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Chamonix and Verbier Off Piste, Ski Touring and Heliskiing w/ Joe Malone, Bruce, James, Michael and Doug, 1-10 March 2010

Joe and the gang above the Vallorcine Chutes on day 1

Joe Malone brought a crew out to Chamonix this year from Portland, Maine. All of them ski hard at Saddleback and Sugarloaf and have a penchant for the backcountry. Chamonix was the perfect Alps launching ground for their 10 day trip.

We had a hard charging week full of off piste, ski touring, glacier skiing and even a heli adventure…

Here’s our  itinerary:

Day 1: Off piste at La Balme/Le Tour. We found good powder besides the pistes and great powder on off piste(out of bounds) runs on the way to Vallorcine.

Day 2: Grands Montets ski area. Known for great skiing in diverse terrain this is a great place to ski for high glacier runs, big bowls, or silky smooth tree skiing.

This is actually some nice powder of of La Balme!

Day 3: Ski Tour at from La Flegere ski area to Le Buet and back on the train:The col des Crochue/Berard Tour.

Arriving at Col de Berard

Day 4: Off to Courmayeur, Italy for some great off piste runs into the Val Veni and one of the best meals near Mont Blanc, from Anna at Chiecca’s.

We found some great powder above the Courmayeur ski area.

 

Day 5: Saw us headed to the Valley Blanche, with none other than Glen Plake.

The crew was excited to meet Chamonix local, Glen Plake

Day 6: Vallorcine steep skiing and descent into Trient, Switzerland.

About to go out of bounds and ski down to Vallorcine.

Day 7: A well deserved rest day for all!

Day 8: Verbier off piste, Les Ruinettes, La Chaux and off the back of Mont Fort.

Behind Mont Fort in Verbier, Switzerland. A vast expanse!

Day 9: Ski tour from La Flegere to Lac Blanc up and over the Col de Belvedere (with a rappell to enter the couloir) to find some nice cool northfacing powder on the way.

Descending the Col de Belvedere on belay.

Day 10: Heli skiing on the Rosablanche all the way down to the town of Fionnay where a nice cafe awaited us.

Approaching Rosablanche in Switzerland for some heliskiing.

Knee Surgery

On the second to the last day of my Mallorca climbing trip I strained my knee on some steeply undercut, overhanging sea cliffs. The diagnosis was a small meniscous tear that I finally decided to have surgically repaired in mid january. 

The surgery went well and I was back to work the 6 weeks later.

Chamonix Off Piste Skiing with Bill Alfond

Bill Alfond lives in Maine and was happy to come ski in Chamonix after the birth of his grandchild in Geneva,

Bill high above Chamonix at La Flegere ski area

 Switzerland. While the weather wasn’t ideal, as is often the case with bad weather, the snow was excellent.

Bill is on the board of the US Biathlon Team and after skiing here and visiting his daughter and her new family in Geneva, he watched a World Cup biathlon race in Germany.

Domique and Family Came to Dinner the end of November.

Domenique et sa femme

Domenique et sa femme

Domique and his family were finally able to make it over for a visit and a meal with us at Chalet La Frasse. We had a great time and the kids played quietly while we chatted and caught up. Both he and his wife spent a fair amount of time in the US when they were young and learned to speak english very well. Dominique’s ski shop, Sanglard Sports is the premier rental shop for alpine and ski touring in Chamonix–it’s easy to reserve on line: (www.rentski.com). They also sponsor the new Ski Mountaineering club that Nina started with the Chamonix Club des Sports!

Chamonix 30 November snowstorm

Skiing at chalet La Frasse, Chamonix, France

Skiing at chalet La Frasse, Chamonix, France

So after an earlier snow fall the beginning of november that allowed for skinning and skiing at Le tour, winter has started in earnest, we hope. This dump came from the southwest and was heaviest here in Chamonix and much lighter in Switzerland. The skinning and skiing has been pretty good at Le Tour and even at Planards. I saw tracks up and down from La Flegere, but it looked a little thin over there. It was great in the yard as well!