We are SO lucky to live here in Chamonix valley.
Every now and again, we get to experience conditions that are simply PERFECT for great ski days.
Take yesterday, for instance.
It was one of those bluebird days with not a cloud in the sky. We headed up to Les Grands Montets, one of the five ski stations in Chamonix valley which is world-renowned for its acres and acres of off-piste terrain, and found it virtually empty.
It would have been simply rude not to have taken advantage of this by heading up to the very top.
Normally there is a long queue for the top station, but yesterday, we were lucky and scarcely waited.
Here’s a little local’s tip: The buvette at the top of the lift station at the very top of Grands Montets serves potentially the best Croûte Forestière in Chamonix valley. Perhaps it is the altitude. Perhaps it is the method. I don’t know. But over the past few years, we have consistently enjoyed this simple Savoyard meal here. Fresh bread, a heaping of creamy mushrooms, topped with a slice of ham and a handful of grated cheese, add a swig of white wine and a pouring of fresh cream and bake for a few minutes to melt the cheese and wine down to a gorgeous, creamy, sticky consistency. Absolutely delicious at 3230 metres above sea level.
Sustainance applied, Helen, Tim (Helen’s nephew) and myself stumbled down the 30-odd metres of metal steps (ski boots and steps are rarely a gainly combination) to the snow, where leaving the pistes behind, we headed out onto the untracked Glacier d’Argentière for our descent.
Please note that we would not recommend this route to our guests or people who do not know the area without a guide. This is glaciated terrain, and just a few metres past the rope marking the piste, you ski on snow bridges over hidden crevasses. Last year, a guide died here when the snow bridge he was on collapsed, so it can be deadly terrain.
Okay. Warning aside, the Glacier d’Argentière is staggeringly beautiful. We were virtually the sole people skiing the top half, skiing open patches of perfect powdery snow, carefully finding the route, avoiding those place we know there are crevasses, before dropping down amongst the towering seracs and icefalls.
Once we’d dropped onto the main body of the glacier, we were joined by a few other skiers taking the same route out.
Sadly, we only had time of one top bin, but we quickly skirted over to the Bochard lift to grab a last descent down the Lavancher bowl. Again, awesome conditions with lovely soft snow….
We arrived back down at the Pendant lift just before it closed. Just as the liftie was pushing the seats up on chairlift.
All in all, one spectacular memorable day!