Dynastar News

Bruce Goodlad - Iceland/ Finnmark

We are all Vikings now….

I’ve always loved to travel and explore new places. As a semi feral 16-year-old I bought an Inter-rail train ticket that let me ride the rails throughout Europe and North Africa for a month and I sucked the experience dry. It felt like quite a thing to step from the Marrakesh Express at 5am, after sharing a carriage with a semi reformed heroin addict from Brixton called Dino, then wander through the city souk to a rising desert sun. Well it was in the early 80’s anyway – and if you didn’t do it to a Crosby Stills and Nash bootleg tape playing on your Walkman then it didn’t count. From that first train journey I was hooked. 

One of the great things about backcountry skiing is that it lets you explore cool parts of the world that you may not otherwise have been on your radar if they didn’t promise fresh snow and untracked peaks. The first time I went to ski in Alaska, I was prepared to be underwhelmed. Having climbed in Denali park a couple of times previously I was pretty unphased at the prospect of day touring the smaller peaks around Valdez. More often than not, I find that reality rarely lives up to the hype: e.g. blockbuster movies, cocktail happy hour, blonde chicks that ski hard… but man, Valdez skiing really is all that. Really good I mean. Take my advice - if you like steep skiing in wild places you really should go to Alaska.

In the last couple of years I’ve become enchanted by exploring mountain ranges closer to home. Last year fellow Avalanche Geek and ‘Titan of Touring’ – (he really hates that title bestowed upon him by Fall Line magazine, so I use it as often as possible) invited me to tail guide with him in Finnmark, a remote region of Arctic Norway a couple of hours drive out of Alta from where the famous Utah ski town namesake took its title.  And I was really impressed, skiing above the ocean is always something very special and confined to just a handful of locations around the planet. 

For a start it confirmed a theory I’ve been developing over the years about a belt of homogenous human culture that circles the northern hemisphere at a latitude of 66 degrees North. My theory runs that at this latitude the culture of nation states has been superseded by man’s need to wear plaid shirts, drive 4.0 litre engine pick up trucks (ideally with a snow mobile on the back), drink copious amounts of bad black coffee and eat hotdogs – lots of hotdogs. I’m not kidding, Norway has the highest hotdog consumption rate in the world per head of population – who knew right? As an avid consumer of American ski culture I felt right at home in northern Norway, the trip felt like a week in Western Canada but with fewer people to poach my ski line. Actually there was nobody to poach my ski line. The only other backcountry skier we encountered all week was greeted like a long lost cousin with the pin number to my dead grandma’s savings account. Frankly the place delighted me.

So this year, I aimed to test my latitude theory further by heading to ski up in the Troll Peninsula of northern Iceland. With EasyJet flying there from a variety of UK airports for the price of a hotel room in Aviemore, it seemed like a good deal. People, I’m here to tell you that it did not disappoint. In many ways it was very reminiscent of skiing in northern Norway but somehow different. The plaid shirts and opportunities to eat petrol station hotdogs sat next to a display rack of chain saw lubricant and HGV windscreen wipers were still in healthy abundance, but the place was somehow a bit rawer…wilder. Raw and wild it may be yet the skiing in the big mountains above oceans is still remarkably accessible. Unlike Canada, there’s no endless thrashing around in the timberline before finally breaking through to the alpine here – the goods start right from the road. 

As with Norway, the eye watering cost of living is best tempered by figuring out some form of self-catering option and the foresight to stock up at the airport duty free. But if you’re heading there with any expectation of having a plan of where you want to ski and the kind of skiing you’d like to do, then it’s probably not going to work for you. 

Matt Spenceley, one of a new generation of outstanding hard charging ski guides the UK is now producing has been to the area previously and together we poured over a map of the northern part of the Troll Peninsula one evening in January. I was hoping for some beta for specific lines,] and I was a little put out when he pointed to a sizable chunk of the map approximately 20km square and pronounced vaguely: ‘This is one of the good areas.’ He wasn’t being deliberately cryptic, you just have to work stuff out for yourself in these places as there are literally hundreds of potential ski lines and link ups. 

See a line from the road that appeals, check it out on the map and Google Earth, then go for it is the style of skiing in these parts. Maps are basic and tough to come by, guidebooks non-existent, and the weather is always going to provide a challenge (it can get a bit Scottish up there). However, if you’re starting to get fed up with the backcountry being the new cool thing and punter types ‘exploring’ the ‘side country’ in the very latest touring boots and bindings on your favourite ski hill, then the likes of Finnmark and Iceland will bring you some of the enchantment of exploration and wild snow skiing that means so much to old geezers like me. It’s that 5am Marrakesh feeling…

Bruce & Mike run guided trips to Finnmark every April and May. They have a growing collection of plaid shirts

Fabienne Suter, 2nd of the Downhill World Cup

Riders in this news :  Fabienne Suter

With 4 podiums this winter in Downhill (Lake Louise, Val d’Isère, Garmisch and St. Moritz during the World Cup finals), Fabienne Suter has realized a strong season and finished second of the World Cup in this discipline behind Lindsey Vonn and ahead of Larisa Yurkiw.

