Monday, November 22, 2010

First turns of the season

On Sunday I went to one of my favourite ski areas in the Chamonix valley: Les Grands Montets. They are not yet open (false alert for this last week-end) so a great “backcountry” destination for yet another few days. Les Grands Montets is about 5 miles up the Chamonix valley from Chamonix the town and has its base at 1252m (4,107’) and culminates (for the lift served part) at the Aiguille des Grands Montets at 3295m (10,808’) which translates into a nice 6,700’ vertical feet drop. All in one long steep run… If that did not qualify for favourite, I’m not sure what could.

I did not climb any 6,700’ on this my first skin of the season but got up about 4,000’ and was able to ski half of that (the rest was walking with skis on the backpack). The good news is that my first turns of the season were all powder turns as in the good dry and crisp stuff so hopefully a good omen.
Below are some pictures taken at Les Grands Montets proper and also on the drive in and out (click to enlarge).
What the town sign to the center of the universe looks like:
Looking east as the climb starts from the base of Les Grands Montets is the Bec Rouge Superieur:
Top of Bec Rouge Superieur with chopper these are everywhere all the time in Chamonix (mostly serving the huts and rescue missions):
Looking west accross the valley are a myriad of Aiguilles (needles) here is one I like:
Driving back home I got this shot of the dents du Crocodile (dents=teeth):

...and the eternal Aiguille du Midi:

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