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.

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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.

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.

Sweet epicness brah! Silverton ’10


In an attempt to start a new family tradition, my dad, two brothers and I, all met up after Christmas to ski Silverton Mountain Resort in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado. Silverton is special to my family as my parents, Zack, and I all lived there in the mid-80’s (I don’t remember much because I was only 2 at the time), so it is cool to go back and hear my dad’s old stories.

We picked my older brother up at the Grand Junkyard airport around 10 pm Christmas night, his flight from Bozeman was only a little delayed because of the underwear bomber, and booked it south to spend the night in Ridgeway. Arriving after midnight, we all drank a celebratory beer and passed out to wake up early for the hour drive to the first place I ever lived, Silverton, Colorado.

Main Street Silverton. A road to paradise.

We arrived early for some coffee and eggs then drove to the shady and cold base area of Silverton. After doing the mandatory check in and buying our tickets we busted up the double chair to go ski some glades on Dolores.

Looking through the trees at the Prospects backcountry zone

My dad makes it look a lot better than it was.

The snow on Dolores was not the best and we got worried after a marginal first run. We skied down for another lap and went and skied Colorado, a run with a slightly different aspect and found great snow. We explored the rest of the day and watched the Heli, drop skiers off on peaks all around the ski area.

About as close to heli skiing my older brother and dad have ever been.

My dad catches a little air coming off a headwall

My little brother, Jon, shreds some powder with my dad watching.

Jon milks some powder at the end of our first day of skiing.

After finding where the best snow was on Saturday, we stuck around Sunday to lap the best snow I’ve skied all season. We headed straight up to Rope-Dee and dropped a tight and steep slot to ski some hero snow.

My little brother slashes over some exposure above Rope-Dee

My older brother, Zack sends a cornice at Silverton Mountain Resort.

Jon gets nice and deep on the Rope-Dee run

Zack teaches the powder a lesson in slayage 101

Zack ripping up some soft snow

Zack jumps over some trees off a windlip

One last hike for the day. Another awesome trip and as always had too much fun skiing.

Finally huge thanks to my Grandma Kay for sponsoring us on this trip. Thank you grandma!

My dad called it a day early while the brothers and I took a couple more laps. I borrowed my little brother’s POV cam that we poorly mounted onto my helmet for the last run of the trip. Below is an edit of the run, it’s pretty silly.

Colorado Bound!


Well not really, as I am in a haunted hotel room in the “hungry, unkept, white trash, kickass! Mountain Town!” of Silverton, Colorado (thanks Southpark), prepping for day two of some ultimate powder slayage at Silverton Mountain Resort. But more about that later. I booked it out of the avalanche prone snowpack of Montucky and headed for Jackson, WY for a day on Teton Pass with two good friends and skiers.

The top of Jackson Hole Ski Area peeks out of a sucker hole

Hiking up the bootpack to Glory Bowl, on Teton Pass.

Zack McHugh telemarking down Teton Pass

Pat Owen dodging rocks on a very shallow Teton Pass

After skiing Teton Pass I busted down to Salt Lake City to do some skiing with my friend Max at Alta.

The only picture I got at Alta

After skiing lots of laps on Alta, I headed back to my hometown of Glenwood Springs, Colorado to ski the Elk Mountains.

The Western Elk Mountains

My little bro, Jon, catching a little air on Williams Peak

The Alley's, very sick skiing if you can find them...

Interesting snowpack up on Marble Mountain. A very thick consolidated wind slab that was extremely difficult get to break, but it was on some nasty deep facets, so when it did pop it had a lot of energy. We decided to be pretty careful.

However, we did have the required beverage for extended column tests.

Reilly Anderson scoping the Elk Range in Colorado

Reilly Anderson demonstrating the proper way to rip powder.

Powder day at Ajax, Nick Devore spins near Walsh's

Panaroma from the top of Ajax, not a shabby place by any means.

