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  1. #1
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    Zinal, Arolla, Cinque Terra, Hoch Fugen/Hintertux, Munich Mar/Apr 2018

    I'm afraid that I don't have a big block of time to put together the entire TR in one sitting. So accept my apologies in advance for a broken up TR that I'll post up as I can. Also, I took a lot of pictures and had some taken by others that I quite liked so it's pretty photo heavy.

    I'd skied in Europe a fair bit in the past, taught skiing a season at Bad Kleinkirchheim, however for a 3 week trip this baby delivered on all cylinders. Not only was the snow fantastic, the company amazing and the avalanche hazard quite manageable - I got to hit 3 ski areas I'd never skied at, visited a zone in Italy I've wanted to hit for a while - and got to spend some quality time with one of my favorite dogs in the whole wide world, Tomba. Tomba is a black lab/cane corso 120lbs (photos later), of big black love.

    After getting to Munich, picking up the rental car, driving to the step daughter's place (photos later) having beer and schnitzel I cuddled up with Tomba for a restful 12 hour nap. Next morning I headed to Sion.

    I hit Sion because I randomly ran into a guy I used to speed ski with back in 89 - 92. It was at a Canada Day party about 30km west of Calgary, and when I mentioned that I had a buddy who was going to Arolla every year, Laurent said that he had a place down the valley from there and if I ever came out that way to hit him up and he'd show me some skiing. Just so happened this year I had a bit of extra time so.....

    Part 1 Sion/Zinal

    Got into Sion about 7 hours after leaving Munich. Pretty leisurely drive and kept speeds below 140km due to a slight shimmy/pull in the steering wheel occasionally. No big deal, just a wee bit irritating. Sort of like when the ball joints were going in my '67 Barracuda (damn wish I still had that car...), not enough to put you in the ditch unless of course you were out Sharples way at 3am having consumed way too much as a teenager at the dance in Carbon, heading back to my buddies farm and having to get pulled out by the neighbor and his tractor twice in a kilometre. But I digress.

    The sun was close to setting so Laurent and Lynn suggested we check out a couple of Castles a short walk from their place. Knights Templar castles to boot. A lovely little hike that got us in the proper headspace for cheese fondue, champagne and a few decades of catching up.

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    As the light faded, we hiked around to another vantage point. Typical Euro/mountain town super narrow streets with serious steepness. Has got to produce a better quality of driver, and some may argue, hiker/climber. If nothing else there was a smaller percentage of really big folks. The Swiss are a fit folk. Also most do military service very year, know how to fire weapons, and have numerous military installations in the cliffs of the mountains throughout the country. Note to self, do not invade Switzerland.

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    This fountain has been providing the goods for about 800 years. People still drink from it. You slide your bucket along the rails, filler up and pull her back. The city hall (perhaps) is behind the fountain. Been a City Hall for um, 912 years. I think.
    Last edited by garyfromterrace; 05-14-2018 at 09:49 PM.
    I tell you, we are here on Earth to fart around, and don't let anybody tell you different.
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  2. #2
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    i'll start with holy shit that's cool and go from there as i finish reading

  3. #3
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    Laurent suggested we ski Zinal. He mentioned a bunch of other places that were harder to pronounce, some I'd heard of before. He mentioned that Zinal was generally not as busy as some of the other places in the area and that he had skied very good snow a few days previous there.

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    "This is one of my local ski hills", says Laurent. "Fuck" I say.
    The bootpack we take later is visible just above and to the right of my head (blue helmeted one).

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    Ski quality right out of the gate was fabulous. Steepness also adequate for my needs.

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    Time for a little boot pack. Would have been a very short skin, however mister lazy pants (me) wanted to ski the hill set up, and I didn't haul 3 sets of skis and a snowboard in my ski bag for nothing (ok one set was for Vivian). I was astounded by the amount of terrain not getting skied. I'm sorry Euro friends, but it really does seem to me that powder stashes last longer at a good number of your hills. Don't be mad, don't be sad, just be. Kidding, be happy for christ's sake. It's OK if everybody but you is skiing groomers, really.

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    That's Laurent, skiing off into the distance, no where near where I wanted him to ski for the magazine cover shot.

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    Lynne listened a bit better. Oh well, I wasn't on assignment for Outside Magazine, or Backcountry, or Powder. Like ever. What's wrong with me, is it me. No, no it's not, it's them. Fuck you big outdoor adventure magazine publishing suits, I'll keep freelancing then.

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    We played around in this steeper zone for a bit. Four days after a dump and there's still many a stash to be found.

