Dynastar News

Skiing with Reindeer

When you think of Lapland you probably don’t think of skiing, certainly not free skiing or ski touring. I made a recent visit to Riksgransen a small ski hill in the far north of Sweden close to the Norwegian border to check out the terrain do some ski touring. Armed with my trusty Cham 97HM’s I boarded the flight to Kiruna and headed north.

The Swedish mountains are old mountains very similar in age to the NW highlands of Scotland, the peaks are spaced so there is a far greater feeling of space than you would find in the Alps. We arrived late and night and drove for a couple of hours ice covered roads in studded tires to our hotel. We woke to fresh snow but lots of wind, a short walk to the ski lift  and we were soon enjoying our first turns on arctic snow. The ski area of Riksgransen is small but perfectly formed for such a small area I has great terrain, cruisy pistes on one aspect and steep interesting terrain on the other. A short hike to Nordalsfjell gives access to the face used for a regular free ride competition.

The weather improved for the next 3 days allowing us to get the skins on we skied Vassitjakka a fantastic peak with great views all the way to the sea at Narvik. We had a short day on Bjornfjellet then a stunning final day with no wind and the most perfect blue ski skiing Laktatjakka from Kopparasens.

While the mountains in Lapland may not be big by alpine standard they offer some great skiing and with the Fjord mountans round Narvik being less than an hour away this a ski destination worth another visit.

Bruce


NEW HORIZON FOR DOMINIQUE GISIN

Riders in this news :  Dominique GISIN

Downhill Olympic champion last year in Sochi, Dominique Gisin decided to end her career. The Swiss athlete took part at her last races in Meribel World Cup finals (downhill, super-G and giant slalom) and will now start to study physics at university. She also wants to pass the exam to get the commercial pilot license. Congratulations and all the best in your new life Dominique!

NEWS FROM BETONY GARNER IN CHAMONIX: Touring with the girls

After no new snow in Chamonix for over two weeks and the sun blazing down on the snowy peaks for what has felt like an eternity, there was only one thing for it this week… to grab those skins and get touring.

Ski touring used to be seen as a hobby for the more, how shall we say this, aging skier, but things have been changing rapidly over the last few years. Keen skiers of all ages have been sampling the delights of shuffling up hill, eager to get away from the crowds and into the wilderness.

This week I was proud to be part of a group of six young, female skiers out to try and ski some spring snow in Chamonix. With not a man in sight, we headed up to the top of the Grand Montets ski area in the small cabin, which brings you out at 3275m. We then clipped into our skis and descended down into the Argentiere basin, with the Col Tour Noir as our target.

Skiing with a group of girls, all of whom can ski pretty god damn well, is always a lot of fun. No testosterone to deal with, although stereotypically quite a lot of chat! This was definitely the case as we regrouped on the glacier to put our skins on and start the log flat skin across the basin before we peeled off left and started to ascend to the col at 3500m. As soon as things got a bit steeper, and the higher we got, the normal 100-mile an hour chat started to subside. Once acclimatised the Tour Noir is not complicated, and the views you get are out of this world, but with it being one of our first high altitude ski tours of the winter, it was tougher than I remember!

For this particular tour my weapons of choice were my Cham Woman 97s with a Look pin binding. Although not a super light touring ski, they are still light enough for a 2 – 3 hour ascent and great in corn snow. Once we reached the peak, we took in the views of the other side, where you can see into Switzerland, with Verbier and the Matterhorn easy to pick out. Once we had re-fuelled it was back on with the skiers for a fantastic ski down in the spring snow, which we caught just at the right time before it got too slushy.

As we descended back through the glacier it was back to gossiping and looking back in satisfaction on what we had just ascended and skied. For me, spring skiing is about getting away from the crowds and skiing with friends, and quite often this is a group of girls – a perfect day out to ski hard and get all the latest news from the Chamonix Valley! 

Betony Garner


CHAM'LINES #5 - THE SOUTHWEST COULOIR OF THE DIABLE PASS

Riders in this news :  Aurélien DUCROZ

Aurélien has another first for us in this, the penultimate episode of the season. Not a first-time trail, but a first-time guest! For the first time since the beginning of Cham’Lines, he's joined by a woman, and she's no slouch. The lucky companion is Giulia Monego, the Italian freerider, who dominated the Bec des Rosses to win the Xtreme Verbier in 2006. She has since left the world of competition, but not the world of skiing and mountaineering!

Given the spring-like conditions, the dynamic duo, accompanied by Brice Bouillanne (the high-mountain guide), choose to climb high and take a southward trail to find the best possible snow. They set off for Maudite valley to tackle the southwest couloir of Diable pass...


Aurélien looks back at the filming:

"We left in the first cable car to reach the Aiguille du Midi peak, then went through the start of the Vallée Blanche before ascending beneath the Tour Ronde to reach Maudite valley. We got to the bottom of the couloir after an hour and a half of ascent. It took another hour and a half to reach the summit of the trail. Though we were anxious for the thrills promised by this gorgeous 500m couloir, we played it safe and waited more than an hour for the snow to soften up for optimal conditions. Unfortunately, the north wind blowing at the summit kept the sun from doing its thing at the top of the couloir. This didn't seem to trouble Giulia, who took off like it was nothing, down a 50 – 55° slope on hard snow!  We continued our descent in this big, wide couloir, with a slope that held steady and snow that got softer along the way. At the end of the trail, we used the rope we had tied when climbing to bypass the schrund before reaching the Vallée Blanche. We'd made it back!" 

To sum it up: An ideal trail during this period, offering a high-mountain experience and breathtaking panorama. A magnificent couloir, fairly wide, with a steady slope, to say nothing of our impressive guest! 

The Southwest Couloir of the Diable Pass
Start altitude: 3 955 meters
Finish altitude: 3 455 meters
Descent of corridor: 500 meters
Orientation: Southwest

Last episode of Cham’Lines: Tuesday, March 31


GREAT PODIUMS FOR DYNASTAR ATHLETES AT PIERRA MENTA

Riders in this news :  William BON-MARDION

The Savoyards William Bon-Marion and Xavier Gachet earned the victory on the last of four stages of the Pierra Menta race, as well as Axelle Mollaret and teammate Emelie Forsberg. Dynastar athletes took beautiful second places in the final standings of this legendary event.

The 30th edition of the Pierra Menta ended Saturday with over 3,000 people cheering for the teams on the Grand Mont, the culmination point of Arêches-Beaufort. And cheering in particular for the Savoyards William Bon-Marion and Xavier Gachet who won this final stage and finished second in overall, behind the Italians Matteo Eydallin and Damiano Lenzi. "Thank you all for your support! It's thanks to you that this stage of the great mountain is so special and full of emotions !!! It has brought us to victory. Final result of 4 days: a fine second place! ", wrote William on his Facebook page.

Already winners of the first stage, Axelle Mollaret and teammate Emelie Forsberg won again on the last day of competition and celebrated, as Bon Mardion and Gachet, a beautiful second place in overall behind Laetitia Roux Mireia Miró and Spanish .