Came across this photo online this afternoon. It was taken by Paul Bednar, a ski instructor from the Skischule I taught with in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany. I still remember the rush of fear and adrenalin I got as I looked over this cliff myself years ago. Believe me, when I did it, I did not hang my ski tips over the cliff face.
Here’s the note he posted with the photo:
There was a t-bar at the top of the Zugspitze (elevation 2962m/9718 ft). Once you got off the lift, you could sidestep up another 50 metres or so to a small break in the rocks that formed the border between Germany and Austria. At that point, you could just stand there with your skis still on and look down the cliff face onto the town of Lermoos, Austria.
In other words, one slip and you’re in Austria, almost 3,000m below.
Note the very old-school Völkl’s.
In Rossland, winter promises a flurry of skiers and snowboarders not just on the slopes, but on the big screen as well. Cued to roll November 19 – 22, the 10th annual Rossland Mountain Film Festival will usher locals and visitors alike into screening rooms throughout town for four days of film, visual arts, music and multi-media productions.
Screening work from up-and-coming Kootenay filmmakers, photographers and visual artists (think: reel upon reel set to immortalize a region where powder is king), this marquee event kicks off Thursday with cool beats and plenty of libations during a gala gathering in the town’s Old Fire Hall. Friday follows with screenings for all ages, and late night festivities for the older set, complete with feature films and a live band.
In May of 1800 Napolean Bonaparte crossed this pass with 40,000 men on his way to Italy to lay seige to the Austrian Army. Napolean’s crossing of St. Bernard Pass was depicted in Jacques-Louis David’s famous oil painting Napoleon Crossing the Alps.
The pass takes its name from Bernard of Menthon, an 11th century monk who established a hospice over the pass. Those big, slobbering dogs with small barrels of whisky hanging from their necks soon became instrumental in aiding and saving travelers making the dangerous cross over the pass. Dogs equipped with whisky named after a monk. Father Flotsky says dogs don’t go to heaven anyway.
Today, St. Bernard Pass is mostly devoid of St. Bernards. In 2004, the four remaining monks of the hospice negotiated for the sale of the remaining dogs. Monks don’t drink whisky. Now the dogs only show up in the summer, to make sure the local tourism can still sell the St. Bernard coffee mugs, St. Bernard fountain pens, and St. Bernard throw pillows.
The dogs may be gone during the winter, but the big backcountry lines are not. Mont Mort, Mont Fourchon, 35-degree faces every which way you look. It’s an amphitheatre of perfect peaks. The hospice today has expanded into a mishmash of archways and chambers with 140 beds. And from December to mid-May, they’re all filled with avid backcountry skiers and boarders.