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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
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    First Ski Trip in Europe - Chamonix April 12-16, 2019

    My wife and I visited Chamonix on our first trip to France 10 years ago in late September and ever since its been a dream to return and someday ski there. Finally made it happen last month! Working at a ski area, its hard to get away during the season, so we made mid-April plans and it all worked out as our area closed on April 8th. I knew we'd want to tour and not having glacier travel experience that we'd want a guide. As it happens, my wife's childhood friend and classmate became a mountain guide and has been based out of Chamonix full time for 4 years or so now, so we had that angle covered. We flew in to Geneva and got a shuttle to Chamonix on the 10th and took the 11th to settle in and recuperate from the flights.

    Day 1 -April 12
    Started at Brevent and rode up the Planpraz gondola to mid station, skied down to Cornu lift and rode that to start the tour. Low clouds in the valley gave way to brilliant bluebird in the alpine as we skinned above the Cornu top station.
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    Found some nice soft snow on a firm base up top as we dropped over to the other side of the Aiguilles Rouges
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    From there we skinned up a valley to another saddle and then a descent down to the Le Buet station to catch the train back to Chamonix
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    Super fun first day in the books!
    Last edited by BobbyBill; 05-15-2019 at 09:46 AM. Reason: fixing photos
    Buy the ticket...take the ride.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2017
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    on the banks of Fish Creek
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    1,383
    Beautiful day!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
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    Wasatch Back: 7000'
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    8,809
    Looks like you had fun!
    “A society that puts equality before freedom will get neither. A society that puts freedom before equality will get a high degree of both.”
    ― Milton Friedman

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
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    Day 2- April 13
    Col du Passon
    Another nice day with plenty of sun as we started skinning from Grand Montets up next to the Argentière Glacier
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    Transition to a short bootpack
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    more skinning and great views
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    another longer, steeper bootpack
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    topping out
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    down to Le Tour
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    some combat skiing at the end
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    great 2nd day and a beautiful evening sunset back in town
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    Buy the ticket...take the ride.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Gaperville, CO
    Posts
    3,769
    Dope TR. Cham looks incredible every time. Keep 'em coming.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
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    Between a rock and a soft place. Aberdare and The Brecon Beacons, Wales
    Posts
    2,719
    You're a lucky man

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    On the field
    Posts
    636
    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Pow View Post
    You're a lucky man
    I was thinking the same thing

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    lakeside
    Posts
    650
    Awesome. We did something similar to your day one.........because we ended up at the same spot for beers It's fun to look see photos and be able to know exactly where it is.

    So when are we going back?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
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    BoZone
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    Day 3- April 14
    My wife took a rest day, so our guide Kris and I made a plan for something a bit sportier and headed up the Midi with the Cosmiques couloir in mind. It turned out to be a bit sportier than intended, but I guess that's Chamonix! The Midi is amazing in it's own right and makes the Big Sky tram look like the Bridger Snowflake chair.
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    Rappelled into the Cosmiques hoping for chalky buff...
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    After the 50 meter rappel, which was kinda scary in its own right, I waited as Kris followed after me and we regrouped and he took me off the rope. Conditions turned out to be very, very firm...slide for life and steep. The steep was fine, the surface conditions not so much! After a puckering 15 meter or so of inch by inch side stepping down to a reasonably enough levelish spot to regroup, we decided it would be safer for us to abandon our skiing plans and climb out. Off with the skis and on with the boot crampons and out with the ice axe!
    Climbing out..."Hey, I'm really ski mountaineering, now!"
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    Happy to not be as gripped...Welcome to Chamonix!
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    With that excitement over with, it was a pleasant ski down the iconic Vallée Blanche, another lifelong skier's dream
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    The beer sure tasted good at the Montenvers train station after the day's exploits and the climb up the stairs to the gondola. A memorable day in the mountains in a truly amazing place!
    Buy the ticket...take the ride.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2019
    Posts
    2
    Nice pictures. Chamonix best skied in your 30's. Just got back from my fifty second ski trip to Europe, hope to go again.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
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    Quote Originally Posted by RudiMatt View Post
    Nice pictures. Chamonix best skied in your 30's. Just got back from my fifty second ski trip to Europe, hope to go again.
    Well, I didn't make it over to ski until I turned 50, but better late than never. It won't be 10 years before we return!
    Buy the ticket...take the ride.

