WATCH: Man skis through cloud of ash during volcanic eruption
PUBLISHED: 12:00 19 June 2015
SKIING through a thick cloud of volcanic ash may not be everybody's idea of a good holiday activity but Edward Plaister did just that when he visited Mount Etna, an active volcano in Sicily.
The 22-year-old from Bleadon spent the winter season working as a ski instructor for New Generation Ski School in the French resort of Courchevel.
He and five of his friends planned a trip to the Italian peak Etna to take a break from working the slopes.
But they got more than they bargained for when it started to erupt as soon as they landed in Italy last month.
Mr Plaister said: “A friend of mine is a volcano guide on Mt Etna so we went there on holiday for some time away.”
Mt Etna is the largest and most active volcano in Europe and the eruption in May was the second this year, following one in January.
Mr Plaister said: “We weren’t expecting to see it when it was erupting, but it started when we landed and finished when we left to go home.
“My friend works as a guide so he took us up there and showed us around.”
The daring group of six friends went up the volcano three times, experiencing the eruption from multiple angles as they skied through its giant ash cloud.
Mr Plaister said: “The third time we went up to the north face, where there was still a bit of snow.
“We had special bindings on our skis which allowed us to climb up the snow.
“We nearly reached the summit but we couldn’t get quite to the top because it was erupting and there was ash and volcano all around us so we skied down, it was an amazing experience.
“It was obviously a little bit daunting because as you’re skiing along it is almost dark. The ash cloud blocks out most of the sun.”