Saturday, February 26, 2011

Powder for day one tomorrow!!

Today was a great day of skiing, it was a cold bluebird powder day!! What more could you ask for on a weather day! We were able to see and check out the venue that is permanently closed to the public which will be amazingly deep powder tomorrow! This competition is going to be one of the most amazing to watch because not only are the tours combined, but this is some of the best conditions that we have ever had for a competition! I am stoked with my line, I picked a more open line that I hopefully can flash and ski well. There is one other person skiing my line before me, but hopefully I can land in a different area off the air. It is really awesome to be able to compete against so many great female skiers. I know every girl out of the 27 and they all rip! So cool!! If you get a chance tune in live tomorrow at or on facebook at 10 am!! Should be a great show to watch. Here are a few photos of the area where I am skiing and the venue.

Friday, February 25, 2011

So much snow! Day one set for Sunday!!

Today has been crazy I have never seen a blizzard and a storm like this, kinda fun! It has already snowed 32 inches in the last 24 hours and it is still blowing and snowing. The mountain did not open and neither did the roads. We were literally snowed in. Sunday it is supposed to clear so hopefully we can get the competition off! it could lead for some interesting conditions with all the snow and wind. We have visual inspection only so it will be hard to know what the landings are like and how wind blown certain areas have gotten. Today high on the mountain the wind gusts were close to 100 mph. Getting out of our cabin today was a task, lots of shoveling. We are staying at Caples resort and the guy has been working continually today to keep us from being under 4 feet of snow. One of these pics is of a snowcat going right past our cabin to help pack down the snow. So crazy!!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The tours come together in Kirkwood!!

Kirkwood Day 2

Kirkwood Day 1

I have just arrived back into the U.S. after an awesome trip in France, I can not wait to go back and might try to go spend a month next year! There is just so much to learn and to ski, but I definitely need more time. After traveling for 24 hours I am in Reno Nevada, it is a bit of a culture shock because this place is so different than Europe. I am waiting to get up to Kirkwood tomorrow hopefully to do some pow skiing and inspecting for the comp if I can see! I am really excited because this is the first time that the two tours are going to be combined and also it is the biggest prize purse for the women that we have ever had!! After doing the Freeride Tour last year I kept thinking how awesome it would be if the competitors from both tours would be able to have a showdown. There is so many great North American skiers that have never had a chance to compete against the best European riders and now it is finally happening! I am stoked to compete against a great field of women and also stoked to watch the guys rip it up to. It is going to be an awesome show and 2 feet of snow is expected! The competition is scheduled to start on Friday, but the weather does not look to promising so I am thinking we will compete Saturday and Sunday. The event will definitely be live on the web at, so I will keep my blog updated with details!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Chamonix and a little La Grave

France_part2 from Brian Mulvihill on Vimeo.

Le Meije

The Le Meije is one of the most beautiful mountains that I have ever seen. In La Grave when riding the Telephrique it looms above the entire way and it can be seen from La Grave and all the surrounding villages. Yesterday we drove high up onto the hill across the way and drove to 3 villages that have the most amazing views and are on steep hillsides. These villages were built high on the hill, because the Le Meije , surrounding peaks and canyon is so big it blocks the sun from most of La Grave until the afternoon. We visited the La Grave church which is higher on the hill and is about 600 years old. They have a really impressive graveyard overlooking the village and the mountains.

The history in Europe is so crazy to that of the U.S., it is so much older and people have been settling this area for 700 years.

Yesterday Brian and I went out on our own and skied some of the classics in the general area. We skied Trifede two, which was great snow, exposed very aesthetic tighter couloior. We also skied the Banan or Banana couloir which is always fun with the high walls on either side. It is so crazy how much vertical feet you can get in one day without starting right at 9. We got almost 30,000 feet with taking a nice coffee break and our first run was not until 1030. Today we decided to go ice climbing since the mountain was socked in and it had snowed a little.

My 4th time ever and we did a very nice 4 pitch route just down from La Grave. It was very warm and wet so I was getting soaked on the entire climb. I guess I needed a bath!! ha ha.

