Leg powered playground…
No Ski Lifts….
Chamonix is famous for it’s long off-piste runs and ski touring off the lifts. Runs like the Vallée Blanche or the Breche Puiseux ski tour from the Aiguille du midi are world famous Chamonix ski touring outings. This year is a little different as it’s no longer possible to roll out of bed, stroll over to the Aiguille du Midi station and magically arrive at 3800 metres. Yes, the lifts are all closed and the mountains are again wild and inaccessible. This means no rushed powder frenzy, no queues, no lack of parking, no expensive lift pass and best of all no lack of fresh tracks! Of course this is not great for the local economy but it does show the Mont Blanc area in a new, more natural state which is quite cool.
Small mountains can be fun mountains!
The Aiguille du Midi would be around 3000 metres of height gain as a ski tour and Mont Blanc almost 4000 metres. This is not something you do often unless you’re an ultra marathon type. Luckily there are many lower mountains with great ski touring and with all the bad weather and wind in the early winter the conditions were perfect lower down. We were lucky to have consistent low temperatures with snow at low altitudes allowing us to ski the alpine foothills through fields and villages.
Ski areas can be perfect touring areas
Early season snowpacks are generally to be treated with some caution and the normally classic off-piste runs of Le Tour, Grands Montets, Brevent and Flegere are easier to manage from an avalanche perspective than some of the more remote areas. They remained pretty untracked powder fields if you were willing to skin for a few hours.
“Leave the roads; take the trails”Pythagoras
Would we do it all again?
I guess we’ll be happy when things go back to normal but for the moment we can enjoy nature in the quiet, wild mountains. Places where the Ibex, Chamois and other alpine animals are clearly much more active in open spaces and seem to enjoy the break from the human masses. It’s worth wondering if we’d build these lift systems if we were to start again, or if some areas should be left in their natural state. Couldn’t we all do ski touring and nordic skiing? It’s a great stress-free day and great for your health. Just saying….