Photos: Mikko Heimonen, Mikko Lampinen and other guys.
Mika Merikanto, an extreme skier and an assistant for Huippu living in Les Marecottes, Switzerland, has been extending his skiing season in Zermatt. In central Europe, skis won’t be getting much rest for weeks to come.
How are the skiing conditions in Chamonix and Valais, Mika?
This winter, we got loads of snow and there is still an exceptional amount of it. Actually, Switzerland has been getting fresh snow in record-setting amounts in the last few days. Speaking of record-setting events, that also applies to the floods caused by all the snow – but for a slalom skier the conditions are better than in years.
How long do you think the season will go on?
Even in a less snowy winter, you can still do randonee in early June if you feel like it. Now it’s looking like we’ll be able to do it till mid-summer.
What have you been up to recently?
In May, the weather was somewhat challenging for skiing bigger mountains. There is a lot of snow, however, but there haven’t been very many suitable windows for safe skiing. Plans have changed as the weather has, and many skiing trips have not worked out so well. Despite the weather conditions, I had a few good runs where it’s not always easy such as the Chere couloir in Aiguille du Tacul as well as the northern couloir in Aiguille Carreé.
You recently went on a skiing trip to Zermatt. How was it?
It was in the plans to ski down the northeastern wall of Lenzspitze. However, as soon as we got there, the wind has done its worst. The day before, there was a lot of beautiful snow, but once we made it there, the northern wind had already blown off the snow. Luckily, the slopes of the nearby valley had been safe from the wind. Finally, we got to ski two over 4 000 m tops with amazing snow.
First, we did the northern wall of Stegelnadelhorn (4241 m), and the less frequently visited northeastern wall of Hochberhorn (4219 m) on the next day. There was snow up to 2K, so the difference in altitude for the Hochberhorn descent was around 2,200 meters.
What a great season ender!
Any other plans left for the snow that’s left?
As the June heatwave is here, the mind is finally starting to drift towards non-snowy things for a change. Party time!
Mika Merikanto, who lives and works in Zürich, Switzerland, has had hundreds of remarkable extreme runs in the Alps.