Wednesday, October 1, 2014

2 professional extreme skiers and 1 snowboarder killed in avalanche

It's very hard to believe! sadness, sorrow...What a loss for freeride society! 

Yesterday, 2  backcountry and extreme pro skiers:  Jean-Phillipe Auclair (JP Auclair) from Canada and Andreas Fransson from Sweden were killed by avalanche while climbing on the north side of Monte San Lorenzo in Chile, located on the border between Argentina and Chile in Patagonia.
They were climbing with photographers Bjarne Salen and Daniel Ronnbak, both from Sweden, who fortunately are unharmed. The group of four had arrived in Chile's Aysen region on Thursday to film a new project called Apogee Skiing.
An emergency call via satellite phone was placed on Monday afternoon notifying authorities of the avalanche and the missing skiers. JP and Andreas were swept away 700 meteres by an avalanche. 
The region the group was climbing in is very remote and mountainous. It is located 18 hours from the nearest city, and a two hour flight just to the base of the trail. A rescue operation takes up to 13 hours to reach the area of the avalanche.
Both skiers were experienced in extreme skiiing.

Yestarday was a fatal day not only for both skiers. We obtained inormation from Argentina about death of American professional climber, AMGA-certified mountain guide, snowboarder and splitboarder - Liz Daley. Daley, 29, was part of a group descending Cerro Vespignani, a 7,000-foot peak near the iconic Mount Fitzroy. She was killed in avalanche near the Argentine town of Chalten. The rest of the trip, included skier Drew Tabke, snowboarder Chris Coulter, skier and guide Kent McBride, photographer Chris Figenshau and filmer Nick Kalisz are safe.

RIP - Ride in Peace somewhere in Heaven my friends. We will miss you and your positive energy!

Friday, September 26, 2014

Ski descent of Manaslu - first video

The first video with Andrzej Bargiel's ski descent of Manaslu was realised today. 
Hardpack, ice, wind, cold and luck of oxygen aren't the perfect conditions for skiing. It has nothing in common with pow, pleasure and fun. 
Respect Andrzej!

Pierwszy film ze zjazdu Andrzeja Bargiela z Manaslu. Twardy, zmrożony śnieg, lód, wiatr, zimno i brak tlenu nie są wymarzonymi warunkami na narty. Nie ma to nic wspólnego z puchem, przyjemnością i zabawą.

Tym bardziej szacun Andrzej!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Andrzej Bargiel safe at the base camp

After reaching the top of Manaslu in record time: 14 h and 5 minutes, Andrzej Bargiel is safe at the base camp at 4800 m ASL after ski descent. 
Now he's getting some rest and gathering his strength before another aim - Cho Oyu.

Andrzej Bargiel zjechał na nartach z Manaslu i jest już bezpieczny w bazie na wysokości 4800 m n.p.m., po tym jak wszedł na szczyt w rekordowym czasie: 14 godzin i 5 min 
Teraz odpoczywa i zbiera siły na następny cel - Cho Oyu.

Once more congratulations Andrzej!

Andrzej Bargiel on Manaslu

Today at 8:25 Polish time Andrzej reached the summit of Manaslu, thus breaking the record for climbing the mountain! It took him 14 hours and 5 minutes to get to the top! 

Dzisiaj o godzinie 8:25 polskiego czasu Andrzej stanął na szczycie Manaslu, bijąc tym samym rekord w wyjściu na szczyt! Dotarcie na wierzchołek zajęło mu 14 godzin i 5 minut!

Have a good and safe ski descent! 


photo: Marcin Kin

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The Attack Time - Manaslu & Cho Oyu Ski Challenge

Polish ski expedition has just started an attack to the summit Manaslu. Below the video, released few minutes before start.
The latest news: Andrzej Bargiel achieved the camp 3 after 4 hours and 30 min of climbing from the base camp. 
Now he is just 2 hours to the summit. Good luck guys! Take care!

"The aim of expedition is to beat the record time for the ascent of the two peaks and ski down from the top of them both. What’s important, the descents have to be complete. This means I must ski from the peak to the feet of both mountains without taking off the skis. In case of the more difficult one, Manaslu, this would be the first descent on skis in the history".

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Disabled or able?

