Interview with Kevan Beane
Former-Canadian national team skier, freeride-pro and the man behind the development of the cool Rip’nWud ski school and yes his very own ski brand, Rip’nWud Skis. KEVAN BEANE knows Skis like the back of his hand. Here he shares his knowledge of Chamonix and favourite high-altitude runs for extreme ski testing, plus the perfect stops not to miss.
Voice: How long have you known Chamonix?
KB: I first came to Chamonix in 1981 competing on the World Cup Circuit. Then I moved to Chamonix more than 10 years later in 1993 and lived there for more then 15 years as a pro-rider, High Alpine Guide/ Instructor and ski developer for Salomon and then for Scott Europe. This was at the turning point when the freeride ski industry began to flourish.
Voice: What’s your favourite Chamonix ski area and why?
KB: The Grand Montets and the Aiguille du midi is one of the best spots in Chamonix for snow conditions because of its north facing exposures. It’s also one of the best ski testing grounds because of the varied terrain and the changing snow conditions you can experience from 3,300+m -1,200m decent. In fact in 1997 I developed the brand Rip’nWud skis so to ride ‘easy and comfortable in these types of demanding areas. Chamonix has been extremely valuable for ski testing and designing as there are few places on earth that offer such easy access to high alpine skiing like the Grand Montets & Aiguille du midi.
Voice: What can non-skiers do in the Chamonix valley?
KB: For non-skiers there is so much to do. All the cable cars are open to public to have a high Alpine experience. You can touch and feel the altitude! Shopping, bars and restaurants are also good in Chamonix.
Voice: And apres-ski is always a good option ?
KB: The best bars are in the town centre -where the views are spectacular. From the center of town, you can see the top of the north face of the Aiguille du Midi. I have always liked the Chambre Neuf, it has a young rider scene and has been in Chamonix since I can remember – and that’s 30+ years!
Voice: Everyone loves a fondue … Where would you recommend?
KB: For the best experience always go for a real mountain, home-cooked Haute Savoie menu. A place I love in winter is a wooden chalet restaurant called Le Cremerie du Glacier d’Argentiere. The food here is great and access is by foot in the winter – 10mins along the river trail at the bottom of the Grand Montets.
Voice: How to escape the crowds when Chamonix is busy?
KB: The professionals go to the Aiguille du Midi. It’s at 3,800m with the Mont Blanc just above. Once you get through the crowds and get up to the top, you can find great terrain, untracked powder and very few people -because the terrain is so big and open. But this is not a trip for say regular skiers, and anyone thinking of a skiing adventure like this should definitely hire an experienced High Alpine Guide, no exceptions.