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Old 12-04-2012, 06:34 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Psyched/scared about my first REAL backcountry trip:s

Somewhere in the second half of februari I'm heading to Chamonix for a week, in the french alpes, near the Mont Blanc. If the snow and weather conditions allow it, me and my brother are gonna meet up with a guy he met who offered to guide us in our first real long steep off-piste descents...

I'm kinda nervous because I'm not too sure I already have the needed skills, and obvioulsy, there might be serious consequences to taking a risk like that.

Also, equipment whise: I'm guessing the Smokin Superpark I'm about to order isn't up for the job...Right? I'd hate to buy a real powder board, cause I'll still spend most of my trips in the park and on groomers

I can't afford two dedicated boards, nor can I justify buying a world class professional hybrid deck, let alone two boards...So would you guys consider renting a more powder friendly stick for a couple days if you were in my situation? Any other tips for a backcountry noob like me? Thanks a lot.

Thanks.

Last edited by Thom; 12-04-2012 at 06:53 AM.
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Old 12-04-2012, 07:12 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I've always been told to set your bindings back a notch on a twin when expecting powder. It does seem to help with the leg burn.
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Old 12-04-2012, 08:30 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Ummm yeah Chamonix. That place is the definition of ski mountaineering. You'll probably get pow, but you can also expect ice, crevasse, bergschrunds, along with avalanches to deal with. Pretty everyone I know who has gone there has worn an alpine climbing harness the whole time. Roping up and rappels are pretty standard there. You'll want snow crampons and an ice axe or two.

That said, the guides around there are very professional. Probably the highest level of guides found anywhere in the world. So listen to what your guy has to say. If you need a recommendation I can get you the contact info for Alain. He's a rather bad ass climber/skier guy who is a guide in Cham. At least last I checked he was still doing that gig. I got to put a few days in rockclimbing with him when he was here visiting a friend for a few months several years ago. Dude is solid.
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Old 12-04-2012, 09:29 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thom View Post
Somewhere in the second half of februari I'm heading to Chamonix for a week, in the french alpes, near the Mont Blanc. If the snow and weather conditions allow it, me and my brother are gonna meet up with a guy he met who offered to guide us in our first real long steep off-piste descents...

I'm kinda nervous because I'm not too sure I already have the needed skills, and obvioulsy, there might be serious consequences to taking a risk like that.

Also, equipment whise: I'm guessing the Smokin Superpark I'm about to order isn't up for the job...Right? I'd hate to buy a real powder board, cause I'll still spend most of my trips in the park and on groomers

I can't afford two dedicated boards, nor can I justify buying a world class professional hybrid deck, let alone two boards...So would you guys consider renting a more powder friendly stick for a couple days if you were in my situation? Any other tips for a backcountry noob like me? Thanks a lot.

Thanks.
The Vallee blanche in Chamonix is on my bucket list, look at doing that as well. Others who've been can comment but when I looked it up it seemed very cool, you take the gondola to a peak then walk this crazy ridge for little ways after which it's a half day of boarding with a couple different routes you can take depending on the difficulty you want. Guide not mandatory but I think you'd be crazy not to have one. The only drawback is that there are some flats as I looked into it.
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Old 12-04-2012, 09:35 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Educate yourself before you go, make sure you are geared up, and enjoy yourself. You're getting a chance at true snowboarding now I'm jealous!
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Old 12-04-2012, 10:40 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Thanks a lot guys.

I'll start by readin up on those avalanche threads. Putting the bindings back a bit makes a lot of sense too I guess, thanks for the tip. I'm also counting on decent professional guidance from my brother's friend. He lives in Chamonix, and he's been making a living as a backcountry guide there for the last decade or so, so I'm assuming he'll be experienced and qualified enough not to drag our intermediate asses into extremely gnarly territory

Still, I hope I'll come across terrain I'd otherwhise never ride, and from what I read/heard so far, Chamonix shouldn't dissapoint me
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Old 12-04-2012, 10:59 AM   #7 (permalink)
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As long as you have a guide you should be in good hands. Cham is a place you definitely don't want to try to learn on your own. One of the few places I wouldn't even think of going to without that service. Too many fall and you die spots. Even the easy runs have their dangers, so a guide is essential. Should be one hell of an experience.
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Old 12-04-2012, 11:13 AM   #8 (permalink)
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I'd also recommend go and ride some local big ass lines in all conditions...we dream of bottomless pow....which could be as much of a bitch as glazed concrete...which is scary as fuck. Just to get your skills together, your head to gather for reading lines and you judgement together of when to say NO.
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