Back to reality… After a weeks skiing in the heart of the French Alps. The Chamonix Mont Blanc Valley, renowned for its off-piste back country skiing, technical mountaineering / ice climbing, fine French cuisine and some of the most expensive and outrageously priced pints in Europe! (Belive it or not, over 8 Euros each)
After an early start and a painless easyjetflight from Liverpool John Lennon airport we finally arrived in Geneva only to find we had a 2 hour wait for the rest of our taxi passengers to arrive and that the taxi was a 20 minute walk from the arrivals lounge. After a full days travelling, the idea of trawling my cases, ski boots and skis that distance really did not appeal. Resulting in a further few pints and bullying our taxi driver into commuting the 20 minute trek to the mini bus so that he could bring it closer, after all, this is meant to be a holiday! Unfortunately this left us stranded in the airport with all our cases holding up a ridiculous whiteboard waiting for our other passengers ‘Victor’ and ‘Mr Melander’ to arrive.
At around 10pm we pulled up outside our appartment ‘Le Cristal’ in Argentiere, by this point all I wanted was to get my skis on and on the piste. My skis were waxed and edged with Swix wax products all ready to get out there, with all the gear I was bound to stand out on the slopes with my Scott corduroy ski jacket, Quiksilver salopettes, Phoenix ski mitts and Bolle Nova Rasta goggles to complete the look… I make things look good.
Despite peoples negativity towards the snow conditions about how poor the snow fall has been so far this season, ignore them! Just because there may not be as much snow down in the village, when you get on the slopes the snow is something else. Our first 2 days were slightly dull with some light snow showers, but after that we were left with a perfect few inches of fresh powder snow on a firm base with clear blue sky’s, things could not get better. Even with the arctic temperatures of -16 at times I still managed to stay warm with a merino wool base layer and the Serious Owen Technical Ski Socks, which really do feel like the warmest socks in the world!
With the public transport and ski buses being so frequent and not costing any extra we were able to make the most of our ‘Mont-Blanc unlimited Lift-Pass’ allowing us to ski the entire area of the Chamonix Valley including :-
- Balme (Tour – Vallorcine)
- Grands Montets 3300m
- Les Houches
- Verbier – 4 valleys
- Courmayeur (Italy)
Courmayeur definitely being one of the most memorable days skiing of the holiday, partially because I had to endure a one and a half hour coach trip through the Mont-Blanc tunnel whilst nursing one of the all time worst hangovers of my life! Despite this it did not put a downer on the day at all, the snow conditions and skiing were fantastic along with the surrounding scenery being second to none. Plus the Italian food, what more can i say… Courmayeur has been a popular resort for over a decade with many celebrities including Penelope Cruz and Heston Blumenthal. So with great skiing, Italian kitchen, fine views, boutique shopping and a bustling apres-ski scene. I would say Courmayeur is without a doubt, definitely worth a visit!
Friday night soon crept upon us and after a week of hard skiing it was time to re-pack the contents of my wardrobe back into my case ready for an early start. Having to get up at 5am to head back to Geneva, I was starting to get the Monday morning blues. Now I’m back in the office faced with a long week ahead, feels like I’ve never been away…