A question that we get asked a lot is why Mont Gele Gear? Why did we choose this name, and what’s the story behind it? In truth, it’s a homage to a mountain that we love, where countless memories have been made, and which is a Verbier legend within its own right.
There are actually several mountains that carry the name Mont Gelé. The English translation is simply “frozen mountain”, so I suppose it shouldn’t come as a surprise that there are more than just one! In fact, even in close proximity to Verbier alone, there are two. The one that we’ll be focusing on is the 3,022m peak adjacent to Attelas. This mountain is accessed by a small cable car (although now considerably larger than its tiny predecessor). It hosts a variety of terrain and no officially marked pistes. There are two itinerary runs (yellow, semi-official off piste runs) which lead down the rear aspect to Tortin and La Chaux, respectively. The front aspect (looking towards Lac des Vaux) has some of the most challenging, steep descents, which are riddled with rocks. The north side and the Banane couloir lead down to Tortin, and offer a very memorable ride.
“It was time to build a new kind of snowsports brand - one which would give us a vehicle to question conventional wisdom and by which we hoped to provoke major changes in the industry in the years ahead.”
The beauty remains, however, in the raw nature of the skiing experience. The non-existence of pistes and the fact that relatively few people can reach the summit on any given day due to the single, low-capacity cable car, makes this mountain unique. It means that often you can find yourself alone, on an untracked slope, yet be quite literally in the middle of one of the largest ski areas in the world. I remember my first ascent of the mountain as a young child. I’d skied all kinds of terrain and was not yet particularly fearful of anything, yet the experience of cramming into the small cable car, walking along the snowy ledge at the top, and then being introduced to this vast arena of powder, is a memory that’s stayed with me ever since. Over the years, we’ve regularly skied the mountain with our friends, and it’s always the highlight of any trip.
The moment that led to us naming our brand after the mountain in question and embarking on this adventure, was a late January day in 2019, when we were riding the Mont Gelé …in t-shirts and with almost no snow beneath our skis. At that moment, an upsetting realisation set in - that the knock-on effects of unchecked global consumerism and wastefulness were already having a tangible impact on a mountain that we love. It was time to build a new kind of snowsports brand - one which would give us a vehicle to question conventional wisdom and by which we hoped to provoke major changes in the industry in the years ahead. And thus, Mont Gele Gear was born.
The striking painting of the Mont Gelé is by Alice Luetchford, mountain painter & ski racer: