skiing

Ski Touring, Off piste, Mountaineering course, Alpine Energy Guiding, mountaineering & ski adventures, Andrew Lanham Mountain Guide, Chamonix, Aosta Valley, Swiss

Winter 2021 Skiing & Mountaineering with Covid…?

We want to get out here without endless Covid stresses…!


Some ways to plan when planning is not possible!

Like in the mountains, adaptation and flexibility are key! Keep fit, have your gear sorted, check which countries don’t have quarantine on arriving and or returning to your country. Have an open mind to new destinations. This year might be the time you inadvertently discover a hidden gem with amazing ski touring with no one around…

Ski Touring away from it all

Ski Touring instead of lift accessed skiing may be the way to go this year. Don’t rely on infrastructure that could be closed by governments, aim for Ski Touring and Ice Climbing until things are more stable. Not only does ski touring lead you to fresh tracks and gets you fit, it also takes you to remote, beautiful places you would never experience otherwise.

The Norwegian mountains are remote and beautiful…

More remote, less classic destinations could be a good option. The most strict Covid precautions are always imposed in the most populated places. Contact us about cool destinations off the beaten track where extreme restrictions haven’t been implemented and are unlikely to be implemented due to being more sparcely populated.

Ice Climbing, winter wonderland

Variety is the spice of life, if you love the mountains, try something new: ice climbing in Scandinavia for example. The autumn and winter can have great conditions for rock climbing in southern europe. Right now we’re rock climbing in Greece which is perfect.

Vallee Blanche, Valley Blanche, Ski Touring, Off Piste, Chamonix Ski Guide, Chamonix, Skiing, Ski Guide, French Alps
The excitement and perfection of an untouched slope!

Many times I’ve left my home with my skis in hand, slightly worried and uninspired that I wouldn’t be able to offer the perfect ski day to my clients, only to be surprised by a great day when everything seemed against us. Other times, I’ve expected amazing conditions and been a bit disappointed, probably due to my high expectations not being met. The best experiences are never planned to be that way, they happen kind of spontaneously when we enjoy the journey and embrace the moment.

Ski Touring, Chamonix off piste, Mountaineering course, Alpine Energy Guiding, mountaineering & ski adventures, Andrew Lanham Mountain Guide, Chamonix, Aosta Valley, Swiss
Bootpacking to good times!

We can design flexible offers for ski touring, rock climbing or ice climbing. We’re ready to adapt to the situation, so won’t ask for any money upfront. Get in touch to make plans!


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Mountaineering course, Alpine Energy Guiding, mountaineering & ski adventures, Andrew Lanham Mountain Guide, Chamonix, Aosta Valley, Swiss

Skiing 4000m Peaks in Summer

mountain guiding, rock climbing, Mountaineering course, chamonix climbing, Chamonix mountain guides, monte rosa

Skiing normally brings up images of powder and snow covered alpine villages with mulled wine and after-ski bars. However, many of the highest peaks are best skied in the spring and these good spring conditions can persist well into July or later sometimes. Skiing down wide open, high alttitude glacier slopes with nobody around in corn snow is exactly what summer skiing is about. One of the best venues for summer skiing is the Monte Rosa area. From Gressoney/ Alagna you reach the Punta Indren lift, which drops you off on the snow at 3200 metres. From here, many snowy 4000 metre peaks are accessible without much technical difficulty and they are perfect for skiing.

mountain guiding, rock climbing, Mountaineering course, chamonix climbing, Chamonix mountain guides
The view over the Ludwigshohe, Parrotspitze, Signalkuppe and Zumsteinspitze

With summer ski touring, an early start is essential as it does get warm in the afternoon, it is summer after all! In the photo above you can see a number of high peaks in the Monte Rosa, all ideal for ski descents. As a mountaineer who skis, you can knock off a few summits and enjoy making big carving turns down the empty glacier and be down in a fifth of the time it would take on foot!

mountain guiding, rock climbing, Mountaineering course, chamonix climbing, Chamonix mountain guides
Arriving on the Parrotspitze summit

Clicking into your skis on a high alpine summit is a cool feeling, knowing you will be down in no time and the best part of the day is still coming, unlike your normal mountaineering descent!

Check the video from July 2020
Chamonix, Ski touring, freeride, off-piste, backcountry, Alpine Energy Guiding, mountaineering & ski adventures, Andrew Lanham Mountain Guide, Chamonix, Aosta Valley, Swiss, lyngen alps

Training for the mountains in the city…

How to prepare for this?

