Planks People: Tignes & Val d'Isere Seasonaires (Part 1)

This is the first in a series of Shred Threads that dive into the ski heavy lives of the Planks people. So kicking things off we've got a two part blog with Tignes and Val d'Isere seasonaires. First we have young blood seasonaire Joss Baldwin and OG seasonaire, Planks Founder, Jim Adlington.

Joss Baldwin - Ambassador & Seasonaire

What is the best part about calling Tignes your home for the winter?

It's huge, like ridiculously massive. I'm currently three seasons deep here, and I don't feel like I'm even close to having skied all the easily accessible off-piste routes, let alone all the backcountry that is on offer here! You'd need a lot of years to get bored of the skiing here.

Photo by: Sam Box

What is a standard ski day in the life of a Tignes seasonaire?

A classic powder day for me in Tignes would usually consist of a few laps in the Chardonnet bowl, hopefully opening a new line each run. Then the Merles Couloirs straight down into Golf (bus-stop) from there I'd usually head to the infamous Fingers, they're the most obvious line in the whole of Tignes, and yet quite often you find you can still get fresh tracks in them late in the day. Once you're all skied out, a beer and a burger at the Loop terrace is the way to go. On a sunny afternoon, everybody congregates there and good vibes are plentiful!

What backcountry mission is the highlight of your season so far?

For one reason or another, I haven't had too many big missions this winter, but for sure my favourite one from last year was Swedish Couloir. It's fairly easy access but boy oh boy is it a climb. The only way to get to the top is to climb straight up the guts. It starts off at fairly mellow 40(ish) degrees but ramps up to 50+ by the top half. Combined with deep snow makes it a hard but super rewarding climb. After an hour or so of climbing, you get about 8 seconds of skiing. Pretty keen to get back up there after the next good snowfall and straight line it, because who doesn't love a straight line?

Photo by: Sam Box

What is your scariest experience in the backcountry?

Luckily I haven't had too many scary experiences in the backcountry. There have for sure been a couple of times where I've dropped into a face that I've been fairly confident is safe, and then started to move. If that happens I tend to think about pointing my skis straight and getting out of there.

Why is the backcountry skiing is one of the most exciting way to explore the mountain?

It's really nice to get away from the crowds and feel like you've gone somewhere where not that many other people have been. Skiing a line you've had to tour to or boot pack up is for sure more rewarding than just skiing straight off the lift into.

Photo by: Sam Box

Where are the best backcountry lines in Tignes?

I'm a big fan of the Vallon de la Saché, there aren't tons of lines to send on, but it is super sheltered which means the snow is almost always good. It's a great spot to hit when there hasn't been any recent snowfall.

If you could control the conditions what would your perfect day on the mountain look like?

Probably pretty similar to others, 30-40cm of fresh, cold snow, sunny, no wind, and nobody else on the mountain and no risk of avalanche. It would be crazy to be able to go anywhere without any fear of instability.

Photo by: Sam Box

What are your ski goals for the rest of the season?

Hopefully, we get a really solid couple months of consistent snow, I've got a fair few lines in my head that I don't think too many people will have skied. So I want to get after them and hopefully put an edit out at the end of the winter.

Photo by: Sam Box

What is your go-to piece of kit for shredding powder and why?

My GoPro. How are people going to know I was getting rad if I don't film it?

What is your favourite feature of the Yeti Hunter outerwear?

I really like that it is made using Repreve fabric (recycled plastic bottles). Backcountry skiing is pretty heavily reliant on a stable environment. So having ski clothing that has a smaller impact on the planet and environment is important to me!

Jim Adlington - Planks Founder & OG Seasonaire

How long have you been living in Val d’Isere?

I have been living here for 25 winters. I love calling it home because it is a 5-minute walk from my house to the lift, which gets you to some of the best skiing in the world!

Where and how did Planks Clothing begin?

Planks began in Val d’Isere, where I’d been living for 14 years, when I was coming to the end of my professional skiing career. I had noticed the lack of outerwear brands dedicated to freeskiers. Most of the cool skiers on the mountain were wearing snowboard brands, so I came up with the idea of Planks Clothing, created for skiers by skiers. We started with beanies and T-shirts, which eventually grew into outerwear. The idea has always stayed the same, design cool products that allow skiers to have good times in the mountains.

What is a day in the life of Jim in Val d’Isere?

Well, first off I always look out of the window and see what the weather is doing. I am a big fan of getting up early and getting outside so I always start the day with a dog walk, usually walking my girlfriend into work and checking out the conditions as we go. Being out early gives me a chance to see the mountain and how she is feeling. If it’s a powder day then I am constantly checking to see where would be best to go first. After the dogs have been walked, I get in and have a good stretch and eat some breakfast. Check emails and get excited for the day ahead.

The phone starts buzzing with mates and we start formulating a plan, powder days are the best. After an avalanche risk check, a plan is hatched. I try and ski every day whatever the weather, usually until 11, then I spend the rest of the day on the computer checking in with work. The evenings usually include another dog walk and a check-in at the Planks Val store, which is next to a great little bar. So after a couple of demis, it’s back home for dinner and normally an early night. My days of skiing all day and then partying all night are over, early nights and green tea are where it's at! Although you’ll occasionally find me out mixing some funk and soul in the evenings at the Planks events we host throughout the season.

What is the best day skiing you’ve ever had in Val d’Isere and why?

To be honest I try and make every day the best day, after a long time here I am so lucky to have had so many great days. It’s too hard to pick one day out, but the best days are riding with great friends and staying safe.

What is your favourite part about Val d’Isere’s skiing terrain?

When it’s on, it’s on. I think the fact you can get into some super steep and challenging terrain straight off the lift is my favourite part. Val has every type of terrain you could ever wish for as a skier, big lines, trees and amazing pistes. The powder is not always guaranteed, so I equally enjoy ripping around the many great pistes that Val and Tignes have to offer.

What is your go-to piece of kit for shredding powder and why?

The Yeti Hunter Shell Jacket and Bib, because it has been designed for the backcountry! It has everything you need, great fit, great fabric and all the features you could ever want for a great day shredding the powder.

What is your favourite feature within the Yeti Series?

The pockets on the jacket and the bibs. They are in the right place, they're a really good size and they work with a backpack. The chest pockets also have vents and the dump pockets are great for stuffing your gloves in when you need your hands free.

Can you tell us more about the Yeti Series and it’s history?

The Yeti Series was designed by a close group of mates that share the same passion about skiing as I do. We made it the best we could, with all features designed with skiers in mind, technical 3 layer outerwear that doesn't break the bank.

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