Very fun climb and the the perfect pitch for my 4th time. Tomorrow is our last day which is so sad, but all good times come to an end. Got to get back so I can go compete at Kirkwood for the Freeskiing World Tour!! Either one more day of skiing or some steeper ice climbing for Brian, he said 90 degrees plus. Hope I am ready for that!!!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

La Grave

We loaded the Telephrique this morning expecting to become acquainted with the mountain again. We ran into my old friend Joe Vallone who Jess, Angela and I skied with us last year. He is someone that loves La Grave and the mountains more than anyone I have ever met. He also knows these mountains very well and has guided in La Grave for 9 years. He was accompanied by his french friend named Frank who has lived here for 16 years. It was so cool to learn more about the area and here more about all the different lines that are doable. The first run we just traversed high under the Telephrique and skied a North facing shot that still had some great powder.

The runs here are so long that you get about 6,000 vertical in one run. We then decided to go adventure skiing to the road, with the lack of snow I was not sure how far we would get. We skied the first 5,000 feet in awesome untouched powder with amazing views of the mountains and canyons. The last 2,000 feet was some serious bushwacking and walking, but it was still worth the upper turns and ended up being quite and adventure. We caught a ride back to the bottom of the telephrique and caught the last ride up and enjoyed some wine in the sun at 12,600 feet and then skied the second Trifede couloir at sunset. So beautiful! Can't wait for another day of skiing in the sun.

Friday, February 18, 2011

The last two days in Chamonix Grand Montet and Agui du Midi

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On Wednesday we went up the the Agui with Liz and Erin Smart, two awesome guide friends that we met through some Jackson peeps. The weather was a little socked in, but it was still absolutely gorgeous the top of the Agui it is about 12,700 feet and you come up to that elevation from the valley floor. It always impresses me in Europe because they have trams up everything the steeper the better. We walked around on the top for a moment and then did the sketchy walk down to where you put your skis on. The entire time you have great views of the valley below and Mont Blanc, which I hope to ski someday. The snow was a bit interesting about 6 inches of pow on some really hard pack snow. We skied through the glaciers and some small couloirs and then traversed down on the glacier with an amazing cirque of mountains all around us. We ended at an ice cave that was pretty neat and then hiked up about 200 stairs to a small gondola and then to a train that took us down to the valley floor. I can't wait to go back and ski more in that area, there is so much to do. Thursday we skied the Grand Montet which also has some great terrain and the snow was chalky and firm but super fun. I can't imagine these places on a powder day!! Chamonix was a quick trip, but definitely got to experience a lot of new things and share it with Brian which was also really special. Now we are in La Grave one of my favorite places in Europe!!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Ice climbing Chamonix near Argentiere Glacier

We arrived in Chamonix yesterday morning to very little snow, but sunny skies. With the mountains and the valley of Chamonix it is still one of the most gorgeous places I have ever been. We skied Brevent for 4 hours enjoyed the views, some beers and the springtime sunshine. Last year this is where I competed for the Freeride World Tour and the venue that we competed on was not even skiable!

Hut near ice

The face I skied down was a sheer rock face, which is pretty crazy to think about even skiing that with snow. We caught up on our sleep and then today decided to do some ice climbing. I have gone ice climbing twice in my life so I was a little nervous, also being in Chamonix where everything is so big made me a little more intimidated. Brian loves to climb though and has done quite a bit, so I felt I was in good hands. I wore my new Dynafit boots for the first time not to ski but to ice climb. They worked well except my feet were absolutely killing me and my crampons were sliding around a bit. I definitely used my arms more!! We took the first leg of the Grand Montet Tram and then hiked to the ice. Brian and I rappelled down the ice we were going to climb and then climbed two pitches, I was nervous the entire time, but thanks to my amazing boyfriend I remained calm and climbed fine!! (ha ha) After that we enjoyed a beer at the Chalet Refuge De Lognan a small hut overlooking the bottom of the Argentiere Glacier. We then took the tram down and caught the bus back to our cute little hotel in the heart of Chamonix. Great first day, tomorrow hopefully some skiing in Courmayeur, Italy. This is only about 30 minutes away, so crazy how close the countries are.

Chamonix from Brian Mulvihill on Vimeo.