With local snow conditions not very good this passed season and covid closing everything down the season before, I had an itch to go skiing that needed to be scratched. I have been able to make the occasional backyard set up here and there when it did snow but that just wasn't cutting it, I needed to get to the mountains! So, here is my story of my European ski holiday.
My wife knows me all to well and knows all about my strange addiction to this sport we all love and call skiing, so she is very supportive of my needs. She was the big pusher on this adventure because I always seem to talk myself out of things when it comes to something for me, I have always tried to put my families needs before mine. But this time, this was for me.
Planning began in December 2021 for our ski holiday and I started off here on NS talking to members that are from the UK(thanks @Rich_D ) and Europe. I started asking which resorts are best, gathering information and taking notes from all the locals. I had a long list of resorts and areas I wanted to ski but I only had 1 week to do it all in, damn work limited the time. March was decided as I figured it would be a good time, the snow should still be good, the sun would most likely be shinning and temps should be perfect. Dates were locked in and areas were getting narrowed down between timing, access, and accommodation availability. It was decided to fly into Geneva, Switzerland and ski the local areas which included, Chamonix valley and La Clusaz. Now at this time, I was just planning on teaching our youngest(3) to ski, get my wife back onto skis as she has been boarding the last many seasons and to just experience the EU lifestyle on the slopes. Now insert another NS discussion here and the story goes on.
I logged on to NS one day and came across a thread about skiing in the EU. There were some comments in there about skiing in the Chamonix area so I DM'd the member to let them know I had been making plans myself. After a few messages back and forth, it happened that we were going to be there the same time as each other.......NS meet up?! Yes, yes in deed, a pretty damn epic one I will say. @tvonny and @murphyboiiii were coming over from the states and were going to be skiing in Chamonix the same time as I, so plans were made to link up. Not to just make some laps either, they had another idea of hiring a guide and skiing Chamonix Mont-Blanc L'Aiguille du Midi, the longest ski run in the world. Shit yeah! Sign me up! Those boys put complete faith in me and paid for hire of the guide up front, ski pass, reserved me the crampons needed to do the trek and sorted out everything else. Thank you again guys!
We flew into Geneva, grabbed our equipment from baggage pick up, hired our car and were off to go ski the lovely areas of France! First day on the slopes in Chamonix I was a wee bit concerned about how my youngest was going to take to it. Kids at that age can go either way, love it or hate it, my boy loved it. He clicked into his binders and had the biggest grin on his face. We did some side stepping actions and practiced walking with sticks on our feet. Again, a huge smile on his face as he kept pointing to the big mountain saying that he wanted to go on it. He took to the snow like a duck to water and was sliding down the green run in no time, all by himself. My wife had some cobwebs that she cleared away but was back to making some nice turns herself in a matter of 2-3 runs. My heart was/is full!Learning to ski Chamonix France
The next day I met up with @tvonny and @murphyboiiii to ski Mont-Blanc and I will admit, I was scared. I hadnt really skied since I was up on Hood with @OregonDead back in August of 2020 and I was out of skiing shape. I had also recently had my knee rebuilt so I had all these thoughts in my head of "oh shit" what have I got myself into? I cant do this, Im not good enough, I am going to get hurt. I had these weird emotions flood over me as I am trying to play it cool with these guys I had just met from the states. I had to keep telling myself, get it together, you got this, this is something I love doing, it will be okay. And it was! These boys rip and are excellent skiers, watching them gave me the confidence I needed and we were off tearing it up. It also helped that we had a pretty damn cool guide too! He recognized we were all good skiers and kind of just let us ski where we wanted but giving us the guidance of where not to go. I highly recommend this adventure to anyone going to Chamonix, it is for sure worth it! We caught a partial bluebird day which made it even that much better as the views were jaw dropping. It took us half a day to get to the top, ski down, stop to have a snack and finish at the ice cave at the bottom of the glacier. We explored around a bit before our massive stair hike out, 550 stairs if I remember correctly. That kicked my ass more than the skiing,lol. We ended up skiing the rest of the day at Brevent and it was a great finish to the end of the day, a few close calls as I took a digger at high speed but was able to pull out of it and @tvonny almost wrapping himself around a sign pole. We survived and live to tell the tales another day. We parted our ways that afternoon of plans to go to La Clusaz together later that week but prior engagements didnt allow for that to happen. You guys didnt miss much as the visibility was very poor and the snow was not the greatest. I did snap a few pictures of the Goats stomping grounds and it was impressive to see some of those hits in real life and even hit them myself. It was truly surreal being on that mountain, I highly recommend it to everyone!
@tvonny and @murphyboiiiiPink Gang!
We finished the week out skiing Brevent one more time because my son wanted to ski the big mountain. We rode the cable car to the top and you could just see the fire in his eyes, he has what we all have, that drive to want to ski and have fun! No complaints from him other than he was tired by the time we got to the bottom but he wanted to keep going. We jumped on the chairlift one last time as I had reality hit me like a slap across the face, it was my last time for the season and it was hard to believe it. Our week flew by but we made some wonderful memories for the record book and we learned a few new things in case another opportunity comes up to ski Europe again. The end of a season is always sad but summer is coming, more activities are planned and before we know it, the snow will be back! Cheers to the end of every ones season, keep that fire in your eyes and I hope your season was as memorable as mine.