Sunday, January 20, 2013

Ski Touring–Dome de Vaugelas

Only a few days ago we had extreme cold at -30°C and now today we have the warm Foen wind and woke up to blue skies. It was a good day to go ski touring for some exercise. In the photo below the mountain on the right is Les Arcs. We are climbing on the south side of the Dome de Vaugelas just above Bourg St Maurice – only a short workout today because Christiane is on snow shoes and so can’t climb or descend as quickly as I can with skis. Her descending is still pretty quick though!




This next photo is the top of La Rossière with the Col de Petit St Bernard down to the left – crossing over into the Aosta valley in Italy. All the photos her are views from today’s climb. The Foen wind was bringing a typical bank of clouds over from Italy.

Village of Seez – on the valley floor below La Rossière

Les Arcs



With the heat the snow was pretty horrible for the descent but the brief climb was enjoyable. Skiing down feels strange because of being so used to being in organised ski resorts with lifts. It almost feels like stealing an illicit ski run for free – but it’s a very nice feeling. You make the most of every turn out of respect for all the effort made in climbing. Both on skis and snowshoes we applied Chi Walking technique when climbing (and when descending). The main aim is to avoid placing the leading foot ahead of the body and using the quads to climb. Instead, the foot lands just below the body and as you topple forwards the big glutes extending the hip joints do the principal lifting of the body. When the leg extends behind  the pelvis is kept tilted upwards into neutral so you can feel the lower abdomen and a slight twist in the spine up to the level of the ribs. The arms and shoulders are used a surprising amount and can tire quite rapidly. The pole support is on the opposite side from the extending leg – which probably enhances the activity of the spine. It’s like an internal massage for the lower back and absolutely necessary for combating all those hours sitting down indoors or in cars. Somewhere yesterday I spotted an advert which mentioned that a one hour workout is only 4% of your day! I’d never thought of it that way before. Christiane refuses to accept this because she insists that sleeping isn’t counted but I’m not convinced. A day is 24 hours!

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