So I have just returned from Chamonix which turned out to be one of the best ski trips I have ever done as it just did not stop snowing. Half way through the holiday I stopped and thought when did I become a skier?
Now what I mean by this is when did I start skiing just for skiing sake. When I was growing up my Dad took me and my brother on some fantastic snowboarding holidays (snowboarding was the cool thing to do back in the early 00’s) and I really enjoyed those trips. However, when I left home at 18 the ski trips stopped, mainly because I could not afford them but also because I was too busy going on climbing trips or training for climbing trips. I didn’t think about skiing for another 8 years.
Whilst on a trip to Scotland a friend of mine who had recently started going to the alps for winter alpinism suggested that I hire some touring skis and come on a tour with him. The tour was short but I enjoyed it and thought that it was a good way to get to climbing routes quickly. Fast forward a year and I was up in Scotland again and the weather was crazy, it just did not stop snowing. Getting to the base of the climbs was taking hours as the snow was so deep, so I went off to the local climbing shop with the intension of buying some snow shoes. However, when I arrived I started looking at the ski touring gear and having just had a bonus from work decided that it was a better way to go. Faster approach to the climbs and a much quicker way back to the car. Sold.
Having seen me just purchase the gear and not wanting to be left out Lucy also decided that she also needed some touring skis despite never having skied in her life.
Over the next 4 or 5 days we skinned in to the routes around the cairngorms climbed them and then very slowly skied out as the three-hour lessons that I had given Lucy on the side of the ski run’s had not given her much skiing confidence although she was doing really well.
Brilliant, skiing can get me to climbs faster and get me home quicker.
A few weeks later I had a call from a few friends who were going on a ski trip to Chamonix and did I want to join them, again the plan was to use skis to approach climbs however when we arrived it had dumped a lot of snow so we just ended up skiing for a week. It was during this week that I start to really love skiing in its own right and not just as a method of approach and descent.
Over the next few years the ski trips start to become more frequent and less and less climbing gear was getting packed to take on the trips with us. We started doing more and more ski touring. Then on this year’s trip to Chamonix I decided that I needed to start using all these skiing and touring skills to actually do what I had gotten in to skiing for which was to climb mountains, however it dumped it down with snow and we ended up skiing powder for two weeks which is no bad thing and had an amazing time. It also dawned on me that over the last few years I had brought three pairs of skis, ski specific clothes and packs and I realised damn I had become a skier.
So the big question is, is skiing better than climbing? Hard one!