PHAT Challenge 2009 : Courmayeur Off Piste Freeride

The Whiteburn PHAT Challenge 2009 kicked off with clouds of snow pouring onto the mountains of Courmayeur, at the head of the Valle d’Aosta just below the famous Monte Bianco.

On Friday 23rd January 2009, the Whiteburn PHAT participants who were brave enough to face the weather, were treated to an epic day of Freeskiing through woods and gullies, led by two hot French mountain guides up for providing maximum fun and steeze!

The PHAT skiers and telemarketers met up early doors for espressos, lattes, goody bags and a pre-ride chat with the guides about experience levels, capabilities and understanding of avalanche equipment. Once out on the hill, Evolution 2 guides, Eric and Fred, were delighted to discover that the PHAT participants were all capable off-piste riders, so everyone went straight for the trees, profiteering from 3ft of fresh snow everywhere.

As the snow fell heavier and winds picked up, the Courmayeur pistes were getting emptier, but the only breaks from the PHAT powder-riding were the chairlift ascents, until, after a hairy 2m jump off which the PHATtest were throwing themselves, it was finally time to head back to the crazy Chiecco restaurant, where vin chauds, a magician, head and shoulder massages, fantastic food and an unbeatable Italian welcome awaited!

All PHAT Challenge participants donated towards Whiteburn’s sponsorship of the British top giant slalom skier, Andy Noble and emerging junior ski-racer Dan Hall.

Thanks goes to Buff Headwear <www.buffwear.co.uk> for supporting the Whiteburn PHAT Challenge with prizes of the warm and versatile Polar Buffs – the perfect headwear! … plus loads of extra goodies and colour across the event. Thanks also to KBA&D for the après-ski magic and massage entertainments and to Ruth at Mudunlimited, our tireless PHAT event organiser.

The whole PHAT day was filmed by Richie Lawrie of Sinergy Productions who made a DVD for every PHAT participant! As we anticipate more PHAT fun for 2010, Whiteburn are pleased to maintain their support of Andy Noble and Dan Hall throughout the season.

ANDY NOBLE 

Andrew Noble, a 24 year old from Edinburgh, is on the GB World Cup Ski team and this season has already secured a 6th place at a Europa Cup alongside competing in two back to back World Cup events.

Andy has been skiing since he was 3 and has been competing full-time for 5 years. Unfortunately in that time Andy has experienced more than his share of injuries but this season he is fitter than ever and aims to cement his position as GB’s number one Giant Slalom skier.

Having qualified for the forthcoming World Championships, Andy will be focussing on a good result there to build towards securing his place on the GB Olympic team for 2010. Check Andy’s progress on: www.skiandynoble.com

DAN HALL 

Winner of last year’s PHAT Challenge skiercross in Chamonix and British Ski Academy protege, Dan Hall shows great promise for the future. Currently taking time out to get his GCSE’s Dan’s looking forward to sweeping up more trophies next season. www.danhallski.com

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