Finally winter 2008 really seems to be drawing to a close. Although there's still loads of snow up high, the valley really feels like summer time and Chamonix's suddenly ultra quiet. I love interseason! It has been the best winter I can remember in so long. Big thanks to all the people I've had the pleasure to ski with this year - it's been fab!
Recent ski highlights have included an awesome awesome powder day in Courmayeur with the hard core girlie group, including skiing the Passarella Couloir from the top of Helbronner with Susannah and Charlotte.
Guy and my little adventure to the Chevalier Couloir in Chamonix didn't quite work out as planned. We didn't actually make it into the couloir - thin blue ice, aluminium crampons, and suddenly the whole thing didn't look so inviting - so we skied back down the way we came.
I was only slightly concerned that my boyfriend was going to throw his ice axe off a cliff because it was so useless, but that drama over, the ski down was short, but very sweet! Pretty mad to be putting skis on while hanging off an ice screw though.
We've also been on a road trip to ski the Petit Face Nord of the Grande Casse (3800m) in the Vanoise National Park. Charlotte and Andy came with us, but opted for the classic Grand Couloir route instead. A long day, but an amazing face and great conditions. Bit of a shame I wasted the first few turns by having snow and ice balled up on the base of my skis (time for a wax!), but luckily managed not to bin it - and Guy made himself useful and cleaning them up for me. Thank you :o) ... All good after that!
The Grande Casse was swiftly followed by climbing and skiing from the top of Grand Paradiso in Italy (4060m) with Mark & Charlie, Chris and Siobhan ... The view from the summit is one of the best I've seen in the Alps - you can see everywhere! And was cool to look back across at the Petit Face Nord we'd skied just 2 days before. Feeling quite smug as it looks impressively big and steep from a distance.
LONDON WEDDING ...
4 big mountain days back to back left my legs pretty much in tatters so took a few days off to head back to London for a wedding. Susanna and Will's big day was a glitzy, glam black tie affair. Had to work my way through an entire bottle of fake tan just to even up the colour difference between my face and neck (I am still a girl!!), but it was worth it - even if I can't walk in heels. It was awesome to see them finally get married, after so many (on-off) years, and also catch up with a lot of old faces from uni.
OFF TO NORWAY ...
I seem to have spent more nights in mountain huts in the last few weeks than in my own bed, so I'm now just chilling out at home, actually doing some work (skiing just seems to take up so much time), and getting ready for our adventure to Norway next week. Really looking forward to it - mainly just the novelty of being on holiday in a place where someone else looks after you, cooks and cleans, as well as the adventure of getting to where you're skiing by boat. Check out where we're going!
CHO OYU PROJECT ...
I heard recently that Emma and I have been shortlisted for the Sun's 'Britain's Most Inspiring Fundraiser' ... thanks so much to everyone who voted for us. We'll find out at the start of June. FINGERS CROSSED! Would be a totally awesome way to raise £20,000 for the Samaritans.
There's also a feature just about to come out in She Magazine's next issue about my experiences of Oggie's suicide. It's quite weird to read an article about yourself, and I expect Oggie would be mortified at the idea of being featured in a women's glossy mag ... but I think it's a really good piece.
And Powder Magazine have been in touch too about writing an article about our Cho Oyu adventure. Which I'm stoked about - Powder is the Ski Magazine bible. Plus it's so nice to be in email contact with other girls who love skiing.
I've been trying to keep as fit and healthy as I can, and went down to Annecy to run in the half marathon down there a couple of weeks ago. Was good to push myself a bit -really enjoyed it and was pleased with my time too - 1.41. Nice to know my fitness has improved and I should stay in shape for running the Chamonix half marathon and the Alpe d'Huez Triathlon in the summer. It's easier to give myself small goals to work towards rather than just trying to be strong for Cho Oyu - it's only 4 months now but it still feels a long way away!
Better get out and start running up some more hills.