Living here…


Living in the mountains, I’ve failed to appreciate the practical reality for people living busy lives in the city. Training for the mountain by actual skiing or climbing is obviously not an option.

Copenhagen is where I found myself this autumn for 6 weeks. It’s flat, cold, rainy and grey in November. Needing to train for my winter guiding season of skiing, touring and alpinism, I too experienced the challenges most city-dwellers face in preparing for the mountains.

Climbing is not a battle with the elements, nor against the law of gravity. It’s a battle against oneself. “Walter Bonatti”

Motivation

Motivation is probably the biggest stumbling block. The solution is to have a goal. Something that will get you out running in the rain, sucking wind on some dark stairs, embracing the suffering. Without anything to aim for its hard to get out and push yourself. Excuses are plentiful and valid; work was tough, you’re tired, the weather sucks, being social is important, and you did have a good training day last week so you can slack off a bit now, etc… The answer is to commit to something that scares you sufficiently to prioritise your preparations. It could be a Haute Route ski tour, a 4000m summit or a skiing trip with friends that love long, hard days on the slopes.

Activities

Activities that you enjoy or at least don’t hate are the best. Have fun! Find some friends to join you and or join a club / class. Choose maybe two things and be realistic about what you’ll actually do. The mountains involve a lot of uphill and require general cardiovascular fitness but also leg power and athleticism.

Guiding, I see people that are good athletes (eg. gymnasts) that don’t have good long cardio and can’t keep walking for 8 hours. I also see people that run multiple marathons that lack the leg power, balance and core strength for high steps, scrambling and changes of pace on the Matterhorn for example. That is why one needs both athleticism and cardiovascular fitness for mountaineering, ski touring and skiing.

When away from the mountains I choose the climbing gym combined with some weights and bodyweight exercises 2-3 days per week for strength and athleticism. For cardio, I do running and interval training on stairs 2-3 days per week. Sometimes both on the same day.

Activity options could include:

  • cross training (cross-fit) + running
  • gymnastics + cycling
  • squash + treadmill and stairmaster
Running laps on the power station / dry ski slope of Copenhill in Copenhagen on a November evening.

Consistency

Consistency is much more important than intensity! The body adapts slowly and if you make training a fun habit rather than a chore then it will pay off. If you set your goals too high for each training session, you simply won’t do them because it seems too much at the end of a long day. Also if you break down your body too much, your recovery will be slow and you’ll quickly loose motivation. Go for a 30 mins run rather than doing nothing at all even if it seems trivial, the consistency will keep you motivated and remind your body to adapt.

Be realistic

Be realistic about the size of the mountains you will be climbing or skiing and the length of time you’ll need to be active. Often ski tours or alpine climbing days can involve 1500m of up-hill and down on rough terrain with a backpack at altitude for multiple days. Running a half marathon on the flat ground at sea level doesn’t necessarily translate to climbing the Dufourspitze or ski touring the Haute Route for example. In training search out rough terrain, sand, hills, stairs etc.

Test yourself

Often days in the mountains will be 6 to 12 hours so from time to time it can be good to do some long endurance sessions to see if your body is prepared for extended efforts. Some endurance test ideas could be:

  • A long hike or run
  • A long cycling trip
  • A gym marathon, just go to the gym and spend 5-6 hours doing easy cardio, some light weights, swimming, it doesn’t matter, just keep going for a long time.

Test yourself uphill because the mountains are brutally steep when you’re not used to it. Possibly try the following:

  • Find stairs that are, say 50m high in altitude gain. Hike / jog 30 laps at a good speed to make 1500m of height gain. See how long it takes you. 500m an hour is decent. Fit alpinists can generally do about 1000m in an hour and top trail runners about 1500m in an hour.
  • Most gyms have a “stairmaster” stepping machine where you can test yourself.
  • Few things are as relevant for mountain fitness as just how good your legs are at stepping you upwards and downwards.

Skills

Skills take time to learn and nothing beats doing the actual thing for skills development. That said; being athletic, strong and having good balance goes a long way in most mountain activities. If you plan on doing alpine climbing then indoor rock climbing is great. For skiing and alpinism some dynamic leg and balance training is helpful.

Consult a professional

These are my opinions from many years of mountain climbing, skiing and guiding. I am not however a personal trainer or sports scientist. It would be advisable to consult a professional before starting any training program.

The greatest danger in life is not to take the adventure “George Leigh Mallory”

Check out the general Fitness, Ski and Climbing level pages on the website. Each trip has the relevant level required.

