Started this trip out with 3 days in Paris, then got a one way rental car to head to the Chamonix Valley (and fly out of Geneva). 6 hour drive from Paris to Chamonix was nice, mostly countryside with some small villages seen set on hillsides. Once you pass Geneva (and pay mucho $$$ for tolls!) you quickly get into the foothills of the Alps...
This would be my first time skiing in Europe, and the Alps, so a major bucket list item. It was the most amazing ski experience of all time. The scenery and mass to these zones is unbelievable.
I'll try and let the pics do most of the talking:
Arriving in the Chamonix valley, you could just tell you were about to be surrounded by massive mountains
We were headed to an AirBnB that we had found months earlier, perched up overlooking town, this was our view. Aiguille du Midi seen on the right in the first pic
First night we walked around town and then checked out the local microbrewery for dinner:
We were staying right down the street from the Brévent cable car, so we walked past it on the way to town to scope out the scene/walking route for the morning. This station is situated right in the middle of a neighborhood which was pretty cool.
Cool status board
First ski day was at Brévent-Flégère. A few minutes walk got us to the Plan Praz gondola, which gets you from town up to the ski area. From the top of Plan Praz, you access the Brévent cable car, which gets you up to the black runs and associated off-piste to the far lookers left of the ski area. Went through the clouds and out on the other side:
Plan was to work from left to right and try and cover the whole Brévent-Flégère area and make it back by closing time to get back down Plan Praz gondola and back to our place. Going all the way over to Flégère and back down that cable car at the end of the day would pretty much place you in a completely different town.
This is the cable car line that connects Brévent to Flégère. They were made into one ski area sometime in the 90s I believe it was
It was kinda foggy in the morning, so I don't have too many good Brévent photos from the first day (good ones came on day 3, I skied this area twice, since the first day my wife wasn't skiing and it was just easy to walk to the lift by myself from our place, I scoped out where she could best ride to enjoy the place and we came back the last day together). Once I got over to the Flégère side, the sun started to come out, and the views really started to show themselves. It was much more open landscape on this side, all above treeline.
Spotted a nice line off the lift, easy traverse along the rocks in this photo upper left
Poma lift gets you over the next ridge
Traversed out above some groomers to some lightly tracked snow
Some cool shots of the on-piste surrounded by endless line options off-piste right nextdoor
In several of these photos you can see Les Grands Montets across the valley along with the Argentière Glacier to it's left and Mer de Glace to the right.
This was a good run
Quick stop for a beer, had to at least check out the mid-mountain bar La Chavanne
Reppin' the FACE hard...
Would end up skiing the line right above my head on day 3.
Excellent views from La Chavanne
Mont Blanc in the cloud
Back over to Brévent
A few last runs working my way back to the gondola I came in on in the morning
Spotted one last line from the chair, so looped back to hit it. Took a very demanding traverse over avy debris from couloirs above, but tired legs still got me to this last line of the day
Looking back halfway down from above
Called it a day, thinking about how effing awesome skiing Europe is.
Day 2: Headed through the Mont Blanc tunnel popping out on the Italian side about 30 mins later
Courmayeur is pretty much teh first town you hit within 5 minutes of passing through the border control
Took the cable car from town up to the base area which has a number of bars and resturants
I skied solo on day 1 in France, but my wife was out today, as she wanted to have her first day at a more intermediate friendly place. Courmayeur definately has more groomed runs than the French side of Mont Blanc
Took some wide open groomers first thing in the morning
Looking down over the base and further into town at the head of the Valle d'Aosta
My wife enjoying that nice grooming:
Lunch at Refugio Maison Vieille. Did some research on this, as Courmayeur has many resturants scattered throughout the mtn and this one had great reviews.
After lunch headed to the upper cable car
Another lift to off-piste only area
Pano shot from outside this station...Monte Bianco in the clouds
Traversed all the way out lookers left to ski the last bit of untouched leftovers
A little Apres Ski...they love playing house music at all these places
Back into town
Local Guides HQ
Closed the night out with a couple beers and this table of free food for happy hour....didn't need to eat dinner after this one!