Preseason riding tips from Davide Capozzi

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The fall can be a very frustrating time of the year; the desire to get back on snow after a long summer is high, but finding decent riding conditions can be difficult. Thus, we've interviewed and collected some of the best tips for preseason riding from our team riders. First up is Davide Capozzi providing some tips about where to go in the Western Alps.

What's your favorite resort for pre-season riding?

The obvious place to start the season in Valle d'Aosta is Breuil - Cervinia as the high altitude allows for early fall riding. However, I personally prefer to start the season with the first snowfalls at Punta Helbronner, on the Italian side of Mont Blanc. Good conditions are likely to be found there thanks to the cable car that brings you up to an altitude of 3466 m.

What makes Helbronner so special?

The environment is always special at Punta Helbronner because you are in the very high mountains. It is more challenging to ride in fall because the snowpack on the glaciers is still thin and there are a lot of crevasses. Therefore, you have to be very careful about where you go. However, you can often take advantage of good conditions for riding short steep faces. Especially in recent years we have seen amazing conditions in the fall, similar to those you would usually find in the spring, allowing for steep descents.

Daniel Furberg and Davide Capozzi riding at Helbronner on February 2. 2016

What time of fall would you recommend to go to Breuil-Cervinia, and why?

For those who want to do the first freeriding of the season I'd say that Breuil-Cervinia is a must-go! In November it is already possible most of the time to make long runs and there are days with less people during the week. The winds in the fall are also not too strong, which means you can often find good snow.

Any special runs you could recommend?

All descents that start from the top station of the Plateau Rosa are interesting and the cable car from Cime Bianche allows you to do a lot of laps in one day.

 Cime Bianche and Plateau Rosa marked in red. Map from www.cervinia.it

Cime Bianche and Plateau Rosa marked in red. Map from www.cervinia.it

Do you have any favorite place for splitboarding in fall?

After the first snowfall, I love the area of the Gran San Bernardo, along the border between the Italian Valle d'Aosta and the Swiss Valais. The cold currents here often provide a lot of heavy snow early in the season that allows for some early splitboard tours. You can choose to either go to the Italian or the Swiss side depending on whether it is a northern or southern cold current.

Backcountry snowboarding can be a dangerous activity. You should always read the local avalanche report, bring the necessary safety equipment, and have the required safety knowledge before heading into the backcountry. Looking for a mountain guide in Valle d'Aosta? Then you should get in contact with snowhow.it