Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Ski Guiding The Grand Teton -Doug Workman

Some say they love to ski, yet their skis sit idle and lonely in May. Simone Blei, meanwhile, sits on a plane over the Atlantic Ocean, wondering--not if his girlfriend has stopped crying or if he will have a job upon his return to Milano Italy--but if his K2 Outlaws are comfortable in cargo. His trusty steads must not get lost or damaged for they are to deliver him down the Ford Coulior on the Grand Teton.

Simone starts the long walk

Simone ascending Tepee Glacier

Simone Blei is the best of clients--a good friend and passionate steep skier, I first met Simone in Valdez, Alaska where he came to ski with Doug Coombs. Unfortunately Doug never made it to Valdez in 2006. As DC would have wanted, his clients arrived anyway, looking to ski the steeps that Coombs' himself pioneered--with the skills that Coombs himself had nurtured in each one of them.

Simone climbs Stettner Coulior

Now, two years later, Simone is ready to ski the Ford--a 1500' 55 degree coulior that ends with 3000' of exposure. And all that at nearly 14K. Simone brings with him from Italy the requisite skills and the high pressure needed for such a descent. Consequently, we ski the run unroped except of the 100' pitch above the terminal drop. Simone skis deliberately and fluidly through the steep exposed terrain--more like a guide than a client. I am happy for Simone--because of his commitment, desire, and patience--he can truly say he skied the Ford Coulior.

Simone's first turn at 13,770

Descending the Stettner

Simone skiing to the car