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"The Brecon Beacons is a Park of consistent character. Imagine, if you can, wave after wave of open mountainside, rising and dipping fluidly across the landscape like some giant, petrified green sea.


Although a mountainous area, these highlands have little in common with their northern counterpart in the Snowdonia National Park, where a lucky dip landscape of boulder-strewn slopes, jagged pinnacles, boggy moors and wooded valleys changes by the mile.


In comparison, the Beacons are reassuringly uncomplicated and homogenous. In topographical terms, this is a Park of few surprises, of highland pure and simple. There is a fundamental simplicity and solidity about the Beacons, qualities underlined by the wide, open spaces and big skies that are such a feature of this part of Wales.


The uniformity displayed by the Brecon Beacons derives from the nature of the underlying rock, Old Red Sandstone, which divides the ancient rocks of central Wales from the south Wales coalfield.


Old Red Sandstone is a sedimentary rock which has weathered to create the smooth, rounded profiles, enlivened by ice-sculpted ridges and escarpments, which characterise much of the Brecon Beacons.


Haughty alpinists may scoff at the moderate height of these mountains. They do so at their peril. The Beacons have a formidable reputation for rewarding complacency by biting back. Gradual, deceptively gentle slopes lead to knife-edge escarpments which plunge suddenly and steeply.


The mountainsides are treeless, affording scant protection from the chilling wind and few reference points for those not handy with a compass. And when mists and rain descend - as they often do - it is all too easy to become disorientated and hypothermic, as demonstrated by the number of victims which the Brecon Beacons continue to claim and the frequency with which the mountain rescue teams are called out.


It is wise not to underestimate the challenges posed by the SAS' favourite training ground."


Roger Thomas

Brecon Beacons : The Official National Park Guide



I first skied in The Brecon Beacons National Park in the spring of 1998, after returning from a 10-day holiday to Stranda, Norway.


An unexpected late March dump had blanketed the slopes around the four main peaks of the Beacons - Corn Du (873m), Pen-y-Fan (886m), Cribyn (795m) and Fan-y-Big (719m) offering exciting and challenging turns.


I was able to ski the NW face of Fan-y-Big but the crown jewels of Corn Du, Pen-y-Fan and Cribyn's steeper slopes eluded me.


We also got enough snow in my town of Aberdare that spring to make turns on the hills above my home. One memorable morning was spent skiing through the opencast mining machinery and slag heaps of Tower Colliery, much to the amazement of the crane drivers.



2004 / 05

Five years ago I juggled 'mannying' for a family of 3 children here in Aberdare with instructing during the UK school holidays in the Dolomites of Italy. I would head up to the Brecon Beacons at every opportunity, and managed to get 18 days in that winter.


I kept this thread going, but unfortunately the pics are not showing up.


Powder in The Brecon Beacons



The steeper slopes of Corn Du, Pen-y-Fan and Cribyn still eluded me, and to my knowledge the NW face of Cribyn and the NE face of Pen-y-Fan are yet to be skied.


This shot was taken from Cribyn looking back to the NE face of Pen-y-Fan





and looking down the NE face of Pen-y-Fan from the summit plateau






I was due to spend my fourth winter on the island of Hokkaido when I got the call at the start of September to head home to look after both my parents.


As I was going to be here indefinitely I brought all my gear home with me in the hope of making turns on the hills above my home and in the Beacons.



Sunday 08 November 2009


First trip over the Beacons just to clear the cobwebs, work on the fitness and take some autumn scenics.


Cefn Crew




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Monday 09 November 2009


Back up for more, this time to the top for sunset. The weather changes dramatically in the Beacons. These shots taken about 30 mins apart.


Looking into the Cwm Llwch glacial cirque from the summit of Corn Du





And this time after the mist had cleared. The peak to the right is Pen-y-Fan, and the slopes below it offer some of the most consistent turns in the Beacons.





Cefn Crew from the summit of Corn Du





The clouds rolled in once again and I walked out in a real pea souper.

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Amazing lighting.

