Chamonix and the Vallée Blanche

Chamonix and the Vallée Blanche

Chamonix needs no introduction - it's been the birthplace of and ground zero for alpinism, even before the 1924 Winter Olympics were held there. We figured it was time for a return visit for Alps & Meters, so we could test the Alpine Anorak and the Alpine Winter Trouser on the most famous ski run in the world: the Vallée Blanche. 

After a brief stop in Grenoble (known as the Capital of the Alps) to grab a few friends and load up on supplies, and at the tail end of a week-long storm that hit the region, we took our beat-up diesel Mercedes over some terrifying mountain passes, through a few other well known ski towns (like Megève) and settled in Chamonix for two days of skiing we'll never forget.

-Nick Sapia


DAY ONE: LES GRANDS MONTETS

 Our group finding a few new lines in the afternoon sunshine

Our group finding a few new lines in the afternoon sunshine

After a powdery morning with limited visibility, the sky opened up and we caught our first view of the Chamonix valley and the towering mountains that surround it.

DAY TWO: THE AIGUILLE DU MIDI CABLE CAR

 
The base station is a flurry of activity: skiers meeting guides for the first time, everyone scrambling to get their harnesses on, others getting one last cigarette break in before the ascent.
Once we reached the cable car’s midstation, we found ourselves above the clouds and in brilliant sunshine. The anticipation in the car as it left for the Aiguille du Midi summit was palpable, as we all knew what awaited us at the top: deep snow and a bluebird trip down.
 Skiers emerge from the ice tunnel and scramble to secure gear to their packs before making the trek on the arête

Skiers emerge from the ice tunnel and scramble to secure gear to their packs before making the trek on the arête

 
The hike down the arête is a literal and figurative balancing act: balancing the competing desires of wanting to get on skis as soon as possible with the desire to completely soak up your surroundings - all while trying not to slip and tumble down the north face.
 Mt. Blanc and the Tacul glacier

Mt. Blanc and the Tacul glacier

It’s hard not to take a moment and reflect on finding yourself at the epicenter of alpinism, with Mont Blanc, Pointe Helbronner, Grandes Jorasses and even the Matterhorn all feeling like you could reach out and touch them.

THE VALLÉE BLANCHE

After a truly satisfying day on skis, it was back to the chalet for vin chaud and some sun on the balcony, before heading out to celebrate with pitchers of beer late into the night at MBC.
  A French band belting out American cover songs...Plenty of dancing and drinks flowing at Micro Brasserie de Chamonix

A French band belting out American cover songs...Plenty of dancing and drinks flowing at Micro Brasserie de Chamonix