New Vallée Blanche video

Long time no blog posts.  However, this is because we’ve been pretty much flat out with guests this Winter….

We’ve had one of our best seasons so far – fantastic snow, and we’ve had some wonderful guests through the chalet again.  Hopefully made some good friends too…

I bought a Go-Pro camera back in December and have been out a few times with it.

In January, we skied the Vallée Blanche with our guests, John and his wife, Kathy, together with James Kaler, our trusted ski guide and instructor, and took the camera along with us.

What a day!
Amazingly clear, blue skies.
Fresh, incredibly deep, virgin powder.
Bonus! Precious few people had been down the route before us – so we had LOADS of fresh tracks!

It was, however, incredibly cold and windy on the arete…
So cold, in fact, that I even got frost nip on my ears, despite wearing some ear protection thingies…

In all the time that I have lived in Chamonix, I have never experienced powder snow as deep as it was this day…

Awesome.  Watch and enjoy!

 

Wingsuit flying in Chamonix – beautiful yet scary video!

Just occasionally I come across something truly breathtaking online.

Awe inspiring.
Amazing.

Amazingly scary!

If only because I know this place well.
If you know Chamonix, perhaps you’ve been here too!

It’s Brévent.

I walk it.  I ski it.  I paraglide it.

I’ve never seen anyone wingsuit flying it.  Until now….

Presenting M. Vincent Descol…  le Blond.
After watching this, I swear the man must have balls the size of Malta!

Thanks to Jane and Lars for letting us know about this video.  Wow.

The Corliss Resolution

Chamonix in Summer 2012 – Our what’s on, not-to-be-missed guide….

Chamonix is idyllic in Summer.

The snows have melted back.  The alpine pastures are green and full of wild flowers.
The alpinists are climbing, the hikers hiking…
…and the skies are full of paragliders circling in the thermic air and Chamonix town bustles with life as tourists flock here in their tens of thousands.

Helen walking in the mountains with the Aiguille du Midi behind

For people who only know Chamonix as a Winter ski resort, they might be surprised to learn that there are actually MORE people in Chamonix in Summer than in Winter!

Like any town bustling with life, there are a whole HOST of things going on for people to enjoy and experience…

So, if you haven’t got any plans for summer yet, then you are always welcome to visit Chamonix!  For a week or a weekend, we have space available in July and August.

Every Wednesday morning at 9:30, discover the history of Les Houches at “Les Chavants, 15,000 years of history”…  Trace the last glaciation, agriculture of yesterday, the first tourists…” Registration 4€ from the tourist office in Les Houches.

Every Thursday, there are guided tours around Chamonix town for 7 euros.  Discover the history of Chamonix and its secrets.

The Festival of Baroque runs from the 6th July to the 20th!  In honour of Johann Sebastien Bach, there will be a series of 13 concerts in churches throughout the Pays du Mont Blanc.  Information here: http://www.festivalmontblanc.fr  Listen to Bach in the church in Chamonix on Sunday 8th 20:15 at the Eglise St. Michel, then choirs in Servoz on Tuesday 10th, and Vivaldi and Bach in Les Houches on the Friday 13th 21hrs 22€ on the door. 20€ from the tourist offices in advance.

 

We are especially looking forward to the World Cup Climbing competition – between Wednesday 11 and Friday 13th July, the best climbers battle it out right in the centre of town on a 15 metre high, artificial climbing wall.  Both the technical difficulty and head-to-head speed climbing competitions are equally impressive.  Should be just us and 17,000 other spectators for the final!

This is followed immediately on the Friday 13th July night at 23:00hrs by the Fireworks spectacular!!  For the last 17 years, the company, “Commandos Percu” have been combining percussion with pyrotechnics!  This promises to be quite the best fireworks in Chamonix in a long while.  Original, audacious and surprising!  The post-climbing fireworks are normally SPECTACULAR, so this promises to be quite an event!

Then, more fireworks in Les Houches on Saturday 14th July to celebrate the cutting-off of heads of various French aristocrats a couple hundred years ago…

 

The Chamonix tourist office is celebrating its 100 years with free guided visits, from mon-thurs 16-19 July at 10h, as well as an exhibition of photos of Chamonix 100 years ago. We also have the  Ciné Concerts Tues 17/Fri 20 July and 11/12 August  at 18 & 20h –  a montage of old cinematography (the first fimed ascent of Mont Blanc) accompanied live by talented musicians playing the music of the period (Gershwin, Wagner, Strauss and Rossini!). 18€

 

Not to be missed!  Tuesday 24th July to Sunday 29th July, Chamonix plays host to the Cosmo Jazz Festival – organised by André Manoukian (the French equivalent of Simon Cowell!!).  During the day, you hike the mountains of Chamonix valley and get  to listen to the free Jazz concerts at altitude!   Then, there are more free concerts in the bars and restaurants throughout Chamonix starting in the early evenings.  Superb!   http://www.cosmojazzfestival.com

Béatrice Hombourger performs on the violin with a programme of Massenet, Beethoven, and Maskowsky on the Tuesday 31st July at 18h at le Temple, Place de la Gare.

 

The Fêtes des Guides  starts on the 12th August up in Lavancher, in Les Houches on the 13th, and culminates in Chamonix on the Wednesday 15th August.  The guides festival takes place every year at Les Gaillands starting at 15:00 – with demonstrations of Tyrolienne and Slacklining, acro paragliding with Baptiste Rousset at 18:30, concerts from 20h and the Sound and Light spectacle at 21h30. €13.

 

The Chamonix Adventure Festival runs from the 20th to 26th August –  screening adventure films in Chamonix and Les Houches, and offering courses on adventure photography and videography.

