When winter is not around the corner and you are eager to hit some slopes and do some first descends then you have to be creative. Independently from each other, some ski fans from Italy and Vanuatu came up with the same solution to this skiing problem by descending the Volcanic Ash covered volcano in their backyard!
Skiing powder ash on Mt Etna
Sicilian Mount Etna is known as one of the more active volcanoes on earth. On average it erupts every 1.7 years. After one of these eruptions in 2014 Marco Tomasello & Simone Braconi took advantage of the fresh volcanic ash that covered the flanks of this imposing volcano. They hiked to the top, got ready in full on ski gear and made a first descend skiing from top to the base of mount Etna. And it looks like a proper and fun ski run indeed…
And it was fun. Not much later Tomasello was back with another skiing buddy (Claudio Lanzafame) to make another great descend (including a dusty crash) on mount Etna
Skiing Mount Yasur on Vanuatu
The Italian ski enthusiasts were however far from the first to try skiing the ash of an active volcano. It was actually the Pacific island of Vanuatu that had the honour of hosting the first volcanic ash skier.
It was on a sunny day in 1997 that New Zealander Dave Stewart hiked up Mount Yasur in his ski boots and while carrying his skis. The ascend through the soft volcanic ash was the first challenge. The descend was the second.
Stewart had come to Vanuatu to make a ski descent of Mount Yasur to commemorate his friend Danny Reed, who had died in a skiing accident. Reed had skied Yasur some years before and by redoing that ski run, Stewart wanted to pay tribute to his friend.
The highly active volcano actually erupts constantly and this made for a spectacular scene!
The run was filmed by volcano expert Geoff Mackley, who himself got world fame Diving into the Active Marum Volcano, also on Vanuatu.