Chamonix ski guide, powder skiing, Ski touring, freeride, off-piste, backcountry, Alpine Energy Guiding, mountaineering & ski adventures, Andrew Lanham Mountain Guide, Chamonix, Aosta Valley, Swiss, lyngen alps

Great Skiing Conditions

It hasn’t stopped dumping snow on us here in the Alps lately. Conditions are very good and everyone who likes powder skiing is smiling! Here are a few shots from the last few days:

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Always fun to ski with these guys!

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Perfect turns on the Grand Envers Moraine

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The clouds open for a moment

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Alone on the Argentiere glacier

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Henrik coming out of the straight line chute with some speed

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Sunday was deep on the Midi!

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Dark rider disappears

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Its more fun together right…

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Henrik

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Mattias

 

La Grave, off piste, Ski touring, freeride, off-piste, backcountry, Alpine Energy Guiding, mountaineering & ski adventures, Andrew Lanham Mountain Guide, Chamonix, Aosta Valley, Swiss, lyngen alps

3 days in La Grave

With some fresh snow and end of season calmness in La Grave made for three great days of skiing. All runs in La Grave start with a long ride in the old Telecabine…

Views from the Cabin

Views from the Cabin

The first day we enjoyed the accessible powder from the recent snowfall.

Couloirs des Trifides were fun on day 1

Couloirs des Trifides were fun on day 1

We finished the day with a run on the glacier, Couloir de Banane and Freaux

Pow on the glacier...

Pow on the glacier…

Checking our tracks

Checking our tracks

 

Couloir de Banane

Sam getting some speed in the Couloir de Banane

Day 2 we skied the road run with everyone’s favorite abseil in the middle…

Skiing the glacier with some ambience

Skiing the glacier with some ambience

The team ready to ski again after abseiling

In the couloir, ready to ski!

In the couloir, ready to ski!

and skiing...

and skiing…

Sometimes you don’t need to go so far to find some fresh turns!

Almost under the Cables...

Almost under the Cables…

On our last morning in La Grave was spent on another road run in the Chirouze area with great snow and good adventure!

Untracked glacier at 3500m

Untracked glacier at 3500m

Jurgen tracing his line

Jurgen tracing his line

Gerd enjoying!

Gerd enjoying!

cruising

cruising

More good turns lower down

More good turns lower down

With a short walk and some river crossing tyrolean action were at the car and heading to Le Castillan’s sunny terrace for lunch and beers!

River crossing to get to the beers!

River crossing to get to the beers!

Thanks to Gerd, Jurgen and Sammy for a fun few days!

 

 

 

Chamonix, Ski touring, freeride, off-piste, backcountry, Alpine Energy Guiding, mountaineering & ski adventures, Andrew Lanham Mountain Guide, Chamonix, Aosta Valley, Swiss, lyngen alps

More powder turns in a week than any man deserves…

The white stuff has been falling from the skies without much abate these last two weeks in the Alps. Skiing has been the activity a la mode, so skiing is what we’ve been doing!

Clean canvas on which to paint your line...

Clean canvas on which to paint your line…

This is from a small ski tour near Verbier last week which delivered some good skiing!

Max enjoying the cold snow!

Max enjoying the cold snow!

A few days around Chamonix with some German friends yielded the goods:

Skiing below Les Aiguilles de Chamonix

Skiing below Les Aiguilles de Chamonix

Jurgen in cruise mode

Jurgen in cruise mode

Ski touring in the Aiguille Rouges this week was a quiet day out with good views and great skiing:

backlit coldsmoke

backlit coldsmoke

aesthetic forms

aesthetic forms

:-)

🙂

the guys on the summit with Mt Blanc in the background

the guys on the summit with Mt Blanc in the background

Gerd in action

Gerd in action

Fresh lines off the Aiguille du Midi was no rarity this week..

Fresh lines off the Aiguille du Midi was no rarity this week..

The sun dimmed by incoming weather on the Italian Vallee Blanche

The sun dimmed by incoming weather on the Italian Vallee Blanche

That was the last sunshine we saw for quite a few days and it was into the trees with Swedes:

the trees

the trees

Almost getting a faceshot, not easy when you're 2m tall..!

