Every now and then, there comes a ski day which stands out WAY more than all the others. For me, it typically it involves vast quantities of powder snow….
I remember approximately two years back, skiing down one of the faces of the Brevent ski area in Chamonix in waist-deep powder. We did that run three times that day, and not a single set of our tracks crossed. Amazing.
Well, yesterday, Helen, myself and a couple of friends skipped through to Courmayeur. It is a small ski town, the other side of the Mont Blanc tunnel from Chamonix. A mere 30 minutes drive away.
We soon found ourselves at the top of the Arp lift – the very top of the mountain where there are no ski pistes at all… facing a huge off-piste descent back to Courmayeur town. Sadly, the visibility was not so great, but with the lift behind us closing for lunch, our avalanche transceivers bleeping, we set off…
After a seriously steep entry down a powder-covered icy slope – great practice for jump turns! – we soon found ourselves the only skiers left on the mountain, and emerged into the most amazing valley. Waist-deep powder that stretched on for miles! I have never experienced powder this consistently good.
[ed note:] it might have transformed into boiler plate by now – the mere location does not necessarily guarantee great powder!
A bit further on, the valley opened up and we found ourselves tracking down through pine trees – following narrow paths through the trees – yet still the snow was simply incredible – soft, easy to ski. The path weaved past summer chalets with a metre of snow covering their roofs. Down gullies with huge (soft!) moguls, dodging the over-laiden snow-covered branches of pine trees hanging in our way…
The photos truly don’t do justice to this route… (taken by iphone rather than my usual camera)
… An hour and a half later, we emerged from the forest straight into Courmayeur village. Legs tired. Adrenaline pumping. Ecstatic!
(shortly followed by a quick tele-cabin ride straight up to the Maison Vieille – one of the best restaurants on the mountain for pasta and bombardinos!)