24 hours, dream time

Maxence Gallot shares a biased dream, that of a powder session without being constantly frustrated about the mild weather. A ski instructor, he spent the winter on the front row and is still waiting for the show to begin.

Today, the Alps are boiling and the mercury continues to climb in my head. What sort of overheating got me to make the ink run today ?

Maxence Gallot

Slowly I rewind the film of a winter already finished or not even started. To tell the truth, I don’t really know where we are anymore. I like to think that that I would have a cold head, a frozen moustache and fresh ideas in the near future. Call it optimism. A simple observation made by Météo France ( the French National weather service): it has never been less than -10 degrees during the start of this 2020 season at the foot of Mont Blanc. At the time I was inspired to write these lines we are at the beginning of February. It is 5.23 pm, the time when, usually, freezing temperatures reappear in the mountains. Instead of that, I can see rain falling the outside of the window, I live at an altitude of 2000 metres. Something is definitely not right.

Maxence Gallot

If I can’t trace mine in a damp, soft snowpack, the lines drawn by my mind allow me to escape. My subconscious often lets me travel to places I don’t know. There where the powder flies up your nostrils, as light as dust. I, too, want to escape to Japan (the worst winter in 40 years there, they say), slide my planks into the forests of British Columbia, hit the road and eat some fluff. I’ve dreamed about it since I was a kid, and just as one trip is never enough for me, I always want more. But, little by little my aspirations have changed, my ethic, my wisdom raise a paradox that questions me about our way of life. This continual train of privileged people who seek to meet their needs at the top of the pyramid, at the tops of the four corners of the globe.

Maxence Gallot

Going to the other end of the world, looking for snow that one hasn’t got at home, to fill our consciousness with joy biased by our egos, the black box full of egocentric souvenir photos, just trying everything to be more followed on instagram. The legend says “I was there, I did it”. At the price of a carbon footprint which gets heavier day by day, aircraft engines are overheating, our digital memories are piling up in a computer which is itself ready to choke. Slowly, but surely, this abnormal warmth is is becoming the norm “cooled by by the air-con” sending the permafrost waltzing to hell and the composite rocks collapsing with it.

Maxence Gallot

24 hours is the cycle that I have observed most regularly these last few months. The time for a depression to install, the snow-flakes to fall, the wind to blow, the grains to transform and already a great warmth has already returned. 10 degrees at 2000, a burning sun barely three hours after a heavy fall of snow, are you surprised that the snow experts are pulling their hair out and our trackers are picking up the “broken crocks” in repeated avalanches. Fragile layers which don’t finish forming, slabs which fall away on an ongoing basis as the puzzle melts, the faces that smash at first sight and glaciers that try to resist, as best they can. This constant warm spell is a powder that keeps getting heavier, taking away our dreams of lightness. The warm weather almost always ends by closing the snowy episode, however brief it may be, always higher and more present.

Maxence Gallot

Happily, there are still good outings to be made so long as you have flair, a little luck and time in front of you. It is in order to experience these moments that those who love the mountains get up early. Hope brings to life these incredible sessions off the beaten track, far from the chair-lifts, with so much powder. It is maybe because these occasions are rarer and their duration is ephemeral, that we must continue to take advantage of them. Savouring this nostalgia, appreciating what we have under foot at the moment that it falls and continue to make Black Crows skis which float. I don’t know how long it will last, the future will tell us, maybe the cold spells will be rarer and will will simply have to accept it.

Maxence Gallot

If everybody uses their pen to go forward, shake the crowds and give colours to our future, then maybe our children will also be able to ski with their feet together, looking for imbalance, playing at bouncing without touching the bottom. As long as they get to know this feeling of excitement that is the characteristic of any passionate skier who enjoys immaculate virgin snowfields. I hope the dream continues to come true.

Maxence Gallot

 

Maxence Gallot

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