Skiing is a passion and a way of life.
If it's got snow on it, it's skiable - not necessarily sensible, but skiable.
In professional life, I'm a scientist, academic and
entrepreneur. But my passion is skiing, and each winter
season brings its own special adventures.
I'd rather be on the mountain thinking about science than in the lab thinking about skiing
To see what I'm up to, keep track, or to engage with others, follow me on Twitter @couloirjunkie
In my view the best ski resort on the planet. Great
atmosphere, incredible skiing, huge amounts of snow
(usually), fantastic infrastructure, and enormous area.
The off piste, back country and touring terrain is so
varied, that under almost any conditions there's great
skiing to be had. Good restaurants, great bars add
perfect destination resort. See underneath for favourite
The Gressoney-Champoluc-Alagna linked ski area provides
some of the most wild terrain, awesome views, and steep
terrain of anywhere in the Alps, and has a much better
infrastructure, food and atmosphere than Chamonix. Also
fantastic restaurants and wine bars. It also gives
access to Monte Rosa huts - I've never summited it but
would love to do some of the ascents.
Skiing in the shadow of the Matterhorn is always a
special experience, but with the length of descents, and
frequent powder traps, particularly on the Zermatt side,
this is a fabulous area to ski. Much cheaper on the
italian side but Zermatt has some of the best mountain
food in Europe - try Chez Vrony for the best end of day
eating anywhere. A nice groomed run home required given
the amount of Prosecco required.
The greatest snow on earth, and probably the greatest
runs I've ever had with six feet plus of champagne
powder allowing cliff jumps to be attempted with ease
(and sometimes without knowledge). Also the home of some
insane couloirs and some great friends.
Incredible runs, swish (Swiss) organisation and fantastic touring terrain, but ridiculously expensive to stay there, or eat there. Backside is a truly hair raising lift served run off the cable car, and the size of the ski area, and accessible backcountry is fabulous.
From 2012 onwards, I have been part of a group
attempting to ski tour across the Alps. We started in
Ischgl in Austria and have so far reached Bardonecchia
in Italy, skiing one week a year from hut to hut (where
possible). This incredible adventure is chronicled in
the below pages
Part One. Ischgl - Klosters - The Silvretta Tour
Part Two. Klosters-Andermatt - the Thwarted tour
Part Three. Andermatt-Lotschental - The Bernese Oberland
Part Four. Lotschental-Verbier - The Injury Prone Tour
Part Five. Verbier - La Thuile - The Reverse Haute Route
Part Six. La Thuile-Bardonecchia - The Sunny Tour
Links to my favourite couloirs, and ones I want to ski
but haven't yet
Schindlergrat Chutes (St Anton)
Torli Couloir (Kapall, St Anton)
This avalanche prone couloir off the Schõngrabern lift
is often too dangerous to ski, but in the right
conditions is stunning 1000ft+ 37°+drainpipe of a
couloir. Ski from Kapall lift into the Schafgilger
powderfield on the skiers left of the t bar. Instead of
taking the traverse right to Schõngraben ski down the
powder field, but bear right 100m before the slope
funnels into the usual Torli route. There are three
entrances - the best is high above the small tree, which
gives a lovely powder entrance - beware slides - a
second round the tree to the right hand side, and a
third which requires a launch - only to be attempted
under exceptionally stable conditions. You come
out to avalanche debris in Schõngraben with chamois
often seen up the hill.
ENSA couloir (Chamonix)
Arlenmähder Chutes (St Anton)
Nice and steep chute straight off the Zammermoos lift
(left of diamond number 75) down to Arlenmahder lift.
Unfortunately quite heavily sun exposed so can break up
or slump easily. Not for the afternoon in spring!
'king Marley's Chute (Stuben)
This isn't it's official name, but what we call;
it - a beautiful north facing powder trap in
Stuben directly accessible from AlbonaII lift (traverse
round above the Marois See lake to the entramnce, then
straight down towards the Arlberg tunnel ventilation
Grand Couloir (Courchevel)
Lanserlia Couloir, Parc Vanoise
Hangman's Hollow (Mammoth Mountain)
Sudain (now Couloir Extreme, Blackcomb)
Pallisades (Alpine Meadows)
Scott's Chute (Snowbird)
Le Giraffe (Andermatt)
Marinelli (Monte Rosa)
Baldy Chutes (Alta)
Corbett's Couloir (Jackson)
Alta Sucks - a couple of
days when Alta was at it's worst (i.e. still pretty
Armada TSTs - taking out my Armada's for the first time.
Losing it Big - What happens when Westward Ho is really big at Alta
Family St Anton - a reminder of what the kids were like 7 years ago!