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  1. #76
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    Jan 2005
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    Access to Granlibakken
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    We’ll be doing our month in Cham thing, this time in February, so let’s have a beer and talk BTC stale. Srsly though I can help with restaurant beta, etc.
    Want taller, better heel risers for your Marker Alpinists? Check this out

    28.5 TransAlp Pro boots for sale.

  2. #77
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
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    PDX
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    Quote Originally Posted by frorider View Post
    We’ll be doing our month in Cham thing, this time in February, so let’s have a beer and talk BTC stale. Srsly though I can help with restaurant beta, etc.
    Funny thing is I rarely talk about BTC IRL. Can't have my friends thinking I'm some kind of psycho. Haha

    I'd like to hear where the secret stashes are that I can ski switch to the road tho.

    Thanks for the offer.

    Sent from my Pixel 7 Pro using Tapatalk

  3. #78
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Posts
    150
    +1 for working with a guide for anything off aiguille du midi. We also had a guide for a day of touring around grand montets which was super helpful to navigate the glacier and find some better snow in what was a pretty bad dry spell. We went with someone through the Arcteryx/Chamonix Experience shop and they were great. Not sure about the gripes about food in cham. It's a mix of typical ski town casual stuff but we had some nicer more typical french meals as well. As others have said, as good or better than any other ski town food i've had. Brevent/Flegere are probably your best bets for intermediate stuff aside from venturing over into italy, but i've not skied there so can't vouch for that. Plus the tram to top of brevent offers some pretty awesome views of the whole chamonix valley.

  4. #79
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    Dec 2010
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    3,856
    Quote Originally Posted by justo8484 View Post
    Plus the tram to top of brevent offers some pretty awesome views of the whole chamonix valley.
    Highly recommend eating a lunch at the top there. And the skiing shouldnt disappoint there either.

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  5. #80
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
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    nj / 'dacks
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    450
    Quote Originally Posted by stalefish3169 View Post
    make some intermediate turns with the gf for a bit and then will hopefully hit some gnar on my own
    I planned a trip to Chamonix / Courmayeur with my wife back in 2018 that more or less fits your format...it was an add-on to a Paris trip we took...I wrote a trip report on @NYSkiBlog which is still in the archives of the old forum, which may not have any real valuable info, but for nothing else, may provide some stoke for the trip with your gf. Can confirm view from top of Brevent is killer (bring her up there, send her back down if need be (my wife did that they didn't care, bonus funny video i made sending her down)) and also I had got a really good recommendation courtesy of TGR forums about a happy hour spot in Courmayeur with killer free food if you bought a beer. Can't recall name, think started with an "A", I'm sure someone here knows.

    Trip Reports Archive - Chamonix/Courmayeur 2/20-23/18 (nyskiblog.com)

  6. #81
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    Dec 2008
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    PDX
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    4,751
    Hell yeah! Nice pics and TR.

  7. #82
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
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    Seattle
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    33,518
    Quote Originally Posted by californiagrown View Post
    lunch
    The suckling pig at Capitan des Alpes in Val Veny/Zerotta Courmayeur.

    Sitting in the sun with pork fat running down your beard staring up at the Brenva while helis take off and land nearby is hard to beat.
    Quote Originally Posted by Downbound Train View Post
    And there will come a day when our ancestors look back...........

  8. #83
    Join Date
    Dec 2016
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    In a van... down by the river
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    13,450
    Quote Originally Posted by PNWbrit View Post
    The suckling pig at Capitan des Alpes in Val Veny/Zerotta Courmayeur.

    Sitting in the sun with pork fat running down your beard

  9. #84
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    Jan 2008
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    truckee
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    Quote Originally Posted by PNWbrit View Post
    The suckling pig at Capitan des Alpes in Val Veny/Zerotta Courmayeur.

    Sitting in the sun with pork fat running down your beard staring up at the Brenva while helis take off and land nearby is hard to beat.
    And the Freney face--10K vert feet, with a history interesting even to nonclimbers. Our guide for a couple of routine days at GM and VB was in a group of three that set the record for the winter ascent of the Aiguille Noire de Peuterey, Aiguille Blanche de Peuterey, and Central Pillar of Freney. 6 days.
    https://www.thebmc.co.uk/peuterey-su...al-on-mt-blanc
    Pierre Labbre was our guide. Super nice, modest guy.

    Can you eat the suckling pig if you don't have a beard? Presumably they have napkins?

  10. #85
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    Dec 2003
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    Seattle
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    Quote Originally Posted by old goat View Post

    Can you eat the suckling pig if you don't have a beard?
    Yes.

    But it dilutes the whole experience.
    Quote Originally Posted by Downbound Train View Post
    And there will come a day when our ancestors look back...........

  11. #86
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
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    3,856
    Also, the locals pronounce it Sham-o-nix, while the rest of france and the world says Sham-o-knee. I thought our guide was messing with us at first so i asked what was up with how he was saying it.