Almost getting a faceshot, not easy when you’re 2m tall..!

the dark rider not playing games!

the dark rider not playing games!

the dark rider again...

the dark rider again…

Henrik catching some speed in the clearing

Henrik catching some speed in the clearing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lyngen Alps, Ski touring, freeride, off-piste, backcountry, Alpine Energy Guiding, mountaineering & ski adventures, Andrew Lanham Mountain Guide, Chamonix, Aosta Valley, Swiss, lyngen alps

Come Skiing above the Arctic circle this spring!

Come and join me this April in the Lyngen Alps of Norway! The preliminary date is the week of the 13th to 20th.

The summit plateau of Fugdldalsfjellet

The summit plateau of Fugldalsfjellet

Ski Touring above the Arctic circle with the long spring days, tracing lines down beautiful open slopes above the thawing fjords, the vistas are nothing short of spectacular, the open calmness of the place, liberating. 

skiing great snow, alone with the clouds and the shadows on the south island

skiing great snow, alone with the clouds and the shadows on the south island

I have a good knowledge of the area and conditions as I spent six weeks skiing in the area in 2011 and have contact with locals who can update me on recent happenings in the conditions. You’ll get picked up from the airport, eat and sleep in the comfort of a lodge and be guided for six days of ski touring. 

Skinning up towards Jiehkkevárri, the highest summit on the southern island.

Skinning up towards Jiehkkevárri, the highest summit on the southern island.

This trip is not extreme skiing, we will aim to do classic tours on beautiful summits where just being in the mountains with these surroundings is a pleasure and risks will kept to reasonable minimum. We will also be looking to ski the best possible snow we can find on each day.

skinning on the spring morning snow above the Sørfjorden

skinning on the spring morning snow above the Sørfjorden

There are literally hundreds of possibilities, we will decide our objectives day by day depending on the mountain conditions and the motivations of the group. The height gain will be between 600 and 1500m per day. We’ll do summits such as Kavringtinden 1289m, Sofiatinden 1222m, Stetinden 920m, Storgalten 1219m, Tafeltinden 1395m, as well as many other possible itineraries.

It will be a maximum group size of 6 people and a minimum of 4. If you would like more details, let me know and I will e-mail  you a detailed program with a price list. Hope to see you there!

on our way to Trollvasstinden..

on our way to Trollvasstinden..

enjoying the ride down to the ocean!

enjoying the ride down to the ocean!

Contact me

Courmayeur, Ski touring, freeride, off-piste, backcountry, Alpine Energy Guiding, mountaineering & ski adventures, Andrew Lanham Mountain Guide, Chamonix, Aosta Valley, Swiss, lyngen alps

Powder days are here again!

Hearing about dry mountains and thin snow cover from my sweaty bungalow in south-east Asia, I wasn’t too optimistic about the skiing this January. Arriving home to an unpredictable snowpack thanks to the constructive metamorphism of December’s meagre snowfall lurking beneath the new layers in the two to three thousand metre range on northern aspects and a general lack of covering confirmed my doubts.

Skiing the trees in Italy last December, yesterdays conditions were similar..

Skiing the trees in Italy last December, yesterdays conditions were similar..

However, since new year the snow has been falling in the Alps and yesterday was a good powder day in Courmayeur, Italy. The snowpack is a bit thicker over there and we had a great day in the trees. With careful route choice and some local knowledge the skiing in the Alps is quite good now.

Here’s Erik’s new little edit from a fun day last April:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EKJRJYFHvQs&w=560&h=315]

Col des Cristaux, Ski touring, freeride, off-piste, backcountry, Alpine Energy Guiding, mountaineering & ski adventures, Andrew Lanham Mountain Guide, Chamonix, Aosta Valley, Swiss, lyngen alps

Spring powder to end my Chamonix ski season

Here are some photos with a film in the previous post from a couple of runs around Chamonix, ending my ski season:

Tomas climbing up to the Col des Cristaux above the Argentiere glacier.

Tomas climbing up to the Col des Cristaux above the Argentiere glacier.

Tomas skiing the face

Tomas skiing the face

Col des Cristaux with the head of the Argentiere basin behind.

Col des Cristaux with the head of the Argentiere basin behind.

P1000594

Eric enjoying some powder at the top of La Noire NNW face.

Eric enjoying some powder at the top of La Noire NNW face.

Skiing down a steeper, narrow section to make a small rappel.

Skiing down a steeper, narrow section to make a small rappel.

Good powder turns all the way down the face!

Good powder turns all the way down the face!

skiing the Glacier de la Noire with the Glacier de Periades and Mer de Glace below.

skiing the Glacier de la Noire with the Glacier de Periades and Mer de Glace below.