What a fantastic start to the season in the Alps - waist deep powder in the mountains and searing blue skies to dazzle even the most jaded eyes! It must be the best early season snow in ChamonixFrance for at least ten years, or certainly that seems to be what my memory is saying.
Believe me, what to wear on the mountain causes a lot of consternation. More than a few glasses of wine/beer have been consumed debating this all important question as our guests contemplate their ‘mountain fashion statement’ for the next day. In Chamonix, France we joke about the ‘mountain fashion police’ removing you forcibly from the mountain for not sporting the correct attire.
An absolutely great trip with three lovely women! They had great spirit, and determination and there were a whole lot of laughs! We had a week based in Champex, in Switzerland adventuring out every day to climb Cols and peaks in the area. Have a look at the movie and you will see what I mean. Lindsay
A great day working with Oliver Ensor from Chalet Savoy in Les Houches. We had a bunch of fun guests to take snowshoeing up to Chalets de Chailloux above Coupeau which is a fantastic spot for a winter wonderland experience and views of Mont Blanc. Oliver's wife Elaine prepares the best cake ever! Lindsay
I am just back from doing our first crossing of the Chablais region on snowshoes! This winter we organised a private trip for three of our regular guests and what a fantastic trip it turned out to be. In six days we passed through a stunning winter landscape where we saw a grand total of only two ski mountaineers and two snowshoe groups. For our Traverse of the Chablais we began in Megevette in the St Jeoire Valley, about an hour from Geneva and we made our way across the mountains to Lake Geneva. It was extremely satisfying to make a true journey on snowshoes and to finish by dipping our feet in the Lake! We are now looking at offering this trip as a Scheduled Departure next winter 2011 and it should be on the website soon. Meantime, if you are interested please drop us an email and we will be sure to keep you a place. For this inaugural trip we carried all our kit, very little extra to be honest, and stayed in very comfortable hotels in the valleys every night. We are thinking about offering baggage transfers for the next trip which means your rucksack can be even lighter. I am now in Courmayeur in Italy in the Cafe des Guides just catching up on mail, and about to head to the fabulous Rifugio Bonatti in Val Ferret - more later!!
Last week I was joined by Leslie from the US, Arletta from Poland, Team SA (from South Africa) and Susie from the UK on our multi-activity winter week. There truely were an international feel to our week. Over the 6 days the group stayed in a luxury chalet and were able to enjoy getting to grips with both cross country skis styles - trying both the classic and skating - and experienced days out in the mountains in winter travelling on snowshoes. The holiday is based in France but as we are so close to Italy we are also able to nip across the border for a chance to sample a little Italian snow and of course not forgetting the cuisine too. Team SA were able to add on a few days and experience a little of what Switzerland has to offer and when they left us headed off to Zermatt to alpine ski under the eyes of the Matterhorn. I'm waiting to hear how they got on?
Who said that snowshoeing was all about hard work! I have just had a great time with Sheila and Peter on our Mont Blanc Snowshoe Week which is based in Argentiere. We had blue skies on all the days except one, and had wonderful fresh and light powder. Chamonix Valley was at its best with stunning views to the Mont Blanc Massif, and our two days up at the famous Grand St Bernard Monastery where fabulous with crisp clear days with very few people around. A special moment was on day two when we simply stood looking at the views over to Italy and enjoying perfect silence - something which is not that easy to come by these days! It makes me appreciate what a great job I have to be working with our guests in the mountains, and introducing them to the Alps in winter. At the end of each day there was a hot tub waiting at our accommodation at Yeti Lodge in Argentiere which was a real treat!!
It seems as though Christmas was only yesterday but we are already at the end of January! Which means that next week I leave for the Jura mountains, France and Switzerland’s answer to Norway. These rolling ‘hills’, reach no more that 1600m in altitude and make excellent farmland in the summer. This very rural & less frequented region has an entirely different feel to its’ neighbouring jaggy spires and peaks of the Alps.
So to get in the mood today Karoline, Vicci, with 6 months old Max, and I went over to Samoëns to the Nordic Festival! Max had all the attention, even from the media, as he was the only one travelling in a ‘Norwegian pulk’ – a ski sledge for babies – see picture! It was an excellent day with lots of ‘have a try’ activities free of charge….from snowshoeing, cross country skiing, dog sledding, ski-joëring, to biathlon and dog-joëring. The latter two of which I tried! I have always watched the biathlon events on TV with amazement as to how they are able to lower their heart rate with enough efficiency to shoot! We were given a short race to test our ‘ski to shoot ability’ - it was excellent fun...and then came the husky dog! Each skier had a dog to pull you around the cross country tracks whilst you ski along behind – what a way to travel - my new sport!