Tag Archives: Fall-Line magazine

25/12/12 – Mikaela Shiffrin’s first World Cup win

Obergurgl, where the US team trains

Obergurgl, where the US team trains

When I went up a T-bar with Mikaela Shiffrin’s mother in January last year, she told me her daughter had been “rippin’ since she was tiny” (in English: skiing like a demon).

I was there to watch the 17-year-old American racer practising slalom on the Kirchenkar run in Obergurgl, where the US team trains. Then, already, she had broken records by becoming the youngest female racer to stand on a World Cup slalom podium for decades.

I interviewed her for Fall-Line magazine’s ‘Day in the Life’ series, in one of last season’s issues, an article you can read here:

Day in the Life of Mikaela Shiffrin

Now, a few days ago, Shiffrin has won her first World Cup race, a night slalom at Are in Sweden. I’m delighted – she was down-to-earth, focused and impressive in every way.

You can read more about the 17-year-old here on Planet Ski, and watch an interview with her by the ski reporter James Cove. There’s more detail on her win at Are here.

Shiffrin has moved from one to watch to one to beat. I wish her the best of luck at the Schladming World Championships in February!

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Filed under Austria, Link to article by Yolanda Carslaw, Racing, United States

16/12/11 – Winter campervanning in Fernie in Fall-Line magazine

Nick and Bethan, the plucky campervanners

Two of the most brilliant people I met last winter were Bethan and Nick Lowe, who spent a ski season living in a campervan in Fernie, a great resort in British Columbia, Canada.

Happily for them, it was a fantastic snow year, and Bethan – who arrived an out-and-out beginner – was able to master powder skiing on Fernie’s scores of lovely, ungroomed, gladed (and often very steep) runs. Nick turned out to be a superb patient fiance (check out this post – http://tinyurl.com/d845cgm – and see if you recognise who I’m talking about) and it turned out to be a great way to spend a winter in the mountains at very low cost.

Chilly but cosy: the happy couple's home sweet home

My article about Nick and Bethan is out now, in the current issue (101) of Fall-Line, the excellent ski magazine. Find it in the newsagent, or to have a look at the piece – “Maximum Freshies, Minimum Cost” – here, follow this link:

Maximum Freshies, Minimum Cost – Fall-Line magazine, issue 101 

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Filed under Link to article by Yolanda Carslaw

1/11/11 – ‘On your marks’ in Fall-Line: Parsenn Derby, City and Weisse Rausch

The winning Parsenn Derby team with prizes - guess whose time didn't count?

More than 150 Brits do the Inferno each year, but what about the other amateur races people can do in the Alps? Last winter, I tried three for the first time – the Parsenn Derby, a downhill in Davos, Switzerland; the City Ski Championships, a British-run giant slalom in Courmayeur, Italy; and the Weisse Rausch, a mad end-of-season dash in St Anton, Austria.

You can read about them in the current issue of the brilliant ski mag Fall-Line (issue 99) – on the shelves now, with loads of other good stuff in there (£4.25 and well worth it). For a look at my article only, you can see a pdf here, complete with faintly embarrassing action picture… Page 18, Fall-Line issue 99 and Page 19, Fall-Line issue 99

What I will add here is that racing as an adult, for fun, is immensely worthwhile, and you’d be surprised at the range of abilities these European amateur events attract. I’m looking forward to trying some more this winter – and may even try to fit in a bit of pre-season training (for instance, here http://tinyurl.com/6z8s5bj)!

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Filed under Austria, Italy, Link to article by Yolanda Carslaw, Racing, Switzerland

22/6/11 – Graham Bell’s midsummer ski trip: feat or fun?

Graham Bell tackles the midsummer crust in style

This morning a press release landed in my inbox bearing the news that Britain’s best known ski personality, Graham Bell, had completed the “challenge” of skiing the Monte Rosa, the second highest mountain in the Alps, on Midsummer’s Day. At the top it was minus-25 and they managed 1,200m of vertical descent before the snow ran out.

My first thought was, “Brilliant, what fun!” Then, “Wow, I wonder if they stayed at the Margherita Hut” – the highest manned hut in the Alps, whose guardian I interviewed for Fall-Line magazine’s March issue (read it here http://tinyurl.com/6a6mol8).

In fact, the five-times Olympian and Ski Sunday presenter, along with photographer Daniel Taylor and mountain guide Gianni Carbone, arrived by helicopter from the Aosta valley – so while they did succeed in making the descent yesterday in rather poor snow and taking some wonderful pictures, I would hesitate to call their trip that much of a challenge, given that they are experienced skiers. Good on them, nonetheless, and anything that encourages people to get up among the peaks, winter or summer, is a brilliant thing in my view.

Graham has written an excellent piece on the Ski Club of GB website – read it here http://tinyurl.com/5wj786k. And it turns out that 21 June was the day the Margherita Hut opened for the summer season, so if they’d wanted to stay overnight there, it would have been in the winter room.

At Col de Lys in March. Lyscamm is behind, with the north face dropping off in the shade

Regular readers of this blog may remember that I went to the Monte Rosa recently, on skins from the Alagna side, on a five-day ski tour organised by Zuba Ski (see various March posts). We picnicked on the first day at the Col de Lys after quite a tough climb from Punta Indren to about 4,200m, where Graham also stopped yesterday to admire the views over Italy and Switzerland.

Right in front of us, and to our left throughout our subsequent descent to the Monte Rosa Hut, was the magnificent Lyskamm north face, a 45-degree-plus slope of ice and rock that plummets more than 1,000m from the domed summit to the Grenzgletscher.

Lyskamm's north face, which is skied now and then. In the background is the Matterhorn

As we admired it I was astonished to hear from our guides – Michele Cucchi and Mario Zaninetti – that every few years a handful of people ski this face. The conditions have to be right, of course, and I am told August is the best time, as the type of snow falling then is wet enough to stick to the steep slope.

Now that really would count as a challenge for Graham Bell…

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Filed under Italy, Link to article by Yolanda Carslaw, Off-piste, Ski touring, Switzerland, Transport

1/3/11 – Nicola Viotti in Fall-Line

I’m posting a link to an article of mine that is in the March issue of Fall-Line Skiing and Snowboarding magazine. It’s a Day in the Life of the guardian of the highest-altitude manned mountain hut in the Alps. Nicola Viotti article, published in Fall-Line magazine in March 2011

The Margherita, the highest manned hut in the Alps

I came across Nicola after ski touring the Bernina Haute Route with one of his mountain guide colleagues, Michele Cucchi, who also used to “guard” the hut (the Margherita, 4,554m, on the Italian-Swiss border high up in the Monte Rosa).

I liked the idea of finding out what it’s like to work in that environment and at that altitude. Michele, who guides for the British company Zubaski, used to work in helicopter rescue – he certainly has a few stories to tell, too.

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Filed under Food and drink, Italy, Link to article by Yolanda Carslaw, Off-piste, Ski touring, Switzerland