  12. #87
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    Jan 2008
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    Quote Originally Posted by californiagrown View Post
    Also, the locals pronounce it Sham-o-nix, while the rest of france and the world says Sham-o-knee. I thought our guide was messing with us at first so i asked what was up with how he was saying it.
    It's the Savoyard pronunciation. Sorta like Catalunya vs Catalonia. I believe there is a small Savoyard separatist movement, although the main separatism in Chamonix is separating tourists from money.

  13. #88
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    Apr 2016
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    1,058
    Bumping this thread - any other recommendations for lodging and/or guide services? Looking at a mid-March trip with a focus on off piste/freeride/some light touring, preferably in ice axe/crampon terrain.

  14. #89
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
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    8,571
    That probably encompasses a pretty wide range of experiences and budgets.

    Are you rolling solo?

    What kinda of experience do you have in big glaciated terrain?

    What type of objectives are you looking at?

    Personally, I like being within walking distance of the Aiguille du Midi and the Brevant Gondi. When I go to Cham, I don't get a car.

    The only guide I know personally is my buddy Ray https://www.rayhughes-mountainguide.com/guiding

    Drop a little bit more information and I'm sure we can get you pointed in the right direction.

  15. #90
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    Apr 2016
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    Group of 4, all strong downhill skiers, 2 strong tourers and 2 not so strong tourers. All have experience in big terrain, but no real experience with glacier travel. So, for example, 45 deg. couloirs on edgable hardpack are fine. A secure rappel is fine. Challenging skiing over death exposure, not fine. But anything short of that, fine.

    Ideal itinerary would involve splitter couloirs with lift-assisted access. Or big face skiing. Some touring/bootpacking is great, but we want to focus more on skiing and less on traversing. Original A plan was the dolomites (for the same) but their snowpack is looking pretty sad. Don't care much about the apres scene.

  16. #91
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
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    SW CO
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    Miles and Liz Smart, SmartMountainGuides are the shit. Took our group of 4 on an insane adventure, hands down the best ski trip of my life. And I agree with Foggy on the walking distance thing. There is so much there. Also if you want more of a lift served experience with easy access to incredible terrain I would head to Verbier.

  17. #92
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    Dec 2003
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    Seattle
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    Quote Originally Posted by easyrdr View Post
    Miles and Liz Smart, SmartMountainGuides are the shit.
    ^ this.
    Quote Originally Posted by Downbound Train View Post
    And there will come a day when our ancestors look back...........

  18. #93
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
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    8,571
    Cosmiques, ENSA, Grand Envers, Hotel, Glacier Rond and so on. If in conditions, Cham offers what you seek. However, that place chews up and spits out objective focused skiers. Guides are actually great at regulating this. They really don't allow you to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

    My suggestion is to get excited about going on a ski vacation to Cham, be prepared and take all that comes your way. If you can afford a guide for your group, that should be amazing. Remember that runs are up to 9k so a couple hour walk and the beginning of the day, for one of the best runs of your life, finished with some patio time in a remote village is a pretty good day, not "traversing".

    I've skied the Cosmiques twice in a day and my brain was mush.

  19. #94
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    Apr 2016
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    1,058
    Yeah, we're not heading into it with the mindset of "we must ski the widowmaker couloir." A guide certainly seems like the right answer for putting us on the right lines in the right conditions. As for my "traversing" comment, I was mainly referring to wanting to focus on the down as opposed to a Haute Route style traverse.

  20. #95
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    Nov 2002
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    8,571
    In the things that annoy me me list, people that don't return books. Its got my name in it, give it back.

    The Vamos Chamonix Off Piste book basically details all the itineraries you are interested in.

    Yours is basically the same mindset I take to the Alps. If a guide for the week is in the budget, I'd just start sending out email to see who is available and a good fit for your group.

    Maybe this https://www.smartmountainguides.com/steep-skiing-camps

    I don't know what your transportation thoughts are but some guides will provide that for you. In my opinion, this is where they shine is coordinating logistics and itineraries off the beaten path.

  21. #96
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
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    SLC burbs
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    4,174
    Quote Originally Posted by californiagrown View Post
    Also, the locals pronounce it Sham-o-nix, while the rest of france and the world says Sham-o-knee. I thought our guide was messing with us at first so i asked what was up with how he was saying it.
    A year late to the party but this deserves a comment in case it wasn't tongue in cheek: if you pronounce the X, you immediately brand yourself as a monchu, ie non-local/tourist. Pronouncing the X is most prevalent with the Parisian breed of tourist which is widely regarded as the scourge of winter. Do not let yourself be lumped in with those people. Your guide was most definitely fucking with you, or he was from somewhere in the south-east of France where they have an affinity for pronouncing every letter (a very un-French thing to do) and their accent is so hilarious they tend to get a pass on saying things in a weird way. If he wasn't from there, he was an imposter impersonating a guide and probably resides at the bottom of a crevasse by now.

