Over the last few seasons, Jonny Richards has become obsessed with skiing a ton of resorts. Literally. Thankfully he’s now got the century and we all need never hear about it again
I’ve no idea where this fixation came from. And I’m more than a little embarrassed by it. No doubt the seed was planted over a few après beers, with equally ski-obsessed friends, and before long (on a long flight and drive to the mountains) I was making a little list.
I still have the scrawled, scruffy and now victorious A5 sheet. To start with, it was like an auction. Brain freeze and no bidders. But soon, thanks to teleporting myself back to school aged 14 (and outings to first Alpe d’Huez, then Flaine in my bright red Kappa ski jacket), then ropey uni trips to La Plagne, Les Arcs and anywhere else cheap and cheerful, I was past a dozen.
Maybe I can get to 30 or 40 I thought, like some sort of bingo addict, shiny-eyed every time I unearthed some other long-forgotten stop. Italy for a morning on a Virgin Balloons media trip, three days in Montafon for a lad’s mag that quickly went bust, a stag day shred and heavy sickness just outside Munich, Morocco while taking part in a Banger Rally for Men’s Health, Austria for Channel 4’s skiing website… By the time I finished up with five Fall-Line freelance years (and solo ski safaris to the likes of the Pyrenees and Quebec, where clearly no one else wanted to go) plus about the same time on staff, I was at a very exciting 70-odd.
Crikey, I remember thinking, I can get to 100 in a few seasons if I pull my finger out. Finally, last March (thanks to a couple of winters pretty much ticking off every resort going in Utah, Colorado, Hokkaido, and getting far too excited about tiny fields that pretty much no one but me had ever heard of) I did just that via Crested Butte. How do I feel? I’m not quite sure, after all it’s quite addictive this skiing version of stamp collecting. But one thing I’ll definitely not be doing is pushing onto the 1000, with a few ski-mad friends joking it will only take me to 2059 if I average 20 resorts a year. Balls to that… unless I find a new knee and credit card sponsor!
Jonny’s ski list in all its scribbled-on glory
To suit you. I class a resort as anywhere you can happily ski for a day or two. So Méribel and Val Thorens most definitely are two, even though connected. While Courchevel and La Tania are definitely one. After all, you’d be mad and very bored to just ski the latter’s three or four runs.
Pick of the bunch
Jackson Hole. Couldn’t tell you why, just has that something, and the hairs on your neck stand up when you see the place and stand under the tram. A serious mountain, with Corbet’s Couloir the ultimate run.
Runt of the litter
Anywhere in North Carolina. Never again. Mega cold, no snow, no vert, no joy. I think one day I even refused to ski… Chased across the county line by a mad, armed redneck too. Really.
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