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view from the summit
31.01.2022 | Stories - Athletes

Local Stroll BY FRANÇOIS KERN

 on the way down

 

 

 

I love to ski. The expression means everything and nothing at the same time.

 

We like to ski in the mountains.

We like to ski with our friends.

We like to ski to feel the glide.

We like to ski to discover something new.

And sometimes, we like to ski to push our limits, to let off steam, to bring back beautiful images.

 

On this day, which wasn't the first in history after all, we're with Ben trying to visit a line that's been catching our eye for some time.

On the road that goes up just above our house, towards a small local resort where we both learned to ski, where we discovered powder, forests, hidden lines, and where we've continued to go skiing for the past 30 years; on the road we're still watching this little line that seems to be taking shape on a relief below the resort.

 back pack with ski and equipment

 

 

We still observe it. Noticed for a long time, and noticed by others, since it is visible from a thousand places, and above all, adjoining two quite classic routes of this hump.

We were there two weeks before, we had observed it the same morning, we had our toys to try the route, but the snow conditions were not very attractive and we were pushed back in one of the related slopes.

Ben was also there the day before, he went down on the first meters, he was able to judge the quality of the snow, to repeat the entry once more, and to raise his motivation a notch.

The same day, the appointment was made for the next day, skis on his feet, rope on his shoulder.

These spring days are special. The quality of the snow is variable, the approaches with skis on the back are sometimes long, the bags are heavy, and the desire to let the winter go is sometimes dominant.

 

In spring, we go back and forth between winter and summer, between summer and winter. We hesitate between the desire to prolong the winter, and the desire to rush the summer.

And we sometimes get up early.

Here, this morning, not too early. The line is well exposed, the day is not announced as scorching, and the rise is short.

One does not cross many people any more. The madness of a winter without a resort has subsided. The conditions no longer lend themselves to the unexpected absence of the office.

 View on the way to the summit

The route is well known to us, we have always walked it, and since always we observe and tell all its lines between us. With their anecdotes, with the great feats, with a very subjective affection.

 

We have time, we have decided to have time. We are no longer at the beginning of winter, when the first snows drive you crazy. We are the only ones who know where we are going, no race.

These moments of intimacy, of friendship. A bubble just for us, even if the place is common, we are in our universe, the time of a walk. Like an expedition, like a competition, like a galley, just a small team.

 on the way down

 

And then we arrive at the top of our hump.

So classic, so sober, so small. No one really stops there. More of a waypoint than an objective, more of a stage than an endpoint, it doesn't even have a name on the map.

And yet, it is our objective of the day.

To go up there, and to traverse a small steep line, aerial, in front of the valley. We put on the skis, we prepare the equipment, we speak one last time about the itinerary in the future, close and simple at the same time. And the first turns are engaged.

Little hesitation on the itinerary this time, we spotted well the line which turns out much more logical than we imagined.

The hesitation lies more in the turns which are sometimes less good than we imagined.

We take our time, and we marvel at the fact that a route that is finally so logical and pretty has not been watched more, perhaps never traveled.

 

A rope thrown under a tree, a few more laughs, a few turns too, and we come out of our route to find the known slopes.

From now on we speak in the past tense, perfect and simple.

Full of joy, full of laughter, and after a descent all spring, we find the road and the summer, in full spring.