Pow in the Alps! Chamonix Diaries Part Deux
After 5 weeks of warm sunny skies and no precipitation, people in the Chamonix valley were getting pretty complacent with shorts and t-shirts, afternoons on the patio, beers in the sun, and topless rockcliming. Then the impossible finally happened in the French Alps… it snowed. Chamonix's Grand Montets reported 25cm, skiers said 40cm, and the Aiguille du Midi website was claimin' 100cm!
As confused as the next guy, we figured the only way to find out what really happened in the alpine was to let the skies go blue then head up the Aiguille du Midi to find out for ourselves.
Thanks to Forrest Coots for some of that footage!
20 minutes till the lifts were scheduled to open, the keen skiers started rolling in and lining up for the first tram. 2 hours later, we hadn't moved an inch, waiting for some de-icing work, or who knows what else. But here's the catch… nobody was getting agro! Instead, people were socializing, taking turns doing coffee runs, and speculating about where the best snow would be. If a lift in Whistler was delayed for 2 hours on a powder day, you'd have angry letters, debates at the singles line, and demands for refunds or hot chocolate vouchers.
But hot chocolate aside, the doors opened at 10am, and everyone piled in for a quick 9,200' ride to the goods. While the sardine-can tram ride seemed packed to the max, the crowd was instantly irrelevant up top when they dispersed across god-only-knows-how-many thousands of acres of skiable terrain. Some raced for the Glacier Ronde and Couloir Cosmiques, others shussed towards the Vallee Blanche, while we (Dylan Taylor, Forrest Coots, and myself) swung a hard left towards the Grand Envers.
From deep pow up top to windblown slabs, refrozen bumps, and smooth wind-buffed speed sections, we hit pretty much every kind of snow you could think of on our two laps in the area. But after a drought like that, the snow in the face was the only part anyone will remember from that day… kinda like the video.
Photo Jamie Bond