Saturday, January 13, 2024

Fresh Tracks Everyday

Annie,Jimmy,Eathen,Mark,David all complete with their "Batons d'Allain"

 When the group have  come all the way from Boulder Colorado to ski with you, the bar of expectation always seems to be set slightly higher.  Its made more so when its the teams third consecutive trip. David and Mark returned, this time with their children.

Blue skies don't generally give good off-piste powder snow, and  its just as well because we had a forecast of fog.  On our first day, Saturday, in an attempt to gain some visibility and ski in the trees, we headed through the Mont  Blanc Tunnel to Courmayeur, where there was no fog, just sunshine and very good snow conditions, the only down side was it was quite busy, it being a Sunday and the tail end of the New Year skiing.  This did not stop us enjoying an excellent lunch at La Chaumiere. 

The off-piste run back to the car was sublime.

On the Sunday the high season crowds were going home . But the fog was still around - so we headed down the valley to tree ski in  Combloux.  The skiing was absolutely fantastic.

Quiet unique and beautiful.

On the Monday the weather was clearer and we skied for the fisrt time in the Chamonix Valley, this time at Les Grands Montets where we had good conditions, no one around and a magical lunch at the Cremerie.

High above the clouds at Les Grands Montets

Tuesday we skied at Le Tour.  Due to the fact the top lift had been closed for several days due to a malfunction, we found our selves with lots of still untracked snow to ski.  When we had used this up we went on a 30 minutes ski tour across the border into Switzerland which opened up further swathes of fresh snow, and gave us fanatstic views up the Rhone valley.
Looking east up the Rhone Valley

The barrage d'Emosson

On our final day Wednesday we returned to Les Grands Montets with the aim of climbing up and over the col du Rachasse so that we could ski down onto the Argentiiere glacier- one of Chamonix's most  iconic ski descents.
Team coming over the col du Rachasse.

All was going fine until we actually got over the col, because as we did the light went flat.  Although you could see the mountains in the distance , it was very difficult to distinguish the immediate ground in front of your skis.  This is quite problematic when your on a glacier dealing with concealed crevasses.

In the end having seen over the course of the previous four days that the team were made up a very good skiers, I decided to give it ago and ski down onto the glacier.  At first the skiing was made even more difficult because there were was a crust.  Yet within about a 100 meters vertical descent the light improved and so did the quality of the snow.  We eneded up with a wonderful descent and an awe inspiring ski down the side of the Argentire glacier, all the way to the Chalet Lognon where we had an excellent late lunch.

Big Seracs on the glacier du Rognan

Mark & David about to thread their way down the side of the Argentire glacier.

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