Back in the States

I’ve been back home for the last couple weeks. Haven’t been skiing much other than a quick dawn patrol up Mt. Ellis. I have however been doing a fair amount of rock climbing as the temperatures have been warming up a bit.

Enjoy these European Panorama’s and climbing pictures!

View from the Brevent Ski Area

Chamonix...what else can I say?

Aguille Verte

Steve Gilson photoing the Swiss Alps

The view from Chappelsiberg

The Wetterhorn Massif and the rest of the valley below Haslital Ski Area

Sunset on the Italian Riviera

Patrick Lawrence slashes on Mt. Ellis... my first day skiing back in the good ol' USofA

Sara Jay, rock climbing at Revenue Flats, west of Bozeman

Cool fire effect, camping at Revenue Flats

Sarah Eshback makes her way up a 5.7 on her first day ever climbing.

Myself, looking for holds. Photo: Sarah Eshback

Climbing at the end of the day. Photo: Sarah Eshback

One more night of camping in beautiful Revenue Flats...

Finally, be sure to check out Steve Gilson Photography for more (and better) pictures of my recent Europe trip as well as other great pictures from around the west!

Eurotrash Update 6

Back in Montana after 4 days of traveling across 2 continents and over the Atlantic Ocean. After Kitzbuhel the weather really warmed up, so we headed to be tourons in Munich, Germany, and where our friend Max had a flight to catch in a few days. We met up with my friend Ashley Bembenek who kindly let us crash on her floor for a few nights, thanks Ashley! Three mountain kids in the big city just led to trouble, after the thrill of skiing looking at old buildings wasn’t really doing much for us, so we did what any ski bum would do… drink.

We did however check out some cool touristy things such as the BMW museum and the Marienplatz square, home to many beer gardens and the Glockenspiel.

The BMW factory and museum

The very famous Glockenspiel

Steve Gilson enjoys a liter of the Haufbrau House Doppel beer

One of the English Gardens was starting to bloom

We also took a short train ride to Dachau, where the first Nazi Concentration Camp is located. It was a very somber experience, and surreal walking the same grounds where such a tragedy took place.

Inside the main building at Dachau, the last place in the world I would ever want to go in the 1930s or 40s.

The main square at Dachau

Where the Dachau barracks used to be.

The main entrance to the Dachau Concentration Camp

After bidding our farewells to Max, Steve and I caught a train south into Italy. With the weather still not cooperating we decided to head for the beach. We took a train to Pisa, Italy, where we figured we could basecamp to get into Cinque Terre National Park, and maybe some other beaches. We spent our first day touring the city on bikes, and even went on a long ride out of the town and through some fields and sketchy squatter camps.

Token tourist shot of the leaning tower of Pisa

Sunset on the Pisa Cathedral

Biking the Italian Countryside

Pisa at night

The leaning tower at night

The next day we caught the train to Cinque Terre, and had the intention of hiking the coast trail. We arrived in Monterosa and did some beach strolling before beginning the hike in Vernazia. The hike was really cool, especially the first section as it reminded me of the Na Pali coast in Hawaii. After the hike we were stoked on the area, and went and made a reservation at the youth hostel in Manarola. We spent the next two days enjoying the ocean, seafood, and of course Italian wine.

Cinque Terre beach in Monterosa

A sailboat in the Mediterranean

Steve scoping the sea from the Cinque Terre trail

Manarola at night, we stayed at a youth hostel in this town.


Manarola, Italy

Beautiful Italian sunset

What a great way to end an epic vacation

A fitting end to a great trip

Our last day in Europe was perhaps one of the most stressful days. We woke up early to miss the first train out of Cinque Terre, so for the next 2 hours we chilled and waited in the rain. We also tried to reserve seats on the train to Paris, but the lady said she was having problems and that she couldn’t reserve us seats from Milan to Paris. Steve and I then hopped on the train out of Cinque Terre and at the train station to connect to the train to Milan we found out there were no more seats on the train to Paris. Needing to get to Paris that night so we could catch our flights the next day, we were frantic as to how we were going to get to Paris. We hopped on the train to Milan, and having only 15 minutes to connect to the Paris train in Milan we scrambled to figure out how to get on the train. At the last minute we talked to a conductor who told us for only an 8 euro fine we could ride the train, but we wouldn’t have seats. The train was 2 hours late and as a result we spent the night in the Gare de Lyon train station (A fitting end after our adventure on the first day). We caught the first train to the Airport the next day and made our way back to the States.

Eurotrash 2010 – Update 5

Greetings from Kitzbuhel, Austria!

