Thursday, 8 February 2007

Freeriding the powder in Les Houches

So it's an offical powder day which means riding. Kev, myself and a load of the girls went up Les Houches, the ski area next one down from Chamonix in the valley. Kev and I split from the girls early (who ended up having an extremely eventful day with people getting hit by pommels and hiking for an hour up a ski slope after being unable to negotiate the draglift!).

Kev and I however had an awesome day. We cut fresh tracks on pretty much everything we rode, even laying the first lines down the mountain a couple of times. Such a special feeling - especially seeing that no-one else had followed the lines we chose even at the end of the day. The pow wasn't too deep - a foot or so, but padded up in the leeward sides of ridges and gullies and deep enough to really send up showers of snow after long, arcing powder turns. We dropped next to one of the lifts and caught some really nice drop-offs - tapping the top of the bushes with the board in mid-air sending sparks of snow crystals from the branches falling to the floor. The run was so good that we tried it again choosing different lines. I dropped a series of pillows of powder sitting on top of a steep section covered with small bushes, board in a straight line, just bouncing down off the soft snow. Immediately after that it bowled out next to a lift and came screaming through at mach 9 sending a massive curtain of snow 12 feet in the air in a big powder carve then hit the lip of a roller and pulled a beautiful tweaked stalefish shifty. Some guys on the lift started whooping and cheering and shouting "Get In!" so kind of had that embarrassed, pleased feeling which lingered throughout the day.

It's weird - snowboarding's like this personal journey. Everything you do is to make yourself happy, but when people give positive acknowledgement of your riding, that's really cool. Anyway, it's just great to ride with guys like Kev, who push you to ride better and enjoy riding for what it is - not the massive jumps, nor the racing but just using whatever is on the mountain to create the most interesting and fulfilling way down .

So it's all coming together - work is picking up nicely, the snow's fallen and we're riding powder today which will be improved by the snow falling as I type. Managed to speak to the family this morning which is always nice. Technically my riding's going well with spins being laid down on a daily basis as well as good powder technique and some really nice jumps and jibs. Really looking forward to riding with friends coming out as well to go for a drink and a slide together.

Feeling the love today.


Les Houches