CHAM' LINES S3EP4 - Couloir de la Passerelle - Couloir Ouest

Découvrez pour une troisième saison les beaux itinéraires freeride de Chamonix en compagnie d'Aurélien Ducroz. Il s'est bien entouré pour ce quatrième épisode : Giulia Monego (déjà vue dans l'épisode 5 de la saison précédente) et le fameux Tony Lamiche sont venus lui prêter main forte pour nous présenter deux beaux couloirs chamoniards : le Couloir de la Passerelle et le Couloir Ouest. 



Nom de la ligne : “le Couloir de la Passerelle + Couloir Ouest”

Accès remontés mécaniques : téléphérique de l’Aiguille du Midi

Altitude de départ : 3842 Mètres

Altitude d’arrivéev : 1200 Mètres

Dénivelé Total : 2642 Mètres

Orientation : Ouest


Le Couloir de la Passerelle est un run mythique de Chamonix de par son accès très particulier : pour atteindre l’entrée du couloir, un rappel de 60 mètres en "fil d’araignée" vous attend directement sous la passerelle de l’Aiguille du midi. Ambiance spiderman !

Une fois ce premier rappel passé, il y en a souvent un deuxième à faire avant de pouvoir chausser les skis. Le Couloir de la Passerelle est très souvent venté : « le courant d’air » de l’Aiguille du midi passe par là ! Il est donc assez rare de le trouver en bonnes conditions.

Samedi dernier, la neige est tombée sur Chamonix et pour la première fois de la saison, sans vent ! Au vu des conditions, nous décidons avec Tony Lamiche de tenter le coup. Et c’est Giulia Monego, mon amie italienne, invitée de l’épisode 5 de la saison dernière, freerideuse et future guide de haute-montagne qui nous accompagne pour cette nouvelle ligne. Comme toujours, je serai bluffé par son niveau de ski et sa bonne humeur !

Une fois au fond du couloir, nous constatons effectivement que la neige est tombée sans vent, mais également en grande quantité ! Nous skions le début du couloir en essayant de purger au maximum : tout à l’air stable malgré cette incroyable épaisseur de neige. Une fois la première partie étroite passée, nous décidons de lâcher les courbes. Nous skions l’ensemble du couloir dans une neige démente dans de belles conditions hivernales : froid, beau et neige légère !

Nous rejoignons ensuite la rive droite du Glacier Rond et nous poursuivons jusqu’au bout du sérac dans cette neige incroyable. Nous devons maintenant remonter un petit couloir d’une centaine de mètres avant de plonger dans le couloir Ouest. Tony fait la trace dans une neige profonde, on n’avance pas très vite...

Une fois au Petit Col nous devons faire un nouveau rappel pour rejoindre le centre du couloir. Le relais est pourri, donc pas questions de se pendre là-dessus, Tony décide de le changer. C’est le moment de prendre une petite leçon et d’enrichir mes connaissances !

La suite de la ligne tient ses promesses, comme dans le Couloir de la Passerelle les conditions de neige sont démentes. Cependant nous ne traînons pas trop, car la fin du couloir sous le sérac du Glacier Rond est très exposée. De plus les conditions sont tellement parfaites que c’est un appel à lâcher les courbes ! Nous rejoignons ensuite le Glacier des Bossons pour terminer notre descente le long du glacier puis en forêt jusqu'à Chamonix.

C’est le troisième CHAM’LINES cette saison tourné au départ de L’Aiguille du Midi et à chaque fois des runs très différents, l’Aiguille est vraiment un terrain de jeu offrant une diversité incroyable !

Merci encore les amis pour cette nouvelle journée magique en montagne.

Itinéraire :

- Départ du sommet de l’Aiguille du midi par un rappel sous la passerelle.

- Rejoindre le Glacier Rond et rester rive droite jusqu’au sérac.

- Remonter le petit couloir d’environ 100 mètres pour basculer dans le Couloir Ouest.

- Puis rejoindre le glacier des Bossons pour redescendre sur Chamonix

Difficultés rencontrées :

- Itinéraire de Haute Montagne dès le départ, donc respect des règles de sécurité en montagne

- Premier rappel technique, changement du relais pour entrer dans le couloir Ouest.

