There has been a lot said recently about the sparse snowfalls in the Alps, but after some great days out in the mountains over the past few days, I have come to the conclusion that it is what you make of it!
Skiing means different things to different people, but to me it is about being out in the mountains with good friends hunting out the snow, and you don’t have to have perfect powder to have a great day out.
Last Sunday, I left a very wet and cloudy Chamonix to head up the Grand Montets for a day of resort skiing with friends. After a long wait in a lift queue where we got soaked by the rain our spirits were low.
Once we eventually got to the top of the mountain, however, we were greeted by parting clouds and fresh snow on the ground - a recipe for a fun day on the hill. The six of us had a blast cruising around, swerving the rocks, which still haven’t been covered and searching for the best snow. What looked like it might have been a miserable day, turned out to be a great day out with a bunch of like-minded people.
After a night of rain and snow, Chamonix has been blessed with clear skies and sunshine ever since, so our next challenge was to look at different ways to make the most of the snow.
So Wednesday saw me dig out my skins, pack my Cham 97s with pin bindings, and head to the Argentiere basin for some early season touring. This time I was joined by two friends Ross and Andy on a day where I took myself our of my comfort zone. After skinning across the glacier, we decided to try something different from one of the classic tours and ski one of the couloirs behind the Argentiere hut.
Early season touring is a great way to quickly get fitter and start to get acclimatised, and after not doing much skiing on steeper terrain this season, a quick way to get the heart racing! After a long boot pack to the top of the couloir we took a break in the sun, soaking up the spectacular views of the Chamonix Valley, before skiing the couloir.
I forgot how much fun it is challenging yourself, so once I got my head into committing to the turns, it was a fun ski down on some hard packed, chalky snow. Again, not a perfect powder day, but with sunny skies and a challenge in front of you, it was another satisfying day in the mountains. Like I said, it is about getting out there, enjoying the mountains, and making the most of the snow.