    Quote Originally Posted by old goat View Post
    It's the Savoyard pronunciation. Sorta like Catalunya vs Catalonia. I believe there is a small Savoyard separatist movement, although the main separatism in Chamonix is separating tourists from money.
    The separatist movement is alive and well! I get their newsletter which is quite hilarious. Big coat of arm on the front page, latin moto, the works. I actually went to high school with an insufferable twat of a royalist who claimed to be a direct descendant of the last duke of Savoy. Dude did not make life easy for himself acting like a noble from the 18th century...

    I wouldn't mind claiming one of the historical castles as my primary residence to be honest. The chateau de Ripaille would do just fine, not the best vineyard but it sits right on the lake... I'm sure I have some royal blood given the inbreeding that was rampant in the alpine valleys BITD.
    "Your wife being mad is temporary, but pow turns do not get unmade" - mallwalker the wise

  22. #97
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Posts
    150
    First time I was in chamonix I had the idea going into it that we were going to hit all these awesome lines. It's like the birthplace of steep skiing, after all. The weather and our guide had very different plans. We ended up getting a ton of snow, avy danger was insanely high, and most chairs in the valley were not spinning. Aiguille du Midi/Vallee Blanche was an absolute no go. Our guide Olivier, who I booked through Chamonix Experience (https://www.chamex.com/, though I think he just does his own thing now) kept us on snow as much as possible given then lack of lift access and avy conditions. We hooked up with him again this past winter to do some stuff more along the lines of what I think you're looking for. One day skiing Vallee Blanche, which is not difficult per se, but an amazing experience none the less, and one day of touring/hiking to some areas of the Argentiere glacier from Grand Montets. Our group this past year had a few with touring experience in the rockies, a few with most of their experience touring on the east coast, and some with little touring experience at all. Olivier kept us all safe, was super patient and helpful with the ones with less backcountry experience, and I'd totally work with him again if/when I can get back to Chamonix again.

  23. #98
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    Dec 2010
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    3,856
    Quote Originally Posted by Boissal View Post
    A year late to the party but this deserves a comment in case it wasn't tongue in cheek: if you pronounce the X, you immediately brand yourself as a monchu, ie non-local/tourist. Pronouncing the X is most prevalent with the Parisian breed of tourist which is widely regarded as the scourge of winter. Do not let yourself be lumped in with those people. Your guide was most definitely fucking with you, or he was from somewhere in the south-east of France where they have an affinity for pronouncing every letter (a very un-French thing to do) and their accent is so hilarious they tend to get a pass on saying things in a weird way. If he wasn't from there, he was an imposter impersonating a guide and probably resides at the bottom of a crevasse by now.
    .
    Huh, guy was from Paris, but had moved to Cham over 20 years ago and had been guiding for 10+ years there. Maybe he was just fucking around the way i say "pooder" instead of powder sometimes. Candide also pronounces the X in his last name and is from the area so i figured it made sense. But, what the hell do i know, maybe he just saw a dumbass american and wanted some entertainment.

  24. #99
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    Jan 2009
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    SLC burbs
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    Quote Originally Posted by californiagrown View Post
    Huh, guy was from Paris, but had moved to Cham over 20 years ago and had been guiding for 10+ years there. Maybe he was just fucking around the way i say "pooder" instead of powder sometimes. Candide also pronounces the X in his last name and is from the area so i figured it made sense. But, what the hell do i know, maybe he just saw a dumbass american and wanted some entertainment.
    True, the X in Candide's last name is not silent. But the Z in la Clusaz, his home resort, is. Just like the Z in Avoriaz, but unlike the Z in Alpe d'Huez which is to be insisted upon (silent H though). The S in Tignes is silent, the one in Val Thorens is not (silent H again). Both Ds in Grand Bornand are silent by the way. All theses resorts are sitting a few valleys from each other, including my hometown which has both a silent T and S in its name (silent H as well if you go by the name of the resort itself). Hell, my first name has a silent letter than turns me from a French guy to an American chick if you pronounce it. Also got a silent D in the last name for good measure.

    Why? Why not... The point is, weird thing happen to letters in French, and it's usually impossible to know how many letters will be silent in a word unless you've heard it pronounced locally and correctly. I have a vivid memory of smoking all the other kids at a ski race in Avoriaz when I was 9 or 10, then getting properly humiliated because I didn't know their fucking Z was silent. I was heckled the whole drive back. Still stings.

    I wasn't making fun of you btw, just correcting the record and pointing out a very reliable way to identify tourists, especially Parisians/foreigners. Maybe the guide was messing with you, maybe he was pronouncing the X cause he's antagonistic. I very much doubt he didn't know any better, I guarantee he was mocked mercilessly the very first time that X crossed his lips. Maybe that's why he still says it that way, it became a local legend. The Parisian beater that made it as a guide in Cham, the center of the known guiding universe (or so they tell you over there).
    "Your wife being mad is temporary, but pow turns do not get unmade" - mallwalker the wise

  25. #100
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    Nov 2002
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    8,571
    Are you from Thones...wait you say the T in that one I think? I went to Gran Bornan and La Clusa this summer while I was staying in Doussa! All incredibly good places with really friendly people.

    Boissal gets it, the sooner you realized that Cham isn't really France the sooner it will make sense.

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