After a great stay in Seedorf Switzerland, Steve and I headed out to meet up with some Bozeman friends in Hasliberg. Leif and Katie had spent the winter as Chalet hosts at an awesome ski in-ski out chalet. It was their last week in Switzerland and the weather was looking pretty bleak. The first day we arrived it was super foggy, the next day we went up for a half day and skied above a crazy inversion.

Crazy inversion at Meiringen-Hasliberg, not ideal for skiing.

The fog was so dense we couldn’t even see 50 feet. The same weather held for another day, so no skiing, but finally it broke on our last day there. A few cms of new snow had also fallen making the skiing pretty good.

The Wetterhorn and Eiger

Steve and Leif getting ready to shred.

Leif Routman shredding his home mountain for the last time before returning to the States.

Leif Routman showing off his Seth Morrison impression.

Leif even let me use his helmet cam for a run, which turned out pretty good.

After skiing, we said our goodbyes to Leif and Katie and hopped on the train to Innsbruck. We arrived late in Innsbruck, and had to hustle to catch the last bus to the hostel. We made it, then went for a little evening stroll. We took a rest day and explored the historic and beautiful town of Innsbruck and met up with a high school friend, Elena Sprick. She is teaching English in Prague and took us to a really cool restaurant that had great food at a decent price. Thanks Elena, this trip has been amazing by meeting up with friends, new and old. The next day we planned to go ski the Stubai Glacier, but our lack of German speaking and understanding skills we ended up on the wrong bus and ended up at Axam-Lizum. The ski area was pretty cool and had a wild train that went to the top. We lapped a ridge with a short hike to get to for most of the day.

Lizum Austria, near Innsbruck

Austrian Alps.

Steve Gilson finding the goods at Axam-Lizum, Austria.

The next day Steve and I hopped on the train to Kitzbuhel.

We spent two days skiing in Kitzbuhel and we timed it perfectly. We arrived to light snow, and met up with our friend Max Hoener, who was just returning from Gulmarg, India working with a non profit organization skis4kashmir. We woke up to the biggest storm Kitzbuhel has had this winter, it was probably around 30-45 cms of nice powder. We skied pillow lines in the trees all day and it was great.

Max Hoener getting the goods at Kitzbuhel.

Max learning that there is other stuff to do than chase gates at Kitzbuhel, like drop pillows.

All stomps for Max.

The next day, it got really warm and the snow turned to mank, we explored the mountain and drank some beer. We then went to the start gate of the famous Hammenkhan downhill. We took some pictures then practiced our racing starts out of the start gate.

Steve and Max, asian touristing the Hammankhan Start Gate.

Eurotrash Update 4 – And a couple huge thanks!!!

Sorry about not posting in so long, have had limited internet access which has made it difficult post.

Before I go any further I need to send a huge thank you the Steffy and Matthias Albert-Arnold in Seedorf, Switzerland. They showed us some great hospitality, fed us well, and let us sleep at their house for a week. So thank you Steffy and Matthias!!

The very gracious Arnold family, from left, Steve Gilson, Cory Arnold, Claudia Arnold, Steffy Albert-Arnold, Me, Matthias Albert-Arnold. Thank you guys so much!!

Also thanks to our friends Leif and Katie, they let us crash at the chalet they were watching all winter and showed us around Meiringen-Hasliberg. Leif even let me use his helmet cam for a run!! (I will post the video up when I make my Meiringen-Hasliberg post)

After a final day at Andermatt, we hopped on the train to go back to Disentis and stay at a cool Swedish hostel. We had an excellent day at Disentis before clouds moved in and the light got super flight. One drawback about skiing Europe is that so much of it is alpine that if the sun isn’t shining you can’t see anything.

Looking down and Andermatt line

Steve G drops into a chute in Disentis, Switzerland

After the second day of skiing we returned to the hostel to be told there had been a misunderstanding and we didn’t have a room. Not sure what to do, we called Steffy and Matthias who graciously let us stay last minute at their place. The next day it was raining in Seedorf, so Steve and I took a rest day and checked out Seedorf. The next day, Steffy’s dad Cory arranged for Steve and I to go on a gravel barge across Lake Luzern, it was an early morning, we were up at 4 am but a great crew and plenty of coffee, led Steve and I on a awesome personal tour of beautiful Lake Luzern. The next day Steffy and Matthias took us to Lugano, in southern Switzerland to do some Via Ferrata (it was still stormy in the Alps so no skiing to be had).

Via Ferrata in Lugano Switzerland... a fun down day activity.

The next day the storm broke and there was 40 cms of blower pow to be skied. Steffy and her parents took Steve and I up our first Swiss peak, The Rossstock, and then we lapped deep snow the rest of the day.

