Bodø in Northern Norway has more to offer than the Flight Museum, the worlds biggest population of sea hawks, and the strong swirl of Saltrømmen. There are several areas fairly close to the town and airport of Bodø that boost ski touring experiences way beyond normal. Backline tried the sun set and moonlight skiing in Glomfjord. Glomfjord has the stunning northern views of the fjords and the sea, and the edgy mountains are towering a thousand meters plus straight out of the fjords. We ate “Kveite” and met local skier Øyvind who showed us around his home mountains.

With the ski pole, I release my bindings and free my boots. I look down. The tracks of our skis follow the broad ridge that leads up here, to the top of Mount Skala. On the last 150 vertical meters, the snow was hard-packed and windblown. Not a great pleasure to climb, and probably not a great pleasure to ski down either. Further below, however, I’m sure the icy snow will give way to the most beautiful spring corn imaginable, the kind of snow that is made for some memorable turns. I look up, slowly, almost with reverent awe. The actual summit of this mountain just a stone’s throw away, only seven meters higher from where I stand.

Late March 2017. Skiers across the Northern Alps suffer from a warm front. Despite the fact that the winter seems to be over too soon, we are still hungry. While most of the powder junkies are already on their mountain bikes or climbing rocks, Nadine and I carefully observe the weather forecast and snow conditions. We already had to cancel a trip to Eastern Switzerland, but Nadine has a new plan: the Canalone Neri on the northern side of the 3,173-meter Cima Tosa, the highest peak of Northern Italy’s Brenta group.

It was worth the wait. The excitement about the first snowfalls in November has long subsided. It’s January 10; today is the deadline. After three hours of tracking through knee-deep pow, we have reached the saddle. It’s cold; freezing cold. Minus 20 degrees Celsius. When we exit the northwest-facing slope, we feel the first sun rays in our faces, and it feels like being reborn. Ice crystals sparkle in the backlight like stardust. The valleys and peaks around us look better than ever. My friends are quite surprised, to say the least, when I tell them that I won’t take any pictures today. The only record we have are a few smartphone snaps. And none of them got posted on the Internet. And that’s good!

Cold. Rough. Dangerous. Remote. These and many more are some of the keywords that went through my mind when I thought of a possible trip to Sochi. Exotic. Rare. A real adventure. The 2014 Winter Olympics were held there... What does the terrain have to offer? We didn’t know, but were ready to go and find out. Our mission? Discover Sochi and all its backcountry. See what it has to offer – but in a different way: searching for powder! Together with fellow skiers Thibaud Duchosal and Pat Vuagnat, Laurent Jamet as our filmer and Johan Axelsson taking pictures, we started the journey, hoping to fi nd plenty of white gold. We were on a mission. The fascination of the untouched; experiences beyond what you’ve known or seen so far.

On the roadside of a well-prepared graveled road in the middle of the Tien-Shan mountain range. We can’t trust our eyes. In front of us, an arena of imposing steep walls, sharp ice flanks, wide glacier fi elds and untouched snow slopes stretches out. Below auspicious lines, a massive wound runs through the countryside. Kumtor, Kyrgyzstan’s largest gold mine – and the highest mine in the world, 4.100 meters above sea level. Massive white corridors are drawn through rock and ice and drilled like a spiral into the depths. Beneath the snowcovered terrain impressive dump trucks and bizarre piles of debris. And the dikes of the large poison lake, where the gold production’s chemical waste is deposited. Environmentalists describe the lake as a “ticking time bomb.”

Skiing in Greenland had long been an exotic dream of mine. With its scenery and fjords filled with majestic peaks, the location is an unspoiled wilderness right on our doorstep. Additionally, every year the mountains are sprayed all the way down to the waterline with copious amounts of the finest snow you can imagine, also making the region a veritable mecca for backcountry skiers. We decided to have a closer examination at the area using a combination of boat, tent, skins and leg power and traveled to the ice-covered island to find the best skiing that Northern Europe has to offer.

We only had a rough plan of where we wanted to go when we headed north in early April. We did not have an itinerary or high expectations; we avoided worrying too much about the trip or any details and just wanted to seize every single day. The rewards would include remote landscapes, magnifi cent peaks, and breathtaking views. Always based on the motto: the less planning, the more adventure and freedom. I don’t know how often Roman had to listen to my stories about the beauty of the Far North long before the trip, but I apparently managed to awaken his interest – enough to join me in my rolling home.

“Go there,” I was told. Years after this suggestion I dangled above Depot Falls. With my fate entrusted to a branch, I understood and quickly became mesmerized by the thunderous rumble of glacier melt that poured 300 meters to the forested valley floor, so distant and insignificant as to be a diorama. Her power reminded me of the lion and how his roar echoed across the Serengeti. It didn’t beseech, but demanded each and every creature, big and small, to recognize who is king. Similarly, Depot Falls is the Chilliwack Mountains roar. She gave no permission; to come to her was a patent disregard for her dominance, much like a gazelle who grazed at the haunches of a pride whose appetites happened to be satiated at the moment, but could change in an instant.

The alarm goes off at 7 am. It’s our last day, and it’s time to venture out and explore the far end of this vast valley called Les Avals. This project has been on the back of my mind for several years but unfavorable snow conditions, high avalanche danger or other obligations kept me from coming here earlier even though the valley is bordering the Courchevel ski resort and thus easily accessible. The local guides love Les Avals. It’s a fantastic playground for them and their clients, just on the doorstep of the luxurious Savoyard resort. Our objective was to make use of the easy accessibility to transport our gear and supplies for several days and then explore the less-known, much wilder and steeper higher parts of the valley.

Between seasons in the Bavarian Alps – the time of year that often sees too much snow to go hiking or climbing, but not enough to go skiing or ski touring. Last winter, it also looked like we had to put away our ski gear prematurely. It’s late March: We traded the telemark skis for the mountain bike, and off we went. We weren’t too happy, because the cold season had a late start and ended way too soon. But sometimes, winter chooses to return for a few days in April or May, which only results in traffi chaos, but not in the re-opening of the ski resorts.

The Sierra Nevada Mountains in California are home to some of the biggest ski descents in the continental United States. And Mount Whitney, standing the tallest at 4,421 meters, is – without a doubt – one of the most desired mountains and runs. But there are other 14ers in the range that are even more valued by the seasoned ski mountaineer. Mount Williamson and its rarely skied north face with the Giant Steps couloir is one of the stars of the Sierra. At 4,267 meters (14,380 feet), this is the only 14er in the range that is not guarded by other mountains, taking you right into the desert of the Owens Valley some 4,383 meters below. 

I was standing on the ship’s deck watching the mountains grow larger from the sea as we approached the shoreline. “Opal,” our Icelandic two-mast schooner, was plowing the sea quietly as our crew prepared to land close to the couloir we had spotted beforehand on Google Earth. There was no other way to reach this spot, and I felt fortunate.

Die Kreuzkarspitze ist ein 2.587 Meter hoher Gipfel in der Hornbachkette in den Allgäuer Alpen. Bei einer Tour zur Zwölferspitze in den Lechtaler Alpen machte ich ein Bild, das eine schöne Überschreitung der Kreuzkarspitze zeigte. Ich legte dieses Bild zu den vielen anderen Bildern von schönen Linien dazu. Geduld lohnt sich, Tobi Heinle und ich erwischten einen Bilderbuchtag mit besten Verhältnissen. Ein Tag, der mit einer gerissenen Bike Kette um 4:30 Uhr begann und das Mittagessen daheim so richtig gut schmecken ließ.