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Friday, April 30, 2010

Oh, Zermatt, Where Did You Go So Wrong?

Zermatt, Switzerland, one of the birthplaces of Alpinism, promotes...well, who knows what it's promoting with this advertisement, spotted at the Furi lift station in April.


Sunday, April 25, 2010

Inspiration and Sobering Reality

I've just returned from a couple of weeks of skiing in the French and Swiss Alps, where we stuck to well-traveled tracks and merely ogled the improbable traces of bold skiers arcing down seemingly every plunging gully and cliffy face. The stuff that gets skied routinely in these mountains is mind-blowing. And so it was fun to discover Colin Haley's helmet-cam video of a "typical" day of skiing this month off the Aiguille du Midi above Chamonix—this is a great window on the kind of skiing I'll never do. Thrilling stuff!

But as I read deeper in Colin's long debrief of recent weeks in Chamonix on his Skagit Alpinism blog, I learned there was another, darker side to his story. In less than one week, Colin watched his skiing partners suffer two serious accidents during big descents (the two skiers who fell both lived, somewhat miraculously, though one was severely injured) and he himself narrowly escaped being pulled off a mountain by an avalanche. Colin's account is analytical, sobering, and highly worth reading. Don't miss it.


Saturday, April 03, 2010

Russian Avalanche (Out of) Control

Think you'd be safe on a chairlift if a big avalanche swept underneath? Skip to about 0:25 to jump-start the action and find out.