Ecrins 2018

Ecrins ice climbing DAY 1

We arrived to village of Vallouise yesterday. Obviously not without troubles. A lot of snow fell over last while, which made driving from Turin quite challenging. Luckily we had snow chains and made it safely. Unfortunately the conditions for ice climbing are pretty poor right now. A lot of snow fall made the climbs prone to avalanches.

It was recommended by our host, Jerry Gore of that we should try some of the local excellent ski slopes.

No climbing today, but we were busy either way 🙂

Since my companions (Peter, Ronan and Sarah) are seasoned skiers, and I myself know how not to kill myself by going down too fast (plow style Ftw) we headed out to the nearby Puy St Vincent. We are in the Alps after all!

Since today is Sunday, the place was quite busy, especially there was a lot of children around. I’m always amazed seeing these little rascals going fearlessly downhill… I bet some of them ski better than walk!

Sarah looking ahead.

We spent good 6 hours trying different routes. Obviously the guys went on the advanced priests, while I explored all the green ones and some blues (easy ones that is).

This was my 3rd time on the skis and the fact that I now know how to turn made me very happy.

It’s steeper than it looks…

Evening was spent planning climbing routes for tomorrow. We will try some of the classics of Ceillic, but more about it tomorrow, after we actually do some climbing.

I also introduced the teamto my other hobby – board games.

Sarah planning her next move.

I brought K2 – the board game. Thematically fitting enjoyment to fill in the nights.

The game took just over an hour and I’m sure we’ll ll get to play it few more times during this trip. Now it’s time to pack the bag.

Again the forecast isn’t amazing, but we’ll give it a go.

Canada 2017 climbing my travels

Carnage on the slopes.

Since our climbing have come to an end (avalanche is still high/high/high), but we still have few days to spare, we decided to give skiing a try.

The last time I had skies on must have been 2011, so by no means I know how to ski. I did get few hours of lessons back then I learned how to stop (plow FTW) and maybe turn. It’s been a while though. Lar is in similar situation, doing only few days of it in his life. PG is at least intermediate skier, having done it for up to few months at time during his time in the Alps.

Upon doing some research we opted up for Norquay ski area in Banff.

Norquay map

It is close by and reasonably priced (working out for total of  ~70euro for 1/2 day pass [12 to 4pm) incl gear rental.

I must say that facility is pretty well organized. Staff is professional, well informed and very friendly. It took no more than 30 mins to equip us with gear and we were ready to hit that lift in our fashionable climbing clothing & helmets.

Going up the lift.

And it was a mistake… Should have started with baby slope area and make sure that I actually remembered the necessary skills (most importantly how to stop).

The first 30 minutes were a real eye opener.  I fell at least 3 times on first 30 meters. So have Lar. The difference was I was actually able to get up and continue, while he twisted his knee in such a way that he couldn’t really continue (he’s ok, just  a bit sore).

I must say that I initially definitely overestimated my ability to be in control, but it only got better with time. As I acquainted myself with the ground few more times trying to remember what I was doing, PG went to explore the area a bit more, while Lar confined himself to the ‘magic carpet’ practice area.


PG & Piste 18 in the background, with the lift to the right.

After a while though I was back into my old skill-set of being in control and could enjoy doing laps. It was never more than going quite slowly in full plow stance, occasionally turning, but I enjoyed it.

Enjoying the ski time!

We actually shot few short videos, so when I got more time I’ll stitch them into some sort of comprehensible video. Watch this space.

holidays sport video

Xmas time

This year (as in 2011) we’ve decided to spend the Xmas time with Monika’s family. That was the best idea EVER.

We’ve spent fantastic time skiing, meeting friends and having a good time in general. Also we became godparents to little Tomasz – Monika’s sister son. 🙂


Skiing was the super awesome idea – we got few friends together and went to Karpacz (20km away from where the family lives). Since I never done it before (skiing) it was something special. Somehow only 1h of lessons with certified instructor got us on our feet (unfortunately there wasn’t more time to go more often) and we had some excellent time.  As usual I had my go-pro action camera with me – hence here it is: