Title: Summer News and Winter forcast! Date: 09/07/2012
So its been a while since I wrote a news piece…I took off a little time after the busy winter for change and to get out on my bike, get bike fit for the summer and after 5 months of solid riding put thoughts of Snowboarding on the back burner for a little while.
Now however, thoughts of Snowboarding are back on my mind and I'm already well into my planning for the next winter season…Summer is in full swing here but I'm already getting a little bit excited about getting back out on my Splitboard and exploring some new locations and revisiting my favourites of last year. The thoughts of the Split Hovercraft and the Carbon Solution next season are also quite exciting prospects from the Jones Camp, so another big winter of Spliboarding is t the fore front of my thoughts.
Last winter was one of my best ever for sure... 16 weeks of BC Splitboard Freeriding, getting fresh lines in perfect powder, a couple of weeks of deep fresh on the Off Piste Freeride clinics, some deep fresh on the Tech clinics and pre season Tech clinic in Tignes and an amazing trip to the Lyngen Alps in Norway to top it all off.
Lyngen Alps 2012
A perfect score, except for the Mont Blanc week which was plagued by some of the strongest winds that I've ever seen hit Chamonix, which caused chaos and a rapid diversion of activities to the Pin D Arolla instead.
It's been a hard fought year for Mont Blanc, even so far this summer I think the success rate overall is at a low 20% and so far I've not made the summit with any trips which is quite a rarity for me.
MB is always very weather dependent but we'll hit it again next year on the Splits and hope for the better conditions!
Anyway, a fantastic winter season definitely one of my best, I think at one point I had ridden nothing but fresh first tracks for a 4 week period, Amazing!
My winter round up!
The summer has been a mix of hot and cold, amazing sunny weather one day, searing heat and then rain and snow the next.
I spent a good amount of time training on my bike through out May and entered the Tour around Lac Geneva (Lac Leman) some 180Km in which I finished 3rd (not so bad, actually first Road cyclist as the 2 others infront of me where on Time trial bikes). It was hard work through May but I finally felt my legs coming back into cycling condition for June and July.
I worked on my bike with GPM10 for a couple of tours around Mont Blanc and for a Chamonix Nice trip and rode with the Vicious Velo crew around some of the local cols before riding the Etape du Tour course the other day just to see what it was like. I felt good on the course and put in some good times on the climbs but won't enter the event which is this weekend as I can't be bothered to mix it up with 10,000 other cyclists, sounds like a logistical nightmare to me, maybe next year! I'll try to enter some other events as the summer progress's.
I've been working up in the mountains quite a bit recently with mixed conditions, some good days like 2 days ago on the Mont Blanc du Tacul but many bad weather days in thick cloud, rain snow and wind, not the easy conditions you expect at this time of year.
I've been preparing the calendar for next year, trying to fit everything in and looking at a couple of new ideas that I'd like to try out.
So what is new and what has changed…
The Tech clinics will stay the same…a very important course in my opinion, that creates the foundations for the highest levels of riding. There will be a pre season Tech clinic in December in Tignes again, this was a great week last year and then a couple of 3 days Clinics over Christamas and New year.
The Off Piste Clinic is now to be known as the Freeride clinic…the basis of the course remains unchanged with some Piste to Off Piste Technique, but the emphasis will be on Freeriding and getting out there and challenging your riding on the mountains natural terrain.
Freeriding is all about matching your riding to the mountains natural terrain and then spicing it up a bit by adding your personal influences and style. One of the main differences between on piste and Off piste riding is known as 'control of line and speed'. This is all about fitting a working line into the terrain so that you can control your speed by the line you take and flow with the terrain rather than having to skid and fight against the mountain which doesn't work away from the groomed piste and in tricky terrain.
There is a slight change within the BC program in that all the courses will now involve the use of Splitboards rather than Snowshoes. As such the BC Intro is now the BC Splitboard Intro and the BC Freeride course is the BC Splitboard Freeride. Anyone wishing to use Snowshoes and their own traditional set up is still welcome to do so but for me the future of BC access is definitely Splitboarding and so this will be introduced through these courses.
The BC course progression remains the same with the BC Splitboard Intro - BC Splitboard Freeride - BC Splitboard Touring - BC Advanced Freeride and then the trips and expeditions.
I really enjoyed the Splitboard touring courses last winter and found some great terrain up around the Grand St Bernard area.
There was a new location I wanted to explore down the Valais in Switzerland, which we couldn't get to last season as the access lift was closed up to the refuge. next season it will be running and so I'm hoping to explore this area on the touring courses next season…Should be great!
I'm also interested in taking a Splitboard group over to the Bernese Oberland area around Wengen, its an area I don't really know very well having not been there for years, but somewhere that I think will be very interesting for future exploration.
Another new course in the mix, which will be very a exciting new addition, will be the Splitboard Haute Route, this will be a 6 day course based upon the regular Haute Route touring route but adapted to suit Splitboards and Snowboarders were possible.
I'll be running the Mont Blanc course again at the end of the season, hopefully the weather will be favourable next winter and we'll get a great ride off the summit.
Finally I'll be running another trip to Kashmir next winter.
I visited this area a few years ago, had an excellent trip and vowed I'd return. The terrain there is amazing and even though on my last trip the snow conditions where the worst they'd had there for years, we still hiked out and found some great descents and some untracked fresh.
Last time I was there we were wading around on Snowshoes, this trip will be focused on Splitboards and the terrain there suits it perfectly…I'm very excited about this trip, Amazing terrain and a real cultural experience. The location Gulmarg hosts one Gondola lift, which works sometimes, and involves some great hiking out in the foothill of the Himalaya's at over 4000m.
The final evening is spent on a house boat on beautiful 'Dal lake' on the outskirts of Srinagar, home to a whole city of people who actually live their lives on the lake.
So that is my provisional program for the moment. I'll obviously be working on the minor details through out the summer but this should give you a good idea of what's going on and what's on offer.
The course dates should be on line beginning of August and once they are online Ruth will start taking bookings.
Ok, time for me to get back out on the bike before my next Mont Blanc ascent looms and before a short repose for a family holiday!
Hope you're all enjoying the summer and lets hope the weather gets a bit better!