8/11/11 – The A to Z of OP, completed

Nice bit of P in the Cs

I went to a talk about off-piste recently. It was held at the Berghaus store in London and delivered by Nick Parks, a mountain guide from Mountain Tracks, a British company whose speciality is off-piste and touring courses and adventures.

Nick presented an “A-Z of Backcountry Skiing”, incorporating, for instance, T for trinity (the three-pronged kit of transceiver/shovel/probe), P for powder, C for conifers (“focus on the gaps; beware if there’s an area of little ones, where there might be a history of avalanches”) and A for avalanche (“you need three factors: instability in the snowpack, a steep enough slope and a trigger”).

Less obvious choices included E for ‘eliskiing, J for Japan (“the lightest snow on the planet, but ridiculously expensive”) and K for Kashmir, where Mountain Tracks runs some trips.

The alphabet, Nick confessed, was incomplete: he omitted G, L, N, O and Y. I will fill in the gaps.

G is for gnarly (“show-off word to use in the bar”), gloves (“mittens are warmest”) or glacier (“don’t get excited about them: they’re often flat and bleak and you might fall in”).

L is for loo roll (“carry spare in Italy as mountain loos often lack it”), lift pass (“uncool to let it flap around: use the little pocket on your arm”) or legs (“get strong ones”).

N is for nose-grab-tail-bonk (“mad-sounding snowboarding move described in Fall-Line magazine this month”) or neck-warmer (“essential piece of kit that, still, too few people know about”).

O is for off-piste, of course.

Y is for yellow snow (“do not eat, and create with care”), yodel (http://tinyurl.com/d4on5k7) or yippeeeeeeee – which it’s customary to yell while indulging in E, O, N or P – or perhaps if you somehow land a holiday to J or K.

Incidentally on the subject of lists, MT has also published a list of 25 ‘must-do’ alpine descents in the Western Alps. I’m alarmed to see I’ve only done five of them. Find it here http://tinyurl.com/d3hhu5b.

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Filed under Off-piste, Ski touring

5 responses to “8/11/11 – The A to Z of OP, completed

  1. I’m up to six – Cosmiques Couloir looks like a must do if it is in condition next time I’m in Cham…

  2. Hey – I’m surprised – thought you’d have done at least twice the number I have!

  3. News from Fernie –
    The hill is opening early for a bonus weekend next Sat and Sun. Old side only and no Boom chair but two bonus days in November has to be good news. See the Blog for a report.

    • Wow – brilliant! So far, looks like another good year to be heading for Canada … not much sign of snow in Europe. I’ll read your blog with much interest – and likely envy – and hope to find time to come over: no repping for me due to new p/t work contract, but a shorter trip might be possible.

  4. Awesome opening day here in Fernie on a mid mountain base of 130 cms and fresh powder in the upper bowls.
    Hope you get out here, you are welcome to stay as long as we have the space.

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