„KÄSTLE skis are the Cadillac of skis!“

Joe Vallone
United States
La Grave, France
Favourite Spot:
La Grave, France
Mountain Guide

Details about Joe Vallone

Skiing Background:

I grew up in the Midwest of Chicago area skiing at Wilmot Mountain and Villa Olivia. The hills here were about 100 meters at best and we mostly used rope tows. I competed during these years in USSA moguls central division for most of my high school years. I moved to Colorado in 93 for College but I spent more time skiing and continued competing in mogul competitions anywhere I could. 1996 I moved to Summit County Colorado and while still competing in Moguls I started my Outdoor education roles and guiding career primarily as a rock guide. I spent almost 10 summers guiding in Rocky Mountain National Park for the Colorado Mountain School. A very high end climbing and mountaineering school based in Estes Park, Colorado. Little did I know at the time that I would later become a ski guide and that all my climbing and technical skills would make me a better skier. Around 1998-2000 I left moguls and competed primarily in Slopestyle, Halfpipe, Big air and anything park as well as a bunch of Big Mountain competitions. It was a great time in skiing as we were all apart of the twin tip revolution. I was judging some X games competitions as well in the years to follow. In 2000 I was an original member of the Copper Mountain Freeride team. I believe we were the first Resort sponsored freeride team in America as well. During that time I split my time competing and traveling for filming with my quest to become a full UIAGM mountain guide. I was living a life with two masks. One that went into the park to film, shoot, compete and jib, and the other that was already teaching Avalanche courses, climbing big walls on remote expeditions and focused on UIAGM certification. Eventually I realized I had to go all in after visiting France for my first time in 2000 where I was invited by a mentor to tail guide on the Haute Route as an Aspirant guide. In 2001 I took my first ski guides course with the late great Doug Coombs and that’s when I knew that leaving the industry behind and chasing Doug to La Grave was were my heart was and in many ways the future of skiing. That changed everything for me and I soon faded from the competition and industry scene to pursue the Alps and finish my UIAGM certification. I have spent the past 12 seasons and now about 10 months a year living in La Grave where I feel right at home. After finishing my UIAGM certification process in 2005 and becoming about the 26th or 27th American to achieve this, I knew I wanted to pursue skiing at the highest standards and La Grave has been home ever since. I was being held back in the States and my skiing was at a glass ceiling. The terrain and the US regulations were not going to let me progress anymore as a skier and I knew it was time to stay in France where I am challenged everyday and will be for the rest of my life. Currently I am skiing my dream lines and focused on really big projects that will push me and force me to improve my skiing and use everything I have ever learned in the mountains. I still love all aspects of the sport and you can still find me jibbing in the park or streets when the opportunity is there. I will never pass up the opportunity to ski bumps either. Mogul skiing is a lost art but an integral part of the complete skier. Ultimately I am pursuing steep skiing now and have much to learn. I am still trying to improve my skiing and I have a long way to go, but La Grave is the best training ground for my purpose on skis that I could ever ask for. When I am not guiding to pay the bills, you can bet your most prized possession I am skiing and focusing on becoming a better skier.

The spirit of skiing:

Quote Doug Coombs:

“The gravitational pull.”

“The best skier on the mountain is the one having the most fun.”

“There is no such thing as bad snow only bad skiers.”


The most risky experience:

Taking a taxi ride in New York city, or any city for that matter.

The most painful experience:

Losing friends and mentors in the mountains.

The ultimate day on the mountain:

Soloing lines that took years of planning and not having a plan, but going with the moment and knowing it feels right to be there on that day and at that time.


Mountains and all the encompass, but mostly climbing them and skiing them.

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