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Vallée Blanche descent (Mont Blanc)

Last March I lead a group of 10 skiers and snowboarders on a “Ski Trip with a Cheese problem” to the French and Swiss Alps. I am a chef and cheese-hound so I make sure the group stays properly lubricated with Fondue, Raclette, and Tartiflette (plus the requisite amount of wine). I hired two French High Mountain guides to lead the group on the famous descent of the Vallée Blanche. I must have been praying to the right snow gods because the day I tentatively chose for my group about 6 months out turned out to be a spectacular day on Mont Blanc. We had about two feet of fresh, light pow, sunny bluebird skies, AND no wind (there is almost always wind). Even our guides Ludovic and Fix said they rarely experience such perfect conditions in the Vallée Blanche. So here are some pictures so you can see the beauty and dramatic landscape of this area! (also the glacier is retreating at an alarming rate so if you want to ski it get there soon!).

 "La Vallée Blanche" which is French for "The Vallée Blanche." It was plenty white for us! Photo: Aaron Schorsch

The narrow walk along the ridge is impressive but not as dangerous as it seems. We were roped together and the guides had crampons. There are ropes to hold onto, but being patient is a good idea. Pro tip: Don't drop your wallet...or your skis. I once walked this ridge-line roped to a skier who had a severe fear of heights. She kept her eyes closed and screamed for 15 minutes straight without breathing, I think. Photo: Ludovic Erard.

Un-rope, shed a layer, and time to clip into your skis and hit some powder! Photo: Nick Green.

It was in the low 20's (Fahrenheit) with lots of sun. The powder stayed in good condition but the top had already been skied a bit. Photo: Lily Zhang.

Powder, sun, friends, mountains-what more do you need? Photo: Sue Shepler.

Lunch at the "Refuge de Requin" is totally worth it. A hot meal of Boeuf Bourguignon and Crozets (tiny local buckwheat pasta) hit the spot and cost as much a snickers bar at a fancy US ski resort (ok I am exaggerating a bit). Photo: Sue Shepler.

Our guide "Fix" (Francois-Xavier) is the man. He also has one of the thickest heads of hair you will ever see. Photo: Sue Shepler.

There is definitely snow, but how long will it last? #protectourwinters. Photo: Aaron Schorsch.

Earn your turns! Actually we take the gondola up to 13,600 ft and this is only a 15 minute bootpack near the end of the descent up to a ridge which has a buvette that sells...Beer! Photo: Aaron Schorsch.

I take care of the cheese. Photo: Lily Zhang. This is raclette cheese, for use in a dish called "raclette" that like almost all cheese dishes of this area consists of some combination of potatoes, charcuterie, cornichons, and lots of white wine. Cheese and Skiing go together like brioche and butter. Or something like that. 

Anyway I can't wait for this March to do it again, though I probably got spoiled by the weather.

About The Author

stash member Saveurthejourney

I love snow and skiing, boarding, tele skiing, AT skiing, cross country skiing. Happy to skin for turns but also love laps at the resort. I am a chef and passionate foodie who is always looking for good food and drink. I lead ski and food trips.