  12. #12
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    Sep 2008
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    Quote Originally Posted by easyrdr View Post
    Awesome. We did something similar to your day one.........because we ended up at the same spot for beers It's fun to look see photos and be able to know exactly where it is.

    So when are we going back?
    I enjoyed your TR as we were there at nearly the same time and you got me inspired to go through our pictures! I'd love to go back sooner rather than later, that's for sure!
    Buy the ticket...take the ride.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Posts
    6,013
    Awesome pics is some classic places! This should be reference for the "do I need a guide in Cham?" question. Could you self guide from Brevant to Buet if the weather closed in? Could you find, rap in and climb out of the Cosmiques?

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
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    Quote Originally Posted by Foggy_Goggles View Post
    Awesome pics is some classic places! This should be reference for the "do I need a guide in Cham?" question. Could you self guide from Brevant to Buet if the weather closed in? Could you find, rap in and climb out of the Cosmiques?
    No, and no, which made the guide question an easy one to answer in the affirmative.
    Buy the ticket...take the ride.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    idaho panhandle!
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    6,990
    Most excellent!

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Where the center is on the right
    Posts
    679
    Nice dude!
    "If you're gonna be dumb, you gotta be tough."

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Spokane/Schweitzer
    Posts
    5,110
    Nice!! Between you and easyrdr, I'm getting randy for Chamonix...

    Okay, since I've written off this trip partly due to age, I have to ask: How old are you?

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
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    Quote Originally Posted by GoldMember View Post
    Nice!! Between you and easyrdr, I'm getting randy for Chamonix...

    Okay, since I've written off this trip partly due to age, I have to ask: How old are you?
    50. You can do it!
    Buy the ticket...take the ride.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Dec 2018
    Location
    DownEast
    Posts
    268
    Cham, Bam, Thank you Ma'am! Glad you had a great trip and I hope to ski with you more.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Spokane/Schweitzer
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    5,110
    Quote Originally Posted by BobbyBill View Post
    50. You can do it!
    Yeah, maybe.... But not if my wife has anything to say about it.

  21. #21
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
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    Day 4 - April 15
    Morning light on the Mont Blanc massif from our rental near the Brevant Planpraz gondola station
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    Up the Midi again
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    Stunning alpine grandeur
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    Some clouds building over the Italian border where we are headed
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    Completely socked in by the time we crossed the "border" and had lunch at the top station of the Skyway Monte Bianco. No views but a great lunch of lasagna and tartiflette with some awesome pie and coffee. Very civilized in these parts!
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    Bellies full, we skinned off lunch to access the Valle Noire variant of the Valle Blanche as the sun reappeared.
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    Touristy photo in the Ice Cave
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    Up the stairs to the gondola and the train from Montenvers back to town for sunny apres beers...all smiles!
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    Buy the ticket...take the ride.

  22. #22
    Join Date
    Mar 2019
    Posts
    2
    Quote Originally Posted by Foggy_Goggles View Post
    Awesome pics is some classic places! This should be reference for the "do I need a guide in Cham?" question. Could you self guide from Brevant to Buet if the weather closed in? Could you find, rap in and climb out of the Cosmiques?
    Things are easier with a guide, but expensive. Find a local to show you around, buy them beer, or wine, it is France. Brevant to buet, probably others on same ski so follow them. Though some don't like that.

  23. #23
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Paper St. Soap Co.
    Posts
    2,322
    Nice, everyone seems to be getting Euro trips in this year.

  24. #24

    FIRST SKI TRIP IN EUROPE

    Nice, Dude.

  25. #25
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Ventura Highway in the Sunshine
    Posts
    21,333
    Great TR, and great conditions. Chamonix at any age is wonderful...I was just there at 60. Third time skiing, third time failure. Plan was to do the Haute Route but guide jacked his knee the day I arrived. Plus liike my last trip weather turned to shit. The week before was fantastic spring with a bit of fresh just like you had, but upon my arrival the fohn set in and conditions sucked...oh well, thats Chamonix.

    Glad you get the goods, looks like a near perfect trip.

    As to the guide question, no you don't "need" one if your skill levels are adequate, but they sure make the trip a whole lot easier. Most of us have a very limited time on such a trip, and a guide can help maximize the time spent skii g and not trying to find a local to hook up with, or trying to figure out the train or bus links often needed, not to mention the network they can tap for instant beta.

    I agree it is a constitutional right for Americans to be assholes...its just too bad that so many take the opportunity...
    iscariot

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