So for about three weeks now it has been snowing on and off (mainly on), and photographer, Pally Learmond was getting tired of coming home with a camera full of shots of skiers dropping pillows, cranking powder turns, or crashing in the trees. Now we don’t want you to get the idea that we’re complaining here, after a few years of what can only be described as average seasons in the Alps, all this snow can only be a good thing, but it was time for something a bit different.
We were in Meribel with White World, checking out the freeride terrain and the Moon park. The latter was covered in a couple of foot of fresh, but it was clear from the shapes that loomed just beneath the surface that this was an epic park, the booter line ending in a double kicker with transfer options. In the brief spell of blue skies that appeared during our trip it was also clear that there was plenty of freeride terrain here, most of which had apparently remained untouched, even a few days after the previous dump. As the clouds formed overhead, and the snow floated down we were forced back into the trees. But that evening Pally set his mind on a project of a different nature, grabbing myself, Nick Southwell, and Ed Waite from the nearby pub, he bundled us into the back of his Land Rover and headed up the hill, dropping us, bewildered on the edge of the road, and burning off quickly back down the valley.
A few minutes later and the slope below us was lit up as Pally shone his numerous bulbs onto the slope beneath us and busied himself, setting up flashes strategically along the slope.
Before we knew it we were skiing in some of the best snow all of us had had all season, untouched by the sun, the fresh dump had settled, unbound, and as fluffy as you could imagine. Every turn produced an asphyxiating cloud of white powder, and seeing where you were going became the biggest struggle, although as we were conducting our business in the dark this seemed like a purely academic problem.
Pally chuckled with delight, muttering words like’banging’ and ‘cover shot’, as he scrolled through his images. Before long he had difficulties trying to persuade us to return to the pub, all of us begging for ‘just one more run’. Eventually he gave up and drove off leaving us to make our way down the mountain, under what was now a clear moonlit sky. The session had been amazing, and as a bonus it seems Pally did in fact get some ‘banging’ shots.
Nearest airports: Geneva, Lyon
Words: Jamie Cameron, Photos: Pally Learmond