There is a way to beware a feeling of being out in the Wild even in the crowded Alps and on skis: put skins under them and climb to unspoiled parts of the mountain. It is sufficient to go where you don’t have any lifts and you are suddenly drowned in silence again.
thealps crew tried this new experience last day and the effect was of total LOVE! And the realization that some of the muscles you use to do this sport are not the same you use when you ski downhill, not even off pist. Good to know! This activity needs Very Good Condition, even more because of the height you practice it at.
We were following Marco Spataro, a friend mountain guide and his clients at a short distance. It is vital to know where exactly you should go to avoid avalanches, and we are aware of the risks. Never go on a tour like this without expertise! Obviously you also need the right security equipment: transceiver, pole and shovel, and you should know how to use them. But even more important is to be able to read the mountain, the weather and the snow. We decided to follow the traces left before us by our guide.
The Tour is called Perrin and goes to a lake covered by snow right now. I suddenly see it before me as it uses to look like in summer time! Worth a hiking trip for sure, to Champoluc. If you want to go just tell me…
The ski mountaineering trip starts from the lift of Sarezza at 2700 meters. From here we ski along with the mountain Testa Grigia on a trail which shows to be real challenging for me: icy, full with stones, and the guys before me (I am the last in the row) are running. When we reach the point where we have to put on our skins, I am pretty much tired already. And now we have to learn how to manage those pair of skins with glue and all.
But the effort is not so big and soon we are off to the climbing part of the tour. It is important to maintain a slow and continuous pace when you go upwards, and the girls with me are not really following this suggestion: they are in their twenties and never tired! The tricky part of climbing is the changes of direction, in Swedish so called “Lappkast”. I believe the girls will tell about it, so I pass.
The guys with the guide go longer today and we stop at the pass above the Lake Perrin at 2700 meters. My T-shirt is wet and we have some hot blueberry soup that Emma offers before we start our descent.
We are in a hurry to go down because I have forgotten to leave my car’s keys to Linn, a Norwegian girl who is supposed to drive one of my clients to the airport in the meanwhile. So we have to run downhill all the way to Champoluc, (1000 meters below the pass).
The descent is incredible, still full with fresh untouched powder and steep and easy and smooth and…I fall on my nose, because I did not see a bump and because I did not fastened my bindings well enough! I like my equipment very much, K2 Wayback, Marker bindings and Scarpa boots (very beautiful green above all!), but I understand now that it had been a good idea to try them in all terrain before getting off for a tour.
The conclusions: I am happy, I want more, I am tired and I need a couple of rest days before next tour!