Spring!…Bike to Ski, White Mtns, Gaspe, Iceland

Spring is finally giving Old Man Winter a break, while giving us the chance to enjoy some longer and warmer days close to home, in Quebec´s Gaspe, and now, way up here in northern Iceland…where we now sit under the light of midnight to bring you this update. In early April, we and our good friend and mountain partner Brennan Severance snuck away on a last minute assignment and an unforgettable ski traverse of the western Monts Chic Chocs on Quebec´s Gaspe Peninsula… Our fifth trip to the region, we spent over a week ski touring from a remote location in the Matane Wildlife Reserve into the heart of legendary Parc Nacional de la Gaspesie. We spotted over a dozen caribou, experienced an incredible variety of weather and snow conditions, and we discovered some of the most enjoyable tree skiing of our lives. The first image below is just a quick sneak peek of our time on the Gaspe.

Both before and after our time in the Gaspe, we stayed busy wrapping up several winter season writing and photo projects, including more documentation of the northeast´s original down mountain ski trails cut by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) during the 1930s. A few days spent biking to ski in our local Green Mountains, long days spent ski mountaineering in the Dacks´and White Mountains, and even some gardening at home top the list of recent memories.

Now, up here in Iceland, we are here with a group of wonderful Vermonters that we assembled for a week of ski touring with our friend and mountain guide, Jokull Bergmann, who has been hard at work developing backcountry skiing here in northern Iceland for approx. ten years. When we first came to Iceland in 1999, backcountry skiers were about as common as avocado trees around here… Today, it appears that dozens of groups of skiers are making their way to Iceland each spring to experience this island´s truly world class skiing. Snowline is still down to sea level where we are, and to say the least, it is nice to be back. After a week with our group of Vermonters, we will spend a few days traversing a remote coastal range we´ve had our eyes on for some time, while doing some scouting for some future group skiing adventures up here.

Winter Light

Winter is an endless source of photographic inspiration and natural beauty.

Recently, while in line for first chair at Alta, on a especially deep and fluffy powder day… we were lucky enough to connect with our friend Dylan Crossman – who grew up skiing in Vermont’s Mad River Valley. We enjoyed most of the day at Alta together, and then set off ski touring with just a few hours of remaining daylight into the surrounding mountains. The sun was playing hide and seek with us all day long, but it emerged for just a few fleeting moments as we dropped in for one of our last runs of the day.

The snowy image image reinforces my belief that powder skiing and ocean wave surfing are deeply intertwined. The billowing snow behind Dylan could easily be the crest of a breaking a wave getting peeled back by an offshore breeze. What a beautiful world this is!

Ski It While You Can!

Weeks of surfing beautiful ocean waves on the coast and running/biking through the brilliant colors of fall in the mountains were capped this week by our first ski day of the season.  By sunrise on Wednesday 10/22, 2-3″ of October snow had blanketed our local mountains – just enough to make our favorite low-angle, moss-laden, rock-free ski runs skiable. We climbed and skied for about five hours…caught up with some great friends…and probably logged a casual 5000′ vertical.

It was a real treat be back on the skis again… Emily is “quite pleased”. If the big brown stripes on the woolly catepillars are any indication, we are in for another snowy winter.

Ski it while you can!

Brian and Emily