David Ries, three days skiing in the Chamonix area • March 27-29, 2011

David Ries added a few days to his Val d’Isere ski vacation and joined Mark for some off and on piste skiing in Chamonix.

Our plan was to meet in Val d’Isere, jump in the car and drive to La Rosiere, some 40 minutes distance. From there, David and Mark would ski into Italy, via the liaison between the Rosiere and La Thuile ski areas. Meanwhile, Kathy would drive the car back to Chamonix, through the Mont Blanc tunnel and meet our heroes in La Thuile. Another quick drive to La Palud, a ride up the cable car to Point Helbronner, and, in theory, a Vallee Blanche descent into Chamonix.

All went well until the weather closed in over the high mountains. The Vallee Blanche was all together too blanche, and we scrapped that portion of the day’s plan.

Our second day also proved to be somewhat problematic, weather wise. We spent it largely in the fog at the Grands Montets. Visibility was in and out, but we did manage a couple of runs off the top lift, enjoying the new snow when we could see it. Finding our lunch locale at the Chalet Refuge de Lognan was actually quite difficult in the pea soup fog.

Our last day, however was spectacular. And it is from this day alone that I have any photos!

David on the summit of the Aiguille du Midi in perfect weather.

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West Berner “Little Haute Route”

Here are a few pics from a very quick, three-day traverse of the West Berner Oberland tour. We had a bit of time away from work and decided to do our best to exhaust ourselves.

This tour starts at the Glacier 3000 ski complex in Les Diablerets and ends in Kandersteg.

For a few more photos from this tour, visit our Recent Trips Gallery on our website.

In order to fit what is normally a 5-day outing into our available 2 and a half days, we had to put in some long days. In this photo we are halfway through day 1, after climbing over the Arpelistock, we are heading towards the Wildhorn.

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Jerry, Jeff and Rick in the Vallée Blanche – March 6, 2011

Jerry Minzel and his friend Rick Billingham of the Seattle area joined us in 2007 on a Chamonix to Zermatt Haute Route. This year they came over again, this time with Jerry’s son Jeff, and all of their wives (Vicki, Judy and Lori, respectively) for a week of on and off-piste skiing. They hired Kathy (and Mark of course joined in as “official” photographer) for a descent of the Vallee Blanche.

We have only 5 photos in this post. For more photos of this threesome go here.

"Hiking" down the arete of the Aiguille du Midi.


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Dan & Rich Enthoven with Tom Lacy, 6 days touring and off-piste in Chamonix

Brothers Dan and Rich, along with friend Tom, hopped across the pond for a week of ski touring and off-piste from their Chamonix base. In addition to the “classics”, such as the Vallée Blanche and the out-of-bounds at the Grands Montets, we also found great powder snow on the Crochues-Berard Traverse, the “backside” Vallon de Van at Les Marecottes, and a great tour up Mont Valaisan out of the La Thuile ski area in Italy. And for something completely different, we threw in a day of waterfall ice climbing at La Crémerie.

In this post we’ve included a half dozen photos. Too see more from of these guys have a look at this page in our Recent Trips Gallery.

Left to right, we have Tom, Dan and Rich. About to descend from the Col Crochues on the Crochues-Bérard Traverse

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Queyras tour, February 2011

We lucked out in the Queyras this year with long powder snow descents every day!

See more photos of this trip in our Recent Trips Gallery.

Dropping into the gully below the Brèche de la Ruine on the Tour of the Pain de Sucre in the Queyras.

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Maura Whalen & Mike Rosenberger off-piste skiing in Chamonix

Maura and Mike, in celebration of Mike’s “significant” birthday, took a skiing vacation in the Alps. They joined Kathy and Mark for 4 days, mostly in Chamonix, but also venturing as far as Zermatt and Cervinia.

With no new snow for some weeks, we had decidedly firm conditions, but at least the skies were blue.

See more photos from Maura and Mike’s trip in the Recent Trips Gallery section of our website.

Maura and Mike with Mont Blanc as a backdrop.

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Chamonix off-piste with Andy Landes and Geoff Alexander

Andy and Geoff joined Kathy and Mark for 4 days of off-piste skiing in the Chamonix area, January 30 to February 2. Here are a few photos.

You can find more photos of this trip on Andy and Geoff’s page in our Recent Trips Gallery.

Geoff overlooking the crevasses of the Argentière Glacier on our first day, skiing at the Grands Montets.

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Aiguille du Midi sunset from our balcony

In truth, this is really just an excuse to make another post. We are in the midst of trying to work the bugs out of our blog and I needed an excuse to add to it. The photo really was taken from our balcony, at about 5:40 pm, Chamonix time.

Vallée Blanche, Chamonix’s Classic descent

Descending the arête on the Aiguille du Midi.

Celeste Decker joined Mark and Kathy for a descent of the classic Vallée Blanche. We had great weather, comfortably warmer than some rather chilly recent days.

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