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Snowmotions 06/07 Heliboard Review

The winter season had been so lacking in snow that we doubted we would even get a trip in but then late in March a North Westerly brought us four days of snowfall.

Having travelled to The Berner Oberland in past years this was to be the first flight with our new partners Air Grischa here in Graubuenden and our first use of Mountain guide Paul from Alpventura.

Claudio & Ricco from “Boarders Heaven” in Chur, two experienced local riders as well as Dave and myself made up the group of 4.

 

We awoke to a clear, crisp, cloudless Spring day & drove over to Tavanasa in the upper reaches of The Vorder Rhine Valley where Air Grischas Oberland Heli base is located.

After a safety briefing & Paul showing us the planned routes take off was just after 8am.

A 10 minute flight away from the green pastures of the Rhine over the resort of Brigels & The Todi massif  brought us back in to the dazzling white High Alpine terrain of The Hufi  glacier and a “feather light” perfect landing at 3200m on the glacier.

 

swiss heli-boarding

Claudio and Paul eye up the first decent

 

Low cloud covered the Northern Glaner valleys while Graubuenden glistened in the sun to the South & East.

As the landing place is on a plateau the first few hundred meters needed retractable ski poles to keep momentum going but the huge views & stunning Glacial scenery made up for any exertion.

 

snowboarding switzerland

Ricco - style approach....

swiss snowboarding

Ricco - the playground awaits....

Heading North East the gradient gradually steepened to reveal a wide couloir high above the cloud base in Linthal.
First lines in knee high, cold powder on a 30 degree hang before 9am…ideal !

heli boarding

8am - Transport for the day ahead

 

swis heliboarding

All aboard!

 

heli-boarding

Jason taking the straight line

snowboarding in switzerland

Jason - Kpow!

snow boarding in switzerland
Jason - crusin' through...

As we descended, the snow naturally got heavier but we were saved by the cloud bank.

Just above the grey layer of cloud we were passed by a character ascending  on snow shoes walking his dog !

Normally the tour would continue down to Linthal & Tierfed  where the helicopter would meet us, but as the cloud base was at 1000m & preventing the helicopter collecting us below it, the chopper came in through the top of the swirling mists to meet us.

A second short flight airlifted us back up to 3300m above the Clariden  SAC Hut.

 

snowboarding switzerland

Chopper pickup rendez-vous

 

swiss chopper

Up up and away...

A swift hike to the top of the peak & a long powder field led us to the start of the South facing Russein Valley.
A steep entry followed by a long, “cruisy” ride out of the valley surrounded by high peaks on both sides brought us down to the end of the snow line. Boards off & a fairly long walk down to the main Disentis road. But that’s what happens when you do a South hang in Spring !

We would have had the option to do just the one descent to Linthal but Paul convinced us that the 2nd descent would be worth it – even with the long hike out ! And he was right…

 

mountain view

High above but only minutes away...

Paul, a local from the Disentis/Sedrun region is a must for any future Snowmotions guiding.
Relaxed, safe & knows the area inside out. With guiding for “Warren Millers Movies” on his resume we felt we were following an experts tracks & would recommend Alpventura to anyone needing an experienced guide.

The Cost of the days adventure is only CHF410- for the two flights or just CHF290- for the first flight.
The cost includes the mountain guide & a return taxi from the end of the Val Russein run but not Avalanche rescue equipment/beeper that is available for rent separately if guests don’t have their own. Or return transport from Linthal if only doing the first flight descent. Prices are per person based on a group of 4 sharing. Snowmotions is currently taking bookings for 08 Heli trips & skiers are as welcome as snowboarders ! A competent level of “Off Piste” experience is required but with a couple of weeks under your skis or board you should be ready for Heli action.
Email info@snowmotions.com for details.

Our thanks to Paul from www.alpventura.ch & www.airgrischa.ch

JRS May 07

 

 

 

 

 

heliboarding in switzerland

Ricco - no crowds here....

powder turn

Wait for me....! Dave speed turn

 

lonely peak

Our peak in sight...

swiss mountain view
Breathtaking scenery

snowboard rest point

Resting up at the bottom of run #2 ...