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Welcome to the Team: Stephen 'Chipie' Windross!

Tignes and Val d'Isere local legend Chipie has travelled the world to realise his dream of skiing in the most hard to reach, yet beautiful places.
Whilst being a long-time friend of Tignes Spirit, we are super happy to announce that he is now an official member of the Tignes Spirit team! 
Riding for eco-conscious brands such as Patagonia, he represents free-skiing at it's very core....

Read on to find out how Chipie fuels his passion for big-mountain skiing....

Where does your love of big mountain skiing come from? 
My probably started in the North West of Scotland where my mother is from, and where I spent a lot of my school holidays messing around in the hills. My parents were kind enough to take my brother and I on skiing holidays to small resorts in Eastern Europe when we were young and I loved it.
I was offered a job in Val d’Isere and the mountains there blew my mind. They were so big compared to what I had seen up to then! After that, if I saw a mountain I wanted to climb to the top of it and of course, skiing down is heaps better than trekking down on foot!
How have you managed to support yourself to pursue your dream over the years?
Initially I was working for ski holiday tour operators but became bored of that after a while so set up a restaurant called Tignes Cuisine which was (and still is!) a great place to work. 
Once I felt that it was time to move on from there, I focussed on accruing some mountaineering qualifications and now work on expeditions around the world. This has allowed me more free time to enjoy the mountains whilst also finding happiness through adventures in nature. I realised that I don't need to buy things to be happy...
What has been your favourite skiing adventure so far?
Hmmmm.. that's a tough one! It's hard to single out a favourite adventure but one that does spring to mind is a South to North traverse of Les Courts from the Mer de Glace to la Tour in Chamonix. It was special as it was out of season so the lifts were shut and we scored with the conditions. I was with friends Paul Lang and the late Will Eaton so it's a special memory for me.
How do you stay fit and motivated when you are not skiing?
I find surfing is often the best for keeping up my all-round fitness whilst keeping in sync with nature and the weather. It's also amazing fun! For motivation, you can't beat simply surrounding yourself with motivated people who are passionate for skiing, nature and the outdoors. 
Social media can be a great source of inspiration, but I prefer a book or good blog as I feel more motivated from that than photos and a load of hashtags! I like to plan and dream for the future, so that I've always got a goal and a challenge which pushes me to make my dreams come true!
Ski adventures require a lot of down time do you best spend this time?
Reading, planning and visualizing. Quite often the best adventures I’ve had have not succeeded the first, second or third time! However, I have to remember that this makes them even better if they do work out with the right conditions. I also find that my kit needs to be taken care of well and regularly serviced so I enjoyed having a tinker around with it all!
Who and what has inspired you the most?
Travelling has probably inspired me the most. There are so many places and things to discover with different perspectives and approaches to life. I find trying to be open minded allows you to be inspired by different styles as well. For example, I like skiing with snowboarders as they often look at a line differently to skiers and you can mix up a bit of the two styles to have more fun in your riding.
Why do you keep coming back to Tignes and Val d’Isere?
The crew I ride with there and the easy accessible mountains with great terrain. Tignes is pretty hard to beat for that.
Which brands do you ski for and why?
I ski for Patagonia, DPS Skis and Planks. I enjoy representing their brands because I truly believe in their products and would choose them whether I had a hook up with them or not! Patagonia make clothing that I can trust to perform in the places that I want to be. They put a lot of time into R n D with athletes that are using the kit so it is not just a fashion item. They also care more about the environment than most companies, which I really admire.
DPS skis are rad and I love their skis! They're light, strong and feel great to be on top of! Although they're quite a big company, they really feel like a family that I like being a part of.  When I speak to the managers of DPS I can tell that they are fully stoked on the mountains which I love!
Planks is my favourite home-grown Alpine brand, started by my good friend ‘Skier Jim’ and the brand is currently blowing up world wide. You'll still find Jim in the mix on a pow day – nuff said!
Please explain the project are on at the moment? 
Photo: Ross Hewitt
Photo: Ross Hewitt
I’m working as a field guide for the British Antarctic Survey.
BAS do scientific research for the environment and climate change mostly on Antarctica. My job is to help scientists so they can do their research safely while they are out in Antarctica. It’s a great job in an amazing location and thankfully a lot of the places that I am working are in mountainous regions with interesting terrain to ski.
You recently spent time on Baffin Island. What were your most magical moments there and the hardest you faced?
There were so many magical moments. Baffin is an amazing place and we scored with the conditions there. Probably the hardest thing I found was buying the plane ticket from Ottawa to Clyde River as that was a lot of money. The skiing was epic with steep walled 1000m+ couloirs to the sea ice but the most magical moment for me was getting to meet and speak to the local Inuit people. I found them to be fascinating and I'd love to learn more about their culture – I think I should have been an Inuit!!
Where can people read more/watch edits from this trip?
Check out my buddy Ross Hewitt’s blog he was on the expedition and he writes about rad mountain adventures all around the world.
Finally, can you imagine life without skiing?
Yes.... but I’d have to be out of sight of the snow and mountains or I’d really struggle. If I had a sweet wave to surf with good fishing nearby I’d be good... I reckon!
Anything else you’d like to say?
Have a ripping winter wherever you are YEEEW!!
You too Chipie - thank you for the chat and we're all looking forward to keeping track of your adventures this winter! Stay safe out there...

You can purchase the latest range of Patagonis clothing from the Tignes Spirit shop in Tignes le Lavachet or online.