Jumbo size snowflakes floated from the sky as I clambered in my ski boots through the Alta Ski Area parking lot until I found fellow Icey athlete and team manager, Scotty VerMerris. I squinted to see through the blustery snowfall as he pulled out a pair of skis from his truck. This was my first moment meeting The Maiden. Scotty handed the skis over to me, and we hustled to the Wildcat lift. After clicking into the skis and getting lifted into the sky on the two-man chairlift, I recall staring down at the ski’s topsheets mesmerized until it was time to put those babies to use. All afternoon, we repeated the cycle. Lift ride to pow slashing, pillow bashing, and cliff dropping. I immediately fell in love with the Maiden for it’s versatility of being playful and surfy in the smooth powder while maintaining a durability in the chopped up snow and providing a stable ski to land airs on.
After a classic Alta powder day, Scotty and I parted ways for the next adventure. With my new Maiden freeride skis, I jetted out across the ocean on a European Alps ski-venture. The mission was to ski high alpine glaciers, float through deep Italian powder and compete in my first ever big mountain freeride competition.
Skiing Mont Fort in Verbier, Switzerland (Photo by: Davide de Masi)
On New Year’s day, I landed in Switzerland and drove to Chamonix, France. It was a low-tide start to the winter in Europe with no snow for six weeks until the day I arrived. The snow didn’t stop falling for the entire three weeks I was in Europe. I was lucky enough to travel with several local aspiring mountain guides who showed me the gems to each resort around Chamonix. One of the most memorable days was skiing a La Flegere after a night of fresh snow. That morning, the clouds cleared for a bluebird powder day. This was the day I had dreamed about as a kid with the dramatic jagged peaks of the Alps jutting out of the valley. I was in heaven.
(Photo by: Cedric Bernadini)
(Photo by: Amy David)
Another incredible experience was skiing the Vallee Blanche down the Mer de Glace. My good friend Davide de Masi and I began at the top of the Aiguille du Midi. In an ice tunnel, we put on crampons, strapped skis on our backs, dug the ice axes in and began to down climb the no fall zone. At the bottom of the erret my heart was certainly beating. The Mer de Glace is a 20+ kilometer glacier you can ski from the top of the Aiguille du Midi down to the Chamonix valley. Davide led the way navigating ceracs, cravases and finally to a small warming hut before making it to the train station. The train was 30 minutes away from giving us a ride back to town, and Davide had a meeting, so we ditched the train ride, hopped the tracks and bushwacked our way down the final stretch of the mountain.
About to drop into the first stretch of skiing the Vallee Blanche (Photo by: Davide de Masi)
Hopping the train tracks. (Photo by: Davide de Masi)
I stashed my skis in Davide’s car before walking to the other side of the valley where I met up with a paraglide instructor. To cap off the day, we rode to the top of another mountain peak before taking to the sky for my first flight lesson. As we soared through sky floating by the Alps, my mind was racing through the endless ski possibilities these mountains provide.
Learning to paraglide over the Chamonix valley.
After several more days of hit and miss snow conditions between Courmayeur and Chamonix, it was time for me to make the voyage to Verbier, Switzerland for my first Freeride World Qualifier competition. Traveling solo, I stepped onto the train with my Maidens, ski gear, and a Rumpl blanket. Feeling rather nervous, my skis felt like my closest companions as I got the news that an avalanche had run across the train tracks for the first time in 10 years and the train could no longer complete the mountain pass. After problem solving, I found a new route to Verbier that changed my 2 hours to 15 hours of travel time, but I made it just in time for the competition.
(Photo by: Davide de Masi)
I dropped into my competition run starting with a decent sized cliff drop to a second air throwing in a japan grab and finished with creamy powder turns. The Maidens held strong and led me to 3rd and 5th place finishes for the two days of competition.
Grabbing japan during first Freeride World Qualifier competition. (photo by: Freeride World Tour)
Third place in Freeride World Qualifier in Verbier, Switzerland.
Meeting the Maidens definitely elevated my confidence in having a solid ski I can trust at high speeds, landing bigger airs, and shredding various conditions. While I enjoy utilizing the variety of Icelantic’s ski line, the Maiden is a quality one ski quiver for the freeride ladies.
-Icey Athlete, Amy David