Due to my proffesion (I'm physiotherapist), I'm especially interested in sport achievements of disabled. But since I remember I've been fed up with using the world "disabled" while thinking about sportsmen. How can we call someone "disabled", who despite different disfunctions, is able to live, to do and to achieve even more than ordinary healthy man? 
10 years ago I wrote my master’s thesis about role of skiing in physiotherapy, proffesional sport and recreation of disabled. Gathering the dates and materials, I didn't come across anything about backcountry skiing on one ski. I saw skiers on one leg on the slopes and disabled riders skiing off - piste on a monoski, but not on one ski. 
Nowadays everything changes. Increasing popularity of backcountry skiing, better equipment, detailed weather forecast make it possible for everyone to try it. 
An athlete Vasu Sojitra who lost his right leg to a blood infection at 9 months old, proves there is no place for human weaknesses in his life.
Vasu is a person who inspires others to push personal limits, to believe in themselves and in their own unique abilities!
During the 2013/14 winter, Tyler Wilkinson-Ray, from T-Bar Films, and Vasu Sojitra were filming and producing an adaptive backcountry film "Out on a limb". They have just released a trailer. Vasu is hiking to the summit peaks, dropping cliffs, skiing deep powder lines in the Vermont and the Chic Choc mountains of Northern Quebec like a healthy, skilled rider. 
The full short film (7 minute run-time) will be released in November after film festival premiers. It will be available for free thanks to Columbia Sportswear, with additional support from Gear-X, Alchemist, and the project's Kickstarter Backers.

More about Vasu Sojitra we can follow on his page:
And now, it's high time to watch a trailer: 

Better quality trailer at:

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

New AvaTech Device for Instant Snowpack Analysis

Despite availability modern devices on the market to protect us i.e. skiers, snowboarders, mountaineers from avalanches, we can't be sure about our safety. 
There are 3 pieces of gear absolutely necessary while skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing off - piste (away from prepared ski runs):
- avalanche transceiver or avalanche beacon used to locate people buried in avalanches. It emits a pulsed radio signal. If one gets buried in an avalanche, other transceivers pick up the signal being emitted from under the snow. The receiving transceivers interpret the signal into a visual and audible display that assists the search.
- probe - collapsible aluminum pole made specifically for probing by itself or during the pinpoint search with an avalanche transceiver. 
- shovel - essential for digging out victims and testing snow.

These items don't ensure 100 % safety. What more can we do to improve our situation in the backcountry? 
We can use an avalanche airbag backpack - designed to prevent being buried in an avalanche. In an avalanche, larger objects rise to the surface, while smaller objects sink to the bottom. An airbag incorporated into backpack helps to rise to the surface. Avalanche airbag backpacks are expensive but worth investing. Ongoing studies on ABS packs by the Swiss Avalanche Institute have found that wearing an airbag can significantly improve your chances of survival. Since 1991, of 262 people who have deployed an airbag in an avalanche, 97 per cent have survived. 

But there is still a question if we can do more to increase our safety in the backcountry? 

"AvaTech seems to have an answer. It's a builder of proactive systems that instantly analyze the snowpack and facilitate real-time sharing of this information in order for individuals and groups to make better decisions in the backcountry.
New AvaTech’s SP1 device reads snowpack structure, slope angle, and aspect in seconds and then geo-tags the data, and uploads it real-time onto the AvaNet platform. AvaNet will dramatically increase the amount of data snow professionals can share and analyze, providing a unique geo-spatial database of crowd-sourced snowpack observations. Snow professionals will be able to gather more information and make better decisions with consistent data powered by this proprietary technology developed while at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Finally, professionals will also be able to rapidly upload their own manual snowpack observations with AvaTech’s Snowpit Editor" (

Thanks to SP 1 device we don't need to dig a hole to check a snow profile. We can take as many proble profiles as we need because it is much easier and faster than in traditional way. 

The SP1 has rugged construction with a collapsible 150 centimeter probe that folds easily into backpack and weighs approximately one pound. Additionally, the SP1 can be wirelessly synced with a smartphone and AvaTech’s AvaNet™ cloud platform. 

Monday, September 15, 2014

Snow goggles at What do you think?

What's new today in the backcoutry world?
Yesterday I read interesting article on the website  about project of new snow googles, advertised at as World's First 'Fog-Free' Goggles. Abominable Labs is going to introduce first snow goggle with active anti-fog technology.
For me it sounds rather like marketing hook. Since the day I've bought my ski googles from Oakley some years ago, I can't complain.
But... Let's give them a chance by reading more in the article and watching an advertising film.

Monday, September 8, 2014

The List - the new freeski movie from M-Line

First of all I'd like to write about a new freeski movie from M-Line - "The List" that is gonna be released on Tour  from October 2014. 
M-Line was founded by two austrian Freeskiers: Matthias "Hauni" Haunholder and Matthias Mayr to produce their own freeski movies. 
M-Line has some good projects to its credit: Another day in Paradise, History of Snow, Far Away and some others, you can read about on the website
What we can read about M-Line the newest movie? " THE LIST is a project planned to run for several years. The first part takes the audience to the backyard of the riders." 
The title refers to the list of things one wants to do do or achieve during his/her life. The first part of The List movie is about difficulties two austrian freeskiers had to face out during realizing they dreams and projects. 

