The very ordinary daily life of a Pyrenean Piedmont skier

If skiing belonged to those who get up early, the skiers of the Pyrenean Piedmont would hardly leave any tracks. With low altitude and sudden snowstorms, it’s an area where you have to have your nose pressed to the window and your hands on on your planks. So, in a few strides, one can escape from civilisation and penetrate an extraordinary area where turns are carved on a limitless horizon and where the lights of dawn and twilight illuminate magnificent sessions. Peio Gaillard opens the doors to this country milk and honey which nourishes his everyday life.

Each skier has a favourite playground, a secret garden where they particularly like wandering about… For me, it is not necessarily hunting for the best slopes or the more technical itineraries in the massif, but rather placing my skis on that which I see on a daily basis. Taking that into consideration, the lower foothills of the Pyrenees are my favourite playground…

Peio Gaillard

The north facing valleys which from my window fed my imagination as a kid. Not always very accessible, they can reveal beautiful surprises. The Piedmont… Some will consider these spots as abandoned because of their proximity to the plain or their modest altitude, they are nevertheless my favourite spots. The pleasure of riding above the plain, in valleys which are more often than not virgin and which one is used to roaming throughout the year whether by bike or on foot to visit friends passing the summer with their sheep, or even on skis. To all this one adds the quest for good snow, that which will have stayed good and cold in the shadow of the first foothills.

Peio Gaillard

The early riser ! A concept… The pleasure of going out with friends at night. The pleasure of putting on skins before sunrise, quietly making one’s way with, as the only sound, the crunching of the fresh snow. The pleasure of sharing a good run before going back down to start a day at work.. These are simple pleasures, those which hold a particular place in my life style… The concept of the Pyrenean early mornings which decline equally to night-time, when, after work, we slip away on to the ridges to share a soup before going back down to a warm bed… There exists a common point to this sort of pleasure : that of fully « experiencing » the mountains. At the rising or setting of the sun, it is still silent. The cold seems to freeze the elements and a quite strange feeling floods through me… This has the be the right place at the right moment. These precious instances are all the more agreeable if they are shared with the right people.

Peio Gaillard

For several years, I have tried to focus on exploring all these nearby spots. In spite of capricious winters, patiently following the evolution of the snow conditions, I have managed to extricate myself and on these occasions generally have had very beautiful days. None of this would be possible without a good band of friends for whom the pleasure of being in the mountains is like a fixed idea. On a powder day, whether during the week or at the weekend, there will always be a buddy to share tracks with. This lifestyle may not make us the richest guys in the world, but neither will we be the unhappiest.

Peio Gaillard

Welcome to the small world of the Pyreneans, their small mountains and their big powder fields ! If on a winter’s morning you pass nearby as the sun rises and the first foothills seem like good plaster, spare a thought for us, we will not, for sure, be in the office but on our skins… The famous «working less to ski more» makes sense here, as long as it lasts!

Check Peio and his pals website :

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