Matthias Albert-Arnold shreds some Swiss pow at Chappelsiberg

Cory Arnold getting deep

Steffy Albert-Arnold showing us Americans how to ski pow

Steffy and Matthias working it

Steve and I lingered on more day to ski more powder at Chappelsiberg, which is a funky tiny 4 person tram that Steffy’s uncle built in 1964, but for 7 swiss francs takes you to a touring paradise. Steve and I explored a new drainage which led to some really fun faces to ski, and all of them untracked.

Steve skinning in Chappelsiberg

Steve slashing above an alpine hut in Chappelsiberg

Mountainman Steve

Untouched Pow, Steve Shredding

It was tough to leave Chappelsiberg after so many runs like this

After two days in Chappelsiberg we headed to see Leif and Katie in Hasliberg, which I will post about soon.

Eurotrash 2010 – Update 3

Heading out of the wonderful town of Andermatt to stay at a super chill youth hostel in nearby Disentis. We had a couple of sick skiing days here as well as a fun night out on the town.

Sunset in Andermatt

Andermatt moonrise

A cool looking museum in Andermatt. Too bad it was closed when we went to visit.

Steve and I dirtbagging it on the streets of Andermatt.

We also spent one day at Disentis, it was fun until super high winds shut down the lifts. But there is some ultra easy access slackcountry freeriding here that we will hit again.

Steve G checks out the view at Disentis.

A short but fun minigolf line... one of many at Disentis, Switzerland

Eurotrash 2010 – Update 2

Currently in Andermatt Switzerland after getting chased out of Chamonix by rain, and more rain in the forecast. But our second day skiing in Chamonix was plenty interesting…

Steve and I had a bit of a late start, and we were made even more late by missing the bus, after waiting another hour, we loaded on the Brevent tram with the intentions of doing some touring around the backside of the ski area. We toured to the top of a cool little peak with a Buddha statue on top and followed some tracks off the summit to a north-east facing bowl. The snow was deep, soft and steep. Steve cruised down first to photo me on a slightly steeper line. He waived for me to go, and I dropped in, there was a short straightline to a hard right turn over some rocks, then a nice, big, open, powder face, I made a hard first slash, then something didn’t look right. The snow was breaking downhill, my mind raced as I realized I was in an avalanche. Doing the only thing I could do, I punched it. I straightlined over the toe of the slide and sped down to a high point in the bottom of the valley. I turned around to see the plume of the avalanche stop just above me. My heart was racing, but the slide was really pretty small, only a 6″ deep windslab. Steve and I continued down to another lift and another skin track. By the time we reached the top of the 1000′ climb it was late in the day, we decided rather than explore, to just ski what we had climbed. This line was longer and steeper but a different aspect than the run before. Still nervous about the snow, I volunteered first to drop in first, since I had an Avalung, I made some tentative turns to test the snow, and it felt ok, I punched it through the narrow, steep part when the snow was moving again, only this time faster and I was mid-turn. I tried to straightline out of it, but I hooked a tip on the toe of the slide and fell. I bit as hard as I could on the Avalung as the snow pushed me downhill. I tried to get my edges to hold and finally they did. It took all of my strength, but I was able to self-arrest after being carried about 200′ feet. I skied out with my tail between my legs, and a little shaken. The next day we woke up to rain, and more rain in the forecast, and decided to head to Andermatt, where I am now, and after our first day of skiing, this place is super sweet!

Also be sure to check out my partner in crime’s website where there are more (and better) photos of the adventure! Check it out here .

Chamonix beauty

Steve Gilson looking small in Chamonix

Steve skiing with Mont Blanc in the background

Steve Gilson touring the Chamonix backcountry

Your's truly on a 'small' Chamonix Peak

This small Buddha greeted us at the summit

Steve Gilson far below, right before I was caught in the first slide of the day.

EuroTrash 2010 – Update One

I am currently sitting in a campground bathroom internetting, because it is the only place I get service. But after an adventurous 2 days of traveling that included; strip searches, angry customs, packed trains, and lugging 90 lbs of gear through the streets of Paris and a nice 3 mile walk in the snow and dark we finally made it to our campground in Chamonix. We just wrapped up our first day of skiing at Brevent and boy oh boy was it fun, especially since hardly anyone skis the good snow. Our campsite is super dope and right at the base of Mont Blanc, depending on conditions, and what not, we may try and ski the White Mountain if we get a good weather and stability window. But in the meantime we’re just enjoying the skiing.

