Alpine Climbing & Skiing: Frost Guiding Blog

Zinal Off Piste

~ Thursday 28th January 2010

Fantastic skiing in Zinal this week with a team of strong skiers. Plenty of great snow and deserted slopes.  

Thanks again to Eric and Penny at SkiZinal for superb accommodation.

Skiing under the Moiry dam

Untracked powder in Zinal

and more untracked powder!

Arolla Ski Touring

~ Saturday 23rd January 2010

 Another great day ski touring in Arolla. Sun, untracked powder and no-one around - again! We got a single ticket on the lifts - in January Arolla ski lifts are half price so 1000m costs CHF7.50. Then we made the steep climb to la Cassorte. There was already a track, but it didn't go right to the top, leaving us a character building 100m of swimming with skis on our rucksacks to reach the col. All well worth it, great views and lots of fresh snow to ski.

Swimming

At la Cassorte

first turns in the gully 

Evolene Ski Touring

~ Thursday 21st January 2010

 Best snow of the season (so far) today on the Pic Artsinol above the Evolene ski area, and you can see our tracks from the town! This is a great day tour, starting with a single ticket on the lift - at CHF13 for 1200m it's a bargain! 

Then it's about 1 1/2 hours to the top, although today involved a bit of trail breaking...Amazingly there were no tracks in the shady NE slope, which was a brilliant descent. More good powder through the lift area, then for some reason we chose the black bumps all the way back to the car. 

Near the top, Evolene in the valley below

 

Nice snow

Zinal Grimentz Off Piste

~ Monday 18th January 2010

 Just had 3 days over in the Zinal Grimentz ski area - this is a huge area with great lift access and some superb off piste skiing. Best of all, despite acres of untracked snow there were very few people skiing. So, fresh tracks in Zinal and the excellent "freeride" area, then a run down to the Moiry dam. Overnight there was a good 20cm of fresh snow, so more of the same on day 2.

Today we were over in Grimentz skiing more fresh tracks. So good I forgot to stop and take any ski pictures...

Many thanks to Eric and Penny who run Ski Zinal - we stayed at their excellent chalet in Mottec. 

Earning turns in Grimentz

looking down to the Moiry dam

Off Piste Skiing - Nax

~ Monday 11th January 2010

 Nax is yet another great "secret" spot for off piste skiing and day touring - shhhh! Don't tell anyone!

After a slow start we were still only the third car in the car park, and skied a lot of untracked snow, both off the lifts and on a little tour through the Col de Cou in to the Val de Rechy and back through la Brechette. 

Not exactly skied out!

Skinning above la Brechette

Arolla Ski Touring

~ Sunday 10th January 2010

 There's some very good snow around Arolla now, but still a fair bit of unstable stuff too. There are weak layers quite deep in the snowpack, and lots of windblown snow. Lots of good info on the SLF site.

We turned back on the Pointe du Tsate despite half a dozen tracks after a big "whoomph", and regularly breaking through the hidden crust. Usually this is a good little tour, starting with a great ride on the Tsaté drag - 500m for CHF8. 

Today though we found great snow on the Pallanche de la Cretta. This is a classic up-and-down day tour above the Arolla road - 1100m up, thankfully on a very good track, then a choice of lines down with plenty of untracked snow. Worth remembering that after big snowfall this hillside gets blasted from a helicopter as it's above the Arolla road....beware if you hear the chopper coming! There's a phone number on the warning sign at the bottom to find out if blasting is planned. 

View from the top, Zinal Rothorn, Grand Cornier, Dent Blanche, Matterhorn

Acres of untracked, spot the 2 skiers

 

Arolla Skiing

~ Monday 4th January 2010

 Excellent skiing yesterday in Arolla. The recent snow has at last covered the rocks and although the weather wasn't ideal the off piste was very good. 

I failed to take any pictures but here is a video of Arolla skiing on the excellent TVMountain website

Ice Climbing

~ Saturday 2nd January 2010

 Excellent ice climbing conditions here at the moment. There's been a fair bit of fresh snow but just enough climbers out to sweep the ice clean. Teams around on the tunnel routes, la Gouille, Usine Électrique, and this afternoon on the Coop icefall. Amazing ice build up since the last time I climbed here (before Christmas) but it looks like no-one else has climbed here since then. Pitch one is now a fat wide piller. Very cold today though, with some brittle ice and some impressive noises from the top pitch!

Starting pitch 1

the steep bit, much foreshortened in this picture

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