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Meet the skier swapping Les Trois Vallées for Welsh valleys in hunt for perfect powder

Off-piste? There is no piste in Pembrokeshire for Chris Morris and his crew of Welsh skiiers

Barney Davis
Sunday 28 January 2024 21:41 GMT
Footage shows skier gliding down mountain in Wales

Who needs après ski on the Swiss Alps when you can slalom down the peaks of Pembrokeshire and be home for tea?

Skiier Chris Morris, 30, says the best snow in Wales is just as good, especially after the Pembrokeshire Dangler where a narrow, heavy band of precipitation moves down off the Irish Sea, causing enough powder to fall on his local hill Foel Eryr on 19 January.

The property manager from Reynalton, Pembrokeshire told The Independent that it feels much more satisfying to “earn your turns” by searching far and wide for useable snow closer to home.

Chris Morris descends again in Wales (Chris Morris)

He said: “I’ve been skiing the Welsh hills and mountains for a few years now, but it always feels good to put the skis on and make a descent after a long hike carrying everything.

“It feels especially good skiing my local hills in Pembrokeshire, which don’t get skiable snow very often.

“I normally have to venture further afield to the Brecon Beacons or Snowdonia, where the snow is more frequent and lasts a little bit longer.”

Chris is part of a group of skiiers who eschew the Alps for Welsh mountains (Chris Morris)

He said he was part of a small but growing “cult” of skiiers who eschew the Alps for Welsh mountains calling the activity “not for the faint-hearted”.

He added: “Unfortunately the snow in Wales is very transient, so we could get a big fall one day and it’s gone the next.

“So I could never say ‘come to Wales instead of the Alps’ because skiing in Wales is a very spontaneous thing and it’s something that requires a pinch of salt.

“There are days where you forget where you are. The best skiing I’ve had in Wales has been comparable to some of the stuff I’ve done off-piste in the Alps. You can’t really compare piste - because we don’t have any.

“But there’s been days where the snow is knee deep and powdery and that’s provided great some skiing - even if it’s just a few turns.”

Next on his bucket list is Wales’ tallest mountain, Yr Wyddfa, also known as Snowdon with the ‘Welsh ski season’ running from November to May.

He added: “There’s no period where snow-cover is guaranteed, so the best days could literally be any time between November and May.

“The snow generally lasts longer when it falls between December and March. Any skiing outside that time is very spontaneous.

“I’m normally the only person on the mountain with skis. But there is a thriving little skiing ‘cult’ in Wales - so it’s not unusual to see maybe a dozen skiers and snowboarders on Pen y Fan after a good snowfall.”

Les Trois Vallées it is not but Mr Morris is highlighting there are plenty of good valleys closer to home.

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