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    My guides/hosts Laurent and Lynne went to the bell showing me all of their stashes and plotting future trips. Laurent has a buddy who guides La Grave and it's on his hit list. I'm in.

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    How could I not post a photo of the Matterhorn (see my pointy finger).

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    Fun fact. The round rocks on the foundation (looking like table tops) were actually to keep rats from getting into your house or barn. Apparently they have a hard time with the 5.14C moves.

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    And so I leave Sion, and the amazing Zinal heading up valley to Arolla. That's where we'll pick it up next time, with the "Gary is too fucking lazy to post his big TR in one installment" show. See you soon.
    Last edited by garyfromterrace; 05-14-2018 at 09:58 PM.
    I tell you, we are here on Earth to fart around, and don't let anybody tell you different.
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  4. #4
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    Nice, can't wait for the rest

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  5. #5
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    More, please.

  6. #6
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    Wooot!!
    #1 goal this year......stay alive +
    DOWN SKIS

  7. #7
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    w000tarae, w000tittus. Herens and Annivers have been on my radar too long.
    Merde De Glace On the Freak When Ski
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  8. #8
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    I'm in

  9. #9
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    Arolla Day One

    So a quick 1 hour drive got me from Sion to Arolla. Stayed at the same apartment (Les Marmottes B) as last year, though this year it was truly ski in/ski out. From door to lift about a 3 minute ski, quite civil really. After a great day of re-acquainting with a number of the folks I met here last year, hitting up my favorite little hut for wine and raclette and all in all having a blast in a zone I really love it was time to go backcountry.

    One of the many phenomenal things about Arolla is that in the Spring you can decide to go on a tour at 3pm. The buddies get "go play" passes from their wives, they pawn off the kids, and after taking a couple of platter lifts, and hiking for an hour or 2, you're at the top of something. A half hour later you're drinking wine and sauteing onions. Perfect scenario really, and so it was that Andreas, Til and I slayed our first couloir of the trip.

    We got on last lift at about 3:45 and headed up, deciding to ski a coolie that Andreas had been looking at for a number of years. I fell in love with it the previous year, however a much skinnier snow pack then made it an unobtainable objective.

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    Suitably steep, and Andreas decides to test his skinning (and alpine yoga/mountaineering skills).

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    The crux move as I try to haul up a lifetime of pizza, burgers and red wine to the top...

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    Andreas is astounded. "He has done it" he exclaims in a german accent devoid of much german.

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    A little more hiking to get to the desirable entrance point.

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    Til drops in. Snow conditions were very good indeed up here. We were chasing the sun around most of the day to find some solar heating but we thought skiing this northish face would provide good snow. Right we were... at least here.

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    Andreas dropping in.

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    Til now in the coulior proper. And, it was properly heinous skiing. Fun, hell yeah! Type 2... um yep. Jump turned the whole damn thing because it was re-frozen hard mank.

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    Me hacking my way down.

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    Our way up was in black. Down in orange. Andreas has skied here every year for the past 7 years and has looked at it every time up the top platter. Nice to have bagged one with my buddy (and my new buddy Til).
    I tell you, we are here on Earth to fart around, and don't let anybody tell you different.
    ― Kurt Vonnegut, A Man Without a Country

    www.mymountaincoop.ca

    This is OUR mountain - come join us!

  10. #10
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    A quality offering as always Gary. You are awesome!


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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Angle Parking View Post
    A quality offering as always Gary. You are awesome!


    Sent from my iPhone using TGR Forums
    Shut up! No - you are!! haha.

    Thanks man, keep on slaying it up north. See you soon.
    I tell you, we are here on Earth to fart around, and don't let anybody tell you different.
    ― Kurt Vonnegut, A Man Without a Country

    www.mymountaincoop.ca

    This is OUR mountain - come join us!

  12. #12
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    moar...moar
    Merde De Glace On the Freak When Ski
    >>>200 cm Black Bamboo Sidewalled DPS Lotus 120 : Best Skis Ever <<<

  13. #13
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    GfromT, that looks amazing...way to get after it!

  14. #14
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    So today is more of a "sorry honey I have to go ski with my mates and can you watch the kids, I really really love you" day for my buddies. My spawn and step spawn are quite a bit past the stage of child minding, so I'm like "whatever bros, ja dast ist gud". Off we go, a couloir hunting again. Beauty day, eh.

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    Scenic. Well, it is Switzerland...

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    Holly poses for the contrail shot. Great guy and snowboarder. Me and him and Benny had an amazing afternoon boarding together later in the trip. I was really amazing on the board. Somehow I never got all the shots they took of me, I must have been that good. Since the space invaders at BBI18 my boarding has gotten much better, however you won't get to see that because those fuckers never gave me the photos. Fuck you Holly. Prick.

