If this is your first time reading about us, we recommend you click on “about the journey” to get a bit of background before you proceed.
This first month in the Alps has been interesting and strange. Since we arrived here, there has been only one big snowfall. That means no precipitation and at the end of the day, lack of snow. Locals have told us that it has been a tough winter, with no precipitation in December either.
Mont blanc in the middle of the pic.
Since what we like the most is to ride good fresh snow (powder), this situation is not favourable to us. We are encountering two big problems that we have to face: Firstly, the rocks. There are many of them on the backcountry rides that haven’t been covered with snow yet. And secondly, the high risk of avalanches. One thing we learned during this month here is that a lack of snow means a higher risk of avalanches. This is due to the fact that the weak layers inside the snowpack aren’t deep enough to be safe to ride on. Many people have died or got injured in the Alps over the last month due to avalanches.
If we had to summarise the month in one word, ‘avalanche’ would be it. Well, big bright yellow sun would summarise it well too.
Obviously there have been many positive things about the last 4 weeks. For example, in order to face the potential risk, we had to learn much about avalanches; how they form, when, where, etc. It has been an interesting time for us, learning many things that we didn’t even know existed. Another amazing thing is meeting interesting local people. We have been very lucky to have met people with a passion for the mountains, skiing, snowboarding and more importantly, a passion for life. There are, definitely, different rules here. People are driven by a different force. Being surounded by nature makes humans behave differently than in very populated places.
Gerard and a Laurent Talking about conditions.
We didn’t mention it but we are living in a caravan at a camping in Montchavin, a village situated at 1,250 meters above sea level. The region is called Savoie and at a walking distance we have this huge family resort called Paradiski. Luckily, living at the campsite keeps us away from the noisy tourism that is invading these mountains.
One thing for us that is very important to mention, is that up here you feel that climate change is a fact. We have seen rain at 2,000 meters in the last week of January. This is just not right. The glaciers are retreating so fast, the frozen cascades are falling apart in January and the weather is rather mild for the season. At the moment we are in contact with the organisation POW (Protect Our Winters) to help in any way we can. POW is a non-profit organisation with the aim of stopping climate change. They are trying to move into politics along with making people consciously aware that we are trashing this planet. Remember, we have no other to go to (and probably trash again also).
If you wan to know more about POW click the link: http://www.protectourwinters.org
It is not all bad news though. During this month we managed to ride some backcountry powder, along with practicing carving on the slopes. We discovered that you can have a lot of fun by carving your snowboard too. We have gained confidence and knowledge, and feel it more day upon day.
Living in a caravan has been an amazing experience so far. It is the first time for both of us and we are getting along very well. In fact we love it. The only downside comes when we have to empty the toilet cassette… ;))
From now on, we will write posts whenever we feel we have something interesting to say. So, stay tuned and enjoy the journey with us.
Check some pictures by clicking the menu “photos”