It’s Coming…


I can’t wait!!!!
My new Garmont Radiums came in the mail last night!
Last season’s highlights…

Sending it early season style Photo: Evan Johnson

Sending it early season style Photo: Evan Johnson

Early season deepness Photo: Evan Johnson

Early season deepness Photo: Evan Johnson

Early Season N. Bridgers  Photo: Evan Johnson

Early Season N. Bridgers Photo: Evan Johnson

No Name Bowl

No Name Bowl

The Crazy Mountains

The Crazy Mountains

North Bridger Mountains

North Bridger Mountains

Evan getting some North Bridger action

Evan getting some North Bridger action

Alpenglow on the Crazies

Alpenglow on the Crazies

Absaroka Mountains

Absaroka Mountains

Alpenglow on the Absaroka Mountains

Alpenglow on the Absaroka Mountains

Teton Pass

Teton Pass

Approaching the top of Edelweiss Bowl

Approaching the top of Edelweiss Bowl

Pat Owen gets some Teton Pass blower

Pat Owen gets some Teton Pass blower

Sketchy early season avi conditions...

Sketchy early season avi conditions...

The little bro is getting deep in Aspen

The little bro is getting deep in Aspen

Aspen pow day. Skier Jon Jay

Aspen pow day. Skier Jon Jay

Inverted in CO.  Skier: Jon Jay

Inverted in CO. Skier: Jon Jay

Nighttime at Big Sky

Nighttime at Big Sky

Reilly Anderson, Beehive Basin

Reilly Anderson, Beehive Basin

Simon Peterson ripping Beehive

Simon Peterson ripping Beehive

Steve Gilson getting some

Steve Gilson getting some

Beehive Basin

Beehive Basin

The crew

The crew

Reilly Anderson ripping

Reilly Anderson ripping

Charlie Noone getting deep at Snowbird

Charlie Noone getting deep at Snowbird

Eric Newman, Snowbird

Eric Newman, Snowbird

Snowbird Sunset

Snowbird Sunset

Dylan Brown, Snowbird

Dylan Brown, Snowbird

Kirkwood California from Carson Pass

Kirkwood California from Carson Pass

Mark Welgos on Carson Pass

Mark Welgos on Carson Pass

Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe

Sonja Lercher on Carson Pass

Sonja Lercher on Carson Pass

Sonja Lercher skiing Carson Pass, California

Sonja Lercher skiing Carson Pass, California

Nick Devore scouts his finals run at the North American Freeskiing Championships in Kirkwood

Nick Devore scouts his finals run at the North American Freeskiing Championships in Kirkwood

Mike Reveal at Bridger Bowl

Mike Reveal at Bridger Bowl

Reveal shredding

Reveal shredding

Steve Geiger skiing Saddle Peak

Steve Geiger skiing Saddle Peak

Steve Geiger powder skiing on Saddle Peak

Steve Geiger powder skiing on Saddle Peak

I have to include downtown Bozeman exploding on a powder day

I have to include downtown Bozeman exploding on a powder day

Explosion aftermath

Explosion aftermath

Steve Gilson convinced that the explosion seeded the clouds

Steve Gilson convinced that the explosion seeded the clouds

Ben Kinsella wheelies through "Sometimes" at Bridger

Ben Kinsella wheelies through 'Sometimes' at Bridger

Sequence of Eric Newmans front off of Papa Bear... ballsy

Sequence of Eric Newmans front off of Papa Bear... ballsy


IMG_3134
IMG_3135

Late season epic up Black Mountain

Late season epic up Black Mountain

Pine Creek Lake Basin, Absaroka Mountains, Montana

Pine Creek Lake Basin, Absaroka Mountains, Montana

Climbing Black Mountain

Climbing Black Mountain

Ryan Walters slashin' and dashin'

Ryan Walters slashin' and dashin'

Scoping our tracks

Scoping our tracks

Another late season challenge, The Hanging Garden

Another late season challenge, The Hanging Garden

Climbing Beehive Peak in the Spanish Peaks, Montana

Climbing Beehive Peak in the Spanish Peaks, Montana

About to drop into the Hanging Garden

About to drop into the Hanging Garden

Steve Gilson dropping into the Hanging Garden

Steve Gilson dropping into the Hanging Garden

Steve G. shredding

Steve G. shredding

Rob Woodlich climbs Gallatin Peak

Rob Woodlich climbs Gallatin Peak

Ready to ski Gallatin Peak

Ready to ski Gallatin Peak

Rob rips Gallatin Peak

Rob rips Gallatin Peak

The Hanging Garden


In my last post I had a picture of a line called the Hanging Garden on the backside of Beehive Peak. This last weekend Steve Gilson and I went and made an attempt for the line.

The Hanging Garden seen from Gallatin Peak

The Hanging Garden seen from Gallatin Peak

The line is north facing so we did not need too early of a start. We left the trailhead around 9:30 and made good time up Beehive Basin.

