Occupation: Freelance Outdoor Education Instructor, STA Open Water Swim Coach, Owner of Vicki and Louie Guided walks
How did you get into skiing in the Lake District?
The first time I realised it was possible to ski here was the heavy snowfall in 2012. I was snowed in for three days, so I took my skis up a hill near Coniston while waiting to be dug out. But it wasn’t until 2016 that the stars aligned and I made it up to Helvellyn and Raise. I went with friends who grew up here and kindly took me under their wing, sharing their local knowledge.
Highlights so far?
That first experience of skiing Helvellyn in November 2016 is still one of the best I’ve had in the Lakes and will stay with me forever.
In came the text at 5:30am: ‘Grab your kit, we’re going skiing.’ The conditions were incredible – fresh powder, sometimes up to my waist. Even though I was exhausted from an early start, a ski tour into Swirral Edge from the mines at Glenridding and a boot pack up to the top, I was over the moon to get to the summit of Helvellyn, with light winds, clear skies and views for miles.
Little did I know that my friend, Jack, had big plans for me, and led me off to ski down the face of Helvellyn towards Red Tarn before meeting the others on Raise. At the bottom, Jack turned to me and said, “Not many people in the world can say they’ve done that!” It wasn’t his first rodeo, but he was so chuffed for me that I’d got to do it. I couldn’t quite believe it either and still grin thinking about it.
What makes that memory so special is the coming together of conditions, the right kit, the right group of people and that timely push out of my comfort zone. It may not align ever again in the same way.
I’ve since had many days ski touring in the Lakes. All have been worth it – even when survival mode is activated and you may or may not have shed a tear into your goggles…