Boarding in Chamonix, France

The most exciting part of making friends with a wonderful American couple while all living in the UK, is that we are able to share adventures together here, and one day will all be back in the states together again. 🙂 We met the lovely Eric & Alison within our first two weeks of arriving to the UK; Eric works at EMC and he and his (then girlfriend, now fiancé) Alison attended the same Rugby 7’s event at Twickenham Stadium back in May that Trev and I did. We’ve since celebrated the 4th of July together, had fun nights out in the city, and have organized a couple of BBQ get-togethers for a taste of home!

Eric and Alison moved over to the UK from Boston just a few months before we did, and one of their first trips together was skiing in Chamonix. They decided to plan a second trip back this year, and invited us to join! 6 of us in total (including their lovely Australian/New Zealand couple friend, Chelsea and Elliot) flew out late on a Thursday night, and met at the Geneva airport; the flight a short 1.5 hours. Upon our arrival, we boarded a cozy little shuttle bus which drove us the additional hour to our Chalet rental in Chamonix, France. As it was near midnight when we arrived, we weren’t able to make out much of the village, but it was more than obvious we’d lucked out with snow!!

Trev, Alison and Eric standing outside of our chalet:

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We woke fairly early (considering we hadn’t gotten to sleep until 1am or so) and headed out to the slopes of Brévent and Flégère. The weather was absolutely beautiful out; sunshine and considerably warm. By the end of our first run, we were already removing face masks and extra layers. The view of the mountain from the top of the chair lifts was stunning!

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Trev and I went off on our own for a bit, while the crew went to rent their skis/gear for the weekend, and were able to find fresh off-piste tracks rather quickly. We’d been correct in lucking out with snow, as there was LOTS of fresh powder on the ground. After meeting back up with the crew, we dragged Eric away for a quick off-piste run as well. 🙂

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Lunch at the top of the chairlift was equally amazing. I mean, when you’re in France you know they are going to take mealtime seriously, wherever you are. I enjoyed a big box full of delicious pasta Bolognese, while the remainder of the group chowed down on meats, sandwiches and plenty of frites! Taking advantage of the picturesque location, we also grabbed a couple of group photos, before heading back out to the slopes.

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After a tiring and successful day of boarding, the group headed home for a bit of a rest, before heading out into cozy little Chamonix village for dinner. We booked ourselves into a restaurant with plenty of options for calorie-filled meals, as we had another full day of boarding ahead. We all sat as couples, deciding our dishes amongst ourselves, and were tickled when we went to order and all picked the same meal: the meat platter for 2. Change that to 6! Was a fun-filled, interactive meal, taking turns placing our assortment of meats on the griddle installed in the middle of our table (…and again, plenty of frites to go around).

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Our second day out in Chamonix, we split up as couples for the day to explore the different parts of the mountain range, which offered different levels of terrain depending upon what we were all looking for. Trev and I hopped on a shuttle and took a 20 minute bus ride to Grand Montets, a part of the mountain that was known for more advanced skiing/boarding and appeared to have a large amount of off-piste area. Our first run down was a bit icy, as the sun hadn’t hit mountain yet; and given that our legs were sore from our first day out, wasn’t our best effort.

Grand Montets is home to a very well-known run called ‘Pont de Vue’, known for it’s incredible mountain views and marked, yet off-piste terrain. The line for the gondola up to the top was intimidating, but feeling that our legs could use the rest anyway, we took the 35 min. break and waited our turn. The initial 5 minutes after exiting the gondola are INTENSE to say the least. A descending 100 step staircase + HIGH wind speeds + sore legs was not exactly the reward I was expecting after the wait; however, once we got to the bottom of the staircase it all became worth it. Truly stunning mountain range and one of the most thrilling runs we have taken to this day. We had hoped to grab lunch at a cozy cabin we found on the run, literally out in the middle of nowhere, but they were unfortunately fully booked. Naturally, Trev had to have a picture with their flag anyway:

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We managed to find a very nice French meal at the bottom of the run, some 40 minutes later, and then decided to do it all again. 🙂

Toasted from our first two days of the season, we decided to forgo boarding the half day  on Sunday, and instead had a bit of a sleep-in and explored the lovely village of Chamonix in the daylight. As Chelsea and Elliot had to head out that morning, Eric, Alison, Trev and I walked the town looking for little souvenirs and the typical postcards home to our families. Our last, but not least, treat of the trip was a lovely little lunch spot we found; which served crepes and burgers of all kinds. The burgers were literally as wide as my hand, fingers spread apart, and had to have been 5 inches thick. Needless to say I was able to consume about half of mine, and fed the rest to my walking garbage disposal. 😉 The diner itself was MAYBE 6 feet wide; counter to order/kitchen downstairs, and tables tucked away in a cozy setting upstairs with a pin-up girl theme. This is Eric and Trev standing at our table, pre-food coma:

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All-in-all Chamonix is worth the visit for a ski vacation; however, we’d recommend it for those planning a longer trip in the Alps. The mountain range is huge and very wide-spread, with shuttles to and from the different areas, and it was difficult to get a grasp on where to go in just a short weekend. However, the terrain, food and nightlife will not disappoint once you are there!

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