The sheer south face of Beehive Peak, the Hanging Garden is off the backside

The sheer south face of Beehive Peak, the Hanging Garden is off the backside

Arriving at the bottom of the Southwest Couloir around eleven, we cached lunch and crampons and rested up for the climb up the West Ridge of the peak. While resting we watched several wetslides release off Southeast facing slopes as the day warmed. We climbed quickly keeping a close eye on the snow conditions and watching out for wetslides.

Steve Gilson climbs the Southwest Coulior.

Steve Gilson climbs the Southwest Coulior.

I had climbed Beehive Peak in the summer a while back and I thought I remembered the West Ridge of the peak not being terribly technical but when we topped out of the couloir there were two possible routes to get to the top of the Hanging Garden. One was a tight slot that was sort of technical up top, the other was a larger chute but with lots of exposure and windloading. We opted for the tighter and more technical slot that was out of avie and exposure danger.

Steve Gilson gets technical on the West Ridge of Beehive Peak

Steve Gilson gets technical on the West Ridge of Beehive Peak

This decision ended up putting us above some large cliffs on very thin, unsupportive snow. We traversed a ways out on the face where we had to make a decision whether to turn around, attempt to keep traversing a very steep face with only a couple inches of snow on loose rock, or down climb to an exposed ledge, put our skis on and traverse into the large chute we were nervous with at the bottom. Making matters worse was a fog was beginning to drift in and we could see a weather change was coming. We decided that down climbing and skiing across the thin snow was the best option. I down climbed first and carefully put my skis on (I was on a thin rock ledge above a 50 foot cliff to run out rocks to a 2000 foot vertical tumble down a tight rocky chute… I was a little nervous) and traversed across a breakable crust to a less steep spot. After watching me, Steve decided he could down climb and traverse without putting his skis on. We climbed the 100 feet or so to the top of the face where we could see the bottom half of the line. But we were still unsure we were in the right spot on the mountain.

Gallatin Peak from the top of the Hanging Garden

Gallatin Peak from the top of the Hanging Garden

We scouted around the top of the ridge and even tried calling my friend Patrick, who had skied the line before, to see if we were in fact above the line. I knew there were only two possible entrances into The Garden, a lower one which is the skiable entrance, and an upper entrance which ends in a large cliff. I was about 85% sure we were in the right spot, so I skied down the entrance a ways to see if the line went all the way through. It did. Steve skied down to the safe spot next to me and we got ready for the line. There was one more blind rollover to worry about, but I was now about 95% sure we were on the right line, so I dropped first.

Getting ready to drop into The Hanging Garden

Getting ready to drop into The Hanging Garden

The first turn was extremely exposed, it was a 10-20 foot wide hanging snowfield that went over a sheer 500 foot cliff, the line then went into the main chute where exposure was much less severe but still present. The snow was amazing, my first two turns were over the head pow, it was hard to enjoy though because I still wasn’t sure the line went all the way through and I was extremely wary of my slough carrying me over the edge. After, getting past the first exposed section the gut of the line was really fun, powder skiing, at the bottom of the line, it opens up again over smaller but still dangerous cliffs. Skiing carefully and taking my time I made it out the bottom of the line extremely stoked. I pulled out my camera and watched Steve drop in.

Steve Gilson drops into the upper section of the Hanging Garden

Steve Gilson drops into the upper section of the Hanging Garden

Steve Gilson in the gut of the Hanging Garden.

Steve Gilson in the gut of the Hanging Garden.

Steve skied the line carefully as well, but in the lower section above some large cliffs he fell. He felt his slough starting to push him towards the cliff so he quickly recovered and straightlined out. When he finally got to the bottom he realized he had skied the entire line with his boots in walk mode. Glad we had made it out we began the climb back into Beehive Basin.

Looking back at our line

Looking back at our line

As we skinned up a fairly steep wide open face I looked up and saw a wetslide coming down the same face we were skinning. Because we were switchbacking I was in a safe spot but I yelled down to Steve who was almost directly below where the slide was coming from. Since it was a wetslide it was moving fairly slowly and Steve easily avoided it. We topped out and dropped back into Beehive Basin and made the slog back to the car.

Steve getting to the top of the East Ridge of Beehive after almost getting taken out by a small avalanche

Steve getting to the top of the East Ridge of Beehive after almost getting taken out by a small avalanche

Me with the summit of Beehive Peak in the background.

Me with the summit of Beehive Peak in the background.