After watching the trailer, I can't wait for the full movie. The List seems to be promising project. 

The List full movie will be on Tour from October 1st 2014 on. Here are the currently fixed dates and locations.

1.10.2014 Balingen (Germany)
2.10.2014 Weinheim (Germany)
3.10.2014 Remchingen(Germany)
6.10.2014 IF 3 Innsbruck
6.10.2014 Düsseldorf (Germany)
8.10.2014 Biberach (Germany)
8.10.2014 Horsky Film Festival Poprad (Slovakia)
9.10.2014 Straubing (Germany)
10.10.2014 Saarbrücken (Germany)
11.10.2014 Salzburg (Europark)
Nov. 2014 Torello Filmfestival (Spain)
07.11.2014 Linz
15.11.2014 Dresden Bergsichten Filmfestival
16.11.2014 Innsbruck
Torello Mountainfilmfestival
21.11.2014 Wien
21.11.2014 Ohlsdorf
22.11.2014 Krems an der Donau (Audi Max Campus Krems)
23.11.2014 Berchtesgaden (Germany)
26.11.2014 Bergfilmfestival Salzburg
23.01.2014 Hochkar
03.12.2014 Kufstein Freeride Filmfestival
20.12.2014 Fieberbrunn

backcountry skiing/snowboarding news

Starting from today I decided to change a bit a concept of my blogging. I'd like to share the best (according to me) articles and the links to them about backcountry skiing and snowboarding and make some short reviews of them.
Every week many professional articles and news come out online on the different websites. Most of us doesn't have enough time to browse and read all of them.
My idea is to avoid necessity of browsing many websites to read articles about something interesting that happened in the freeride world in the previous week.
So, if you would like to keep up to date with backcoutry skiing/snowboarding news, articles, events don't hesitate to visit my blog regularly.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Polish skier Andrzej Bargiel will attack two eighthousanders on skis

Polish ski mountaineer Andrzej Bargiel, age 26, is going to ski down from the top of two eighthousanders: 
Manaslu (between 20th and 25th of September) and Cho Oyu (between 1st and 7th of October).
His plan is to beat the time record in the ascent and descent on these two mountains;  he
is going to spend maximum 24 hours on the each one.
Last year during "Shishapangma Ski Challenge 2013", Andrzej reached the summit of the Shishapangma and then ski descent from the top. 
More about this expedition we can follow on his page: and his blog:

We wish him good luck!

Monday, April 28, 2014

Spring skiing - how to prepare our bike for a spring ski touring ride

The problem of spring ski touring is necessity to walk with a heavy backpack to reach the slope or culuoir covered with snow. 
On the other hand when everything is green all around, in the mountains we have the best conditions for skiing (exept for winter fresh pow of course). 
The snow is safe, because of stable snowpack and the low risk of avalanches. Moreover  the spring skiing is so awsome due to corn snow. It'a a wet but fast type of snow, usually found in springtime. Corn is so-named because of the large, rounded-off snow crystal structure that results from an ongoing melt-freeze cycle. Warm days melt the snowpack, allowing small cold grains to merge together, forming larger crystals. Clear, cold nights in the spring re-freeze these wet, larger crystals and they become slightly more angular (squarish, like a kernel of baby corn). The longer the melt-freeze cycle continues, the larger these grains become (
Spring days are longer, warmer and the slopes are less crowded than in winter time.
We should only remember to avoid the late day melt-down when the skiing becomes more like water floating and the frozen corn layer at the top of the snowpack during cloudy and cool or windy days after clear, cold nights because the snow is hard like a rock. 
But how to overcome the problem of a long and exhausting walk with a heavy backpack with skis, ski boots and other equipment attached to it. 
Today I came across an inspiring article about using our bike as a transport to our spring skiing goal. Sounds absurdly but it's very interesting alternative for walk. More at:
See below how to prepare our bike for a ski touring ride :)

Saturday, April 26, 2014

High Tatras activities (aktywny wypoczynek w Tatrach)

Today I'd like to encourage all of you to come to Poland for ski touring, ski mountaineering, hiking, climbing (mixed, ice and summer). We have beautiful mountains - the Tatras (Tatra Mountains), with lot of high peaks above 2 000 meters, varied culuoirs, granite rock faces, multi - pitch climbing routes. 

"The Tatra Mountains are part of the Carpathian Range and run across the Polish-Slovakian border with about one quarter of the mountains in Poland. This beautiful area is geographically diverse and offers a wide range of recreational activities in all seasons" (

When to come - the whole year :) 
- ski touring, ski mountaineering, mixed and ice climbing - from December (but it depends on the snow conditions) till the May or even June (the best conditions for skiing from the Tatras highest peak - Rysy 2499 m above sea level);
- trekking, hiking, climbing - from May, June to October.

