Sunday, 1 December 2013

The wonderful world of the white stuff

So, if you think the mountaineering industry is confusing with its WGL, MLS, MLW, MIA, MIC, IML, BMG, AMI, CWL & SPA, let me introduce the ski world.

Yesterday, Nevis Range hosted the very first pre-season Backcountry Gathering.  A very informative day with lots of people doing lots of cool things.  However, it got me thinking about the ski industry.

I am a skier and I have skied (not very gracefully for 35 years).  

However, skiing can now be classified as:

Side Country
Back Country
Off Piste
All Mountain
Ski Touring
Ski Mountaineering

Confusing eh?

So, here's Di's descriptions:

Freestyle & Freeride:  basically this is 'twirly jumps'.  I might leave this department to those who bounce and don't break since my mind would write cheques that my body can't cash.  These guys bounce.

Side Country & Off Piste:  ideal when you really can't be arsed to skin anywhere.  Uplift required and then loads of 'whoops' and 'yeeeee haaaaaarrrrrrsssss' compulsory.  Deep powder the pre-requisite and off the groomed runs.

Back Country/All Mountain/Ski Touring/Ski Mountaineering:  basically these are all exactly the same thing.  A journey involving skinning, fresh tracks, good banter, great views in a mountain environment.  Mountaineering skills essential.

SkiMo: for those who enjoy breathing through their backside - i.e. ski mountaineering with a sense of urgency.

Steeps:  best left to the Gods of the ski world (in my humble opinion) - you only have to look at the pictures in Bauds guidebook to Mont Blanc and the Aiguille Rouge to see what I'm speaking about here.  [WHAT - I could sell my second hand book for £1,499.00!)  Or, you could just check out Ross :)

Now, I am sure that I will offend some people with my crude description, but somebody has to make sense of it all for mere mortals!

If it gets people out, thats the main thing :)