We’ve mentioned before about our instructor David Gladwin passing his UIAGM exams which means he is a fully qualified Mountain Guide who can take anyone anywhere in the world. We put David’s qualification to full effect last week when we sent him off along with three of our clients, Sophie, Peter and Sylvain to the Italian side of Mont Blanc for an epic day of off piste riding on the glacier de Toule.
An early start was needed for the drive to Chamonix to pass through the Mont Blanc tunnel into Italy and then onto Courmeyer in the Valle d’Aosta, where the very shiny new ‘SkyWay’ lift takes you up to the Punta Helbronner lift station at 3400mtrs.
Sophie, Peter and Sylvain are all experienced off piste snowboarders but none of them had ever climbed or abseiled before so it was down to our guide David to teach them everything the needed to know and to keep them safe in the mountains.
After a mountain safety brief from David the team stepped into climbing harnesses, strapped on their crampons, tied into the rope and made their way across the snow to the Col du Flambeau and then on towards the Col Oriental de Toule.
The team then hiked from the col Du Flambeau to the top of the Col de Toule. From this point a number of abseils, a bit of down climbing and some steep ladders were needed to access the top of the Glacier de Toule where the fun snowboarding could start.
Safely at the top of the glacier everyone could take off the mountaineering equipment and strap on their boards. With open views of Mont Blanc and the Grand jorasses and no one else to be seen on the mountain it was time to do what everyone came here for.
The snow conditions were perfect with plenty of bowls full of wind transported snow the team had a great afternoon of riding, with this epic glacier descent all to themselves.
As the team descended further down the glacier the snow softened up nicely and the group was riding well so we decided to spice things up and tackle some steeper descents. The team were briefed on safe travel techniques and snow and terrain analysis and everyone discussed the best line of descent and entry and exit points before they set off.
The steep terrain was definitely the highlight of the trip, everyone held their own, carving their way down the rest of the glacier to the Sky Way midpoint station at the Pavillon du Mont Fret
At the midway station with everyone pretty tired and having had an epic day out in the mountains the team made their way back down to the cars to head home for a well-deserved beer (or three).
After a slower than usual start to the winter, the snow gods answered our prayers in January with an abundance of snow. The guys on our Off Piste Freeride course in early February enjoyed some fantastic snow conditions, with bluebird powder days and endless untracked descents throughout the week.
This course involves 5 full days of exploring the off piste terrain around the Portes du Soleil on the French / Swiss boarder. Our UIAGM Aspirant Mountain Guide, David Gladwin, led the pack with his second to none knowledge of the backcountry terrain in and around the Morzine – Avoriaz area.
The group enjoyed plenty of long off piste descents of over 1000 vertical meters, with first tracks all the way. Towards the end of the week they tackled some steeper, more challenging routes, involving hikes up to peaks unaccessible by ski lifts.
The course also included technical input into off piste snowboarding techniques, to help the group master the different types of terrain and snow conditions. You have to be able to tackle anything that the mountain throws at you!
And as ever David, who is a slight snowpack geek, enjoyed giving the group an understanding of avalanche risk and safety… and explaining how he makes calculated decisions when guiding them on their daily snowboard adventures.
Everyone finished the week absolutely exhausted and totally buzzing off snowboarding. Success!
DON’T MISS OUT on riding powder this winter… join us from 29th February to 4th March 2016 on the next Off Piste Freeride course!!!
Check out some of the photos of the freeride week below:
Thanks to the freeride group for the photos: Chris, Simon, Viet, Kev, Wael & Malcolm.
To celebrate the upcoming winter season and the fact that we have set the dates for our busy snowboard course schedule for winter 2014/15, we are offering a DISCOUNTED RATE IF YOU GET BOOKED IN EARLY. Book by the end of August 2014 to get a reduced rate, see the individual course for details of the offer.
The Mint Snowboard Courses are the best way to progress your riding to the next level and give you a totally unique, fun focused coaching experience. Full days are spent with one of our top level snowboard coaches ripping up the slopes of the Portes du Soleil showing & sharing how much fun can be had on a snowboard.
A unique range of courses are offered to provide a snowboard camp to suit everyone… whether your aims are to develop a strong riding style all over the mountain, ride epic backcountry lines or learn new tricks in the park. Check out the dates and get booked & paid up by end of August for the discounted rates!
*NEW* Beginners Snowboard Camp
15th – 19th December 2014
Shred Progression Intermediate
15th – 19th December 2014
5th – 9th January 2015
Shred Progression Advanced Camp
15th – 19th December 2014
5th – 9th January 2015
19th – 23rd January 2015
Backcountry Snowboard Camp
12th – 16th January 2015
*NEW* Mixed Splitboard & Backcountry Course
16th – 20th March 2015
Join us for a fun & progressive week of getting totally amped on snowboarding!
We’ve teamed up with Gonzilla.tv to bring you 17 essential tips to help you with filming this winter. Whether it’s your family or your buddies, cruising piste or busting some freestyle moves they have it covered…
1. Snacks! Water and food are a must if you are going to be standing around all day
2. Layer up! Wear warm clothes and pipe gloves are the best option so you can still work the camera… We recommend Celtek
3. Amnesia! Make sure your memory cards are clear and take spares if you have them
4. Keep any spare batteries warm so they don’t run out so quickly. Hide them under your arm, in your jacket or somewhere else toasty warm 😉
5. What’s your story? Before you start filming, think about the edit, have a story. What do you want it to look like in the end? This will help you plan what shots you need
6. Quality! Film at the best possible quality for example 1080p whenever you can
7. Always carry a lens cloth, cap or even your goggle wipe
8. Danger! Don’t stand in the landing, it’s dangerous!
9. If you are doing a ‘follow cam’, plan your route, make sure you know where you are going so you don;t go the wrong way or crash into something
10. Mooove closer! If you think you are close enough… get closer!
11. With an action camera, such as Ion, point the camera at the groin area. It’s not kinky, it’s just that they have a wide angled lens and it means you will fit everything into the shot
12. Think about mixing up your angles, low angles, high angles and moving around the feature
13. Communicate! Talk to the person you are filming, find out where they are going and what they are doing so you are not in the wrong spot or filming the back of their head!
14. Steady Eddy! Keep the camera steady, use a tripod and brace your arms against your body. Use a smooth motion. If you are using an action camera then use a pole! The worst thing you can do is hold it in your hand.
15. If you are filming a trick, make sure you get the take off and the landing. You don’t have to be in two places at once, just get the rider to do the trick twice and then edit them together 🙂
16. If you are using a helmet cam, make sure you press record before you put the helmet on. Gonzilla recommend filming with a pole as it gives a better shot
17. Fill’er up! Make sure you get filler shots so you can mix the edit up! People laughing, scenery that kind of thing!
Check out Gonzilla.tv for some bang on examples of how to film and edit! The one stop shop for UK snowboarding talent!
Tips on editing coming soon!