Bell’s mid-summer ski

22nd June 2011, by Chris Gill

What do you do to celebrate the longest day? Graham Bell, five-time Olympian and Ski Sunday presenter, has spent his summer solstice by skiing Italy’s second highest mountain.

Bell was in the Aosta Valley, along with mountain guide Gianni Carbonne, photographer Daniel Taylor and another guide Paulo Aghemo to do a heli-drop descent of Monte Rosa (4650m) – still cloaked in plenty of late spring snow.

The group were dropped off at 6.15am on Punta Gnifetti, one of Monte Rosa’s multiple summits. It was minus 25 degrees and a blue-sky morning. Bell skied over 1200m vertical down towards the Col du Lys glacier.

Speaking afterwards Bell commented: ‘We were so lucky to get the most beautiful morning to take on this challenge. Bad weather at the weekend had laid down some fresh snow but strong winds had packed this down into tough, icy ridges. But the views made up for the poor snow, we were actually looking down on the Matterhorn to the north, and to the south there was an almost sheer drop all the way down to Alagna, Gressoney’s sister resort. A fantastic experience finding winter in the middle of summer’.

The skiing followed another Bell summer activity: via ferrata in the Gressoney valley. It’s a great and challenging sport to have a go at in the mountains during the summer months – and there are routes for all abilities, all over the Alps. Italy, in particular has some of the best, and is a good place to learn the technique.

If Gianni Carbonne sounds familiar, he’s the well-known guide and mountaineer that we skied with in Courmayeur. Bell was part of that group then, on a trip arranged by Ski Solutions. Check out our feature and blog.

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