Originally Posted By: MikePow
We also got enough snow in my town of Aberdare that spring to make turns on the hills above my home. One memorable morning was spent skiing through the opencast mining machinery and slag heaps of Tower Colliery, much to the amazement of the crane drivers.

lol I'm still waiting for enough snow in Tokushima to that. I've got a few lines picked out. Will definitely do a TR if we ever get enough snow down here.

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Monday 30 November 2009


Since the first snow had fallen on the Beacons I'd followed the weather forecast on the Met Office site religiously, tuned into Derek Brockway on Wales Today and Radio Wales, and received numerous calls from my Aunty Val updating me on the snow status on Fan Fawr. Fan Fawr is the peak on the other side of the A470 road from Pen-y-Fan, which she can see from her bedroom window. If there's snow on Fan Fawr, then there's normally double on Pen-y-Fan.


Met Office Weather Forecast for the Brecon Beacons


Derek's Blog


So I drove over in the afternoon to chance my arm.


As I was heading up for some sunset shots and turns I received plenty of gentle ribbing from the walkers that were making their way down off the mountain.


It wouldn't be the first time I'd hiked up something with my skis on my back only to hike back down, thank you Yotei wink


The walk from the 'Toliets' car park to Bwlch Duwynt (the notch between Corn Du and Cefn Crew) takes around 45 mins fully laden, with a further 15 mins to the summit of Pen-y-Fan.


There'd been a pretty good fall of snow and I was loving the light, the views, the clash between autumn and winter, and the thought of actually making turns.


Llyn Cwm Llwch from the summit of Corn Du





The slopes below Pen-y-Fan filling in nicely, with the town of Brecon in the distance





Pen-y-Fan from the summit of Corn Du





Rhiw yr Ysgyfarnog and Corn Du





Corn Du and Llyn Cwm Llwch





And then it was time to make the first turns of the season smile


Cefn Crew from the summit of Corn Du. I skied below the rocks in the foreground and then traversed over to the slope top left. Hiked to the top of the ridge and dropped in. 5 to 10cm of frozen granules. Fast and furious. Fabulous.








Corn Du from below Cefn Crew





The goods wink




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Originally Posted By: MikePow
Originally Posted By: Mr Wiggles
What would you call that? Sole deep?!

Soul deep wink

Me and my mates used to ride on less snow than that on long bits of plastic sheeting. You can't beat grassy hills. We'd have been in heaven on big slopes like yours!
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Thanks all smile



Tuesday 01 December to Monday 21 December 2009


Commitments at home and the return of the normal precipitation for this part of Wales kept me from the Beacons for the first three weeks of December.


But I did manage to catch a few sunrises from the top of the Graig in Aberdare and up Dare Valley Country Park.



Sunrise over Mountain Ash





Looking over Cwmdare and on to Fan Fawr in the Beacons





The top lake at sunrise, Dare Valley Country Park





And then on Monday 21 December the heavens opened and we got our first snow of the winter in the garden smile





Looking out to Merthyr mountain



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Thursday 24 December 2009


The snow continued off and on, more off than on if truth be told, through to Christmas Eve. But the temperatures had plummeted, so what had fallen was hanging around.


The run up to Christmas had been a pretty difficult one, so the opportunity to escape for a couple of hours was most welcome.


The previous days' snow had transformed the Beacons with almost top to bottom coverage.


The mists were rolling in and out and Brecon was hidden beneath the clouds. It was fabulous to be out in the wide open spaces again.



Cwm Sere glacial cirque from the summit of Pen-y-Fan





Cwm Llwch glacial cirque from the summit of Pen-y-Fan





Skied one packed powder run into the Cwm Llwch cirque below Pen-y-Fan and when I got back up on top I met a guy who was spending the night on Pen-y-Fan under canvas. Lucky bastard.


Lucky because he was going to wake up on Christmas Day on 'top of the world', and because the last time I'd spent the night under canvas in the Park I woke to find that the snow had disappeared overnight in the drizzle and I had to walk 10 miles in my ski boots to get back to civilisation.


This snow wasn't going anywhere smile



Corn Du and the Cwm Llwch glacial cirque





Sunset over The Black Mountain





Skied back around to Cefn Crew and made some fast turns on crunchy snow a good way down to the car park. Had to walk the last 500m or so.

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