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    Seb has skied here all his life. It's pretty great skiing with him when you haven't skied like a millionth of what this place has to offer. Good dude, Seb. Doesn't take photos so hard to be mad at him for not giving you his outstanding photos of yourself. Solid Seb, solid.

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    The end is near

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    I am ganstah, yo. Why? Because you were not here with me, beotch

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    Timo and Andreas at the top (Holly peeking in, fucker). Both quality skiers, and ripper boarders. Timo likes 90/10's. I also very much like 90/10's. I've known Andreas for over 25 years, however Timo is my best friend sometimes. When you get to the top of this pitch, which is about a 1.5 hour skin, you then get a 5500 or 6000 ft run to a different village. On the way down you ski 2 couloirs, a couple of big faces, some trees, through a summer village of like 600 year old houses (I could be making this up, but also perhaps not) and end up in a lovely little village cafe bar. Why in the living hell would you not want to come and ski here.

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    Andreas doing what Euros do.

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    So at the top of the first pitch I see Seb go and he hugs skiers left and basically sideslips, sometimes right over the rappel rope that's there. I'm like, WTF?? Andreas goes next, takes the same line, sideslips, and at the bottom of the pitch (in a moderately high wind) yells up something that I hear as "awesome bro, giver". I think it's kind of weird cause he never says that. Anyway I figure their line is stupid, there's perfectly good snow on skiers right, it's untracked and damn it - I only side slip if I'm afraid of turning...

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    2nd turn is just fine. Yee haw!!

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    Oh shit.

    2cms of snow over rocks.... double ejection, self arrest... veerrrrry lucky no injury. very lucky ski does not sail off the opposite side down 1500' never to be seen again... very lucky. Ho well.

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    The first pitch

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    Andreas

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    Max & Holly

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    Holly

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    Timo

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    A 500 year old house. Arolla is located down the valley you are looking up, perhaps a 10 km drive.

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    The boys are startled. A guided group is sighted across valley. We make haste to exit before them to win the race and claim the prize.

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    You ski down the shoulder, through the trees, right to the bar.

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    But, the cafe bar is closed. Does it matter? No, Timo carries bottled beer and packs 90/10's. A good man that Timo.

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    A blockage of traffic on the way home. Someone is loading a broken loader onto a lowbed. Andreas suggests this could be Dede. "No shit" I say, "the man, DEDE"??!! Because I KNOW that Arolla is Dede's home, and I know that Dede runs snow plow here...

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    We look closely out the window.... is it indeed Dede??

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    INDEEDEE DO! It is Dede. I shake THE MAN's hand. And I'm honored to be in the presence of greatness. And he's pleasant and speaks decent English and he's interested in where I come from. And I just about shit.

    So who is Dede? Well, if you've seen this movie you may remember Dede. If you haven't:

    https://www.redbull.tv/film/AP-1PMT7S62N1W11/la-liste

    Do yourself a very big favour. Watch this. If you don't, know that this guy had the first decent of the Matterhorn North Face. Along with a shit tonne of others including: North face of Cevrin and the North face of Pigne d'Arolla. He's a true blue living legend, and I'm going to ski with him next year.

    https://www.freeride-experience.com/hors-pistes/

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    Oh, he's even got his own comic strip.

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    You can see it here. At the base of Arolla. In the Yurt.

    Very fine cheap wine, an excellent hot dog. And, it's new this year.

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    What's better than a little apres ski with a few friends... A big ass schnapps pounding guzzle fest with old friends and new. And so ended Day 2.
    Last edited by garyfromterrace; 05-27-2018 at 12:26 AM.
    I tell you, we are here on Earth to fart around, and don't let anybody tell you different.
    ― Kurt Vonnegut, A Man Without a Country

    www.mymountaincoop.ca

    This is OUR mountain - come join us!

  15. #15
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    Sweet!! Nicely done Gary. Stellar!

  16. #16
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    Thanks buddy. Come on over with me one of these times buddy. It's an absolute fucking blast.
    I tell you, we are here on Earth to fart around, and don't let anybody tell you different.
    ― Kurt Vonnegut, A Man Without a Country

    www.mymountaincoop.ca

    This is OUR mountain - come join us!

  17. #17
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    Fuck, I wish. Seems a bit ambitious for my humble little trips though. Stunning architecture and mountains

  18. #18
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    Awesome trip Gary! Not sure how I missed earlier.

