- Photography by Mr John Balsom
- Styling by Mr Dan May, Style Director, MR PORTER
- Words by Mr Chris Elvidge, Senior Copywriter, MR PORTER
According to our guide, it's known as une mer de nuages - a sea of clouds. When it forms in valleys, the surrounding peaks pierce the surface and emerge like islands. Above this majestic landscape, the sky stretches out indefinitely: a band of endless, unbroken blue.
This is Mr Anthony Franklin's world. A qualified mountain guide of some 15 years' experience, he spends 100 days a year roaming the Alps, traversing glaciers and mountaintops in pursuit of the finest off-piste skiing. Migrating to wherever the conditions are best, he lives a nomadic lifestyle during the ski season; his clients, who meet him in Geneva, often arrive with little idea of where they are being taken. "We could be heli-skiing in the mountains around Courmayeur one week and glacier skiing across the border the next. We follow the snow," explains the British-born 44-year-old.
This January, that search took MR PORTER to La Grave, a small Alpine resort surrounded by steep, unmarked routes that has become a Mecca for off-piste skiers. Somewhat unsurprisingly, it's also the place that Mr Franklin calls home. Taking the resort's solitary ski lift, we headed up through the clouds to emerge at the Col des Ruillans at an altitude of 3,200m. Here, Mr Franklin and fellow guide Mr Fred Deffey modelled a series of looks that mixed casual knitwear with technical ski gear - a style that paid homage to a more elegant era, while still remaining decidedly modern. To see more of our trip, click through the gallery, above.