Ski Touring

Finally made it to the summit. Ski touring is hard! Once again it was a late start and the problem this time was that the snow was melting in the sun. There was no wind so the climb from 1200m to 2200m altitude was done in a T-shirt and this was fine right up until the sun dropped beneath the far mountain ridges. Mont Blanc in the distance… (Italian side)



I didn’t decide to do this for exercise because I’d gone running the previous evening so it was more about stress management and just getting out in the sun and fresh air. When the climb started I was just thinking on any distraction that came into my head. When it became a bit steeper my attention focused onto chi-walking mechanics to protect myself – and then I felt an automatic mental shift. Suddenly there was no internal chatter going on – just a focus on feelings and movement patterns. It’s the first time I’ve felt this mental shift happen so clearly and without looking for it. Taking conscious control over your physical processes also seems to put you in control of your mind – or at least it gives this sensation of “presence”. It’s a twin effect of taking command of the unconscious processes in the body and the unconscious flitting around on the brain itself. Chi-walking technique seems to be very specific in this matter. The centre of power is supposed to lie in the lower spine and with the motion of the hips and use of gravity this is exactly the area that has to be given attention. As well as focussing the physical effort on this centre the process seems to pull the mind to it’s own centre better than anything else.

Cry Wolf?

Arriving at the summit it was dead calm – not a breath of wind. Even though the temperature was still around freezing this meant that the body was able to stay warm even in only a thin short sleeved under-layer. Stopping to put some clothes on for the descent there was a very strange noise. The noise sounded like a wolf that was more groaning than howling and it was very close but despite an all-round view there was absolutely nothing visible. I’d seen big paw marks in the track that I’d been following up the mountain and although I’d seen this group descend about an hour earlier there was no dog with them – though the big paw tracks were on top of theirs. Looking down on La Rossière ski station 1800m


Kick Turns

The snow was totally unskiable on the descent – rotten inside and a hard crust forming on the surface as the temperature dropped. Even a gigantic snowplough gave no control whatsoever. This meant that the only way down was to link traverses with kick turns – the whole way for about 9km total. It might have been possible to ski by jumping but I really couldn’t be bothered after exhausting myself on the way up. I was also protecting a slightly sore knee that I’d felt on the climb – but it gave no pain at all on the descent.  The light was going by the time I reached the car – but it was just fantastic to have been up there on such a pleasant evening with absolutely no-one around at the summit. Ski Resorts Let to right – la Rossière, Les Arcs, Peisey, Les Coches, Montchevin, La Plagne, Montalbert,

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