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13-22 April, Chamonix Off Piste with Beth, Will, and Max Mondzac

Beth and Max--Mont Blanc view

Beth and Will came out from Seattle with their 13 year old son, Max. Will was a real trooper because he had broken his leg (tibial plateau) earlier in the season and was only coming in support. So Beth, Max and I hit the slopes each day, with one rest day in the middle. We had excellent weather the whole trip, and despite the incredible blue skies and Mont Blanc views, we were still able to find powder and by the end some fun spring snow.

The first day we skied at Le Tour. It gives you the best views of Mont Blanc and the Chamonix Valley.

Beth and Max hiking up Tete de Balme with Mont Blanc and the Chamonix Valley behind

 

A little hiking after a few warm up runs on groomer brought us high onto the Tete de Blame ridge with even better views and some great snow.

Silky powder below Tete de Balme

This snow was really fun to ski and the weather was exceptional. We couldn’t believe that there was no one else out skiing the off piste.

Skiing into Switzerland

Then we decided to ski down the Col de Balme into Switzerland. No passport required! The snow was powder!

A nice lunch to be had in Switzerland

From the Tete de Balme, you ski right down to the Swiss Village of Trient where a nice lunch awaits you at the Cafe du Mont Blanc. There is also some great heli skiing above Trient.

Hitching back to Chamonix from Switzerland after a nice lunch

We had to Hitch hike back to Chamonix from Switzerland after lunch as the shuttle bus had stopped running this late in the spring. It was a fun adventure.

off piste above the slopes of Flegere with the Mer de Glace Glacier across the valley

 

The next day we skied at Brevent and La Flegere. This two ski areas are just above downtown Chamonix on the Aiguille Rouge, non glaciated side of the valley and you get great views of the whole Mont Blanc Range. Here Beth is cruising down some off piste with the trails below her and across the Chamonix valley you can see the end of the Mer de Glace glacier where you finish up the Valley Blanche, and the cuts through the trees. The upper one is the Montenvers train which you take back from the VB when there’s not enough snow to ski all the way to town. The lower cut is the trail you ski down when you can ski all the way to town.

lunch at Brevent

 

Will joined us for lunch at the Brevent. There were plenty of opportunities for him to join us. The Aiguilles des Chamonix are across from us.

CrochueBerard Ski Tour

 

The next day we did a short ski tour above the Flegere ski area called theCols des  Crochue  & Berard Tour because it goes over  those cols. Another great view of the Mer de Glace glacier.

Max had never ever ski toured before and was a real trooper. In fact he loved it and maybe I have convinced him to do more, maybe even ski tour racing ?!

Climbing up the Col de Crochue

 

Action packed as we climb up the steep part to the Col (saddle). We are clearly having fun! You can just see a skier skinning up below.

lunch on tour

After skiing down from the Col de Crochue we had a nice picnic befor attacking the gentle slopes up to the Col de Berard behind us. The Chamonix Bakery, St. Hubert, sure makes good sandwiches. And you can’t beat this weather!

Max headed down the Arete for the Valley Blanche

The next day we decided to ski the famous Vallee Blanche (White Valley). You ride the Aiguille du Midi tram up to 3840 meters (almost 12,000 ft.) and have to hike down this airy ridge before clicking into your skis. Note, Chamonix is down below still in the shade. Max is doing a great job negotiating the slippery trail. We have a rope on so noone slips the 3000 ft down the north face!

Valley Blanche Petit Envers varitaton

 

Skiing down. We had ok snow–it hadn’t snowed in a while now, but great views as we weaved around crevasses and glacial walls.

Cruisin' down below Tete de Balme

We had one more day at Le Tour. Here a friend jumped the cornice as is ripping down from Tete de Balme as his buddy videos from above. He is trying to make the big time.

Spring time in the Alps--this was a great off piste run

The snow is melting down low, but there was still snow up high. It was smooth corn snow and things are really feeling spring like—very enjoyable skiing.

On our last day we were hiking above Le Tour and found this Swiss French Boder stone from 1738! I wonder if they patrolled the border on skis back then?

We had a great week and skied all over: La Balme/Le Tour, Le Brevent/La Flegere, Valley Blance, Crochue/Berard Ski Tour, Grands Montets, Verbier, and Trient.

Thanks to the Mondzac family for the adventure. I hope to see you this summer!

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