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14-19 March NASTC Zermatt Off-Piste

Day 5. Even time for a little video session while skiing down Monte Rosa.

NASTC or North American Ski Training Center Chris Fellows organization. He started in a while back in order to make high level ski instruction available to any skier throughtout the winter and quickly expanded from his base at Lake Tahoe to add destinations around the world. His plan was to get the cream of the crop to teach skiing for him, notably PSIA demo team members or former demo team members. Having spent years as a demo team member himself, he easily found the best demo team members/instructors to help him with his ski school.

From the beginning he has wanted to offer the most for his clients so teaming up with a IFMGA certified mountain and ski guide seemed like the best way to get the most from the terrain at Zermatt. We would spend half the day working on drills on and off piste, then the other half searching out and, with a bit of luck, always finding great off piste lines to ski, from steep chutes on the Italian side to the wild Theodul glacier below the Klien Matterhorn to a heli ski down Monte Rosa. Of course, skiing the whole week in beautiful weather under the shadow of the Matterhorn was a truly impressive experience.

With the bluebird days every day it wasn’t always easy to find powder and as the guide, I tried to remind people how amazing the good weather was and how lucky we were to have the views of the Matterhorn and all the other 4000 meter peaks surrounding Zermatt. Good views can only go so far however, and luckily, I was able to find powder and interesting terrain to ski every day!

Day 1 On the first day we decided to traverse into the steep north facing Stockhorn glacier.

Day 1 The slope steep and consistant, and the snow was winter snow, but buttery smooth. Here we are under the north face of the Stockhorn in Zermatt.

We were all proud of our first big off piste line in Zermatt. We skied straight down the North Face of the Stockhorn connecting the upper and lower bowls by finding a way through the middle rock band. Everyone did great!

Day 2 found us under the Matterhorn for a morning of technique work on the slopes. The Hornli Ridge is the right hand skyline and the Italian Lion's Ridge in to the left.

 

Day 2.This was a nice steep face on the Italian side.

Day 2. Pleanty of places to eat on the mountain in Zermatt!

Day 3. A nice ski down the Theodul Glacier. My group was prepared to be among a lot of skiers here in the Alps, but we were mostly all alone where we skied.

Day 3. On the way down from the Theodul Glacier you join the Gornerglacier and at it's toe, we found an interesting ice cave.

Day 3. You then had to ski across an interesting bridge to get through the narrows at the end of the glacier.

Day 4. We climbed our first alps summit today, the mighty Furgghorn, 3451 meters.

Day 4. Content to be on top of "our" summit, with the Matterhorn behind us.

Day 4. The ski down was pretty fun!

Day 4. And gave the group yet another cool view of the Matterhorn. That's the Hornli Ridge (the standard summer climbing route), on the right skyline; from this viewpoint you can see it is not as steep as from looking straight up at it.

Day 4. What day would be complete without a Rosti mit ei und shinken (Swiss homefries with egg and ham).

Day 5. In front of the secret "bat cave' entrance to the Air Zermatt heli ski base.

Day 5. Cleared for take off.

Day 5. Navigating the Monte Rosa Glacier after our heli depot.

Day 5. We stopped for a nice lunch at the brand new Monte Rosa hut half way down the mountain.

Day 5. Your's truly posing in front of the Matterhorn.

Day 5. Skiing through the ice corridor of the lower Gorner Glacier--a natural half pipe.

Day 5. The guide hanging out at "apres ski" under the Matterhorn.

Day 6. Early morning groomer in Zermatt--perfect for the finishing touches on technique training. Again the Matterhorn in view and again, barely anyone around.

Day 6. Chris, the master, showing us how it's done.

Day 6. A toast to a great week!

 

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