Let My People Go . . . Skiing.
What goes around, comes around. We had it pretty good with the snow here in the Sierra for the month of January. We were feeling our oats and, well, I guess I did a little bragging about it. I sent teasing pictures and links to blog posts to despondent friends who were bemoaning their lack of snow.
Some of those friends work out of our Europe office. They were bummed about their snow situation, so I thought maybe they would, you know, find encouragement from seeing their misfortune wasn't universally shared.
The Sierra snow conditions haven't been so hot for the past couple of weeks. Which means the timing's perfect for this update from Joern Zeller, Patagonia Europe Sales Rep, marketing maven, rogue Alps tele-skier, and a guy who knows one good turn deserves another
. . .
[Telemark skiers in the Alps are a rare breed. Here's two of them, with Les Aravis mountain range in the background. Photo: Yannick Clevy]
The period before a trade show (ISPO) is not exactly a time, when you want to lose even more sleep than you already do. That’s why we haven’t been too exited when Yannick from our IT-department came over and proposed to go on a ‘before-work-backcountry-ski-trip’.
A few minutes, some ‘let-my-people-go-surfing-talk’ and a look on the weather forecast later, however, Yannick had managed to convince our newly arrived intern Guillaume, Evelyn (Direct Sales mgr.) and myself, to join him on a dawn patrol search for untracked powder.
Crystal blue skies, a few inches of fresh snow and a full moon that would light our way up the mountain were announced. People that don’t know Yannick need to know that he has a ton of energy in himself: When others take five days to hike around Mt Blanc, Yannick is doing it in not so much more than one. And while others put crampons on and rope-up in order to decent the north face of Aiguille du Midi, a steep slope that ends above a 600 feet cliff, Yannick - to the horror of everybody around – puts on his skis and just shoots down with a big smile on his face. So it came as a not such a big surprise that he proposed to climb La Tournette, a 7500 feet summit, offering a magnificent view on Lake d’Annnecy, Mt Blanc and the whole mountain range around. Rather a half-day long adventure than a before-work-trip, but as I said, Yannick has a lot of energy.
When we started hiking, the full moon turned the whole landscape into a magical light, and already at this point none of us regretted to have crawled out of bed in the middle of the night.
Sometimes, the moon made us feel like standing under a spotlight and our headlights almost gave no extra light. As we were slowly gaining height, the sky behind the mountain ridge of ‘les Aravis’ started to change its colour. First there was only a light line of light along the ridge, then the sky turned purple, then pink…Mt Blanc could be seen more and more clearly.
Eventually we reached the tree line, and to our delight we found a layer of fresh, soft, spotless pow. Slightly behind our initial and ambitious schedule, just when, on a regular day, we would be supposed to get into the office, we reached the windblown summit that offered us a breathtaking few that not only blow away our first timer Guillaume!
Not much to say about the downhill: We were flying down in the sunshine over the deliciously light snow, until we reached the tree line, where the snow turned into solid concrete.
Exhausted, but happy and stoked, we came back into the office where we spent the the rest of the day smiling at our computer screens!
[Top Left: nearing the summit of La Tournette in the breaking day. Above right: Evelyn Lampert, Direct Sales manager strikes a fitting pose at the summit. Above Left: Joern, realizing work awaits somewhere down there in the fog. Photos: Yannick Clevy Right: Guillaume looking as free as his heel. Photo: Evelyn Lampert]