 

Finally on the 31st August, we have the Ultratrail du Mont Blanc.  Cheer 2,300 runners taking on a 166 km course with 9,500 metres of UP!   The runners come through Les Houches at about 19hrs – we have Edgar playing in the centre of the village together with a giant tartiflette!  The time to beat is 20h 05  set by Dawa Sherpa in 2003!    Run, Kilian Jornet, Run!  The man is a machine!  The ‘Usain Bolt‘ of Ultramarathons!

 

So…  that is just a taster of what’s going in on Chamonix this summer –  Our selection from all the events that are going on.
and of course, we still have some of the best walking, hiking, climbing, and mountaineering in Europe on our doorstep….

It promises to be a fun-packed, action-filled summer here… and if you have the opportunity, we would highly recommend coming to Chamonix for a bit of a break away this summer!

Fun off-piste in powder in Les Houches!! [video]

This January, Chamonix has received more snow than any January since 1967.
Over two metres 10cms fell in just one night in Argentière a week or so back.

So, when yet another 40cms of snow fell yesterday at chalet level, and with visibility greatly reduced throughout the valley, Helen and I chose to ski our own backyard: to explore the off-piste possibilities in Les Houches.

In Chamonix, most people head up to Grands Montets when there are powder snow conditions – which unfortunately means it also gets tracked out very quickly.

Instead, we sometimes go searching for the interesting and excellent little routes and lines that can be had in Les Houches.

Les Houches is so under-rated for off-piste skiing, but it holds some superb hidden gems….

This is one of our favourite spots for off-piste here: down through the trees over by the Grand Bois button lift.
This year has seen SO much snow fallen that it is thigh-deep in places – and today was simply exceptional.

The day the mountain skied our garden

No longer content to be simply ski in, ski out…  Maison Jaune is setting a new standard – ski through!!

Yes, dear readers…  The lovely skiing folk in Les Houches decided en-masse to ski our back garden.

Take a look at this little video…

Basically, the pisteurs have not bashed any snow into the tunnel by the house – consequently, rather than taking skis off and walking it, everyone has been skiing across the road and down through our garden.

It is the first day open in Les Houches – and just about every other ski station in the valley was closed due to TOO MUCH snow falling overnight!!

Anyway, what a fantastic first day !!  Especially if you like off-piste, as there was an abundance of thigh-deep fresh powder…

The forecast is for more snow in the coming days… What a brilliant start to the ski season!

 

Lots going on in Chamonix in Summer 2011….

Busy summer here in Chamonix with lots of spectacular events going on in the area.

Firstly, in July there was the Climbing World Championships
Both the speed and the technical events were held in the place du Mont Blanc…

I love the speed events – I think it incredible how these athletes can climbing SO quickly up that vertical wall…. So, so impressive…

That coincides with the Bastille Day celebrations with spectacular fireworks in Les Houches and Chamonix.

Then, we enjoyed the free JAZZ of the 2nd Annual Cosmo Jazz festival.
There were some superb jazz musicians playing for free in the town centre and up the mountain. They would set up a short walk from some of the main lifts and play for everyones’ pleasure!

We sincerely hope they continue this event as it is one of the most enjoyable events of the Summer.
(shame I actually missed the above concert though – held at Lac Bleu above Plan d’Aiguille.)

There was the annual fête des Guides over last weekend – to raise money for the families of guides who have lost their lives or been seriously injured at work – finishing with its light show at Lac Gaillands on Monday.

Just starting today (Tuesday 16th August) is the Chamonix Adventure Film Festival showing films at the Majestic.

This culminates with a free film showing at the Lac du Chavants in Les Houches on Wednesday 24th August.

and finally at the end of the month, is the Ultratrail du Mont Blanc.

For those that have not heard of this, the UTMB is 2500 runners running 166km around the Tour du Mont Blanc – with the best winning time to beat of 20 hrs 5 mins set by Dawa Sherpa in 2003 (when of the 722 runners in the competition only 67 finished…).

NEW! Our webcam is launched!

Ready for the opening of Les Houches from the 11th December, we have just launched our new webcam, or “piste-cam” as I prefer…

Our Chamonix chalet webcam

Overlooking the Aillouds pistes here in Les Houches, you can see the piste from the chalet, the snow cannons currently hard at work, as well as the Chavants lake in the background…

Apparently, Les Houches is due to open the Maison Neuve chairlift this Saturday, and open early from the 11th December.   Grands Montets opens fully from this weekend!!  Lets go skiing!!

Insane! Infinity tumble on a tandem paraglider!

I don’t often post about stuff that isn’t related to the chalet or our lives here in Chamonix valley… but occasionally I come across something that blows my mind just a little… and I thought I’d share – especially as it concerns one of my passions – paragliding!

The “Infinity” manouver is an acrobatic paragliding trick where the pilot literally loops the glider in the vertical axis…  The wing loops the loop… It is called the Infinity because the pilot can actually keep the glider doing it ad infinitum… or until he hits the ground – whichever happens first! 

It is THE most difficult and dangerous acro trick in paragliding…

So… a couple of guys decided they would have a go on a supped-up tandem!!  Way to go!  Of course – sponsered by Red Bull!  They’ve got wings!

New promo video now on YouTube….

The ski season is well and truly over…  We are now back from our two week honeymoon (sailing around the Greek islands – bliss!).. and the season for concentrating on our on-going marketing efforts has begun… Oh, and all the updates/renovations/improvements we’ve been planning over the winter season for the chalet too….

Google has now launched its Caffeine update… which has large implications for web search… and consequently, video is featured much more prominently.  So… to celebrate that, we’ve produced a new short video showing the chalet and the views from the chalet…   It’s kinda cool, chilled, and relaxed…  just like us!! 🙂   Basically we want to be found at the top of the video section whenever someone googles, “chalet chamonix”!

You can view our Chamonix chalet video here.