Monday, 18 February 2008

Winter in Chamonix - Jan / Feb 2008

An Epic Start to the Winter

It was a magic start to the winter season, but I missed the beginning of it. Quite bizarre to be boiling hot in Thailand, getting loads of reports and photos of waist deep powder in Chamonix. I totally loved the massage course I was doing over there, but typical that the one season I'm not there at the beginning, is the one that's totally epic.

But I've more than made up for missing the first few weeks! I've been skiing and touring loads, and generally wondering how it's possible that, even though I'm not managing Planet Subzero any more, there still aren't enough hours in the day!

Skiing highlights so far include some properly deep deep champagne powder on the Glacier du Toule in Courmayeur, skiing the Rectiligne couloir from the top of Grands Montets, a lovely day-tour to the Floria couloir and Les Buets, and some awesome powder turns in St Anton. Plus my first big fall of the season - in front of clients, obviously - a proper rag doll, 10 cartwheel, yard sale, which was miraculously totally painless. Fingers crossed I've got that out of my system and won't be repeating it.

Other than skiing, I've been home for Christmas with Mum and Archie's family, which was lovely - massive turkey and trimmings dinner, and Archie's grandchildren to keep Santa alive and stop us dwelling on who was missing. I've been working part time on corporate events for Mountain Leap, so had a few days in Courchevel 1850 (breakfast with Gordon Ramsay no less), and 10 days schmoozing with airline execs in St Anton. Pretty hard work, but good fun, and got to see how the other half live. I really have to work out what I'm going to do with myself after Cho Oyu. It's all very well not really working ... and far too easy to fill my days ... but it doesn't exactly pay the mortgage.

Get Fit Mission:

In the mean time, I'm on a mission to get as fit as possible so I'm strong for Cho Oyu. It's already starting to get lighter in the day for longer, and sunnier in the valley, and even though it's still mid winter, time is flying, and Cho Oyu is getting scarily close.

I've somehow been persuaded to sign up for a triathlon in Alpe d'Huez in July, as well as the Mont Blanc half marathon in June. It's all Phil's fault. So I've been running lots as well as skiing, and have splashed out on some cross country ski kit. Guy nearly kills himself laughing every time I go 'skiing the fun' in lycra tights and silver spangly boots, but I figure if you're gonna do a ridiculous sport, may as well embrace it and look ridiculous too. I'm also starting to turn into a triathlon geek, working out training schedules and scouring the internet for tips. I don't even have a road bike yet, and I hate swimming in cold water, so I'm not quite sure why I thought this would be a good idea. Watch this space!

Plans and Adventures:

Soooo excited about going to Norway in May with Guy, Oli, Dom, Tom, Andy Egg and Rhi. Can't wait! We'll be staying in Lyngen Lodge, well into the Arctic circle, and ski touring from a boat every day. Will be pretty similar to Greenland last year, looking for interesting steep lines, maybe some first descents, BUT none of the roughing it in a tent at -30 degrees. This time we're going in style, and get a bed, hot water, and yummy food cooked for us in a lush luxury cabin. Bring it on!

Emma and I were also planning on going to ski tour Elbrus in Russia in May, but looking at dates and our work commitments, we don't think it's going to happen this year. So now thinking of joining her, Will, Roz & Tim and travelling to Iran to ski tour Damavand (5600m) in April. It's still up in the air, as we're waiting on visa info, but it sounds like an amazing trip, skiing in a largely unexplored area. Quite strange that we'll have to ski in veils though!

Cho Oyu Fundraising:

It's been a year since Oggie died. Amazing how fast it's gone, and still as hard to understand. Strange that 12 months ago I was running around Cambridge sorting out his funeral. It still doesn't feel very real. Although I am coming to terms with the fact that he's just not here any more. Very sad!

I recently read an article in The Times about depression in the workplace, which brought it home again how common mental illness and depression are. Apparently 1 in 3 people will suffer some form of mental illness in any one year. Yet no-one talks about it. Perhaps I'm being naive, as I'm very lucky that I've never suffered personally, but surely it's possible to help people more easily if the problem is recognised and treated earlier? Part of that is to increase awareness of the symptoms, and make depression a less shameful subject.

I really hope that our project to raise money and awareness for The Samaritans will help remove some of that taboo.

Our sponsorship mission is well underway and we've received great support from Salomon, Suunto, Dream Guides, Smartwool, Ski Club of Great Britain, SHE magazine, and Cooler magazine, who have just re-launched their website. We're hoping to secure an airline sponsor, which would be a total result, and are about to start the next phase of letters targeting anyone we can think of who may be able to help.

The support from friends and family has been amazing and the interest elsewhere has been brilliant!
Thank you :o)

Stephx

1 comment:

Listings Lab said...

Ah yes - I see what you mean when you asked if I got a notification when you write a blog post - I do. I'm subscribed to your RSS feed and that tells me everytime you write something new!