is new snow or not.
So on top of worrying about the stability of the snow that fell over night, you have to take into consideration that the snow underneath might also be unstable.
To be honest, I feel slightly out of my depth. Generally speaking I can figure out how to deal with new snow stability (at least enough to get myself down) but the added old snow factor is something that I have not had to deal with before.
The word of the winter seems to be play it safe. And that's what I plan to do.
|Scoping lines @ Mont Gele|
My first comp starts tomorrow, Its the 3* event that wraps up the Verbier Freeride week.
This is another first for me as I have never competed in a comp in my first week of skiing for the season.
As a result of that I'm more nervous than I usually would be coming up to a comp. Even still I'm reasonably confident Ill be able to put down something fun.