Below the short movie of ski touring and ski mountaineering activities - made by my friends in the Tatras in April 2014. 

... and nothing more to add :)

Monday, April 7, 2014

Salatin mount (Salatyn) again

Last Saturday we were continuing to explore the Salatin Valley (Dolina Salatynska). 
This time we changed the most popular direction and instead of ascent via Central Culuoir of Salatin Mount we turned left to the small mountain pass. After a short rest we started climbing in a deep snow to the top of the short culuoir (see below on the pic). Because the weather was deteriorating hour by hour we decided not to climb higher towards the top of Small Salatin Mount (Mały Salatyn) but descend from the top of short culuoir (pic.)
The snow conditions were perfect, culuoir inclination - about 35 degree. It was short, but amazing descent. 
The possibility of skiing to the car park in Zverovka Ski Centre made us even more happier. 

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Crowded Salatin Mount (Salatyn)

2 weeks ago I spent Sunday with my friend on ski touring in Slovakia. 
At first we were going to ascend Babia Gora peak (Diablak). In the mountain hostel - Slana Voda they told us the snow conditions were good enough to do some ski tour (70 cm of snow above 900 above see level). Full of hope we came to the hostel on Saturday morning, where the mountain trail begins. 
Instead of winter conditions we saw snow... but only on the top, accessible after  2,5 hours of trekking with skis and boots on our backs.
Straight away we decided to travel to Zverovka in the West Tatras, only 54 km away from us. Our favourite place didn't let us down. The perfect snow and weather conditions were worth driving 2 hours more (in both sides) despite the fact the Salatin (the most accesible peak for ski alpinists in this part of the Slovakian Tatras) was crowded like never seen before. 

Salatin is 2048 m high, in West Tatras, close to Slovak/Polish boarder; locality - Zuberec (Zverovka), Salatin Valley.

Start: Rohacska Dolina, Ski Zverovka - 1030 m n.p.m.
Descent start: Salatin - 2047 m n.p.m.
Descent lenght: 2,6 km
Face: North
Inclination: 35 degree
Difficulty: S3
Ascent time: 2 h
Descent time: 50 min
Avalanche risk: huge
The best time: march - april

We chose the descent via the Central Culuoir (no 13 on the map below):

The culuoir was as crowded as the ski trail in the high season but I felt safety like never before because of a stable snow conditions and a lot of people :)

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Spring is coming

The first day of spring 2014....
It's high time to arrange the first spring ski touring this weekend !
What to choose? I'm going to think about...

...and I'll give you a feedback soon

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

How to be happy in the Sad Valley

2 weeks ago I had really nice and unforgettable ski touring day. I chose my favourite place in Slovakian mountais - the West Tatras (Zapadne Tatry, Tatry Zachodnie). Our goal for that day - the Sad Pass (Smutne Sedlo) in the Sad Valley (Smutna Dolina).
The weather and snow conditions was like one million dollars - sunshine, no wind, no clouds, snow enough to have a nice touring and pleasant descent. We started in Zverovka from the car park in Rohacska Valley close to Spalena - Zverovka Ski Resorts. 

Our backpacs were really heavy with snow shovel, probe, sandwiches, some clothes inside and skis, boots, cramopons, ice axe, helmet attached to them. 15 kilos on my back compared with my weight of 55 kilos I felt long after a touring day ;)

Unfortunately lack of snow in valley made us to trek in normal boots instead on ski touring almost till reaching Tatliakova Chata at the end of Rohacska Valley. Before getting a plesaure from our trip we had to do really hard work. 

After 1,5 hours of trekking we finally reached the Tatliakova Chata where we could start our skitouring. 

On skis under feet we entered to forbidden zone - Sad Valley. Why forbidden? Because in Slovakia all trails above the mountain hostels in the Tatras are temporary closed from 1 November to 15 June, even for ski alpinists :( 
That's why there are only a few toutists and ski alpinists taking a risk of trekking in this period.

We were ascending almost 2 hours to the bootom of Sad Culuoir leading to Sad pass. 
Unfortunately I was so tired of trekking with my heavy backpack that I gave up of climbing steep culuoir. I had to settled for a long descending in soft snow to the line of snow in the Rohacska Valley and I did so. Despite the fact we weren't able to execute the plan in 100 % I was satisfied. 

After this touring I accelerated my decision about buying AT boots (lighter than my racing ones and prepared to walk) and lighter pair of skis instead of my heavy K2 Missbehaved.