Gare de Lyon in Paris, we walked around this place like a hundred times, and kept getting lost

Dijon mustard in the birthplace of mustard, Dijon France. (This is here to keep up with Lou Dawson's posts about Eurotrash Food)

Our mega-awesome campground

The Aiguille-du-Midi from Chamonix

This picture was taken from my sleeping bag in our tent, it's the Aiguille-du-Midi

The tram at Brevent, it takes you to some super easy access, big mountain lines, that no one else bothers to ski

Mont Blanc from Brevent, if we get a window we may try and give it a ski.

Steve Gilson drops in towards Chamonix, after a long day at Brevent.

Prepping for Europe

I leave in a week for a long European excursion to do some skiing and traveling in the Alps. So I have been spending the majority of my time working, training and planning. In the process I found a really cool zone that, by Montana standards, is pretty easy access. So over the course of a few days I made 3 trips into the zone and summitted all 3 of the major peaks in the drainage, which resulted in nearly 30 miles and 20k of vert climbed and skied in 3 of 4 days. Not a bad way to start shaping up for the 20k vert a day in the Alps.

For skiing I’ve been trying to ski Bridger Bowl when I can, but without a pass it’s sometimes hard to get up there.

Ryan Walters sending it in Mundy's bowl at Bridger Bowl

Myself, airing out of Alabaster Chute in the Diagonals zone at Bridger Bowl

This tin was in my pocket during a pretty violent fall in Mundy's. Saved me from ending my season early, that's for sure.

As for touring and climbing, I’ve spent a lot of time on the easy approach and low angle of Mt Ellis, but I also found a drainage that I am going to keep secret for a little while. Skied off of 3 different summits over 4 days in this area.

Panorama of the Northern Absaroka mountains

The first of the three mountains climbed and skied during a summit binge in this drainage.

The fun thing about the 3 mountains in this zone is that they get progressively more difficult. The first day was on the easiest peak to get a feel for the snow and see what the terrain looked like.

Steve Geiger coming out of the inversion on the approach

Only one of many aesthetic and fun looking lines only a little more than 2 hours from the trailhead

Over the next two days I bagged both of these mountains

Shawtann Whitson climbs towards the summit of the first mountain climbed.

Rob Wudlick and Steve Geiger hike to our line

Shawtan Whitson enjoys the bottom half of 1200' of powder.

Steve Geiger on the approach for summit number 2

Steve Geiger nears the summit of peak number 2 after getting caught in an afternoon storm

Patrick Lawrence gears up at the trailhead in the wee hours of the morning for an attempt on the third peak.

Looking down my line from the top of the gnarliest peak in the zone

The last peak we climbed was the most difficult to climb and ski. I was up there with my good friend Patrick, who I ski and climb with frequently. After winning a round of ro-sham-bo for first tracks down what appeared to be one of the best runs of my life, Patrick staked out a cover worthy photo angle and waited for me to drop. I clicked into my skis on the pointy summit and looked down my line, one turn on a spine then straightline a little chute, lay a big slasher for the photo then race my slough out. I yelled to Patrick that I was dropping. I lightly skied onto the spine and made my first turn, this is when the mountain reached up and took one of my skis. I fell headfirst down a little chute, over some rocks then went through the washing machine as my slough pushed me down the hill. I fought my way out of the moving snow above another rock band, and with only one ski traversed to a “safe” spot. I yelled to Patrick I was ok, but I was missing a ski. Worried my ski was buried deep in slough at the bottom, I looked around and sure enough, my ski was poking straight-up still on the top of the mountain. Patrick recovered it and brought it to me. I gave him first tracks for the rest of the run because of my stupid fall.

Looking back up through the carnage after falling on my first turn. If you look at the very top of the mountain you can see my ski poking up.

Patrick Lawrence slashes after rescuing my ski.

It’s official!!

Just purchased my ticket to Europe. The trip is going to be a doozy, with nearly a month and a half to explore the old country. I leave Denver on February 17 and return March 30. Any beta/travel suggestions are greatly appreciated. We plan on spending a lot of time in the France/Switzerland/Italy area then ending with an adventure east to Romania, Bulgaria and Greece. The majority of the trip will be spent skiing and I hope to post the entire time.

Also, I just received some awesome pictures from my really good friend, Reilly, from a great day we had skiing up on Marble Mountain in West-Central Colorado.

Skinning up Marble Bowl. Photo: Reilly Anderson

This is moments before I fell and tweaked an ankle. Photo: Reilly Anderson

I am in there somewhere, and this is just an 'average' day in this zone. Photo: Reilly Anderson

A slasher to end the day on. Photo: Reilly Anderson