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I extend my approach to summer alpinism to my skiing, and I love mountaineering on skis whether it’s in the Alps, on expedition to Greenland or even in our own back yard here in the Lake District.
During the season I ski for fun with my family, friends and clients. I like to mix off piste skiing, couloirs, day touring, hut trips and mountaineering with skis. Generally there’s some sport to be had on most days through the winter and spring, and being based near Chamonix for much of the season provides a wide variety of easily accessible venues in France, Italy and Switzerland.
A typical holiday in the Alps might include a warm up off piste skiing around the lift system, day tours and itineraries using uplift where possible to reduce skinning times, one day ascents of more full on peaks involving some sustained uphill work, plus maybe a hut trip to access mountains that cannot be climbed in a day from the valley. Many people hire me just for a day to ski the Vallée Blanche for example, or for a few days for some off piste skiing, some classic day tours or a short hut trip.
Both the Saas/Zermatt and Chamonix areas lend themselves to this approach, with a huge variety of objectives and great lift systems.
I also enjoy longer hut to hut trips such as the Chamonix to Zermatt Haute Route and touring in regions like the Bernese Oberland. I offer these trips, and more to all regions including the Eastern Alps, on a bespoke basis to small, private parties. A smaller guide to client ratio than you might find on off the shelf tours is beneficial, for example when it is necessary to do some climbing to reach a summit that might not be possible for a larger group. I am flexible to adapt the itinerary to your needs, for instance to climb extra peaks en route, to allow more days for detours or extensions, or simply to add extra contingency time to a tour as insurance against poor weather. My recent 6 day ski tours include 2 trips to ski Mont Thabor in the Massif des Cerces, and a variation on the fantastic Tour du Soleil, which is a classic linear tour in an offbeat region of central Switzerland, but on the Italian border and enjoying some very well appointed huts.
For nights spent in the alpine valleys in winter most people use either an apartment or hotel. Please ask us if you’d like help making your arrangements.
I’ve skied professionally and on days off with Annie Donovan, a BASI ISTD ski instructor, and I recommend her to anybody who would like the services of a top off piste ski coach.
I have extensive ski mountaineering experience in Greenland, and also in Svalbard and Antarctica. I’ve made 4 ski ascents of Gunnbjornsfjeld, the highest Peak in the Arctic, and in May 2006 made the first British ski descent from the summit. My ideal ski mountaineering expedition involves setting up one or more base camps and exploring the mountains surrounding each camp on ski, sometimes with some significant climbing with crampons to reach the summits. This epitomises what I love to do: explore less frequented mountain areas on my skis!
Please get in touch to discuss your next ski trip!