    Quote Originally Posted by garyfromterrace View Post

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    Scenic. Well, it is Switzerland...
    Gorgeous

    Quote Originally Posted by garyfromterrace View Post

    "This is one of my local ski hills", says Laurent. "Fuck" I say.

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    I read that in exactly your Canadian accent when I got to it.

    And is that Gary airing something??

  19. #19
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    Stunner photos, stellar script. Well wrought d00d. moar moaaaar.
    Merde De Glace On the Freak When Ski
    >>>200 cm Black Bamboo Sidewalled DPS Lotus 120 : Best Skis Ever <<<

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by abraham View Post
    Awesome trip Gary! Not sure how I missed earlier.



    Gorgeous



    I read that in exactly your Canadian accent when I got to it.

    And is that Gary airing something??
    i was going to highlight that first pic, too. super happy for you, g, and honored i got to ride with you. on a board even!

  21. #21
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    Epic Gary. Epic

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by abraham View Post
    Awesome trip Gary! Not sure how I missed earlier.



    Gorgeous



    I read that in exactly your Canadian accent when I got to it.

    And is that Gary airing something??
    Thanks mate. So yeah I actually did air this, landed it and was very pleased with myself. Sadly Lynne didn't know that with my phone you just keep hitting the shutter button to take multiple shots. Oh well, it sort of put me in an airy mood for the trip and... later... there's a pretty decent one that Vivian took. Guess you'll have to keep checking in Abe, old friend :

    Quote Originally Posted by Buster Highmen View Post
    Stunner photos, stellar script. Well wrought d00d. moar moaaaar.
    Well thank you Buster! High praise from the master of the TGR treatise.


    Quote Originally Posted by wyeaster View Post
    i was going to highlight that first pic, too. super happy for you, g, and honored i got to ride with you. on a board even!
    Hey man great to ride with you! That day started a cascading series of events that ended with me having one of the best seasons on the board in years.
    Thanks!

    Quote Originally Posted by LeeLau View Post
    Epic Gary. Epic
    Well thank you Lee. Looked like your season was slightly better than mediocre
    I tell you, we are here on Earth to fart around, and don't let anybody tell you different.
    ― Kurt Vonnegut, A Man Without a Country

    www.mymountaincoop.ca

    This is OUR mountain - come join us!

  23. #23
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    861
    Stelllar. We got an Arolla map randomly years ago from a friend, and ever since I've wanted to go there. Now I see why.

  24. #24
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    heart in terrace, ass in cowtown
    Posts
    2,772
    Arolla Day 3

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    Andreas used to race one of these thingies, so he's got the euro-carve figured out.

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    I, on the other hand never raced gates on a plank, nor have ever really rode proper hard boots (only touring boots in walk mode). So this is my canuck-o-carve.

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    The building (upper middle right) plays a role later on in the day...

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    Til doing some spinnie shit. And landing it of course. I had a blast riding a bunch of little tree shots on the board with Til. My board didn't get off the ground much...

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    Found some lovely little pockets.

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    The weather deteriorated quick and vis up high was gone so Andreas suggests we go ski a coulior. I'm in, nothing like rocks on either side of you for definition. Off into the clag we go. Shall I also mention that we leave at about 3:45pm. I love this place.

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    The happy wanderers get to the top of something. The something was a beautiful chute that none of the group had skied before, but that they'd been looking at for a while and skied in the area of it quite a bit so they were confident in finding the entrance.

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    Timo drops in.

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    Til drops in.

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    Til gets the secondary shot too just because. The skiing was very very good.

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    Bye Til.

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    Hi Andreas

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    Bye Andreas

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    I leapfrog down and pull the camera man card to get a lovely line down the bottom third. Then hole up at the bottom in a safeish spot in time to catch Timo on the bottom pitch.

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    Yeah Timo, come to daddy you little 90/10er.

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    The yurt mentioned previously makes a very good hot dog!

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    The wonderful run is straight up from the right edge of the hot dog wiener.

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    And so ended Day 3 at Arolla. Absolutely stoked to have been with all of the lads on their first time down this little fella. When I chatted the lift maint guy up on the last afternoon of the trip and mentioned that this was one of our coolers he was pretty amped for us.
    I tell you, we are here on Earth to fart around, and don't let anybody tell you different.
    ― Kurt Vonnegut, A Man Without a Country

    www.mymountaincoop.ca

    This is OUR mountain - come join us!

  25. #25
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Location
    Before
    Posts
    18,502
    Arolla storm day looks good. Moar...moar.
    Merde De Glace On the Freak When Ski
    >>>200 cm Black Bamboo Sidewalled DPS Lotus 120 : Best Skis Ever <<<

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