How I fight the cycling winter blues with skimo

Ski randonee racers training in the Italian Dolomites

In winter, cyclists either get fat or undergo a training regime that sounds like torture. They ride outside in absolutely miserable conditions; and when they can feel their fingers again, they post epic pictures on social media and pretend that they had a fantastic time. Sometimes, they go to the gym and look ridiculous as they try to lift weights with their skinny arms. Or even worse – they ride indoors…. OK, so technology has at least …

What Makes the Alps so Much Fun

Racing the Tram, and Other Pleasures of Alps Mountain Sports It is late September. I am pushing hard up the last few meters to Croix de Culet, my sweaty hand sliding over the chain that separates me from Champéry, Switzerland, a thousand meters below. In my heart I know I’m not going to make it. As I start to descend to the upper station, I see the tram pull away. The driver and I make …

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Ultralight Trail Running Packing List

Nearly every time I’m on an iconic tour in the Alps I see it. A hiker, ski tourer, or trail runner laboring up some massive climb beneath too much weight and in the wrong gear. Americans, I’m talking to you. And yes, I have been there too and just hope my advice here can help you avoid the carnage. It’s a fact, the Alps require enormous climbs, sometimes one after another. How you attack them, and how …

The Alps Vertical Reality Strategy

Whatever you do, Don’t Look Up Going light and coping with big vert in the Alps Forty miles into Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc’s “little sister,” Courmayeur-Champêx-Chamonix last year, I came across a fellow runner, sprawled out on a boulder. He was immobile, eyes closed. His arms are in an odd, torqued position. It reminds me of an illustration in an EMT textbook I read years ago. Decorticate or decerebrate? I couldn’t recall the difference. “Vous êtes …

Understanding the Swiss Train System for Mountain Sports

Travelers using Swiss trains for getting around Switzerland. The Zermatt train station.

SBB CFF FFS—Nine Letters that make for great trail running The crowd is getting antsy. Agitated, almost. I can feel the tension rising in my own body. I wonder how this scene is going to end. It’s going to break one of two ways, and which outcome arrives is out of our control. In an instant, the automated sign flips. It had said, En retard, douze minutes. Now it reads, En retard, vingt minutes. I …

Where to see the Alps Glaciers

Seeing the Alps Glaciers Glaciers are without a doubt one of the most spectacular features of the Alps. They are also one of the most clear indicators that climate change is very real. Where they once cascaded down into villages, now the Alps’ glaciers are primarily found very high or hidden in the deepest shadows. As the very nature of tourism contributes to the problem, it seems hypocritical to recommend that you fly to Europe …