- La descente du glacier des Bossons est toujours délicate avec beaucoup de crevasses.


Matériel emporté et/ou utilisé :

- Arva, pelle et sonde comme toujours.

- Sac Airbag ABS.

- Corde 2x 60 mètres, baudrier, crampons, piolets, broches à glace, etc.

- Trousse premier secours.

- Téléphone Crosscall & Appli Fatmap.

Rappel sécurité en montagne :

"Attention la pratique du ski hors-piste et des itinéraires freeride comportent de nombreux risques, comme toutes activités en montagne. Il est essentiel d'avoir un excellent niveau de connaissance avant de s'engager dans des itinéraires en montagne. Les risques sont nombreux: zones glaciaires, crevasses, risque de chute, risque d'avalanche, etc.... Ne partez jamais seul en montagne. Assurez vous que l'itinéraire que vous envisagez est adapté à votre niveau. Réunissez toutes les informations nécessaires sur les conditions d'enneigement et météo avant de vous engager. Prenez des informations auprès des services de pistes et des professionnels de la montagne. Pour garantir votre sécurité, faîtes appel à un moniteur de ski ou un guide de haute montagne selon les itinéraires envisagés. Prenez systématiquement avec vous le matériel de sécurité nécessaire et surtout assurez vous de bien savoir vous en servir. ARVA, pelle et sonde obligatoires en hors-piste, sac airbag ABS vivement recommandé. Prévenez une personne de votre entourage sur l'itinéraire que vous envisagez.

Malgré les nombreux risques à appréhender et à maîtriser, osez les sorties hors-piste bien accompagné, c'est l'éclate ! Chamonix-Mont-Blanc vous offre pour cela un des plus beaux terrains de jeu au monde !" 

Bruce Goodlad - Romsdal, Norway

I am a great believer in adaptability in skiing, being able to adapt to the conditions and change plans as conditions and weather change is often the best way to make the most of any time on the snow. As a guide I am always chopping and changing plans and ideas to get the best skiing for my team. Sometimes this may changing valley, having an off piste day instead of touring but last week we got on a plane and changed country and boy were we rewarded.


Plan A was to start near Nice and traverse the alp maritime, a season that had given the area a mix of high avalanche conditions then no snow put this plan in jeopardy. With a tem of very experienced ski tourers’ it was going to be a challenge to find a new area with great snow and terrain.


I had always fancied visiting the Romsdal area of Norway and luckily have a friend that lives up there so a call to Asbjorn revealed that they were having a great season with snow to sea level and a pretty stable snow pack. With good connections to Alesund we met up and headed for Andalsnes the center of activity in Romsdal. If you haven’t heard of the area it is probably more famous for climbing, the home of the Troll wall the highest rock face in Europe and the stunning Romsdal horn.


In winter the area is all about ski touring with one small lift it is all about human powered skiing, the perfect place to unleash my Dynastar Mythics. 9 days later we had skinned and skied more than 10,000m climbed 9 mountains seen the northern lights, eaten salted cod and wetted our appetite for more Norwegian ski adventures.


We split our trip into 2 parts 4 days round Andalsnes then 4 days in Sunndalen We started with the classic Kirketaket a solid 1300m day was a solid introduction to the area and quite long for a first day but with coastal mountains you never know when the weather may change. Luckily we were blessed with pretty good weather letting us enjoy the great snow and magnificent juxtaposition of sea and mountains allowing us to tick off the local classics of Skarven, Blanebba, Grontinden and Tarloysa.


Suitably warmed up we changed location to Sunndalen where the mountains area bit bigger with 1600m climbs giving some of the longest descents in Norway. Our first big outing on Kongskrona was a bit disappointing after 1600m of navigating we got great snow but difficult flat light most of the way down. We were rewarded on Flotatind the next day where pitch after pitch of perfect powder in the sun left big grins on everyone face. We finished our time in Sunndal skiing Trolltinden, there was only 900m of climbing but 900m of fall line powder skiing was pretty sweet. We tapped into some local advice for a tour on the way back to Alesund and skied Harstadfjellet with some amazing views out to the Atlantic. As we pulled into Alesund it started to rain.

Awesome results for Dynastar at Pierra Menta

Riders in this news :  William BON-MARDION

After 4 intense days, William Bon Mardion and Xavier Gachet won the final stage of the Pierra Menta in the Grand Mont and ended 2nd of the overall ranking. On women side, Laetitia Roux and Axelle Mollaret (Dynastar) have succeed in all stages and taken the final victory.

The last stage in video

Xavier Gachet: his feelings after the race


Xavier Gachet & William Bon Mardion wins the last stage....

Posted by La Grande Course on Saturday, 12 March 2016